Exotic Pet Trade

15 Sep

What is it?

– Trade and keeping of wild animals as pets
– Contributes to animal suffering
– Threatens public safety
– Disrupts the ecosystem
– Contributes to endangerment and extinction

Where do they come from?

– Most exotic pets arrive illegally – a global business earning about $20 billion annually (ranks second to illegal drug trade)
– Hundreds of millions of animals in the trading business
– Exotics are taken from the wild: decline in the natural species, horrific transport conditions
– Exotics are bred in captivity – mass breeding, similar to puppy mills, unsanitary conditions
– Exotic animals are surplus animals – exotics that have reached adulthood are usually sold back into the trading market, many end up as victims of “canned hunting” which is hunting exotic animals in a confined location, over 1,000 canned hunting operations throughout the nation

What is the environmental impact?

– Many are taken out of rainforests and the African plains where the ecosystems rely on the animals
– Prey vs. Predators -> rely on one another to balance the population
– Babies are taken, mothers are killed for their young = higher extinction rate

How are they sold to the public?

– Sold in auctions to the highest bidder
– Internet – with a credit card a person can easily purchase a tiger, baboon or any other exotic animal as a pet

How do they take care of the animal?

– It is extremely difficult to properly care for an exotic animal in captivity
– Because the animals are so high maintenance their owners often neglect and abuse them: they are often caged, chained, tranquilized, or beaten into submission
–  It is also difficult to get proper medical care. Exotic animals often hide the signs of their illness because in the wild it would be a death sentences if others thought they were weak. This means that the care often comes too late, that is if the owners can find care. Very few vets specialize in exotics, and if they do they often work in zoos.

Are they dangerous?

– YES – Although they may be cute and cuddly as a newborn, once they get older they can become very dangerous
– They can become destructive, unpredictable and physically dangerous  when stressed
– Thousands of people are victims to them lashing out

Do they spread diseases?

– Yes, they can
– The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) OPPOSE keeping exotics as pets
– Many can carry: herpes B, salmonella, monkeypox and rabies = lethal for humans

Are they victims of abuse?

– Yes – Teeth and claw removal to avoid putting the human in danger once the animal is an adult
– Small pens in backyards, abandoned, killed or sold back into the exotic trade
– Set animal loose, which is illegal, dangerous, and cruel

Are there laws? What are the permit requirements?

– Yes- certain states prohibit the sale and transportation of  certain exotics
– Other states have outright bans or require permits or licenses
– Check the requirement per state on: http://animallaw.info/articles/armpusexoticpets.htm

What can I do to help?

#1. Do not buy exotic animals – including certain birds and reptiles from dealers or pet shops
#2. Educate others about animal welfare and safety problems due to the exotic animal trade!
#3. Do not visit roadside zoos and menageries that breed or display animals for profit.

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AE Journal #4 – Corn Snakes

16 Aug

Recently, at Animal Embassy, we have been hatching baby corn snake eggs. So exciting!


Here’s a couple of facts about these interesting creatures:

– Mature corn snakes can grow to be about 3 to 5 feet in length

– They live about 15 to 20 years

– These snakes eat meat, therefore they hunt mice and other small rodents

– They are non-venoumous, hence they are constrictors, meaning they squeeze their prey

– One of the most popular pet snake breeds

– Female corn snakes normally lay about 7 to 14 eggs

Stay tuned for new blog posts! Thanks for reading! 

All About Puppy Mills

4 Aug

Here’s a quick game for you. Take this True or False Test, then check your answers to see if you know the correct information about Puppy Mills.

T or F – In a puppy mill, the dog’s health and genetics are most important to the breeder.

T or F – A reputable breeder has never had anything go wrong with their dogs or puppies.

T or F – Teacup Puppies are just like any other puppy.

T or F – If the puppy looks healthy when you buy it, then it is not at risk for Parvo or other illnesses.

T or F – Dogs in pet stores are healthy and people should go there rather then find a reputable breeder.

T or F – There are no laws to regulate puppy mills.

T or F – Puppies in mills are regularly socialized with humans and other dogs.

T or F – Dogs in puppy mills are always purebred.

T or F – Puppies are always sold when they are older then 8 weeks.

T or F – Female dogs are breed at every opportunity.

T or F – The greatest victims in the puppy mill problem are the breeding parents.

T or F – All breeds of dogs are at risk of being bred in a puppy mill; even larger ones like Saint Bernards.

What is a Puppy Mill?

A puppy mill is very similar to a puppy factory.  Dogs are breed at a rapid pace with disregard for there health or genetics.  Definition: A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well being of the dogs.

How can I help fight puppy mills?

  1. Don’t buy puppies from pet stores – Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills. In these facilities, dogs are caged in unsanitary conditions and bred as often as possible. They give birth to puppies who may present medical problems later in life. Instead, make pet adoption your first option.
  2. Take the Puppy Mill Pledge – The ASPCA has a pledge to prove your promise to not buy a pet or any pet supplies from retail stores that sell puppies. Visit: http://www.nopetstorepuppies.com/take-the-pledge
  3. Share Your Story! – If you suspect that your dog is from a puppy mill, tell the ASPCA your story. The more we spread the word, the more we can build support to help ban puppy mills! Tell your story at: http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/puppy-mills/puppy-mills-your-stories.aspx
  4. Tell your friends – If someone you know is planning to buy a puppy, please direct them to the puppy information page on the ASPCA website. This page tells you where to get perfectly healthy dogs of all breeds and sizes, waiting to be adopted.  http://www.nopetstorepuppies.com/map-goodstores

Answer Key:

T or – In a puppy mill, the dog’s health and genetics are most important to the breeder. FALSE – The owners of puppy mills are interested in making profit, meaning they don’t breed the dogs to eliminate genetic problems, but to produce the most dogs in the smallest period of time and for the smallest amount of money.

T or – A reputable breeder has never had anything go wrong with their dogs or puppies. FALSE – All breeders, good and bad, will have different problems with the animals they are raising. It is not an exact science. How the breeder handles these problems is what sets good and bad breeders apart. For example, if a breeder finds that a dog is producing puppies with bad teeth, then he would take that dog out of the breeding program, and place it in a loving home after being spayed or neutered. Puppy mills would continue to breed this dog, without caring if it’s teeth are good or bad.

T or – Teacup Puppies are just like any other puppy. FALSE – Teacup puppies are often runts. The term “Teacup” was created by puppy mills, and it is very deceiving. Most of the puppies advertised as “Teacups” will grow to be average in size for that breed. They do this to make sales faster and to get more money per puppy.

T or F – If the puppy looks healthy when you buy it, then it is not at risk for Parvo or other illnesses. FALSE – Because puppy mill operators fail to apply proper husbandry practices that would remove sick dogs from their breeding pools, puppies from puppy mills are prone to congenital and hereditary conditions. These can include: Epilepsy, Heart disease, Kidney disease, Musculoskeletal disorders (hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, etc.), Endocrine disorders (diabetes, hyperthyroidism), Blood disorders (anemia, Von Willebrand disease), Deafness, Eye problems (cataracts, glaucoma, progressive retinal atrophy, etc.), Respiratory disorders, Giardia, Parvovirus, Distemper, Upper respiratory infections, Kennel cough, Pneumonia, Mange, Fleas, Ticks, Intestinal parasites, Heartworm and Chronic diarrhea.

T or F – Dogs in pet stores are healthy and people should go there rather then find a reputable breeder. FALSE – Dogs in pet stores often come from mills.  This means that they often have health issues due to the unsafe breeding conditions.

T or F – There are no laws to regulate puppy mills. BOTH TRUE AND FALSE – In 1966 Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act, which outlines specific minimum standards of care for dogs, cats, and some other kinds of animals bred for commercial resale. But puppy mills that sell dogs directly to the public, including through Internet sales, are not regulated by federal law.  Certain large commercial breeders have to be regulated, but there are many loopholes.  Many breeders that violate have small consequences, and even if their licence is suspended, they can reapply and receive new licences again and again.

T or F – Puppies in mills are regularly socialized with humans and other dogs FALSE – Puppies are often kept in small cages without getting any interaction with humans or exercise with other puppies.

T or F – Dogs in puppy mills are always purebred. FALSE – Puppy mill owners often lie about dogs lineage and genetics of their dogs because their only goal is to make money.  This means you could be paying the price of a purebred dog for a mutt.

T or F – Puppies are always sold when they are older then 8 weeks. FALSE – In order to sell as many puppies as quickly as they can, many mill puppies are sold when they are six weeks, two weeks earlier then the legal age.  Though this may not seem that long, these two weeks are crucial for the puppie’s’ development.

T or F – Female dogs are breed at every opportunity. TRUE – In the mills the female dogs are in stuck in an endless cycle.  They get pregnant, have puppies, and then get pregnant once again with little to no break in between pregnancies.  When they are no longer able to reproduce they are usually killed to make room for new mothers.

T or F – The greatest victims in the puppy mill problem are the breeding parents. TRUE – Though the lives of the puppies in the mill are terrible, they usually leave fairly quickly and have the opportunity to be adopted into a loving home.  The parents never get this chance, they are stuck in small cages constantly giving birth to puppies they will never see again.

T or F – All breeds of dogs are at risk of being bred in a puppy mill; even larger ones like Saint Barnards. TRUE – Pet shops are interested in selling dogs of all breeds for peoples convenience.  To meet this demand the mills produce almost ever breed.  Even dogs as large as Great Danes and Saint Barnards.

A Penguin with Happy Feet

29 Jul

I just thought that I would pass on this cute story about a penguin who can now live his life to the fullest due to a special sneaker designed for his deformed foot. This story should inspire you to do anything, no matter the deformity or disadvantages that can impede your determination. It’s amazing what a small penguin, with the help of his zookeepers, could accomplish. Congratulations Lucky!


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Team USA: Olympic Pets

27 Jul

The 2012 Summer Olympics are here! A time to set all of our differences apart to support our home country and all of our U.S.A. athletes. This morning I saw a video about the London Olympics, but it wasn’t focused on the athletes, rather it was about their pets. I thought that I would share. Enjoy!

Olympic Pets



Quote by Russell E. Train

26 Jul

“If we’re to be responsible, we must accept the fact that we owe a massive debt to our environment. It won’t be settled in a matter of months, and it won’t be forgiven us.”

– Russell E. Train, 1970

Animal Hoarding

20 Jul

Monsters aren’t real, but humans are. Let us not be the monsters in an animal’s life. Animal Hoarding is a big issue, and hopefully this blog post will inform you about this issue.

What is animal hoarding?

– Public health and community issue
– When someone has more than the typical number of domestic animals as pets
– Inability to give the proper treatment, such as nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care
– Often leads to animal illness, starvation, and death
– Denial
– Many do not know how many animals they are “caring” for

Who are hoarders and why do they hoard?

– Knows no age, gender, or socioeconomic boundaries
– Observed in men, women, the young and old, the married and widowed, and in people with professional jobs
– However, the elderly tend to be more at risk due to their own deteriorating health and isolation from community and social groups
– Animal hoarders appear intelligent and they believe that they are helping their animals
– Failure to understand the severity of the situation
– Difficulties understanding animal needs
– Inaccurate appreciation of a situation and its consequences
– Being unable to reason about treatment options and alternative courses of action
– Psychological defenses and behaviors in response to stress
– Magical thinking
– Depression
– Paranoia

How common is animal hoarding?

– Estimated that there are 900 to 2,000 new cases every year in the United States
– A quarter million animals falling victim
– Normally cats, dogs, reptiles, rodents, birds, exotics and farm animals
– Any animal can be a victim of hoarding
– Many call themselves “Animal Sanctuaries” or “Rescue Groups”
– The majority of animal hoarders will continue to hoard, even after an intervention, unless they receive help

What are the consequences of animal hoarding? Are there laws against it?

– Deteriorating home
– Strong smell of ammonia
– Dried feces, urine, and vomit around the house
– Animals are not well socialized and lethargic
– Infestation of fleas
– Animal owner is isolated from the community
– Insists that his animals are happy and healthy, even with the clear signs of animal illness and distress
– Often emotionally troubled, rather than a “criminal”
– Against the law – stated in every state’s animal cruelty law
– Illinois and Hawaii have separate laws
Illinois Companion Animal Hoarder Act was created in 2001 to create a legal definition for “companion animal hoarder” and mandate counseling for those convicted of animal cruelty who meet the definition – animal hoarding itself is not prohibited by the law.
Hawaii’s 2008 law – only state law specifically outlawing animal hoarding – does not mandate psychological counseling for convicted hoarders or restrict future animal ownership.

What can I do to help?

– Call local humane law enforcements, police department or animal shelter – first step for help if you witness hoarding
– Educate others – pass on this information
– Contact social service groups – get the animal hoarder connected to the right services from mental health agencies
– Reassure the hoarder – they are usually worried that their animals are in the wrong hands, when in reality, the animals will be better off with professionals
– Volunteer to help walk dogs and clean cages in shelters to help all the animals that had to go through the traumatic experience of animal hoarding
– Keep in touch – make sure that if the hoarder does acquire a new pet, that it is properly spayed or neutered, vaccinated and in good health
– “Hoarding Prevention Team” and Intervention Program by the ASPCA – to date, the program has assisted more than 20 animal hoarders and rescued nearly 200 animals.

Click the link below to check out an Animal Planet Confessions: Animal Hoarding episode:
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