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 This Week on Animal Radio

Animal Radio for July 30, 2022  

Wacky Animal Laws
David Rosengard, ALDF

David Rosengard with CatDavid Rosengard, a Staff Attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), explores the 10 Weirdest Animal Laws on the Books. He'll also share some of the important work the ALDF does for animals worldwide by being a voice for the voiceless.

Every state has laws about animals. Some of those laws protect animals, others do the exact opposite and then some are just strange. The ALDF, the nation's preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, has come across a lot of odd laws over the years as the organization reviews legislation and opportunities to expand legal protections for animals. Attorneys review local, state and federal statutes, ordinances and regulations and have compiled 10 of the weirdest animal laws around the country. From jumping frog competitions to llama encounters and dog grooming prohibitions, these laws are bound to confuse even the most law-abiding citizen. David Rosengard, Staff Attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, explains some of those laws.

Have you ever had a bad hair day? Well, if your dog's having a bad hair day and you live in Juneau, Alaska, you're not going be able to get it help in any kind of human establishment. This probably dates back to before Juneau had any infrastructure for dog grooming. This law may be because of someone trying to sneak their dog into a human beauty salon.

There are a great many of other weird animal laws still on the books and part of it has to do with the way that animal law has grown up over time. It comes out of all kinds of different relationships that we have with animals. One law, for example, states in California you can have jumping frogs and you can have frogs that you might eat, but they can't be the same. So if you have a frog compete in a jumping competition it is ineligible for use in any sort of frog related dish. It's interesting because it's the same frog and it points to the way that under the law animals get treated differently not based on who they are but based on how people relate to them, which is part of why they are included in the list of weird and wacky laws. So if your frog loses the race you can't eat it, it would be off the menu.

Where did ALDF find these laws? Are they just obscure laws on the books that they had to go searching for? Yes. In the course of the ALDF's legal work, which in the ALDF's criminal justice program, they try to ensure that animals victimized by crime get justice. They work with a lot of different state laws and a lot of different county ordinances. So as they're doing some other research and they see a strange law, they will keep track of it.

FerretOne wacky law is that you are not allowed to own ferrets in California. So why do some states allow them and other states don't? California is one of the only two states that don't allow ferrets. The other one is Hawaii. The legal reason in California is because as far as California law is concerned, ferrets are exotic wild animals. The more practical reason seems to have to do with concerns about invasive species and the impact on agriculture. This is where Hawaii and California have sort of different scenarios. Hawaii, being an island and having a lot of history with invasive species, has very clear concerns about what would happen if tiny weasels got loose in their state. California already has a variety of weasel creatures in the state. So it's harder to really see what's the practical concern with ferrets is, particularly because domestic ferrets are not known for their self-preservation skills and don't seem to do well in the wild.

Denver, Colorado is a place you can just drive down the street and purchase pot, but if you have a pit bull it's illegal. Denver is one of the places with breed bands, so where does the ALDF stand on that?

The ALDF is opposed to breed bans for a variety of reasons. Fundamentally they believe they don't work. The things they're meant to address are preventing harmful interactions between humans and dogs. And they just don't serve that purpose. The data indicates that it's not really the breed of an animal. It speaks to its likelihood, for example, to bite someone in how it's socialized, how it's trained and the environment it's kept in. That's really true regardless of what the breed of dog is. Also, the impact of those laws is that it makes it more likely that banned dogs, or dogs that looked like a banned breed, will end up abandoned abused or in shelters to create sort of a doggy criminal underclass, which serves no one well.

BigFootOne such law that is a favorite of David's is a law out of Washington State that originally made it a felony crime to shoot Bigfoot. It's been since downgraded to a misdemeanor. But this is fascinating because Big Foot, depending upon where you fall on your belief spectrum, is either an urban myth or perhaps an undiscovered crypto zoological creature. But regardless, there hasn't been historically a big problem with Big Foot getting shot. What this law speaks to, for David, is a recognition that eco tourism and people seeing and experiencing wildlife is powerful. And if someone shoots Bigfoot once, that person gets the benefit and the experience of encountering Big Foot, but denies it to everyone else. If Bigfoot is out there, and you can see Bigfoot in Washington state, that benefits a lot of people. It generates tourism dollars, it generates interest and it's better for Bigfoot. The other portion of this is an acknowledgment that this creature, that is in urban mythology meant to be the '"missing link' between humans and the rest of the world, is a sentient creature just like all animals are and deserves not to be subject to cruelty and wanton death.

Anther law is in Ohio where you are not allowed to permit your horses to have '"special horsey time'" on the streets. But notably that only applies to male horses. Since ALDF put this out, David's been told by people with more horse knowledge than him, that it's often the mare that initiates this. He imagines this law is to prevent awkward scenes from playing out on the streets of Ohio. But it looks like they may be targeting the wrong horses in this scenario.

Lastly, there is a law in Georgia giving the llama extra protection. A lot of states have what are called equine activities statutes, which essentially say if you're on horseback or attending a show with horses, there's a certain amount of risk that you must assume. Georgia extends that to llamas, which is interesting because those statutes historically grew up in a time where people were interacting with horses in their daily lives. Everyone knew there were certain risks to being around horses. David doesn't remember a moment in American history where people knew the same risks apply to llamas. But in Georgia, you better be up on your llama knowledge.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is a nonprofit organization of attorneys and has been around since 1979. Their mission is to advance the interest and improve the lives of animals through the legal system. They do that in a variety of different ways. In their criminal justice program, they work on making sure that animal crimes are taken seriously and that law enforcement prosecutors have the tools they need to get justice in those cases. Their legislative program works for stronger, better animal laws. Their litigation program does similar things on the civil side. They also have a program devoted to educating people about animal law. They're operating broadly throughout the United States trying to help animals get a better shake out of the justice system

The ALDF consists of a core group of full time staff attorneys, who every day fight for animals through the legal system. They also have a very large pro-bono network of attorneys, who may have entirely unrelated practices, but they do volunteer work for the ALDF on the behalf of animals.

If you want to learn more about the animal legal defense fund and other wacky animal laws, visit ALDF.

It's Not Doggie Asthma - It's a Reverse Sneeze - Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie WhiteWhat dog owner hasn't heard that frightening sound that dogs make - part cough, part sneeze and often described as a dog being unable to catch his breath. But it really isn't asthma, or some kind of bone stuck in your dog's throat - it's a reverse sneeze. So before you panic and run into the veterinary office on emergency, ensure you know what a reverse sneeze is.

Meet the Reverse Sneeze
A reverse sneeze is a respiratory sound in a category all its own. Also known as a pharyngeal gag reflex or backwards sneeze, the reverse sneeze is a commonly observed respiratory sound in dogs, and less commonly in cats. While a true sneeze occurs on the exhale, the reverse sneeze occurs as the dog inhales. The result is a reverberating snorting, wheezing, episodic sound that lasts for a few seconds to a minute or two. A reverse sneeze is a completely harmless sound and dogs do not suffer any immediate health threat from these episodes.

How can you tell it's a reverse sneeze?

There is no easy explanation of the sound - you just have to hear it and you'll recognize it. Click to see and hear an example of a dog's reverse sneeze episode.

Part of my enjoyment on the weekly national radio program, Animal Radio, is describing the peculiar smells, sounds and essences of veterinary medicine with our listeners. On many an occasion when speaking to callers, I have re-created the sounds of reverse sneezing. I'm no Rich Little, but I do take pride in my impersonation of a canine reverse sneeze, which is admittedly better in person with the visuals to complement the throaty sound.

Characteristics of a dog displaying a reverse sneeze include:

- Vibrational coughing/wheezing sound
- Stiff, extended neck
- Facial grimace
- No discharge from nose
- Not followed by coughing or vomiting up material
- Not involving collapse episodes
- Animal is completely normal after event

What causes a reverse sneeze?
Some reverse sneeze episodes occur when a dog gets very excited or pulls against a leash. Brachycephalic breeds (short faced breeds) like Pugs and Boston terriers commonly display reverse sneezing due to their upper airway conformation.

ChihuahuaAllergies, respiratory infections, nasal mites, inhaled foreign bodies and masses can also trigger reverse sneezing. Dogs with inflammatory conditions such as lymphoplasmacytic rhinitis can also display bouts of reverse sneezing. And sometimes reverse sneezing occurs in the wee hours of the night, while a dog is sleeping, for no apparent reason. In fact, many veterinarians receive panicked phone calls at 2am from pet owners, concerned of impending asthma attacks or respiratory arrest, only to have it turn out just to be a typical case of reverse sneezing.

What to Do?
There is no required treatment for a reverse sneeze episode. However, I recommend stroking a dog's throat while gently speaking to him in a calm manner until the episode subsides. Some advocate closing/pinching the nostrils off, which forces a dog to swallow and curtails the reverse sneeze episode. Whatever the approach, reverse sneezing episodes are over within minutes, so no emergency treatment is indicated. Antihistamines may be prescribed to minimize reverse sneezing episodes.

When to Worry?
If all of a sudden your dog is having repeated bouts of reverse sneezing, evaluation by your veterinarian is indicated. Consult with your veterinarian if your dog is reverse sneezing along with other symptoms such as facial rubbing, nasal bleeding, nasal discharge, coughing, or significant sneezing episodes.

Nasal mites are a common cause of reverse sneezing and may be noted after a recent boarding visit, especially if multiple dogs in a household are involved. Nasal mite treatment is easily pursued with anti-parasite injections of ivermectin (or in collie breeds - the alternative Milbemycin.) If reverse sneezing is excessive and prolonged, the nasal and pharyngeal areas should be evaluated by a veterinarian through rhinoscopy - a procedure performed under anesthesia in which the nasal passages and pharyngeal areas are visualized with an endoscope, a micro camera. This is how foreign objects and masses are typically identified. In other cases, further tests may be needed including a CT scan or with biopsy samples from sinus passages.

Final Thought
The good news is that most of reverse sneezing episodes are harmless, and do not indicate any serious illness. Arm yourself with information by learning what a reverse sneeze looks like and you may save yourself an unwanted emergency veterinary visit over this peculiar but non-life threatening occurrence.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.

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Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks

Lori and Flo BearGrain-Free Pet Food Is A Marketing Trend
How many hours of research have you put into finding out what kind of food would be best to feed your pet? A lot of pet food is inspired by meals eaten by your pet's wild ancestors. These include grain-free, all-meat and raw-food diets. But are these diets really better for our pets? Veterinarians and pet nutrition researchers say they're probably not. According to clinical veterinary nutritionists at Tufts University, grain-free foods were one of the fastest-growing sectors of the pet food market in 2016, but they warn it's simply a marketing trend and a lot of foods market themselves by what is NOT in it, such as grain free. Researchers say most people who buy pet food think that if they pay a lot for it and there are a lot of exclusions on the bag, that the food is healthier. But they warn we are buying an idea, not necessarily a better product, because there is no data to support the idea that grain-free diets are better for pets. Experts explain that pet parents have a false impression that grains are more likely to cause an allergic reaction, but they say it's actually much more common for dogs to have allergies to meat than to grain and that chicken, beef, eggs, dairy and wheat are the most common allergies in dogs. They caution against feeding pets raw meat, saying it's not uncommon to find things like salmonella, E. coli and listeria in raw meat. Unlike when an animal is hunting in the wild, there are many opportunities for bacteria to contaminate raw meat between the time an animal is slaughtered and when it reaches our pet's food bowl.

IbuprofenSpare Fido the Advil
Ibuprofen is the #1 medication about which the Animal Poison Control Center receives calls. Never, ever, give a dog ibuprofen without first consulting a veterinarian. The reason is contained in a report issued by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which runs the Animal Poison Control Center. The report breaks down the most common pet toxins across the nation. Popular brands of ibuprofen include Advil, Motrin and Midol. Pets metabolize ibuprofen differently than humans and even small amounts of the human pain reliever can be dangerous to animals. Giving your dog ibuprofen can cause vomiting and gastric distress and could also lead to seizures, coma and death. The Animal Poison Control Center's phone number is 1-888-426-4435.

White MooseRare White Moose Spotted
A rare white moose was spotted taking a dip in a pool in Sweden. Hans Nilsson had spent years trying to spot an elusive white moose in the town of Eda, in western Sweden. He got lucky and crossed paths with the white moose two days in a row. When Nilsson saw the moose the first day, he was amazed. On the second day, he was ready with a camera. Sweden has an estimated 400,000 moose; however, only about 100 of them are mostly white. Some of them have albinism, in which the body doesn't produce a lot of melanin pigment. But many more have a recessive gene that causes mostly white fur interspersed with bits of brown.

How Much Would You Spend To Save Your Pet?
More and more pet parents are willing to go the financial distance for their pets to give them the best. Americans dog owners spend $2,033 toward their pets on average each year and cat owners about half that at $1,042. But when pet owners are forced to choose between big vet bills and the life of their furry friends, dog owners are willing to pay around $7,000 more than cat owners according to a survey by LendEDU. So what's the actual number? Those who have dogs say they're willing to spend up to $10,725 to save their pets, while cat owners say they're willing to spend up to $3,454. But for those people who had both cats and dogs, they'd be willing to spend up to $10,200 on average for either their cats or dogs.

Troy and TigerOwner Leaves $300,000 to Her Cats
A couple of cats in New York have a better life than many of us after their elderly, wealthy owner passed away and left them $300,000 in her will. A health care aide who worked with their former owner took over the care for the cats, Troy and Tiger. They are trust fund cats.

Adopting A Pet Is Better Than Winning Lottery
A survey from PetSmart Charities reveals that 66-percent of Americans say that adopting a pet would make them happier '"in the long run'" than winning the lottery and 64-percent of them said giving up their pet would be worse than losing their job.

EarListen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1182)

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