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People Who Don’t Walk Their Dogs Face $2,700 Fines in This Australian Territory

A new law recognizes animal sentience.

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Australia’s capital region has imposed strict new requirements for how pets should be treated.

Failing to walk your dog at least once a day, for example, can result in a fine of up to $2,700 (AU$4,000), CNN reports.

Australian Capital Territory’s Legislative Assembly recently passed legislation to recognize animals as sentient beings. It’s the first jurisdiction in Australia to do so.

“These new laws will make the ACT a national leader in animal welfare, and reflects a zero tolerance approach to animal cruelty,” Minister for City Services Chris Steel said in a press release.

“Modern animal welfare is about considering how an animal is coping both mentally and physically with the conditions in which it lives.

“For the first time under law we are recognising the science, that animals are sentient, and they feel emotion and pain.”

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The territory includes the capital city of Canberra and some surrounding townships.

Steel continued: “People who do not properly care for their animals, such as failing to provide a dog with water or shelter, face new on the spot fines. Fines for these offences can now be easily issued by officers as part of the new escalating enforcement framework to deter further acts of cruelty from happening.”

Under the new laws, if serious animal welfare abuses are committed, the Animal Welfare Authority can impose an interim ownership ban of up to six months. The authority can also seize, retain, sell or rehome an animal where appropriate.

The maximum penalties for serious cruelty offenses have also been increased with up to three years jail time for aggravated cruelty.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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US Pet Food Spending Falls to $28.9B

The segment accounts for 37% of total US pet spending.

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Pet food spending in the U.S. fell by 7.3 percent in 2018 to $28.85 billion, according to the Pet Business Professor blog.

The $2.27 billion decrease stood in contrast to 2017, when food spending grew by $4.6 billion “due to a deeper market penetration of super premium foods,” the blog’s John Gibbons writes.

A small increase in pet food spending had been anticipated in 2018. The unexpected decrease “was likely due to the reaction to the FDA warning on grain free dog food,” Gibbons explained, noting: “A pattern of over 20 years was broken by 1 statement.”

Pet food spending has been choppy since 1997, with the general pattern being “2 years up then spending goes flat or turns downward for a year,” according to the blog.

Total pet spending in the U.S. climbed by 1.9 percent in 2018 to reach $78.6 billion, according to the blog. The pet food segment accounts for 37 percent of total U.S. pet spending.

 

 

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Video: Brave Housecat Fends Off 3 Coyotes

This feline showed moxie.

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A cat in the Highland Park neighborhood could have been in serious trouble when three coyotes came along.

But Max, who belongs to Maya Gurrin, showed amazing courage, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Max was surrounded, and the coyotes were nipping at him. But Max showed no fear. He even caused one of the coyotes to back away and jump onto a nearby wall.

“He’s always been crazy,” Gurrin said. “Like, if this were to happen with any cat, it would be him.”

The entire scene was captured on security camera.

As tough as Max may be, his owners have nonetheless decided not to let him roam outdoors anymore.

Watch the video:

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Dogs May Be More Perceptive Than We Ever Realized, Study Finds

Even untrained strays can read human gestures.

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Dogs seem to be able to interpret human gestures even when they’ve had no training, a new study has found.

As any dog owner knows, pet canines understand commands and gestures with ease. A group of researchers set out to determine whether these capabilities are innate or require training, according to a report from Frontiers Science News.

The researchers looked specifically at pointing, with Dr. Anindita Bhadra of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, India, and colleagues studing stray dogs in several Indian cities.

“The researchers approached solitary stray dogs and placed two covered bowls on the ground near them,” Frontieers Science News reports. “A researcher then pointed to one of the two bowls, either momentarily or repeatedly, and recorded whether the dog approached the indicated bowl.”

About 80 percent of participating dogs successfully followed pointing gestures.

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“We thought it was quite amazing that the dogs could follow a gesture as abstract as momentary pointing,” Bhadra was quoted saying. “This means that they closely observe the human, whom they are meeting for the first time, and they use their understanding of humans to make a decision. This shows their intelligence and adaptability.”

The research was published in Frontiers in Psychology.

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