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Sunday, July 31, 2011

What a whopper! Angler enters record books after catching EIGHT FOOT albino catfish

By Daily Mail Reporter

Monster catch: Chris Grimmer, left, caught the biggest
albino catfish ever landed by an angler on the the River Ebro, near Barcelona, Spain

This monster from the deep has netted a British angler a place in the record books.

The whopper, caught by plucky Chris Grimmer, is the biggest albino catfish ever caught by an angler.

The 8ft beast tipped the scales at 194lbs - 2lbs heavier than the previous best by blind woman angler Shelia Penfold last year.

Chris, a 35-year-old ground worker, spent 30 minutes trying to reel in the white catfish after it took his bait.

Chris, from Sheffield, toasted the record catch with a bottle of champagne which he and his friends drank on the river bank.

He and three pals had been on a week's fishing trip to the River Ebro, near Barcelona, Spain, when he snared the record catfish.

The fish was so big that Chris' rod bent over double when it took his bait of halibut pellets.

He said: 'It took my reel and stripped it and it was then that I knew it was a big one.

'At that moment our tour guide had popped off to get some food and one of us phoned to tell him and he couldn't get back quick enough.

'It took me ages to bring it in, it was like trying to reel in a bus.

'One of my mates went into the water to help lift it out.

'By that time the guide had come back and he got it in the weigh sling.

'I was jumping down the bank when I realised it was a record and ended up in the water.

'I was proper tired afterwards and could hardly walk but it was worth it.'

The albino fish was returned to the water safe and well after being caught.

Ashley Scott, the guide from Catmaster Tours who organised the trip, said: 'We know what the records are for catfish so we realised straight away that it was a record.

'There was mayhem on the bank with people cheering and clapping. We had bottle of champagne to celebrate it and Chris poured a drop into the river for the

Sheila Penfold, from Wandsworth, South London, caught her 192lb albino catfish last October.

The biggest catfish ever caught in the world is a staggering 646lb - or 46 stone - Giant Mekong Catfish caught in Thailand in 2005.


In the mog house: Meet the woman who has 700 cats and insists, 'I'm not a crazy lady'

By Daily Mail Reporter

Sanctuary: Lynea Lattanzio lives alone with 700 cats on her 12-acre spread in Parlier, California

Meet the woman with more than 700 cats.

Lynea Lattanzio lives alone with hundreds of felines on her 12 acre spread in Parlier, California where she runs a huge cat sanctuary.

Divorcee Lynea takes in rescue cats from around the world at her 'Cat House'.

Cat house: Divorcee Lynea takes in rescue cats from around the world and has helped rehome 19,000 of the animals

'If I were a cat, this is where I'd be,' she told a US newspaper. We're a no-cage, no-kill adoption sanctuary.'

Lynea said she wasn't allowed cats when she was growing up. And she didn't have any when she was still married.

She began rescuing the animals after her divorce in 1981 and has saved almost 19,000 felines.

But she insists she is not a crazy cat lady. 'I prefer to say I'm eccentric or masochistic,' she told the New York Post. 'It's the same thing, only nicer.'

The Cat House on the Kings is California's largest no-cage, no-kill cat sanctuary.

Its mission is to to place rescued cats and kittens into permanent homes and to prevent pet overpopulation through spaying and neutering.

Feline heaven: The cats being fed, the sanctuary survives because of generous donations

Mission: Lynea aims to place rescued cats and kittens into permanent homes and to prevent overpopulation by spaying and neutering

There are at least 700 cats in her care, she says - as well as 15 dogs. She survives thanks to donations and grants.

Her story featured on a National Geographic WILD episode, The Lady with 700 Cats, that aired in the U.S on Saturday night. It was narrated by Glee star Jane Lynch.

'I'm sure there are other places that do what I do. I just don't know where they are. And obviously they are few and far between,' Lynea said.

She added: 'What I say is - if they don't have a home, at least they have a life.'

'At least they have a life': Lynea cares for a kitten. She insists she is not crazy and would prefer to refer to herself as eccentric

Care-free: The feline haven is California's largest no-kill, no cage sanctuary and is also a home to 15 dogs


Buckalike: A proud stag meets an artificial rival and won't give up until it's crushed

Convinced: The buck stands up to the plastic model, fooled into thinking is a genuine rival for its territory

This deer looked a bit of a fool when he picked a fight with a plastic model he thought was a real-life rival.

The animal attacked after spotting the fake deer apparently trespassing on its territory.

This extraordinary set of pictures, taken by photographer Don Jones, show how the buck fronts up the plastic model.

When the model shows no sign of stepping down, the deer launches at it with his impressive antlers.

I'll show you! The buck goes on to the attack as its rival stands its ground
He doesn't back down until his rival has been floored - but appears quite bemused when its head pops off.

The bizarre spectacle was captured in the Kootenai National Forest in Northwest Montana, America.

Mr Jones snapped the pictures after setting up the 'decoy' deer in the area to see what reaction it would get from the resident bucks.

The 52-year-old, from Troy in Montana, said: 'I knew that once the bucks saw this smaller decoy buck they would not stand for it.

'I've seen varying responses to the decoy. Some simply show their aggression by laying their ears back and walking by without an intention to kill.

'I have also witnessed situations where the buck attacks the decoy only to knock it down and will continue to hit it until it is flush to the ground.

'In this set of pictures the buck actually broke the ear of the decoy, which is made from a very durable plastic.

'I believe that part of what angers the attacking buck is that the model's ears are fixed to be straight out at attention, which isn't a sign of submission.'

One last push: The fake deer apparently trespassing on its territory, is overturned

Finished: The plastic model lies in bits, its head knocked off


Downton's war of the labradors: Show's canine star is hounded out by castle's very unwelcoming rival


War: Lady Carnavon with Percy and Bella at Highclere Castle - her dogs have not got on with Downton Abbey's Roly

Downton Abbey – as its millions of fans know only too well – is a house seething with tension at the best of times.

But now it seems there is another source of rivalry every bit as fierce as the class struggle between the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants.

Lady Carnarvon, the owner of Highclere Castle, where the hit ITV drama is filmed, has revealed her pet labrador Percy was unwilling to tolerate the presence of Roly, the labrador that starred as the Crawleys’ pet, Pharaoh.

Rivals: Roly, pictured here with Hugh Bonneville, has been hounded out by Highclere's resident labradors

At one stage, producers considered dropping Pharaoh’s character from the script altogether. Instead, they decided to give the castle advance warning of Roly’s movements, so the two animals could be kept apart.

Lady Carnarvon said: ‘We have blonde labradors named Percy and Bella, and what’s bizarre is they bring in their own labrador. I haven’t got a clue why they don’t use ours, which are running up and down the stairs anyway.

Be prepared: The cast of Downton Abbey may have to keep a close eye out for labrador disagreements

‘Our male labrador minds the Downton one enormously, so I have to say, “When is your dog in? Don’t turn up unexpectedly,” because he does not like any other male dogs in the castle. He is very territorial.

‘We usually ask for no dogs in the castle actually, because we have five altogether – the others are spaniels we call Naughty 1, Naughty 2, and Naughty 3!’
The website of Highclere Castle makes clear that only guide dogs are normally allowed into the castle.

Gill Raddings, the dog handler who supplied Roly to the period drama, which counts the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge among its fans, said: ‘Even before filming began, there was talk of cutting the dog from the script altogether.

‘It had absolutely nothing to do with Roly.

‘Lady Carnarvon’s dog does not like male dogs in the house and he is apparently a fighter, so we had to give them advance warning when Roly was on the premises.’

The new series of Downton Abbey, which again stars Dame Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton and Michelle Dockery, is set in 1916 and follows the fortunes of the household during the latter years of the First World War.

Filming is due to continue for another two weeks.

source: dailymail

Your goose is cooked: Canada variety to be placed on the menu and it's perfect with teriyaki sauce

By Valerie Elliott

Dinner: The goose could soon be sold in restaurants and served as an alternative to turkey for traditional Christmas dinner

The Canada goose, one of Britain’s most hated birds, could soon be served as an alternative to turkey for the traditional Christmas dinner.

Natural England – the Government’s advisers on wildlife – want the law changed to allow meat from the bird to be sold for the first time in Britain.

The birds, with their distinctive black heads, are a common sight in parks and on lakes but are seen as pests.

They can already be shot and eaten, or given as a gift to cook at home. However, it is illegal to sell them. Restaurateurs who serve them can be fined up to £5,000 and face six months jail.

Natural England will make its recommendation to the Law Commission, which is conducting a review of wildlife statutes. It is believed that the law may be changed in time for Christmas.

Thousands of the birds are killed lawfully every year to prevent them from fouling parks. The low-flying geese are also the scourge of farmers and pilots as they feed on crops and are a hazard to planes.

Many in the countryside eat the gamey bird as a roast at home and don’t understand why it is not sold.

Natural England’s Matthew Heydon said: ‘It would make sense to allow them to be sold.’ But the RSPB’s Graham Madge called it ‘a dangerous development’.

Leading cook Prue Leith said the birds would be a useful addition to menus. ‘I would slow cook the legs, cut off the breast meat, grill it and serve with teriyaki sauce.’

Natural England want the law changed to allow meat from the bird to be sold for the first time in Britain


Now THAT'S a fat cat! Otto on diet mission after weighing in at equivalent to 500lbs for a human

-Otto taken to New Jersey vets by owners in January
-Dropped in six months from 36lbs to less than 30lbs
-Owners wanted him euthanized but he's getting better
-Suffers from arthritis because of weight problems

By Mark Duell

Diet: The New Jersey cat is six months into a fat-fighting mission and has already shed more than five pounds - dropping from 35.8lbs to 29.5lbs

When he entered hospital, Otto was the biggest cat some doctors had ever seen, weighing the equivalent in human weight of a 500lbs man.

But the New Jersey feline is six months into a fat-fighting mission and has already shed more than five pounds - dropping from 35.8lbs to 29.5lbs.

Otto, who suffers from arthritis because of his weight, has been put on a diet by vets at Clementon Animal Hospital as they try to help him.

The cat, who has been billed ‘the Round Mound of Purring Sound’, was taken to hospital by his owners in January, reported MSNBC.

He was too fat to even climb into his litter box and his owners wanted to have him euthanized, but were urged to surrender him to vets.

‘I just felt really bad for the cat,’ hospital administrator Tricia Greaney said, adding he is the biggest cat she has seen in her working life.

‘I know he was probably in a situation where (his owners) were just at their wits’ end and couldn’t handle it anymore,’ she told NBC News.

Getting better: The cat, who has been billed 'the Round
Mound of Purring Sound', was taken to an animal hospital by his owners in January

Otto arrived at more than twice the average weight of a wild bobcat - and triple his ideal weight, reported MSNBC.
It means his little heart and lungs are working overtime to maintain his body weight, so vets knew they needed to put him on a diet.

Now less food and more exercise are helping his health improve - and staff have set him a weight target of 20lbs.

Clementon vet Dr Shashina Lyons said there is nothing funny about an obese pet, as they are prone to diabetes, arthritis and liver disease.

‘The unfortunate thing is, people think it’s cute,’ she told NBC.

source: dailymail

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Adorable odd couple: Chimp's maternal instincts awakened as she feeds milk to an baby tiger

By Daily Mail Reporter

Completely at ease in each other's company, they're the best of friends.

These adorable pictures show a two-year-old chimpanzee called Do Do feeding milk to Aorn, a two-month-old tiger cub.

The odd couple appear to be getting on tremendously as Do Do's motherly instincts take over.

Scroll down to see a video of the chimp and tiger cub playing together

Maternal instinct: A two-year-old chimpanzee called Do Do feeds milk to Aorn, a two-month-old tiger cub

Aorn gratefully laps up the milk as Do Do tenderly holds the tiger in her arms.

For some unexplained reason Do Do is wearing a pair of denim shorts - perhaps to protect her thighs from Aorn's claws.

They were photographed at Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand.

The crocodile farm, used as a tourist attraction, houses some 80,000 crocodiles and is the largest in Thailand.

Bonding: The animals both live at Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo on the outskirts of Bangkok

For some unexplained reason Do Do is wearing a pair of denim shorts - perhaps to protect her thighs from Aorn's claws

Its owners claim to hold the largest captive crocodile, measuring an astonishing six metres long and weighing 2,465lbs.

Regular crocodile shows are staged during which zookeepers place their heads inside the reptiles' mouths.

However, the farm doesn't just contain crocodiles.

As you'd expect from these pictures, monkeys and tigers also live there, alongside elephants, lions, horses and hippopotamuses.

Heat test: Do Do drinks some of the milk, perhaps to make sure the temperature is okay for the tiger cub

Aorn gratefully laps up the milk as Do Do tenderly holds the tiger in her arms


Heil Kitler! Abandoned puss who looks just like a furry Fuhrer

By Andrew Levy

She is cute, cuddly and very affectionate. Sadly, there’s a downside.

She also bears an uncanny resemblance to Adolf Hitler.

This six-week-old puss has been named Kitler by staff at Wood Green Animal Shelter in Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire, who took her in after she was found abandoned at a roadside.

The six-week-old moggie was found abandoned on her own by the side of a busy main road by a member of the public

Staff say no one wants to adopt her and believe her markings – in the distinctive shape of a toothbrush moustache and slicked-down, side-parted hair – are putting them off.

Spokesman Tara Dundon said: ‘Kitler is an adorable little girl who will make a wonderful addition to the right family. She is really playful and a typical sweet kitten.’

'We rehome five and a half thousand animals every year but we cannot find a loving owner for Kitler. We think her unusual markings are putting people off.

'She is not a specific breed and we don't know where her black and white patches came from because we have no idea who her parents are.

'We think Kitler was either dumped by someone who didn't want her or couldn't look after her or she could have been a wild cat who was left by her mother.

'Sadly, Kitler is just one of hundreds of stray cats we take in every year. Last year we took in 1,294 cats and kittens, of which 422 were strays.'

Kitler was found alone and close to death at the side of the A421 near Kempston, Bedfordshire.

The severely malnourished kitten would have died but recovered her health after receiving food and treatment at the Wood Green animal shelter.

Anyone interested in adopting Kitler should contact Wood Green Animal Shelter on 0844 248 8181.

Kitler has a remarkable resemblance to Hitler and seems to have his moustache and swept across hair

Animal carer Beverley Street with Kitler who is yet to find a loving family because of her unusual markings


Lucky cow! Barmy Brazilian bovine braves crocodile field in search of tasty treat

By Lee Moran

Silly moo: The barmy bovine was lucky to escape with his life after he wandered into a field full of crocodiles

This silly moo was lucky the only snap he suffered when wandering into a field full of carnivorous crocs was from a camera.

Showing the confidence of a catwalk model, but with more than a hint of udder idiocy, the barmy Brazilian bovine avoided stepping on the crocodile moos in his search for tasty vegetation.

Photographer Robert Mooney, of Arlington, Virginia, took the incredible photograph on the tropical Pantanal swamps in the western state of Mat Grosso.

The 50-year-old said: 'I was amazed the cow dared to stroll among the crocs with such apparent ease.'

The Pantanal is the world's largest wetland area - covering 88,803 square miles - an area larger than France.

It stretches to Paraguay in the north, Bolivia in the east, and is home to more than 3,500 species of plants, 650 different kinds of bird and 400 species of fish.


It's a Monk-hee-hee-hee! The macaque who makes himself laugh by tickling his own feet


Adorable: Biologist Natalia Paklina caught this long-tailed macaque on camera in the Sacred Monkey Forest on the Indonesian island of Bali

This cheeky monkey couldn't help bursting out into a beautiful grin after learning how to tickle his own feet.

The long-tailed macaque was caught on camera in the Sacred Monkey Forest on the Indonesian island of Bali.

At first the cute primate appeared to be itching his toes - but he soon started to laugh as he tickled his feet.

The adorable pictures were captured by biologist Natalia Paklina, 51, who was visiting the site near Ubud while on holiday.

Mrs Paklina, who has homes in Moscow, Russia and Enkhausen in the Netherlands, said: 'You are able to get quite close to the monkeys in the forest because they are used to humans.

Monkey business: The long-tailed macaque appeared to be itching his toes, until he burst into laughter by tickling his feet

'At first I thought he was scratching but then it looked like he was tickling himself and laughing. For people on Bali these monkeys are sacred and associated with divine monkey-warrior Hanuman.

'It means that they get given what they want by the locals so they have a lot to be happy and laugh about.'

source: dailymail

Revealed: Shocking cruelty at massive abattoir... but those responsible WON'T be prosecuted

By Sean Poulter

Appalling cruelty, including cigarettes being stubbed out on the faces of pigs, has been revealed in secret filming inside a slaughterhouse.

The footage of pigs being burned, punched and smacked across the head with sharp paddles was captured by animal welfare campaigners.

They reveal the shocking truth of the casual brutality inside one of the country’s biggest abattoirs.

Scroll down for video (Warning: Graphic content)

Beating: Abattoir staff are seen striking pigs with sharp paddles - even when the animals were severely injured.

The secret filming took place at an Essex slaughterhouse run by Cheale Meats, where up to 6,000 pigs are killed every week

Despite the clear evidence, the Government, through the Food Standards Agency, has refused to prosecute those involved.

The decision has been condemned by Animal Aid, which carried out the secret filming. It says it is evidence that ministers are putting the commercial interests of the meat industry above welfare.

More...Eight million animals face death to test your toothpaste and washing-up liquid (... but don't blame the manufacturers, it's all down to Brussels meddling)

The secret filming took place at an Essex slaughterhouse run by Cheale Meats, where up to 6,000 pigs are slaughtered every week.

In 2001 the outbreak of a disastrous foot and mouth epidemic which swept through the country was first identified among 27 pigs sent to the plant from the north-east of England.

Brutal: The video opens with several incidents of staff stubbing out cigarettes on pigs' faces

Today, the firm’s website proclaims: ‘Be proud of higher welfare, buy British pork.’

The filming, which took place on secretly installed cameras over four days in March and April, suggests that animal welfare was the last thing on workers’ minds.

Staff were seen stubbing their cigarettes out on the faces of pigs on three occasions, while one of the men landed a punch on the face of a pig which was walking by.

Three seriously injured pigs were forced to crawl through the building to meet their death. Staff were seen pulling the animals by the ears, pushing and kicking them.

Before slaughter, pigs should be stunned using electrified tongs. The tongs should span their brains and render them immediately unconscious.

The filming showed that workers often failed to stun the animals correctly, leaving them screaming in pain. Others were pushed and prodded with electric rods.

Torment: Incorrect stunning, as shown here, leaves pigs in terrible pain

All of these are clear breaches of animal welfare laws. However, the food and farming ministry Defra believes it cannot prosecute based on undercover film footage.

Last year Defra had to drop a similar case against an abattoir in Torquay which had been caught out by Animal Aid footage, after its lawyers determined that there was 'not a realistic prospect of conviction' in a case reliant on hidden-camera video.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is responsible for investigating breaches of welfare and hygiene laws at slaughterhouses - however, Defra is responsible for prosecutions. In this case, the FSA has not even passed on the footage to Defra for a potential prosecution.

The FSA has written to Animal Aid stating: ‘Defra is not prepared to commence prosecution proceedings where the initial allegation is based on CCTV footage gained without the consent of the relevant Food Business Operator.'

A Defra spokesman added: 'It would be totally irresponsible to prosecute when we know we'd lose,' saying that there were 'very strong legal grounds' not to prosecute hidden-camera cases.

This is rejected by Animal Aid, which points out that the legal principle that allows prosecutions based on secret filming has already been established.

Despite images like this, showing a pig bleeding to death as a worker looks on, the Government will not prosecute the abattoir

For example, prosecutions are being brought against workers at a care home who were secretly filmed by the BBC’s Panorama programme mistreating vulnerable residents.

Head of campaigns for Animal Aid, Kate Fowler, said: ‘Since we first began investigating English slaughterhouses, we have been pressing everyone involved – regulators, industry bodies and the Government – to act decisively to end the cruelty.

‘At first, they appeared contrite and promised action but now their words ring hollow.

‘If Defra won’t prosecute these flagrant breaches of the law; if the vets can’t or won’t act to stop the cruelties; and if the slaughterhouse owners look the other way, who is there to stop animals from being abused at the most vulnerable time of their lives?

‘It seems that all involved are content to keep quiet and to allow these cruelties to continue. So much for the UK having the best welfare standards in the world.’

Violent: Staff were filmed using force to move the pigs around the slaughterhouse

A spokesman said the footage at the slaughterhouse was obtained through trespass, while the Panorama filming was not.

He said: ‘Animal cruelty is unacceptable, and we vigorously pursue action against accusations of cruelty wherever we can.

‘It is wholly disingenuous to draw comparisons between this case and that of filming in a care home, because this video evidence was obtained unlawfully through trespass.

‘As the RSPCA has found in previous cases, this would get it thrown out of court and do absolutely nothing to help reduce the suffering of animals.’

The FSA said it has taken action to end the cruelty at the plant.

It revoked the licence of one slaughterman identified in the footage, while another slaughterman’s provisional licence had already expired and has not been renewed.

The organisation has also increased monitoring at the plant to avoid any repeat.

Watch the video:

Footage shot at Elmkirk Ltd (Cheale Meats) slaughterhouse (5 min version) from Animal Aid on Vimeo.


Won't somebody love us? Britain's cats are being abandoned in record numbers and inspiring volunteers are struggling to find them homes

By Liz Jones

Stroking the motherless grey kitten on my lap, I look down and see a thin, rangy tom cat winding around my legs.

For three years Major has survived on scraps from the local Chinese, and he is covered in wounds. Yet he is so friendly, someone must have loved him once.

Sadly, those days are long gone. Like so many of the cats around me, Major was abandoned by his owner and left to the care of the Celia Hammond Animal Trust (CHAT) in East London.

Two's company: These tabby kittens will be re homed in pairs

This cat and dog rescue centre, opened by the former Vogue model in 1986, receives 30 or more calls a day reporting abuse or asking for help.

CHAT never turns away an animal or puts down a healthy cat, but for the first time Celia tells me she is unable to cope with the demand.

Sadly, this situation is replicated all over the country, with animal shelters straining at the seams as they attempt to care for an estimated seven to ten million abandoned cats.

Last week, it was revealed that the number of unwanted pets is so high that healthy cats are being put down.

Shockingly, black cats and black and white cats — which, apparently, are ‘unfashionable’ colours — are the most likely to be destroyed.

This surge in the number of unwanted cats has been blamed on the recession, cutbacks and even global warming — which means cats are having kittens all year round, instead of just in summer — but it also speaks of a change in our attitudes to animals.

While we see ourselves as a nation of animal lovers, these abused and abandoned cats tell a different story.

Remember the outrage over the woman who put a cat in a wheelie bin? Well, in this patch of East London that sort of cruelty happens five to ten times a day.

I’m in the reception area of CHAT and there are cats everywhere: in the corridors, the loo, the office and outside in large pens.

In the past few days, cats have been found left in knotted black bin bags by a flyover. They have been discovered in wheelie bins in car parks and in sealed cardboard boxes left out with the rubbish at the side of the road.

‘Just the other day, we found a bag of cats in the car park over the road,’ says Celia.

‘Why not just walk a few more feet and leave them here? Why do they always leave cats in the most dangerous places?’

This prompts me to ask Celia — who works 18-hour days despite being in her late 60s — if she hates people sometimes.

‘All the time,’ she says. ‘This is the worst it has ever been. We are no longer coping. The problem is not just about lack of donations and poverty. It’s cultural: we offer free neutering, but people think this is wrong and against nature.’

A cat can produce up to 18 kittens a year. It’s been estimated a single female can have 50 million descendants in an average ten-year lifetime.

As we talk, a young woman comes through the door. She is carrying a tabby in a basket and five kittens in a cardboard box. Her story keeps changing. ‘My baby is allergic to cats,’ is her first reason for bringing them here. Then, minutes later, she says she found the cats in a basement.

‘Who knows,’ says Celia. ‘But at least she bothered to bring them in. Most people don’t.’

Celia, who spent the Sixties working with fashion photographer Terence Donovan, founded CHAT after becoming concerned about the number of feral cats in this country. There are more than 500 cats on its books at its three London centres. With six full-time vets on the payroll, costs are soaring — up 22 per cent last year, while this year is looking worse.

Pet food companies, which make millions from our so-called love of animals, have cut back on free donations.

Home repossessions have meant the number of cats made homeless has mushroomed, while the number of families willing to take in abandoned cats has plummeted. There is no safety net for animals affected by the Government cuts.

Feral cats are often seen as vermin by local authorities. Many are shot or poisoned on building sites and in factories by developers who do not want to take the time to ensure they are trapped and removed.

Celia even had to fight to be allowed to rescue the hundreds of feral cats living on the Olympic site. When she told me about the situation in 2009, I took in six of these cats.

It is telling that millions were spent on the Olympic development, billions will be earned in revenue and sponsorship, but not a penny could be spared to help these Stratford cats.

While the neglect of these animals is desperately sad, the cruelty many of them have suffered is more disturbing.

The number of cats brought in with gun-shot wounds has rocketed, as has the number of cats attacked by dogs: a new game is for young men to place their dog, normally an abused Staffie type, in a phone box with a cat.

Take a chance on me: (Left) Jack's eye had to be removed when he was rescued and Majorie (right) was left with two broken legs and a broken jaw after being hit by a car

Added to this, the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals), which treats the pets of those on benefits, has introduced a new rule — it will treat only one pedigree animal per household. This means sick animals are going untreated.

I meet a cat called Jack. His injured eye was left untreated for so long that it was eaten away by maggots. A passer-by took him to a vet, who immediately said his only recourse was to put the cat down. The person called CHAT, who sent a volunteer to pick up Jack. As he was brought into the clinic, the remains of his eye fell to the ground.

A team of vets removed every maggot with tweezers and flushed out the eye socket. Jack is now pain-free and healthy. All he needs is a home with someone who sees a pet not as an accessory, but as a family member. Sad stories like Jack’s are being played out up and down Britain. At Battersea, there are more than 200 cats waiting to be admitted.Despite a windfall last week from the estate of fashion designer

Alexander McQueen, at Blue Cross, which has animal shelters across the country, 230 kittens are waiting for new homes.

In 2010, the Blue Cross took in 1,175 kittens dumped in bags or left at roadsides.

This is not just an urban problem. Wood Green, The Animals Charity, with centres in Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire as well as North London, receives 60 calls a day.

Excuses for dumping cats range from ‘We’re going to Spain on holiday’ to ‘They keep having kittens’ or ‘They’re ruining my lawn’. One woman called to ask if was OK ‘to poison my cat’.

But it is the smaller charities that are under the most pressure. Haworth Cat Rescue in West Yorkshire has 353 cats on its waiting list, more than half of which are kittens.

Vet bills are crippling for families on low incomes, as well as for rescue centres, and attract 20 per cent VAT. Surely there must be calls for VAT to be scrapped on vet bills and pet food if you have taken on a rescued cat (only working collies qualify for zero-rated food). The RSPCA wants local authorities to review their ‘no pets’ policies when placing families in rented accommodation (I took on a 13-year-old collie-Alsatian cross made homeless because the local council refused to put her family in a house that would take dogs). There should also be a levy on pet food manufacturers to support neutering schemes.

While none of the shelters I visited will put down a healthy animal, sometimes it is kinder to put cats to sleep than let them live out the rest of their days in a cage.

Yet many older animals are in a shelter only because their owners — often lonely, elderly ladies for whom their cats provided untold comfort — have died. No one seems to want an old moggy.

Having read the stories of the unwanted cats on these pages, perhaps someone out there will love — and be loved by — these beautiful animals again.


Friday, July 29, 2011

The incredible puppy who fakes death for his canine pal

By Daily Mail Reporter

Scroll down for video

Playfighting: the little female dog Rosie takes a nip to the neck from her male companion

It turns out pretening to be dead isn't just an fun trick for human children - but little pooches as well.

A cute pup Rosie scares her doggy friend when, after a little nip to the neck, she plays dead.

Still, it has already attracted hundreds of Youtube hits after only being uploaded in the past 24 hours.

Oh dear me: reacting the pup feigns severe injury, falling to the ground

Such play - so reminiscent of that of young children - makes one think of about just how much DNA we share with our canine friends.

Experts say young dogs play to build up their own survival skills and is an important part of their development.

Dogs in the wild have to hunt and to protect themselves and these skills can be seen as early as puppyhood through play.

Although domesticated dogs will never have to hunt for their own food, such play is rooted in their inborn animal instincts.

The person who uploaded the video commented that apparently this kind of attention seeking isn't unusual for the dog.

I'm dead: Here she lies for a few seconds, arousing worry from her companion. The style of play is very reminiscent of the way young children play

Tricked ya: After she makes her point heard, up she trots, playing again


Bandit bird: The shoplifting seagull that is so prolific one bakery has hired a BOUNCER

By Daily Mail Reporter

Sneaking in: Grenville steals from the Upper Crust bakery up to three times a day

Usually only shops in the roughest areas have to hire bouncers to ward off thieves.

But a bakery in the seaside resort of Newquay in Cornwall has had to take this drastic measure to tackle a shoplifter who visits three times a day.

However, no security measures have yet been enough to stop this persistent thief - Grenville the seagull.

The cheeky bird waits at the door of the Upper Crust bakery and hops behind the counter to grab pasties, sausage rolls and sweets which it drags outside.

It has a particular taste for crisps and has been known to scoff entire chocolate bars in one sitting.

Worker Martine Hawkes said: 'It's getting ridiculous. He paces up and down all morning until our backs are turned or the shop is empty before walking in bold as brass and helping himself.

Caught red-beaked: Granville's favourite food is crisps, but he is also partial to pasties and chocolate

'It was quite amusing at first but it's become a bit of a pain as he's stealing quite a bit of stock. He's gone for everything, including pasties, and we've even seen him eat a whole Crunchie bar one day.

'There's nothing we can do. We've tried shooing him out, hiding the stock, even putting up plastic barriers but he always finds a way.

'We know it's the same bird as he has a distinctive red eyebrow, which we think must be dye of some sort. Grenville's become quite a celebrity, with shoppers regularly coming in to take pictures.'

Hungry: Granville open packaging with his beak and eats his ill-gotten gains in front of the shop

The bird has been targeting the shop for over three months, and visits up to three times every day.

Staff reckon he has cost them hundreds of pounds by walking out with a bag of crisps, sweets or pasties before brazenly tucking into them in the street.

The shop has now tasked one member of staff with patrolling the front door at all times.

Shop assistant Ammii Downing added: 'He is a lovely seagull and it was funny to start with, but it's starting to get irritating.

'It's costing the shop a fortune.'

Persistent: Even installing a bouncer hasn't deterred the shoplifter


Scientist who claimed polar bears were drowning is investigated for 'scientific misconduct'

-Probe hailed by climate change sceptics
-Defenders accuse U.S. government of 'persecution'

By David Derbyshire

Strong swimmers: A female polar bear with two cubs near Churchill, Canada. A scientist who suggested polar bears were drowning due to a loss of pack ice caused by global warming is under investigation

The scientist who claimed polar bears were drowning because of melting ice caps is being investigated for 'scientific misconduct'.

Dr Charles Monnett, an Alaskan wildlife biologist working for the U.S. government, stunned the world after spotting four polar bear bodies floating in the sea miles from shore.

He suggested the high winds and waves of a recent storm had exhausted the predators, which are normally good swimmers.

And in a scientific paper, he and colleagues argued that the increased incidence of storms caused by global warming, and the loss of ice for polar bears to walk on, could lead to more deaths in the future.

While the findings were seized upon by environmentalists as another peril of climate change, sceptics and some other scientists questioned the conclusions.

Yesterday it emerged Dr Monnett – who works for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement – has been placed on leave and is being investigated for 'integrity issues' apparently linked to the polar bear report.

Dr David Whitehouse, science adviser to the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: 'The dangers of climate science is that once you passionately believe in man-made global warming, you see connections everywhere when you should be scientifically cautious about drawing conclusions.'

Dr Monnett is in charge of a £30million project researching the Arctic's wildlife. A BOEMRE spokesman declined to comment on an 'on-going internal investigation'.

The organisation is believed to have barred Dr Monnett from talking to reporters.

However, his suspension has infuriated conservationists who say the Obama administration is 'persecuting' Dr Monnett.

Loss of habitat: A polar bear sow and two cubs on the Beaufort Sea coast within the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Dr Monnett's bear sighting in 2004 was the first such recorded incident. It was cited by Al Gore in his documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

In an article published two years later, Dr Monnett and his colleague Jeffrey Gleason said bear 'drowning-related deaths may increase if the observed trend of regression of pack ice and/or longer open water periods continues'.

Polar bears are considered strong swimmers, they wrote, but long-distance swims may be more exhausting than standing or walking on ice in better weather.

The paper drew worldwide attention and helped make the polar bear a 'poster child' for the global warming movement.

In 2008, the U.S. classified the polar bear as a threatened species, the first with its survival at risk due to global warming.

Last year scientists working for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came under fire for exaggerating the threat of global warming.

The body falsely claimed Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035 after lifting claims from an unsubstantiated report written by the green charity WWF.


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