Sunday, September 26, 2010

Great Escape Stories

From Zoo Too News:

NASHUA, N.H.─ His great escape story made national news this summer, reported along with a spate of transport accidents that left livestock dead on the road or scrambling for their lives.

Jay, the bull, cheated death and arrived to a “hero’s welcome” earlier this month at his new home in a New York shelter, according to Meredith Turner, spokeswoman for Farm Sanctuary, the animal protection organization..

The 2-year-old escaped the slaughterhouse when a transport truck exploded on Interstate 94 last August. Eyewitnesses described the scene as “the worst they had ever seen,” Turner said. Eighteen cattle died in the crash and the fire.

Jay survived. Then he outwitted state police. According to officers, he tried to jump a three-foot high concrete barrier. When that failed, he bolted down the highway, she said. Six other cattle also tried to escape, but only Jay succeeded.

“Jay was gone four days. He ran 25 miles,” Susan Coston, director of Farm Sanctuary’s National Shelter, said. “He wanted to live.”

The bull did suffer burns in the accident. He underwent three weeks of treatment at Cornell University’s veterinary hospital before the trip to Farm Sanctuary. He is being kept away from the herd until his wounds have healed, she said.

“He has no hair on one side,” she said. “Some of the burns went down to the muscle. But

he’s bucking in the air; he’s happy,” Coston said.

For every Jay, dozens of other livestock caught in transport crashes are not so lucky. Their deaths are typically not even noticed unless the accident tied up traffic, Coston said.

No one knows how many U.S. livestock die in transport trucks or by falls onto the highway, but the industry expects to lose a certain percentage of “the product” on the way to market, she said.

“It’s carelessness,” she said. “People have become so desensitized to them, and that’s what happens when you make an animal a product and put a monetary value on its head. When I transport animals from here to California, I expect no deaths,” she said.

The government does not regulate livestock transports, according to both Coston and Rebecca McNeill, ASPCA media coordinator. McNeill said the ASPCA is supporting a new effort to protect horses during interstate transport. Cong. Mark Kirk of Illinois is the Horse Transportation Safety Act’s sponsor.

Meanwhile, Jay’s story may raise awareness about the cruelty animals suffer during a transport, Coston said.

“This process is probably one of the scariest in their lives,” she said. “It’s loud – with metal hitting metal. They can see out into traffic, so that’s terrifying. They pack them in so tight; some of them suffocate or are stepped on.” Coston has seen chicken crates loaded like bales of hay.

“Heads are sticking out; legs are sticking out; some of them are dead,” she said. “There’s no care, concern or sensitivity. I don’t know if we think they want to be eaten. They all have a will to live.”

Here’s a roundup of the latest animal escapes from transport accidents and slaughterhouses.

“Bob Harper,” piglet

“He was ten pounds, a tiny, tiny thing,” Coston said, “and he fell right into traffic. A car pulled over and grabbed him.” His rescuers took him to the local SPCA, and from there he went to a Chicago area rescue for farm animals before the staff made arrangements to move him to New York this September. He’s named after Bob Harper of reality television’s “Biggest Loser,” Coston said. Harper has volunteered at Farm Sanctuary.

“Kim Gordon,” piglet

Six-week old piglet “Kim Gordon” fell off a transport truck in South Dakota last July and was left behind. A couple on a rock ‘n roll concert tour stopped when they saw the animal running around a Mitchell, South Dakota back road. Lanore Hahn and her boyfriend put the piglet in their car, Turner said, and tried to find the owner.

An animal control officer examined the piglet and suggested it fell off a truck. The piglet was sunburned and covered with road rash. Hahn took the piglet home when she realized authorities would likely shoot it if she surrendered it. “Kim Gordon,” named after the Sonic Youth vocalist, arrived at Farm Sanctuary at the end of July.

“Little Orphan Angelo,” baby lamb

In September 2009, Angelo was born in a transport truck, Coston said. A family spotted him while they watched workers unload a trailer at a Yonkers, N.Y. market. The baby lamb went home to their apartment but eventually found a home at Farm Sanctuary.

“Molly,” cow

In May 2009, Molly slipped out of a Queens slaughterhouse and led police on a chase through Jamaica, according to Joseph Pentangelo, of the ASPCA. Pentangelo helped transport the 500 pound cow to a Calverton, Long Island farm.

She was delighted to find herself on a 60-acre organic farm, he recalled.

“When she got there, she bolted out of the trailer,” he said.

“Annie Dodge,” the cow

Annie Dodge lived through a Vermont winter by eating at bird feeders, she said.

“I couldn’t survive eight months outside in Vermont,” Coston said. “She just wanted to live. And she’s still here.”

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Amazing Pet Rescues

Here are some amazing pet rescues from Zoo Too News.

Every pet thinks that their human is a hero. The unconditional love that bonds an animal to their family is immeasurable. But certain humans have gone above and beyond traditional loyalty to prove their love for our four-legged friends.

A Frozen Rescue. When the poodle-mix Buddy went racing onto the ice-covered Little Lake Butte des Morts in Menasha, Wisconsin, he only thought of one goal — reaching the ducks he was chasing. But Buddy didn't count on the thin ice 300 feet from shore, and broke through to the icy waters below. His owner, Angie Bray, attempted to head onto the ice herself, but realized with her first step that she could not save her dog on her own. The Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue arrived just 15 minutes later with self-inflating wetsuits. In no time, firefighter Jason Phillips was in the water headed toward Buddy. After being pulled from the water, Buddy was rushed to the hospital, where he was treated intravenously with warm fluids and recovered fully.

Saved From Drowning. After hearing a commotion in her neighbor's apartment, Ashley Chase decided to investigate. She found an unimaginable sight — a 10-month-old Shih Tzu, Toby, unconscious in the bathtub, the victim of his owner's senseless abuse. Ashley performed mouth-to-mouth on the pup and rushed him to a nearby vet clinic. Toby was alive, but still in danger. En route to the clinic, she got caught in a traffic jam, at which point Ashley left the car. From there, she ran to the clinic, Toby in her arms. Authorities arrested Toby's owner on one felony count of animal cruelty, and thanks to the heroics of Ashley and her sister, Toby was no worse for the wear after his harrowing experience, and was kept safe from his former owner.

A Mother of Eight Saves a "Furbaby." When Gabe Seim was walking his dog Porter on a pond in Salina, Kansas, he had no idea what would happen when the black lab pulled away from him. After Porter fell through the thin ice, Gabe made numerous attempts to save his dog, but was no match for the icy water himself. He called the authorities, and Jane Trostle, herself a mother of eight, was among the other animal control and police officers who responded. From the shoreline, officers attempted to lasso the dog, who was only 30 feet away. But the struggling lab was too far for their rope. Finally, Officer Trostle got on her stomach and slid out to Porter, with only an extension cord tied to her for safety. But the drastic move was necessary, as the animal was nearly exhausted from trying to keep afloat. As Trostle neared Porter, the ice beneath her body cracked and she became submerged. She was wearing layers of clothing, which were immediately soaked and weighed her down. Yet she was able to grab hold of Porter and help him to shore. Once the duo neared land, Gabe jumped in and pulled his weary canine the rest of the way. Following a quick check-up, both Gabe and Trostle were given a clean bill of health. Porter made a full recovery.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pets at Work: Labor Day Stories

In honor of Labor Day, we celebrate some of our favorite service animals.

Pets and animals provide humans with so many gifts — fun, companionship, and love. But some extraordinary animals go above and beyond the bond between humans and pets. In honor of Labor Day, here are a few of our favorite working animals:

Alyna, a rabbit who was born paralyzed, has brought inspiration to countless children at the ALYN Hospital in Jerusalem. Because her two hind legs are paralyzed, Alyna moves around with a special brace, custom fitted for a rabbit’s frame. Children who are also facing mobility challenges because of congenital obstacles, or trauma and injury, are helped along the rehab process by Alyna, who shows them the benefit of using a brace. Read more about Alyna at

The amazing canine lifeguards from the Italian Coast Guard rescue approximately 3,000 people each year along the country’s coastline. Trained for this specialty through a three-year program at the Italian School of Canine Lifeguards, these fearless dogs jump from helicopters in order to pull swimmers to safety through rough currents. Read more about these incredible canines at

have protected our nation’s armed forces since World War I. In the present day, these brave canines continue to act as a crucial part of military operations, from detecting explosives to protecting handlers. Once they are retired from service, the dogs go to loving forever homes, living with families chosen through a painstaking process. Read more about military service dogs and see photos of these canines in action at

All service animals deserve our recognition and praise, and we are proud to salute their incredible contributions to our lives. Do you know a working animal that you would like to recognize? Let us know your stories.

-Courtesy of Zoo Too News at