Animals – Got the Jimmy Legs


Bird on a wire

I don't have much to add to this story but I wanted to note it on my blog, if only so I could look back in the future and note the moment in history when the Port Authority decided it had the right to round up a bunch of animals that had done absolutely nothing wrong and kill them. This goose thing is amazingly stupid. It is proven the birds most often getting caught in jet engines are migratory geese, not this bunch that live here (sure a few may be from the 'dangerous' group but come on). Even if every goose killed could somehow be guaranteed to get sucked into a plane's rotors, it still isn't a long-term solution, unless they plan on killing every single goose, gull, pelican and egret in the country. They're going to kill a bunch now, but of course, more will come to take their place. That's an ECOSYSTEM; gassing a bunch of geese isn't policy, it's distraction.

Yet somehow with almost everyone (except the NY Post) against them, they have already begun the mass slaughter. I don't care what you think about geese, but this should be at least mildly annoying to all of us.

Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper

Pepper is a Portuguese Water Dog. She was rescued from a kill shelter and is hoping to find a permanent home. She lives in DC. Too bad no one in the DC area was interested in bringing a Portuguese Water Dog into their home.

UPDATE: Pepper has an adoption pending! But without groups like K-9 Lifesavers, every purebred dog produced on spec just pushes one more dog (purebred or not) into the euthanasia room.

I'm your doctor and here's your bill

Let's see here, originally uploaded by Jimmy Legs.

Note to self: If you take a bunch of cats into your home, eventually some of them will get sick and then you not only have to clean out 60 litter boxes several times a day, you have to administer medication, somehow serve different types of food to cats without the wrong ones sticking their face in, and eventually make vet appointments. One of our street cats, Bishop, showed up limping, and several days of rest in the house have not helped much. So he's going in for what will not doubt be an expensive endeavor to diagnose and treat his malady.

Cheeks the elderly cockatiel has also seen his share of vet action lately. He's developed cataracts, so we took him to one of the better bird docs in the city, which involved taking a car to midtown, missing half a day of work, and blowing lotsa dough. Now we come to find out that he needs a second-opinion blood test to make sure he doesn't have gout (!) so he too is heading to Ridgewood this evening to get checked out.

Meanwhile, there's the little cat pictured above. We've been calling her Shaolin; she can be calm and centered like a Buddhist monk, but suddenly, and without warning, she can turn to ninja assassin mode. She'll be sitting peacefully on the couch, but when another cat enters her line of sight she will jump and race across the room, delivering a barrage of swats while yowling like a malfunctioning theremin.

She's too small to actually inflict any damage on the cats phsyically, but it's very disruptive as it leaves a trail of confused and irritated pets in its wake. We've been trying to teach her not to attack by putting her in the bathroom for 5 minutes at a time every time she does, but so far it ain't sinking in (repeated viewings of Supernanny have proven of little use when it comes to disciplining felines). But we're starting to see why this sweet little kitty may have been abandoned to the streets.

What makes her behavior more bizarre is that she can also be super affectionate to other cats. She's given both Jefe and Flossie a good grooming, only to later pounce on them when they entered the room. Lucky for them, she's ironically docile enough to let me cut her nails, so her blows are less potent. Anyway, she'll be going to the head of the adoption list, even though she's been nothing but nice to us humans. Clearly, the cats are running the show.

Sucker for a pretty face

If you read The New Yorker, you may have seen this full-page ad with a cute kitten, drawing your attention to the hypocrisy of The Humane Society of the United States. It discusses how HSUS puts none of its money into animal shelters, nor does it run any kind of spay/neuter program or pet adoption programs. At first, I admit I was all like, "Son of a bitch, those thievin' bastards! " Then it occurred to me, the Humane Society has NEVER been an animal-shelter level organization. They focus mostly on industrial animal welfare, like cows going to slaughter or chinchillas being raised for fur. They work for broad, sweeping changes to animal cruelty laws in general; other groups handle things like shelters and adoptions. So why would the posters of this no-doubt expensive ad be trying to rile us up over a non-existent issue?

Turns out the people behind the ad,, is the "Center for Consumer Freedom," itself a front of the restaurant, tobacco and alcohol industries. Their web site is full of lurid allegations about other "anti-consumer" groups (like the fairly unimpeachable Center for Science in the Public Interest), very little of which is actually damning. ActivistCash divides its time making pointless accusations, such as those against the Humane Society's lack of animal shelters (which is sort of like attacking the American Lung Association for not combating skin cancer). The rest of the time they try to draw connections between these groups and their supposedly 'radical' ties, such as people who at one time were members of PETA who now work at HSUS. Oh, the conspiracy!

But they probably know that very few people will bother reading the fine print on their site. The majority of people will see the ad in a magazine, note it briefly and move on. The only message they will walk away with is "The Humane Society is bad." Maybe the HSUS isn't a perfect organization, but they're decidedly not the evil, two-faced liars they're made out to be by this site. This kind of thing really pisses me off, probably because I'm ready to believe anything that has a fuzzy kitten attached to it.

To be sure, I have nothing against, restaurants, tobacco or alcohol itself. But these lobbyists whose paycheck depends on the profits of these industries are pretty scummy for trying to build up their clients through specious attacks. Whatever the failings of the Humane Society, at least they're doing something to make the world a better place. The Center for Consumer Freedom (what a shitty name) is just hoping to continue this country's long tradition of political obfuscation, since people are too stupid to make up their own minds about pretty much anything. Don't believe the kitten, folks.

Long haired freaky people need not apply

Taking a break from kittens for a moment, let's look at the evolution of guinea pigs over the past years. Maybe these breeds were around when I was growing up, but I sure don't remember them. I had plain guinea pigs, my favorite being an agouti (like the one pictured on the left), whose markings kind of resemble what wild guinea pigs look like. Sorta looks like a groundhog.

Besides that, I knew of a couple of odd breeds, such as the Peruvian, whose hair grows long and straight and basically turns them into a living toupee. Then there's the Abyssinians, with the cowlicks all over, permanent bed-head. I thought that was pretty much it, but science has been working to increase guinea pig exoticness to unheard-of degrees.

For instance, you can now get a "sphinx" guinea pig, a mostly-hairless pig that reveals just how hippo-like they really are. Some also like sharpeis, all wrinkled and rubbery looking. There are several other newish breeds, some are cute, some less so.

What in god's name were they thinking when they came up with the "Coronet" breed? It's basically a long-hair bred with a crested pig so you end up with an embarrassing rodent sporting a mullet. Is this animal cruelty at its worst?

No, actually this is: