House Passes PACT Act to Make Animal Cruelty a Federal Crime

The PACT (Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture) Act was passed unanimously in the US House of Representatives this week.

This act would expand on a prior law that criminalizes the production and distribution of animal torture videos.  Passage of the PACT Act would criminalize acts of animal torture at the federal level as well.

Representatives Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) sponsored the bill, which states that any person who intentionally engages in animal cruelty would face federal charges.

A similar bill was introduced in the Senate in February.  If the Senate passes the bill and the PACT Act becomes law, convicted individuals will face fines and up to 7 years in prison.

Check out this fact sheet on the PACT Act from Congressman Deutch to learn more.

 

Tips for Great Fall Hikes With Your Dog

Fall can be a great time to set out on outdoor adventures with your dog.  The weather is crisp and cool to keep you and your dog comfortable, and all that beautiful fall foliage is definitely an added benefit.

We’ve gathered some of the best fall hiking tips for dog owners.  Keep in mind that many experts recommend keeping your dog on leash at all times for her safety, so go off leash with caution.

Check out these helpful tips and enjoy the great outdoors with your best friend!

  • A walk in the woods, even in fall, means that your dog could be vulnerable to flea and tick bites. Use a deterrent and check your dog for ticks after a hike.
  • Consider using a harness specifically designed for hiking or running. Experts report that v-neck harnesses distribute force evenly to keep you and your dog steady.  Some also have a handle on the back so you can quickly grab your dog in an emergency.

  • While it may not be as hot as summer, your dog still needs plenty of fresh clean water to stay hydrated on a fall hike. Bring water and a collapsible bowl along with you on hikes.
  • Challenging uphill trails can lead to some great views of fall foliage, but long distance/high elevation hikes are not for all dogs…or all people. Know the level of difficulty before you set off on a hike.

  • Sometimes the weather can change quickly in the fall. Dress in layers and consider a jacket and booties for your dog in case the weather gets nasty.  Booties or paw pad balm are always a good idea for rugged trail hikes.

 

Environmental Enrichment for Pet Birds

The Veterinary College at Texas A&M University has put out some very helpful tips on how to provide your pet birds with environmental enrichment and mental stimulation.

They report that birds are happiest when given many different forms of enrichment.  Not surprising given their intelligence, curiosity, and sociability!

Here are a few tips, but be sure to read the full story for more ideas for your own bird!

  • Besides regular toys, birds also appreciate objects that provide visual and auditory stimulation like mirrors, music, bells, and rattles.
  • Birds are sensitive to the texture of objects; some prefer plastic, while some prefer wood or paper.
  • Birds are color-oriented and may prefer certain colored toys over others (some dislike red!).
  • Be sure to choose toys that are lead-free and made from safe forms of plastic. Be careful of toys with string as these can harm a bird.
  • Household objects can also be used as bird toys, such as paper towel rolls and popsicle sticks.
  • Place your bird’s cage in an area where the outside is visible through a window.
  • Lots of interaction with you (and even other animals in the home) is a key form of stimulation and enrichment for birds. Pay plenty of attention to your feathered friend.  You can even teach it some tricks!

Interested in learning more?  Check out this Avian Enrichment blog from the Association of Avian Veterinarians!