A big week in area animal news...
The Philadelphia Police Departmentinducted its newest "officers' on Friday: Johnny, Pat, Stephen, Santiago, and Tiny Tim - all Standardbred rescue horses who will begin new careers with the department's resurrected mounted unit. The horses are named for the most recent Philadelphia officers killed in the line of duty. Abandoned in 2004 for budget reasons, the mounted unit will ride again as early as this summer, patrolling parks, controlling crowds and spreading good will through the city. My colleague Vernon Clark has the story here.
The clock is ticking for stray animals in Delaware County. The Delaware County SPCAis closing its doors to strays on July 1 and animal lovers and 49 municipalities are scrambling to find a way to respond. The crisis on the horizon means cats and dogs wondering the streets will have no place to go and the residents will have no place to go to look for missing pets.
A new group has formed to try to find answers. Delco Animal Welfare Group (DAWG) is a coalition of concerned citizens who want to work toward a solution. One idea: expanding use of microchip technology which means many lost and stray pets can be identified quickly. By arranging for access to scanners – either by working with local vets or by purchasing them (for as little as $200) – local police and township officials can more easily match lost pets with their owners.
DAWG, which is seeking members, will hold its next meeting on Wed. March 30 at 7 p.m. at Wallingford Presbyterian Church 110 E. Brookhaven Rd. in Wallingford. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join the Google group at http://bit.ly/DAWG_GoogleGroup.
Pit bull advocates in Camden, NJ - where budget cuts have eliminated animal control officers - are hoping that a big name ex-boxer will do for spay/neuter awareness what Michael Vick has done for efforts to combat dog fighting. Bernard Hopkins, once known in the ring as "The Executioner" was on hand last week to launch "Project Knockout" with New Jersey Aid for Animals. More from the Inquirer's Mike Newall here.
Rescue group of the week: The Grey Muzzle Organization, a North Carolina-based group that advocates for older dogs and helps shelters care for homeless senior pets.
Captured on tape: In Los Angeles a man and his goose become sweethearts in a city park.