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Moggy back home after 18-day Tasman trip

Man with cat

A Te Puke moggy who spent 18 days locked in a shipping container bound for Adelaide is now back home with his friends at Tesco drilling company.

Douglas the 18-month-old jet black cat, named after former All Black Doug Howlett, was found in a plastic bag at the end of a driveway by residents living near the drilling company yard.

Since then the inquisitive feline has spent his days basking in the sun and entertaining international visitors to the company’s New Zealand base.

As Douglas is renowned for getting inside cars and shipping containers, on March 29 staff were sure to listen out for his distinctive cry before shutting up three containers of drilling equipment bound for Australia.

“We normally hear him crying and moaning if he gets locked in anywhere,” Tesco technician Andrew Leota said.

But after Douglas hadn’t been seen for two weeks, Mr Leota contacted customs to report his disappearance and asked them to check for him when the containers were opened on Saturday.

Knowing how hot it can be inside the containers, Mr Leota said staff had grave fears for their feline friend’s safety and a vet was on standby when the containers were opened.

An initial search revealed no sign of the stowaway but the following day Douglas strolled from one of the containers seemingly unscathed. “If he’d left a month earlier [when the weather was warmer], I’d say he would have been toast,” Mr Leota said.

Douglas was flown back to New Zealand over the weekend and despite more than two weeks without food, Mr Leota said he did not appear to have lost a lot of weight.

Mr Leota said plans would be put in place to make sure Douglas did not take any more illegal overseas trips. “We’re probably going to write up a work procedure involving Douglas just to double check,” he said.

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Pub punters buy plaque to remember dead cat

A CAT that was run over has been honoured with a plaque in his favourite place – the pub.
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Residents adopted stray Fletcher, King of Spital Street, in 2006 and he spent years curling up on punters’ laps at the Royal Oak, Dartford, Kent.

They raised £200 for the tribute. Barmaid Lauren Windget, 25, said: “He was lovely. He deserves this.”

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AN animal welfare charity has offered a £1,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who hanged a cat on a housing estate in Warwick.

Earlier this month the BBC reported a black cat had been found dead in Kempton Drive with white shoelace knotted around her neck. It is believed the animal had still been alive when hanged and the RSPCA called the attack “cold and calculating” and “horrific”.

This week The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) – a UK-based animal welfare charity – offered up the four-figure reward for information in the case.

Spokesperson Alistair Currie said: “Animal abusers are cowards.

“They take their issues out on the most defenceless beings available to them.”

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the RSPCA cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

For more information visit

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A leading animal charity has warned that too many cat owners are failing to neuter their pets.

The Blue Cross says record numbers of kittens are being dumped at rescue centres, because their owners are unable to look after them all.

The charity says the summer is usually their busiest time, but this year they already have long waiting lists for many of their centres.

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Probe after cat shot with air gun in Allloa

Cat shot with Airgun

Animal welfare officers have appealed for information after a cat was shot with an air gun in Clackmannanshire.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the seven-month-old male was shot in the leg in Alloa.

The incident was reported on Sunday 17 April after the cat returned to its owner in the town’s Fairyburn Road.

The charity has appealed for anyone with information about who is responsible to come forward.

Scottish SPCA inspector Louise Seddon said: “The cat is a seven-month-old ginger male called Indy.

“His owner saw blood on his left hind leg and thought it may have been caused by a tic.

“But she then found a small hard lump and took Indy to a local vet practice where an airgun pellet was removed.

“Thankfully, Indy is OK but this is a very worrying incident and we are keen to trace whoever was responsible.”

The charity warned that shooting an animal was a serious offence and could result in a prison sentence and fine of up to £20,000.

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Mum escapes house fire thanks to her dog

A mum-of-five escaped a blaze which swept through her wooden bungalow thanks to the frantic barks of her dog.

Valerie McKenna fled into the street in her night clothes after Jack Russell cross Beau raised the alarm at their home in Gordon Road, Highcliffe at 8.15am today, Thursday April 21.

The family home was totally destroyed in the fire, believed to have been caused by an electrical fault in the kitchen.

Dorset Fire and Rescue said the home did not have a working smoke alarm.

Three fire crews from New Milton and Christchurch tackled the fire, which involved 30ft flames and spread to a neighbouring property.

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Owners must control dogs

IFA National Sheep Committee Chairman James Murphy said all dog owners must ensure that their pets are under full control at all times and not allowed roam freely in the countryside where they can inflict horrific damage on a sheep flock.

Speaking following what was described as a ‘pure savage’ attack on a flock in Co Westmeath James Murphy stated, “23 ewes and 32 lambs were killed. Many more lambs were left orphaned and the entire flock traumatised.”

James Murphy said a dog attack on a sheep flock at this time of the year can inflict immense damage in terms of animal welfare and financial consequence.

The IFA Sheep Chairman commented, “Dog owners must be particularly vigilant in ensuring that their pets are securely housed at night. Attacks from a number of dogs hunting together at night are an all too common feature in the countryside.”

IFA is calling on all dog owners to ensure that their animals are under full control at all times and particularly at night. Dog owners should be aware that under the ‘Control of Dogs Act’, they can be held liable for any financial damage inflicted on a sheep flock from an attack by their dog.

James Murphy pointed out under the law it is not an offence for farmers to shoot marauding dogs threatening their flocks.

“The responsibility for marauding dogs rests with the dog owners and it is their clear duty to ensure that their dogs are under control at all times,” he concluded.

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Pit Bull Terrier (Banned in the UK)

Dog owners will face prosecution if their animal bites someone on private property under new legislation being drawn up by the Government.

They could also be served with dog control orders, dubbed “dogbos”, if their pets behave aggressively, which would require them to adhere to a number of strict conditions such as keeping the animal on a lead in public places or having it trained.

The plans to overhaul the dangerous dogs act will be published next month by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, according to The Times.

The move was welcomed by animal charities and unions who have fought for justice for the victims of badly trained dogs.

More than 5,000 postal workers and 400 telecom engineers are reportedly attacked by dogs each year.

Earlier this month, Royal Mail suspended deliveries to an entire street in Saltish, Cornwall, after a postal worker claimed she was bitten by a Jack Russell terrier.

But around 70% of incidents take place on private property, which is not covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

In 2008, Keith Davies had to undergo a six-hour operation after being attacked by two rottweilers while delivering post in Cambridge. But criminal charges brought against the owner were dropped because the incident took place on a private road.

Animal welfare organisations have warned about the rise in the numbers of “weapon dogs”, or aggressive animals used as status symbols.

The Communication Workers Union, which had launched a “Bite-Back” Campaign, calling for changes in the law on dangerous dogs, said the new legislation would force owners to take more responsibility for their dog’s behaviour.

Dave Joyce, the union’s safety and environment officer, said: “People always say ‘my dog never did that before’ but that’s not good enough. They haven’t tried hard enough.

“The majority of Britain’s dogs don’t present any problem but these changes are needed to drive responsible ownership and make people more cautious in respect of keeping their dog under control.”

The Kennel Club backed the new but said dog owners should be protected from prosecution if their dog bit after being provoked or attacks a burglar.

The RSPCA wants all dogs to be microchipped, to link them to an owner.

Last year, an independent inquiry into dog breeding recommended that all puppies be microchipped before they are sold on.

Original Source

AT least one postal worker gets attacked by a dog every week in Bristol, new figures show.

There have been 211 dog attacks on postal workers in the last three years – but unions say the figure could be even higher because many incidents go unreported.

Figures released to the Evening Post show that there were 77 incidents in 2010, 62 the year before and 72 in 2008.

There have also been a total of nine incidents reported involving “other” animals, and two involving insects.

The figures were obtained after a Freedom of Information request submitted to Royal Mail by the Evening Post.

Former postman Mike Hamilton, who is now the area health and safety representative for the Communication Workers Union in the Bristol region, said he believed dog attacks had significantly increased in the area over the last three or four years.

“I can guarantee that when I get my weekly reports of incidents, there is at least one dog incident in there,” said Mr Hamilton.

“It is a big problem. I think it has got worse over the last few years partly because of changes in deliveries – postmen and women now deliver later in the day, when dog-owners may have gone to work and are not around to keep their pets under control.

“We have had some horrific injuries where people have needed hospital treatment, but there are also a lot of smaller bites or run-ins with dogs that don’t get reported. People also sometimes are reluctant to report an incident because they get to know people on their round and don’t want to get them into trouble.

“Postmen getting attacked by dogs is something that everyone jokes about, but when it happens to you it can be very traumatising. Believe you me, it does not matter if it is a Jack Russell or an alsatian, if you get one going for you it can really affect you.”

Mr Hamilton delivered post in the Hambrook and Winterbourne areas for 15 years.

“I have had my fair share of problems with dogs when I worked as a postman,” he said.

“I once had an alsatian rip into my arm, which needed stitches. At another place a large dog used to jump up at the window and one time managed to get half out of the window as he tried to go for me.”

A spokesperson for Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail takes the safety of staff very seriously, and detailed advice is provided to all employees on how to reduce the risk of an attack by an animal.

“Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union have pledged to work together to raise awareness of the dangers of aggressive animals, dogs in particular, and all delivery managers are urged to remind their teams of guidelines designed to minimise the risk of attack.

“Proactive measures by the business include sending letters to owners of aggressive animals and warning staff where dangerous animals live.

“Whilst the Royal Mail has a legal commitment to deliver to all addresses, it also has a duty under Health and Safety law to reduce risks and prevent injury to our people.

“Every attack or incident should be reported to a manager and all reported incidents are investigated by the manager who will, if necessary, involve the appropriate people within the local community.”

The Kennel Club told the Evening Post new legislation should be introduced to allow every dog attack to lead to a prosecution.

Caroline Kisko said: “There are more than eight million dogs in the UK and the overwhelming majority are well trained, so they will never display aggression towards other dogs or people.

“But if a dog has learned to be protective over its property and a stranger approaches then it may cause injury.

“Every dog attack should be taken seriously and the Kennel Club is campaigning to have the dangerous dogs legislation overhauled so attacks that take place on private property can be prosecuted. Legislation should penalise irresponsible owners and those dogs that actually display aggressive behaviour rather than focusing on individual breeds.”

Vet warning over dog disease

Vet with dog

A DONCASTER vet is warning dog owners of increasing reports in the diagnosis of a potentially fatal disease.

Rebecca Aldren, from the Vets4Pets surgery on Wentworth Road, Wheatley, is alerting owners to an infection caused by the lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum.

Dogs become infected with the lungworm through contact with and eating slugs and snails, which can carry the larvae of the parasite.

Vets say that while some dogs will eat slugs and snails on purpose, the hidden danger arises from small slugs and snails which can be accidentally swallowed when dogs are playing with toys left out in the garden, or rummaging through the undergrowth.

Ms Aldren said: “Once seen as a problem in isolated areas, lungworm has spread in the UK.

“Although dogs can become infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum at any time of year, the warm and damp conditions associated with the spring and autumn months do provide ideal breeding conditions for slugs and snails, thereby potentially increasing the risk of infection.”

Any owner who is concerned that their dog is at risk of the condition, or is worried their dog may have already picked up the parasite should talk to their local vet, she said.

She added: “Dogs which have picked up a lungworm infection can show a number of different symptoms.

“This lungworm often gives rise to breathing difficulties, ranging from a lack of energy to coughing.

“Dogs may also show general signs of being unwell including weight loss, reduced appetite and vomiting.

“Persistent bleeding, even from minor cuts is also a sign to watch out for.

“However, the symptoms can be varied and some dogs may appear healthy in the early stages of infection.”

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