Dyed Chicks – Because Normal Chicks Just Aren’t Cute Enough Anymore

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Popular in many countries around the world, including the US, dyed chickens are often viewed as victims of animal cruelty people usually get rid of as soon as they’re not “awfully cute” anymore.

I don’t know what’s happening with the world, but it seems that things that were cute by default a few years ago, just aren’t cute enough today. People are dying their puppies to look like wild animals, fish have to be either tattooed or locked in tiny keychains, and chicks apparently have to be brightly colored to sell. Dyed chicks are sold by street vendors in countries like China, India, Malaysia, Morocco, Yemen and even the US, where they attract the attention of passers by with their unnatural colors. But what most people don’t know is these “cute” baby birds aren’t dyed after hatching, they are injected with the dye as embryos, inside the egg.


Zoo Owner to Spend Five Weeks Caged with Lions

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Alexander Pylyshenko, 40, owner of his own private zoo, in the Ukrainian city of Vasylivka, will be spending 35 days caged with two lions, in a stunt he hopes will raise awareness to the poor treatment of lions held in captivity.

The brave zoo owner says he will live like a lion from the moment he enters the cage. That means he will sleep on hay on the floor and eat from the meat that will be given to the lions through the cage bars. As for personal hygiene, Pylyshenko has built a toilet and shower inside the enclosure, but he’ll have to restrain from using shampoo, shower gel or deodorant, as big cats hate sharp odours. While lioness Katya and her mate Samson seem to get along just fine with their caretaker, things might not be as peaceful when they share a living space 24/7, especially since the female is expected to give birth during the five week period, and lionesses are known to be quite over-protective of their cubs.

But Alexander Pylyshenko, who has studied lions his entire life, is confident he will survive this dangerous test, and draw attention to the problems of big cats in captivity. He also plans to paint portraits of the lions while living with them, and sell them to raise money for charity. His 35-day experience living with two lions will be recorded via four webcams, which will broadcast it on the Internet, here.


Indonesia’s Laughing Cock Craze Is No Laughing Matter

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Roosters being sold for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars might sound like a joke to you, but in many parts of Indonesia it’s very serious business.

They look like ordinary cocks, but it’s only when they start crowing that people realize just how special they really are. Instead of the normal “cock-a-doodle-do”, these birds make a sound similar to human laughter, which earned them the name “laughing cocks“. Trained and raised to make this special sounds, laughing cocks are source of pride for their owners, who feed them only the best foods, and pamper them with large, ornate cages. This breed of chicken originated in South Sulawesi, where it was known as ayam raja (king chicken), because only Burgis kings were allowed to breed them.

Nowadays, anyone who can afford is allowed to breed laughing cocks, and while they are very valuable, they’re also extremely sensitive. They have to be fed properly and their big cages have to be cleaned twice a day, because these birds tend to become ill very easily. But the high maintenance cost is easily covered by the profit of selling laughing cocks or winning regional laughing contests. A day old chick sells for Rp 100,000 ($12), while a 3-month old bird goes for Rp 300,000 ($36) to Rp 500,000 ($59). But it’s the mature laughing roosters that bring the most profit, as the price of a 9-month bird ranges between Rp 3 million ($354) and Rp 5 million ($590).


California Cat Lady Adopts over 700 Feral and Abandoned Cats

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Lynea Lattanzio wanted a cat when she was little, but her mother didn’t approve. Now she runs California’s “Cat House on the Kings” shelter and takes care of almost 800 cats.

Lynea’s inspiring story began in 1981, when, after going through a difficult divorce, she decided to move to a quiet place on the river. She bought a 6-acre patch of land and settled in by 1983. Soon after she started asking herself: “What was I thinking, single woman with no children living in a big house on 6 acres?”, but little did she know her decision would change her life forever. Nine years later, Lynea’s father asked for her help to replace his 2 Manx cats who had died of old age. On a quest to fulfill her father’s wishes, Lynea stopped by a local animal shelter and walked out the door with a box of 15 abandoned kittens (none of which were Manx). By the end of that year she had rescued and placed 96 abandoned cats, and had found her calling.

In 1993, Lynea Lattanzio came out of retirement to become a surgical veterinary techinician, an experience that both expanded her medical knowledge and help pay the veterinary expenses of her increasing cat family that now numbered 150 members. She also had to sell her diamond wedding ring and her 1973 Mercedes 450 SL – her pride and joy. In 1997, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved a zoning variance on Lynea’s property, which put her Cat House on the KIngs into the spotlight and brought in financial support and volunteers. In 2002, she expanded her cat shelter and added long-term boarding facilities and an area for FIV positive cats.


Dog Yoga Helps Pooches Find Their Inner Peace

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Sniffing backsides, taking naps and feasting on daily treats can apparently be pretty stressful for dogs, so in order to relax they have to take dog yoga classes, or doga.

Invented by American Suzi Teitleman, who noticed her spaniel enjoyed taking part in her daily exercise routine, doga has become very popular in Asia, where owners take their pets to specialized classes like that led by renowned yoga instructor Suzette Ackerman, in Hong Kong. It’s believed dog yoga helps strengthen the bond between canine and owner, and also does wonders for their circulation, digestion and joints.

Doga sessions include all kinds of poses, stretches, massages and even meditation that help both owners and pets get into tip-top shape. I’m sure it’s a pleasurable experience for yoga practicing humans, but I’m pretty sure the dogs would much rather prefer a visit to one of those luxury dog hotels, or better yet some Phydough ice-cream.


Cacao, the Bus-Riding Dog of Milan

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Cacao, a 16-year-old mixed-breed dog, from Milan, Italy, has become somewhat of a celebrity after he appeared in local papers for his weird habit of taking the bus to his favorite spot in the city.

A true “Milanese”, Cacao knows the city by heart, some would say even better than some of his fellow human inhabitants, and his weekend antics  are clear proof. Almost every day, for the last few years, Cacao leaves his master’s home and heads for the bus stop on Arrgone Bouleverd. There he sits on his backside, alongside the other human commuters, waiting for bus 54. As it approaches the station, he prickles his ears and takes a good look at who’s sitting in the driver’s seat. You see, this four-legged rascal only takes the bus when it’s driven by the driver he’s known since he first started his secret trips. After he makes sure he’s got the right driver, Cacao leaps on the bus and waits quietly until he reaches his destination – Lambrate Station, in north-eastern Milan. You’d think he has a certain reason for taking the bus here, but Cacao just loiters in the public garden for a few hours, then when he’s tired, takes the bus home. Luckily, his old friend the bus driver always ignores regulations, at his own risk, and allows to ride on the bus.


Artificially Dyed Frogs Are the New Craze in China

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Just like tattooed gold fish and live turtles sealed in keychains, artificially dyed frogs have been sold in China for a few years now, despite complaints from animal activists and warnings from animal welfare experts.

It seems regular frogs weren’t cheerful-looking enough for some people, so they decided to add a bit more color to mother nature’s design, through modern technology. Using various devices and techniques, including lasers and bombarding the poor amphibians with large amounts of industrial chemicals which are absorbed by their skin, they create what is known as colored frogs. The colors are vibrant and apparently last for up to 4-5 years.

For some reason, many Chinese seem to like these radioactive-looking frogs, and they are in very high demand at aquariums and ponds across the country. Some even buy them as pets for their children, and vendors say people “like the bright colors because they are so cheerful”. Unfortunately, few of them understand that the high doses of chemicals are lethal as indicated by signs like “Not for human consumption” on the side of their tanks. Experts say thousands of tropical frogs could die as a result of this colored frog trend.


Phydough – An Ice-Cream Truck for Dogs

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It may not be the first of its kind in the world, but it is the first ice-cream truck for dogs in America, and pooches in the L.A. area have already grown to love it.

Patrick Guilfoyle, the man behind Phydough, came up with the idea of an ice-cream truck for dogs after seeing most dog-food manufacturers thought more about profit than the dogs eating their products. He wanted to bake wholesome, preservative-free cookies for dogs, and by combining his wish with the popular “gourmet truck” trend that’s sweeping the nation, he came up with Phydough – an ice-cream truck offering all kinds of delicious cookies and ice-cream for pooches.

According to the official site, Phydough uses only the finest organic ingredients bought from quality grocers like Whole Foods and local farmers’ markets, so while prices may seem a bit steep, you can rest assured your puppy is eating healthy. A scoop of ice-cream costs around $2.50, and you’ll have to spend $16 for 12 flavored cookies, but your dog will love you more for it.


Meet Dusty, the Real Cat Burglar

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He steals all kinds of stuff from them every night, but they don’t mind having a cat burglar around the neighborhood. In fact they love Dusty so much they wouldn’t dream of spoiling his fun by taking better care of their things. But this is only because this cat burglar is an actual cat.

Jean Chu, from San Mateo, California, first noticed Dusty’s klepto tendencies four years ago, about a year after they adopted him from the Peninsula Humane Society. She noticed a latex glove on her bed, one morning, and told her husband, Jim, he should do a better job cleaning his mess. He said: ‘It wasn’t me. I think it was the cat.’ After that, Jean and Jim found all kinds of other stuff, on their doorstep, every morning. Dusty would bring home anything from gloves to towels, bubble wrap, swimsuits, baseball caps and footballs, and along the way, his masters started keeping a log of his junk stash.

Dusty brings home an average of three, four items a night, but has an all-time record of 11 items in 24 hours. Jean goes to the front door every morning and picks the stolen goods as she would the daily paper. She cleans them and walks around the neighborhood looking for the rightful owners. If she can’t find them, she stores everything in boxes, which are starting to get full. But that doesn’t really bother anybody, because whenever something goes missing, all the neighbors know who did it. Dusty has become a local celebrity, and he’s even been featured in People magazine, on Animal Planet and even on David Letterman.


Dog Believed to Be Reincarnation of Lawyer Sentenced to Death by Stoning

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A rabbinical court in Jerusalem recently sentenced a wandering dog to death by stoning, after they decided he was the reincarnation of a lawyer who offended the judges 20 years ago.

A few weeks ago, a large dog entered the Monetary Affairs Court, near the ultra orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim, scaring away visitors and refusing to leave, even after people tried to drive him away. One of the court’s judges remembered something that occurred 20 years ago – a secular lawyer who had offended the judges was cursed by them to reincarnate in the body of a dog (considered an impure animal by Halacha).

The lawyer in question passed away years ago, but one of the still-offended judges sentenced the poor dog to death by stoning, and ordered the task be carried out by the neighborhood’s children. Either the dog sensed the imminent danger and fled, or it was rescued by an animal lover, what’s important is he managed to escape before the sentence could be carried out.


Egyptian Man to Fight Full-Grown Lion with His Bare Hands

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Sayed al Essawy, an Egyptian who claims to be the world’s strongest man, announced he will be fighting a 10-year-old, 230 kg lion, in front of the pyramids, to boost his country’s tourism business.

I know it sounds silly, but Sayed is very serious about his plan, despite international outrage from animal activists. He claims he discovered his incredible strength when he was only 13, and almost immediately afterwards promised himself he would one day fight a lion. With the current state of the economy in Egypt, because of the recent revolution, Sayed al Essawy thought this was the perfect time to fulfill his childhood dream and at the same time boost his country’s tourism business by promoting the fight.

In an interview with Al Masry Al Youm, Essawy confessed there is also a very serious political message that he wants to send. After he has vanquished the lion, he wants to place an Israeli flag on its body and put his foot on it. He says it was Israel who pushed him to do this, with all the atrocities they committed while he was growing up, and now he wants to prove that even though Israel and America are as strong as lions, they can still be defeated by the Arab youth, which is about to explode…


Painting Horse Gets His Own Art Gallery Exhibition

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Napoleon, a four-year-old Dutch Friesian stallion, has developed a talent for painting after working with artist Sergio Caballero and his worked are now on display at the Mutt art gallery, in Barcelona.

The Dutch Friesian horse breed is famous for being very responsive to dressage, but I doubt too many people thought a horse could be taught how to paint. One of those who did was Catalan artist Sergio Caballero, who one day got the idea of working with animal painters. he asked his friend, a horse owner, if he could teach a horse to paint, and that’s when he met the beautiful black stallion, Napoleon.

The two started working together; Sergio prepared the canvases and put the brush into Napoleon’s mouth and the horse would shake his head and make bold strokes of acrylic color. It doesn’t sound very complicated, but Caballero calls it abstract expressionism, and three private collectors have already bought Napoleon’s works for between €3,300 and €6,000.


Rolex Collar Makes Border Terrier a Real ‘Watchdog’

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I’ve written about pampered pooches before, but border terrier Smike is the only canine I know of who wears a Rolex luxury watch.

Karen Denney, a shop assistant from Crawford, a village close to St. Helens, England, wanted to buy her dog Smike something really special for his seventh birthday, and when she saw a designer collar that included a Rolex watch, she just couldn’t help herself. “Over the years I’ve seen a lot of accessories for cats and dogs but I wanted something a bit different. I wouldn’t usually go for something this flashy but when I saw this design I just had to have one,” Karen said, adding that her beloved Smike has become a local celebrity.

I’m not exactly sure if Smike’s Rolex is genuine, though…According to The Sun it costs £2,500 ($4,130), but MidDay.com reports it’s actually a £200 Rolex replica. Whatever the case, Smike’s ultimate accessory has become an instant hit and Karen gets asked where she got it whenever she takes her border terrier out for a stroll. It was the work of local designer Alisone Jones, who specializes in luxury accessories for pets.


Shirley, the Chain Smoking Orangutan

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A prisoner at a Malaysian zoo where attendants have turned their backs on animals a long time ago, Shirley the orangutan has developed a nasty smoking habit that is putting her life at risk.

Malaysia’s booming economy places it among the wealthiest countries in the world, but you definitely could’t tell by visiting one of its zoos. According to voluntary non-profit organization, Nature Alert, the south-eastern Asian country has some of the worst animal zoos on the planet, and while the government launched a new law forcing zoos to get up to standard within six months, no one believes this will happen without some serious publicity. A recent investigation conducted at 10 Malaysian zoos yielded some horrifying facts: animals were kept in dirty enclosures barely large enough to turn around in, others had no clean drinking water, while some were even force to perform in front of visitors.

But one of the most shocking cases is that of Shirley the orangutan, who begs for cigarette butts from tourists, in order to satisfy her tobacco addiction. She constantly reaches her arm out through the bars in order to get to the cigarettes and spends most of her day smoking one cigarette stump after the other. Some visitors apparently find her smoking pretty amusing since they blatantly ignore the “no smoking” sign in front of her enclosure and keep throwing her cigarette butts. When she isn’t smoking, the 25-year-old orangutan chews on sharp aluminum soda cans and all kinds of dangerous trash people throw in her cage.


Feline Photographer Offers a Cat’s-Eye View on Life

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Cooper, a normal house cat from Seattle, has recently become one of the world’s most talked-about photographers after his owners tied a timer-controlled camera around his neck, which takes snaps of his day-to-day adventures.

His brilliant career began last year, when his owners, Michael and Deirdre Cross decided to attach the tiny camera in order to answer the question that plagues all cat owners – “where does my cat go all day?” It started out as a fun geography experiment, but when Cooper came home the first day, and they saw the amazing photos they were completely blown away. Michael and Deirdre realized it wasn’t about where their furry pet went all day, but about how beautiful and lush their neighborhood looked from a feline’s perspective.

The mini camera around Cooper’s neck takes photos every two minutes, revealing everything that he sees. Whether it catches other cats, one of his many hiding places, his owners, or the big blue sky, the camera revealed some pretty amazing shots and practically made Cooper a star. It also helped his owners understand more about their pet, for example, they noticed Cooper spent a lot of time looking at the back door, and realized a lot of his time was spent looking for a way to get inside. So they got a cat flap and noticed he was much happier.


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