Animals in the news 9/5

Tragedy across parts of Africa as elephants are being mass slaughtered to feed a growing trade in illegal ivory in China. The New York Times reports that conservation groups say tens of thousands of elephants are being slaughtered each year in the Congo and elsewhere in an "epic" massacre for the "white gold" worth millions on the black market.

In the U.S., the drought that has devastated millions of acres of cropland in the west and midwest has left thousands of horses high and dry too. From New Mexico to Illinois owners are abandoning horses at an alarming rate, reports The New York Times because they can't afford to feed them. The influx of stray horses is now putting new pressures on cash-strapped rescues.

Closer to home, New Jersey authorities are looking for two women believed to have abducted a trained police dog in Falls Township, Bucks County (Pa.) on Aug. 28.

The New Jersey SPCA says two white women driving a silver Nissan Maxima with New Jersey pats were seen removing a five-year-old Belgian Malinois, named Seiger, from his yard. His owner, Sgt. Sven Beauchmin of the Falls Township Police Department, had just gone inside to get Seiger food and water when a neighbor spotted the two women take the 75-pound brindle dog and drive away. Seiger is not on active duty and is a family pet and companion to Beauchmin's active duty K-9.

The NJSPCA is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the animal's safe return. Beauchmin is offering an additional $500. Anyone with information about the missing dog should contact Beauchmin at (215) 949-9100 or NJSPCA Officer Theresa Cooper at 1-800-582-5979.

Busting pit bull myths. That's the subject of a forum at the University of Pennsylvania scheduled on Sept. 23. Pro-pitty activists, rescuers, lawyers, actors and others will gather to discuss the impact of so-called "breed specific legislation" that they say unfairly target pitbulls. A Maryland bill is the focus of heated debate after a court decision rendered pit bulls "inherently dangerous dogs." The forum is sponsored by Pact for Animals, a Philadelphia-based rescue and advocacy group that focuses on pit bulls. Sign up at Pact's website.

Dogs turn tables on postman. Mailmen are frequent targets of vigilant guard dogs and many have the scars to prove it. So it came as a surprise to read that one neighborhood of canines and their owners outside of Harrisburg threw a party for Bob Wright, a retiring postal carrier complete with a photo album. Thanks, Mr. Postman, they barked, for all those daily treats you doled out on your rounds!