Monday Wag 7/28

A young parrot who went AWOL from the Philadelphia Zoo last week is now back with his flock. After a four-day flying spree that included a tour of Fairmont Park and a detour to Chester County, the sun conure is home safe at Bird Lake thanks to the help of a Phoenixville family. My colleague Tom Infield has the story.


The Pennsylvania state House approved a bill to increase penalties for wildlife poaching. The vote was 196 to 3. The bill toughens penalties for a range of wildlife crimes including killing endangered species and operating commercial poaching operations. It elevates habitual poaching to a felony crime and establishes jail time as a penalty for many wildlife crimes. The bill now goes to the state Senate for approval. Pennsylvania now has among the lightest penalties for poaching in the country. In an occurrence that happens only slightly more often than comet sightings, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Rifle Association were on the same side of the legislation. 

Matchmaking is the theme of the first bill introduced by the newest member of the U.S. Senate. Sen. Al Franken (D., MN) wants to make it more affordable for wounded veterans to get service dogs. In an op-ed piece Franken said he was inspired by the story of Iraq War vet Luis Montalvan, who suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome and says he's been saved by a Golden Retriever named Tuesday. Now he'd like to set up a pilot program that would provide service dogs - which can cost $20,000 to train - for hundreds of veterans.

Do you use joint supplements for your pet? If so, you may want to consider that they may not be all they are cracked up to be. A recent independent study of this billion dollar industry found that a majority of supplements "skimped" on key ingredients such as glucosamine or chondroitin, or had other flaws, such as lead. The Associated Press has the full report.

Want to make your pool more pet/wildlife friendly? The Humane Society of the United States offers the following tips for keeping pets safe around pools:

*Don’t leave your pets unsupervised in a yard with a pool.
*When building a pool, design lounge ledges along the sides. These are usually just below the water’s surface and allow animals shallow areas from which to drink and an easy escape route from the water.
*Install a fence around the pool to keep out animals such as dogs.
*Install one or more water-exit devices such as the Skamper-Ramp or Frog Log. Both are buoyant devices that are placed in the water along the pool’s edge and allow animals to get out on their own. Because of their white color they are highly visible to animals.
*Disperse knotted nylon ropes at strategic locations along the sides. Make sure the knot is at the water’s surface so the animal can more easily climb out. (This technique only works for climbing animals such as raccoons, mice, and squirrels).