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Archive for October, 2007

Anymore pet reactions to the earthquake?

How did your pets react to Tuesday’s 5.6 quake?
Did they even notice the shaking? Did they run and hide, or act strange? Did they appear to sense the quake was coming before it happened?

What did your pets do before, during and after the earthquake?

Please leave your comments below under “post a comment” or by clicking on “Comments.” I want to use this information in my daily newspaper column in the Contra Costa Times and other newspapers. I already have a few responses and would like to add yours.

Thanks! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

How did your pets react to Tuesday’s 5.6 earthquake?

Did your pets even notice the shaking? Did they run and hide?
The magnitude 5-6 earthquake hit about 8:04 p.m. Tuesday evening. It was reportedly the biggest quake to hit the Bay Area in 18 years, since Loma Prieta.

So how did your dog, cat, parrot, alligator, or other pets react to the quake?

Did they appear to “sense” the earthquake before it happened? Did you pick up any clues that there was an earthquake on the way?

What did your pets do during and after the earthquake?

Please leave your comments below under “post a comment,” or by clicking on “Comments.” I’d like to use this information in my daily newspaper column in the Times and other papers.

What did MY cats do during the quake? I hardly even felt the thing where I live in Benicia. I think the Sacramento River tends to absorb any earthquake vibrations when the quake happens south of us. Anyone else in Benicia feel anything?

I was talking to my wife, Lois, on my cell phone when I suddenly felt a little queasy and MAYBE felt a little shake. “We may or may not have just had a tiny earthquake here,” I said. Newman, our 19-lb. Maine coon cat who was sleeping on the couch next to me, raised his big head and looked around. “Please stop doing that,” he said, and went back to sleep.

Our Abyssinian, Tut, was snoozing someplace else in the house and I didn’t hear a peep out of him.

So what did your pets have to say about our Halloween shaker? (BOO?) /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
Under: Earthquakes | 4 Comments »

BOO! A black cat needs a home!

Eileen’s dad died and she needs to find a home for his black cat, Midnight.
I wrote about Midnight a couple of weeks ago but no one has responded. Thanks to Bob Solotar for checking on this and recommending that I give it another shot.

Dear Gary:
I have been trying to find a home for my Dad’s 5-year-old cat, Midnight. Dad was a Pearl Harbor Survivor and such an animal-cat lover. He had 7 cats/kittens when he died in May. All of these cats adopted my Dad. With the help of my students and Dad’s neighbors, I’ve placed all the cats except a young mama Siamese and Midnight.

Every day I go over to Dad’s house, feed Midnight and let him roam about the backyard. He prefers to stay indoors. The house is being sold. It is on the market. Midnight isn’t dealing well with strangers wandering thru HIS house. Midnight doesn’t understand what happened to Dad and what he did wrong to deserve such crazy treatment. He’s a love-a-lap meowing kitty.

I would take Midnight if I could. The neighbors are caring for the mama Siamese at the moment. Can you ask your readers if someone can adopt Midnight? He’s just 5, jet black, fixed, fluffy and loves to eat. He slept with Dad every night. The house is empty. He sleeps on a blanket on the floor. The animal shelter is NOT a good solution. Thanks. (Eileen Farley,; 925-682-2724.)

The information I promoted in today’s Times’ column — about the lovebird found in an Oakley back yard, plus two more cats that need home because their human has asthma, is below. Just scroll down a little.

** If any of these animals catches your fancy you and you take one home, please let me know which one so I can tell my readers it worked out. Thanks.

You can e-mail me at Thanks. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, October 30th, 2007
Under: Cats | No Comments »

Lose a lovebird? Need a cat?

Stephanie found someone’s lovebird in her Oakley backyard … and Rita has asthma and has to find homes for her two cats.

The letters below explain their individual situations. Contact information is also included. Thanks for caring. /Gary

Dear Gary:
It was suggested by a friend that I write you regarding a lovebird I found in my back yard, well actually my 7-month-old calico cat found it. It’s a beautiful little bird and I believe is recovering well at the Medical Center for Birds in Oakley.

I live on the north side of Teakwood Drive in Oakley. Around 10:30 p.m. last Thursday night I heard a bird squawking, not something you usually hear that late in the day. When I went to my back patio my kitten was carrying it in her mouth as she was walking toward me, then veered away. Luckily the bird got loose and I was able to catch it.

Friday I took it to Oakley Veterinary Medical Center (my vet). Dr. Lafferty examined it, found 2 minor puncture wounds, one near the left eye and one under the right wing, and it’s right leg broken. She was unsure as to how to best repair the broken leg, so she took it to the Medical Center for Birds. I have not heard an update since Friday afternoon, but would assume if there were problems I would have heard.

I’ve posted flyers around my neighborhood. Any help you could provide would be appreciated. (Stephanie Brooks, Oakley,

Dear Gary:
I had another asthma attack and my doctor is pretty adamant that I find a home for my two kitties, Perry & Frankie. My heart won’t let me surrender them to an animal rescue group because I want to know where they are going and who their new family will be. If you could mention them on your blog I know some loving person will take them. You can use my e-mail address of or my phone number of 925-324-1832 for contact.

My husband and I adopted Frankie and Perry from the Feral Cat Foundation a few years back and they have been wonderful pets. Since that time I’ve started suffering from asthma and have difficulty breathing, especially at night. The kitties are healthy and are kept indoors at all times. They are about 3-years-old and have been together for two. Both have been neutered. Frankie is a lovable orange and white kitty and Perry is a rambunctious gray tabby. They each have their own cat carrier and hammocks and I know they will quickly adapt to a new loving home. Cats are fickle, aren’t they?

If you can help us out that would be great. (Rita Bradt, Walnut Creek)

Thanks for checking this out. I get these kinds of emergency cries for help from time to time and have decided that posting them here on my blog is the best way to deal with it. I don’t have enough column space in my daily columns to fit all these in. Whenever I need to post these “help me” letters here, I’ll also place a notice in my column telling my readers to look here for more information.

** If any of these animals catches your fancy you and you take one home, please e-mail me and let me know which one so I can tell my readers it worked out. Thanks.

If you have any other feedback or suggestions, please note them under “Comments” below, or you can e-mail me at

Just trying to help. /Gary

Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2007
Under: Animals | 1 Comment »

Top 10 things swallowed by pets

These are the top 10 items that have been surgically removed from the innards of our pets over the years. The information comes from Veterinary Pet Insurance, a company that needs to know these things.

We pet owners also need this information so we can do our best to keep these particular objects out of reach of pets that are always chewing on things. (My neurotic Maine coon cat, Newman, can out-swallow every other cat on the block, unfortunately.)

1. Socks
2. Underwear
3. Panty hose
4. Rocks
5. Balls
6. Chew toys
7. Corn cobs (corn cobs?)
8. Bones
9. Hair ties/ribbons
10. sticks

The above list only scratches the surface of a wide-ranging collection of indigestible articles that are swallowed by cats and dogs every year. Swallowed minutiae that didn’t make the above Top 10 include: nails, sewing needles, baby bottle nipples, pagers, hearing aids, drywall, snail bait, batteries, rubber bands, toy cars, and sand with bacon grease poured over it (eh?).

In other words, curious pets will probably swallow anything they can cram in their mouths.

So how do we keep from having to take Spot or Kitty to the vet for costly foreign body removal surgery?

Keep the place picked up.

Posted on Friday, October 26th, 2007
Under: Pets | 1 Comment »

Dogfighting reward

Humane Society of the United States launches dogfighting reward program.
As part of an aggressive campaign to stamp out dogfighting in America, The HSUS is offering $5,000 to those who provide information leading to the arrest and prosecution of any person involved in illegal animal fighting.

It’s about time somebody did something like this.

You can learn how to claim the $5,000 reward by going to

Public service announcements in varying lengths of 15, 30 and 60 seconds are available at Check these PSAs out. You’ll find them interesting and educational.

Narrated by Wayne Pacelle, president & CEO of The HSUS, the public service announcements provide listeners with general information about the dogfighting problem. You can help by sending copies of these PSA’s to your local radio and TV stations.

Ann Chynoweth, director of The HSUS’s Animal Fighting and Cruelty Campaign said, “Michael Vick’s guilty plea to federal dogfighting charges highlighted the reality of this barbaric practice. We are pleased to announce the $5,000 rewards in our effort to end animal fighting in America.”

Dogfighting is a highly-organized underground movement, often involving other crimes such as drug and weapons trafficking, prostitution, and money laundering. More than 250,000 dogs are placed in dogfighting pits each year.

The HSUS estimates that 40,000 people are involved in organized dogfighting and an additional 100,000 are street-level fighters. A three-year study released by the Chicago Police Department showed that 65% of the people arrested for animal abuse crimes — including dogfighting — were also arrested for violent crimes against people.

You can find out more about The HSUS and its many animal programs at

Check it out. /Gary

Posted on Thursday, October 25th, 2007
Under: Dogfighting | No Comments »

Need a nearby low-cost spay/neuter clinic?

Here’s a quick and easy way to find it!
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has set up a special Web site with a searchable database designed to provide you with updated information about low-cost spay/neuter programs in your community.

It’s quick and it’s easy.

Try it:

After asking you for your zip code, and how far you’re willing to travel to get your pet(s) spayed or neutered (5 miles? 10 miles?) … the database will show you ALL the nearby discounted spay/neuter clinics.

This Web site is updated regularly.

Ed Sayers, ASPCA president and CEO, says:
“Spaying and neutering is the proven most effective method in reducing pet overpopulation. By reducing pet overpopulation from the ‘supply side,’ we limit the need for euthanasia as a means of population control.”

Check it out. This is a VERY handy Web site! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, October 24th, 2007
Under: Spay/Neuter | 3 Comments »

Pets & Wildlife & a sad mountain lion tale

Did you know has an “Animals” page? This interesting page has up-to-date links to Gary’s latest blogs and Pet and Wildlife columns, plus the latest Pets & Animals stories from around the world, fresh off the Associated Press wires every day, plus animal photos, animal videos, and environmental news. Check it out at

A young mountain lion found Sunday morning in a Gilroy, Calif., backyard has been released back into the wild for all the wrong reasons. See the Gary’s column at:

Have fun! /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007
Under: Animals | No Comments »

These horses need help

There’s a nonprofit horse rescue organization in Auburn, California, called Horses’ Honor, run by a lady named Nina Clark. Very simply, she helps horses in need.

I just received this letter from Judy Gillivan in Walnut Creek:

Dear Gary:
Nina works to help abused, neglected and unwanted horses. She’s an advocate for the older animal that can no longer perform at its peak. Horses’ Honor provides sanctuary for horses that would otherwise likely face slaughter or unnecessary euthanasia. Some of the horses are rehabilitated and adopted, while others are permanent residents.

There is a tack sale on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the Auburn Fairgrounds. This is their main fundraiser. Donations of horse equipment (new or used), books, videos, equitation art, apparel, decorative items — all will help. All donations are 100 percent tax-deductible, and all the proceeds goes to help these horses.

Tack can be dropped off at Concord Feed in Pleasant Hill and at Western Saddlery in Pleasanton. We can arrange for pickup as well.

The public needs to be aware of the plight of the unwanted horse. It’s a little-known problem, yet an immense one, nationwide.

For further information, you can call Nina at 530-823-8927, or use us at 925-933-8345. The Horses’ Honor Web site is Thanks. (Judy & Jim Gillivan, Walnut Creek)

Like horses? Here’s your chance to help some. Thanks. /Gary

Posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Roundup of new California animal laws for 2007

These new animal laws were passed, or vetoed, or may have another shot in 2008.

The Legislature has adjourned until January 2008. The next Legislative meeting is November 12, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Room 113, Capitol Bldg., Sacramento. Agenda: 2007 Bills and 2008 Possible Legislation. All animal advocates are welcome.

** AB 222 by Assemblyman Bill Emmerson re: Undomesticated Burros.
Authorizes the capture, removal, and relocation of undomesticated burros if the burros are at risk of injury from traffic or insufficient habitat. Allows euthanasia if injured.

** AB 450 by Assemblywoman Audra Strickland re: Wildlife in Captivity.
Delays the already passed deadline of 2007 to 2009 for the Fish and Game Dept. to implement a new inspection program for wild animal facilities. Veterinarians paid by the permittees sign off on inspections, a conflict of interest. AB 450 was put into AB 1729.

** AB 670 by Assemblyman Tod Spitzer re: Dog Bites.
Requires an owner whose dog bites (broken the skin) anyone to provide info. (name, address, etc.) to the person bitten.

** AB 821 by Assemblyman Pedro Nava re: Hunting with Lead Shot. Support.
Enacts the Condor Preservation Act to prohibit lead shot within current and historical condor habitat when hunting big game and coyotes.

** AB 1347 by Assemblywoman Anna Caballero re: Pet Shops.
Sets some minimum standards for pet shops on space, vet care, and euthanasia. Sponsored by the pet industry, it provides warnings before infractions can be issued.

** AB 1614 by Assemblywoman Audra Stickland re: Rodeos. Support.
Lowers the definition of rodeo from four events to three to cover Mexican style “charreadas.” Requires a vet, or vet on call, to treat animal injuries, report injuries to the Vet Med. Bd., provide a conveyance for injured animals, and bans electric prods.

** AB 1729 by Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife re: Wildlife.
An omnibus bill amending the Fish and Game Code. Successfully amended to remove sections that would have allowed fur trapping of red fox, pigeon shoots, bounties, and removing a holding period for captured exotic animals. It exempts people trapping gophers, moles, mice, rats and voles from having to get Fish and Game trapping licenses.

** SB 77 re: California Budget.
$1,495,000 (reduced from $10 million, to $3 million, then reduced by half by the Governor) to pay for warden overtime pay. It will not be spent on hiring additional badly needed wardens.
An as yet undetermined amount will be spent ($121 million as of 2006) to reimburse cities and counties for state mandated costs associated with SB 1785 (1997) requiring additional holding times and vet care in animal control shelters.

** SB 353 by Senator Sheila Kuehl re: Restraint Orders. Support.
Authorizes the court to add animals to restraint orders to protect them from possible harm from domestic abuse.

** SB 880 by Senator Ron Calderon re: Kangaroos. Oppose.
Sponsored by Adidas, removes the protection, since 1970, of kangaroos by allowing the importation of their skins (used for athletic shoes) and meat (possibly pet and/or livestock food) into California as long as the kill quota is not raised in Australia.

** SCR 9 by Senator Darrell Steinberg re: Spay Day 2007. Support.
Declares February 27, 2007 as Spay Day 2007 to encourage spaying and neutering of dogs and cats and the participation of veterinarians to help shelters and rescue groups. Spay Day resolutions are passed every year.

** Assemblywoman Patty Berg Resolution re: Marjorie Davis. Support.
Honors Marjorie Davis of Fawn Rescue for her decades of work rehabilitating fawns.

** Fish and Game Commission re: Judd Hanna. Oppose.
Commissioner Judd Hanna, recently appointed to the Commission, resigned under pressure from the Schwarzenegger administration, 34 Republican legislators, and the gun/hunting lobby because of his advocacy to ban lead shot.

** AB 449 by Assemblywoman Audra Strickland re: Trapping.
Would have required licensed trappers to follow Appendix 2 of the American Veterinary Medical Assn. guidelines if animals are killed. Allows gunshot only if other methods are not available.

** AB 828 by Assemblyman Ira Ruskin re: Wildlife Corridors. Support.
Would have required the Wildlife Conservation Board to determine what areas are most essential as wildlife corridors and utilize the California Comprehensive Wildlife Action Plan to protect those corridors.

** AB 1477 by Assemblywoman Nell Soto re: Trapping. Support.
Would have required licensed trappers to have continuing education courses, release non-target animals, take injured/sick non target animals to a vet, animal control, or wildlife rehabilitation facility, and inform their clients of non lethal control options.

** SB 63 by Senator Carole Migden re: Cloned Farm Animals. Support.
Would have required labeling of cloned farm animal products.

The following bills failed to get enough votes or did not go to a vote because they were withdrawn by the legislator. They can be brought up again in 2008.

** AB 64 by Assemblywoman Patty Berg re: Emergencies. Support.
Allows licensed vets and vet techs from out of state to practice here during disasters.

** AB 564 by Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally re: Pigs. Support.
Prohibits pregnant pigs from being confined in gestation crates where they cannot turn around or extend their limbs. AB 564 was amended to an unrelated subject.

** AB 576 by Assemblywoman Wilmer Carter re: State Park/Dairy Farm. Support.
Prohibits a 16,000 cow dairy farm from being built next to the Allensworth State Park.

** AB 667 by Assemblyman Cameron Smyth re: Police Dogs and Horses. Support.
Increases the penalty for injuring a police horse or police dog.

** AB 777 by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine re: Elephants. Support.
Prohibits bullhooks and chaining. Mandates enrichments, soft flooring, pools and exercise if capital funds are expended.

** AB 815 by Assemblyman Tom Berryhill re: Hunting/Fishing. Oppose.
Prohibits any city/county from enacting an ordinance that affects hunting or fishing.

** AB 912 by Assemblywoman Nicole Parra re: Hunting. Oppose.
Creates a mentored hunting program that allows anyone to hunt without a license for a year if accompanied by qualified mentor.

** AB 939 by Assemblywoman Nell Soto re: Teachers. Support.
Prohibits hiring of teachers convicted of cruelty to animals. AB 939 was amended to an unrelated subject.

** AB 1100 by Assemblyman Ira Ruskin re: Cloned Farm Animals. Support.
Requires labeling of cloned farm animal products unless preempted by federal law.

** AB 1016 by Assemblyman George Plecia re: Race Horses. Oppose.
Allows boarding/training facilities to sell losing race horses with unpaid bills without going through the court.

** AB 1634 by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine re: Spay/Neuter. Support.
Requires six month old dogs/cats to be spayed/neutered. Exempts show and hunting dogs, research, law enforcement, search/rescue, service dogs, dogs/cats too old or sick. Breeders have to have permits, but allows one dog litter for one year.

** SB 863 by Senator Leland Yee re: Horse Racing.
Prohibits more than three of the seven member Horse Racing Board to be owners of race horses. Requires Board to pass regulations on conflicts of interest and ethics.

** “California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act”. Mandates pregnant pigs, veal calves, and egg laying birds (chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, guinea fowl) have room to stand up, turn around, lie down and extend their limbs. Does not include dairy calves who replace dairy cows. 600,000 signatures must be gathered from October 2007 through February 2008. Info:

** “California Farm Animal Protection Act” (07-0058). Put in by the agriculture industry to counteract the Calif. Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. Mandates compliance with industry standards.

** Sponsored by Pet PAC (not Paw PAC) (07-0056, 07-0057, 07-0059, 07-0060, 07-0062, 07-0063) have been submitted to prevent any future legislation to require spay/neuter or micro-chipping. These initiatives are an opposition response to AB 1634.


Virginia Handley, Paw PAC, P.O. Box 475012, San Francisco, CA 94147, 415-646-0622;

See the Paw PAC website for the 2006 Voting Chart. The 2007 Voting Chart is currently being compiled.

Let’s hear a big round of applause for Virginia Handley for pulling this information all together so we can see what’s going in. /Gary

Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2007
Under: Animal protection legislation | No Comments »