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Archive for November, 2009 Monthly Archives

Wildlife experts in Nottingham have been taking DNA Samples from peregrine falcon chicks in an effort to protect the species from thieves, according to an article in the BBC News.

Apparently it is common for thieves to rob falcon nests for chick that can then be trained for falconry.  The purpose of the data base is to be able to identify whether birds found, dead or alive, or birds being used for falconry were born in the wild or in captivity.

Nottingham Local wildlife trust, working with Nottingham Trent University and with the National Wildlife Crime Unit are working on constructing a DNA database in order to track and prosecute people who are raiding the nests of falcons.

For more information:



Whidbey News Times Reporter Nov 06 2009

Leeon and Lorriane Stecher can now walk their pit bull-chocolate lab mix, Angel, in Oak Harbor city limits without a muzzle as a result of the City Council’s decision Wednesday night to repeal a breed-specific ordinance that, some say, unfairly discriminated against pit bulls and their owners.

Oak Harbor’s breed-specific ordinance went into effect in 2006 and required pit bull owners who live within city limits to house the controversial canines in a secure pen and muzzle the animals while on leash, among other restrictions. Pit bull owners who didn’t follow the ordinance ran the risk of having their dog impounded or earning a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, jail time up to 90 days, or both.

Now the animal control officer will rely on the “Dangerous Dog and Potentially Dangerous Dog” chapter of the animal control ordinance that deals with animals based on behavior, not breed.

Before the council made their final decision, Councilman Jim Campbell questioned whether the “Dangerous Dog and Potentially Dangerous Dog” chapter was enough to protect the citizens of Oak Harbor.

“We don’t need this because we have sufficient coverage in the one that we already have? Does it also have the hard rules for the owner that has a dog with biting habits?” he asked Police Chief Rick Wallace.

Wallace said yes, and proceeded to read from the “Dangerous Dog and Potentially Dangerous Dog” ordinance that requires the owner of these dogs to keep the animals in a proper enclosure, post a visible warning sign that a dangerous dog is in the area, purchase a surety bond of at least $250,000 or a liability insurance policy, have the animal microchipped and register the dog with the city.

Councilwoman Beth Munns made the motion to repeal the breed specific ordinance, and Campbell seconded her motion. The council unanimously voted to support Munns’ motion, 6-0. Councilman Danny Paggao was not at the meeting.

The changes will make life easier for the Stecher family and other pit bull owners who live in Oak Harbor because pit bulls will no longer be considered dangerous according to the city ordinance.

“It’ll be more convenient to take her on walks,” Lorriane Stecher said, adding that it’ll be nice to walk in town without worry of getting ticketed.

The couple used to drive Angel outside city limits for her walks so they wouldn’t have to put a muzzle on her. The muzzle restricted Angel’s ability to pant, so the couple preferred to walk her where she wasn’t required to wear one.

“The muzzle also scared people because they thought she was a dangerous dog,” she said.

City officials hope the change will also decrease the number of pit bulls surrendered to island animal shelters, and possibly increase their rate of adoption.

The changes will go into effect on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009.

BioArts is an American company who has teamed up with Sooam Biotech Research Foundation close to Seoul Korea to offer the Best Friends Again Program.

This Program offers dog and cat cloning to the general public. Currently they have only offered 4 cloning slots and have not decided if they will open any more slots in the future, that having been said the are offering a 5th slot through their websit. The 4 slots that were offered were awarded through a public internet auction.

BioArts is the customer service side of the program while Sooam Biotech Research Foundation does the actual cloning.

BioArts offers two reasons for wanting this type of service. The first is the ability to have a new pet with similar personality traits and identical coloring, size and body type to the original pet. They talk about the joy the families can experience in exploring their new animal. They do not discuss the fact that the cost listed for their 5th slot is 180,000 US dollars. An amount that seems fairly cost prohibitive to cloning the family pet. Under their Social Benefits page they do discuss the benefits of cloning working dogs to maintain the original animals superior ability. I surmise that this could be taken a second step and that this service could be truly beneficial to breeders with award winning animals who’s genetic perfection they don’t wish to lose. Award Winning animals make money for breeders by 1) winning prizes and, 2) breeding fees. This seems to be the only area where the cost might out way the benefits.

While this is an interesting service it is the opinion of this writer that the full ramifications of this program have not been fully considered. Is it right to recreate an animal for monetary gain (as in the breeding situation)? What is the emotional and physiological effect of recreating a pet on the family in the long term? Isn’t part of being a pet owner the sad fact that they like people do not live for ever? What would pet cloning teach children about the life cycle?