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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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German Girl Trains Cow as a Show Horse

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Regina Mayer, a 15-year-old girl from Laufen, Southern Germany, rides her pet cow Luna as if she were a well-trained show horse.

The young girl always wanted her own horse, but her parents kept saying “no”, and since she had a stable full of cows at her disposal, Regina decided she was going to try and ride one. After hundreds of hours of training and many baskets of treats, she managed to teach Luna to jump over home-made hurdles, just like a show horse.

Regina remembers that she knew Luna was special ever since she was born, three years ago. The calf came right up to her, she wasn’t shy like most other young cattle, and they developed a special friendship ever since. The 15-year-old began riding Luna about six months ago and she even contacted a riding school in Switzerland, and received some tips on how to train and equip the bovine in a way similar to a show horse. The two went for long rides around the countryside of Southern Germany and Luna become more and more comfortable, especially since her friend Regina made sure to give her delicious carrots during each outing.

Young Regina Mayer says Luna is definitely very clever, she knows what she can do and what she can’t. Right now she’s able to jump over a-meter-high hurdles, but the rider is confident this year they will reach 1.20 meters. She admits people always look at her funny when they see her riding a cow, but she wouldn’t dream of trading Luna for a horse. The trained cow has become her best friend, following her around wherever she goes, something a horse would never do.

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Living Keychains Are the New Craze in China

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Live fish and small turtles sealed in plastic keychains have become increasingly popular items sold at subway entrances and train stations across China.

The living keychains containing  Brazilian turtles or king fish swimming in colored water are considered good-luck charms by many Chinese, but animal protection groups are outraged and call them a perfect example of “pure animal abuse”. Business is booming according to Chinese online newspaper Global Times, which reports one fish and nine turtle rings have been sold in just five minutes, on Tuesday, at the Sihui subway station, in Beijing.

According to vendors, the colored water in the 7-centimeter-long keychains contains nutrients that allow fish and turtles to live inside for months. While that may be true, Mary Peng, cofounder of the International Center for Veterinary Services, says they couldn’t survive in the sealed bag for very long, due to lack of oxygen.

While animal rights activists are protesting loudly against the sale of living keychains, there isn’t much else they can do, because China only has a Wild Animal Protection Law – if the animals are not wild animals they fall outside the law’s scope. Until the law changes to protect all kinds of animals, activists can only appeal to people not to buy them, and hope the market will die due to lack of customers.

Although some people buy these bizarre keychains to carry around for good-luck, there are those who buy them just to free the poor creatures from their tiny plastic cage.

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Chinese Animal Lover Adopts 140 Stray Dogs

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Li Zongwen, a former chef from Wuhan, has made online headlines after Chinese media discovered he has taken in 140 stray dogs from the outskirts of the city.

The 59-year-old man began adopting strays from the streets of Wuhan in 2009, and in just two years time he has taken-in an impressive 140 hungry dogs. He put a roof over their heads, but admits he couldn’t afford to feed all of them, without donations from other local animal lovers. Food and rent for Mr. Li and his big family of canines cost around 5,000 yuan ($760) which is way more than he could pay on his own.

Although sharing a home with 140 animals isn’t exactly an easy task, considering the noise he has to put up with at night, and the considerable mess he has to clean up after them, Li Zongwen doesn’t complain. On the contrary, he likes having them around as he prepares a big bowl of dog chow, using a garden shovel, and even eats his own meals in their company. Maybe he should get in touch with Ha Wenjin, the woman who looks after 1,500 stray dogs and 200 cats, I’m sure they have a lot to learn from each other.

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Deaf Puppy Learns Sign Language from Her Deaf Owners

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Everyone knows how important it is for dogs to associate sounds with commands, but Alice, a deaf eight-weeks-old springer spaniel is currently learning sign language commands, from her new owners.

The poor puppy had a rough start in life, after being abandoned by a breeder who decided a dog that couldn’t learn commands wouldn’t bring him any money. When she was brought to The Blue Cross adoption center, Alice was sick, dirty and very nervous, and the staff though they would have a tough time finding a family willing to take in a dog that required lots of special training. But when Marie Williams and her family first laid eyes on the cute canine, they new they had find the pet they were looking for.

Marie fell in love with puppy the moment she saw her, and when she learned she was actually deaf, that just made her even more special in her eyes. Miss Williams and her partner, Mark Morgan, are also deaf, so they knew Alice would fit right in with the family. Now, less the a month after being adopted, the puppy has already learned some basic commands, and her new masters are using sign language to teach her other tricks. ‘Alice is such a loving and responsive dog and she proves that with a bit of time and effort, a deaf dog can be trained and become a wonderful pet,” said Julie Stone, manager of The Blue Cross center.

 

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Japan’s Cat Island Safe after Quake and Tsunami

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Tashirojima, also known as “Cat Island” was believed to have been devastated by the recent 9.0 earthquake and following tsunami, but a recent report shows both the human and feline population are safe.

I’m sure you’re as happy as I am to finally hear some good news after the disaster that recently struck Japan, but you’re probably wondering why I’m posting such news on a blog that’s supposed to be about oddities. You see, Tashirojima isn’t just some island off the coast of Japan, it’s somewhat of a cat haven where the human inhabitants believe their purring companions bring them luck and protection from harm. After the recent events, and the population’s miraculous survival, many are inclined to agree.

Cats were apparently brought to Tashirojima Island a long time ago, to eradicate the rodent population that prevented the successful breeding of silk worms. The felines did their job, but they also began gathering at fisherman inns and begging for scraps. Over time the people of the island became so fond of cats that they started studying their behavior and interpreting it as weather predictions and fish patterns. They even built a small cat shrine in the middle of the island, which has become a popular tourist attraction for cat lovers.

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Scooter-Riding Dog Becomes Internet Sensation

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Norman, a 20-months-old Briard, has become quite the online star, after his owners posted videos of him riding a scooter.

The incredible canine who lives with the Cobb family, in Canton, Georgia, started playing with a razor scooter in the backyard, when he was a pup. Karen Cobb says they saw him playing around with it and decided to give him a ride on it. He seemed to like it, so they tried to teach him to push it on his own. Now, Norman loves riding his favorite toy as often as he can.

Norman is a very clever dog; he got his Companion Dog Title when he was just 15 months old, and is a regular at canine obedience competitions. In fact, the French Briard breed is known for talents like search and rescue, police work, guarding and herding. Throughout history, they’ve been loyal companions to important figures like Napoleon Bonaparte or Thomas Jefferson.

After the Cobbs posted videos of him riding around on a scooter, Norman quickly became an Internet sensation and is now one of the most popular friends on Facebook and has made an appearance on Stupid Pet Tricks on The Late Show with David Letterman.

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