Tuesday wag: Deer, puppy mills, and disabled dogs

Animal rights activists want the National Park Service to use coyotes - not shotguns - to control the deer population in Valley Forge Park. Friends of Animals say the coyotes who have returned to the park in recent years would be an effective - and more humane - way to keep the deer population in check. The Park Service plans to reduce the herd by 86 percent over the next four years and says coyotes would not accomplish that goal in that period of time. The Inquirer has the story.

Technology brings new hope for disabled pets. The Associated Press looks at groundbreaking devices like pet "wheel chairs" which have meant the difference between life and death for pets with disabilities.

DelCo Halloween horror story. A Chester man arrived home drunk with two bloody kittens and told his roommate he was planning to eat them. The good mews: the kittens survived and the abuser has been charged with cruelty. More from the Daily News. UPDATE: Man denies he planned to eat the kittens, but SPCA officials tell the Daily News the kittens had been traumatized somehow so he still faces cruelty charges.

Yield to squirrels on the road this harvest season. Philly Dawg is distressed to see so many squirrel carcasses in the roadways this time of year. The little nut gatherers are squirreling away food for the winter and in their pursuit of provisions end up in roadways - squashed. The number one thing to remember if you encounter a squirrel in the middle of the road: there's a good chance he will reverse course right back in front of your car. So, if you can stop till they cross do so. Or else try honking your horn. That seems to focus them on continuing in one direction or the other.  

The battle over the fate of hundreds of thousands of puppy mill dogs reaches a crescendo in Missouri. Animal welfare advocates are urging voters to support a referendum known as Prop B or the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act that would mandate sweeping improvements to kennels in the puppy mill capital of the nation. Kennel operators and the farming interests are fighting to kill the referendum, which would require larger cages, annual veterinary care solid floors and set limits on the number of breeding dogs, saying it will put "reputable" kennels out of business. A recent article in Missouri quotes the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture saying, that while two-thirds of Pennsylvania commercial kennels have closed since the dog law passed in 2008, it's been a positive thing for the state. "It sends the message that the law closes down bad kennels and good ones provide higher level of standards for dogs," said Bob Baker, who helped write the Pennsylvania dog law in 1982 and is now executive director of Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation.  

Both sides now have celebrity endorsements - the humane community is getting support from St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth. Kennel owners have signed on Joe "the Plumber" Wurzelbacher to espouse their cause.   

(Photo/Kansas City Star)

Meanwhile, in New York's puppy mill center in the Finger Lakes region more than 100 people turned out to join a "Procession of Sorrow" over the weekend to protest the gassing of 74 dogs at a commercial kennel in Romulus. The farmer, David Yoder, locked his dogs in their whelping boxes and shoved in a tube attached to an engine in July, after dogs in his kennel contracted the deadly canine disease, brucellosis, which USDA inspectors said went untreated. Yoder pleaded guilty to multiple counts of inhumane destruction of a dog and was fined $300. His kennel is closed. Romulus may be the only town in the country that has outlawed commercial kennels (Yoder's kennel was grandfathered when local council approved the ban last year). The procession's organizers said they wanted to call attention to the cruelty of puppy mills and encourage other municipalities to ban them.