Here Are Four Other Invasive Species in New York Besides the Cold-Resistant Cockroach

Categories: Animals

Photo Credit: col&tasha via Compfight cc
Now is the winter of our discontent, New York: The recent discovery of a cold-resistant cockroach at the High Line will have this writer keeping vigil at the air vent over his bed for the next six months.

But Periplaneta japonica, or the Yamato cockroach, as it is sometimes known, isn't the only invasive species the New York City area hosts. Not by a long shot. Ranging from plankton to land mammals, the New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse lists 83 separate species of varying degrees of invasiveness across the state. Here are four other species who may not chew holes in your cereal box, but are contributing to ecological degradation across the state.

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Busted Dog Fighters and Cracked-Up Puppy Mills: A Good Week for Pooch

Categories: Animals, Dogs

jennifer buehrer via Compfight cc
It's been a banner week for dogs in New York. Tuesday saw the indictment of 39-year-old Leslie Alexander, who had been using his Brownsville home to train dogs to fight in the very cruel, very illegal dog-fighting circuit. (The cops initially went there on a warrant for guns and drugs and instead found a robust dog-fighting operation, including hypodermic needles and a garage-turned-doggie-Thunderdome, so it's pretty clear that this guy is making excellent choices.)

And on Wednesday the New York State Assembly passed A.740-A, a bill to majorly ramp up laws punishing operators of puppy mills introduced by Upper West Side Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. The Senate is considering its version of the bill.

I'm the sort of person who cries watching puppies sleep, but even those of us with firmer constitutions will appreciate the good news.

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Animal Rights Group Pressures Over New York Foie Gras Producer

Categories: Animals

Photo courtesy of Mercy for Animals
"I happen to think that foie gras is one of the most delicious things on earth," Anthony Bourdain told the camera before a truth-finding trip to New York's Hudson Valley Foie Gras for his Christmas special in 2007. "And yet strangely enough, a few twisted, angry people would like to take your foie gras away."

This week, Mercy for Animals, like Bourdain, released a video of ducks being force-fed at Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the country's largest producer of foie gras and supplier to MFA's investigation yielded a very different set of findings from Bourdain's--and now they're putting pressure on Seattle-based to ban the sale of foie gras online.

Read more: The Undercover Animal Cruelty Videos That Spurred Big Ag's Censorship Crusade

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The Undercover Animal Cruelty Videos that Spurred Big Ag's Censorship Crusade

Categories: Animals

Photo courtesy of Mercy for Animals
One of the nearly 3,000 pigs at Country View Family Farms in Fannettsburg, Pennsylvania. The far mis a supplier for Hatfield Quality Meats, which is sold in twelve Northeastern states.
This week's story, "The Ag Gag War," goes behind the scenes of the guerilla fight between animal rights groups and Big Agriculture.

For years organizations like the Humane Society and Mercy for Animals have being going undercover at America's largest farms, using hidden cameras to show exactly how our food is produced. The footage hasn't been pretty.

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Meet Your Friendly Neighborhood Great White Shark

Categories: Animals, Twitter

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Ocearch's Facebook page for Mary Lee shows her checking in Near Martha's Vineyard.

Her name is Mary Lee, she weighs 3,500 pounds, she's swimming around near the Hamptons, and she's writing about her adventures on Twitter. (She's even invented her own shark smiley face, fin and all.)

The social media-saavy shark sure gets around fast. Only two weeks ago, she was chilling 200 yards off the coast of Florida, scaring swimmers out of the surf. But now she's cruising through local waters, visiting important shark landmarks like the Martha's Vineyard coastline where the 1975 blockbuster Jaws was filmed and house-shopping near East Hampton and Montauk Point.

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Animal Rights Activists Exploit "Illegals" in Central Park Horse-Carriage War


As we've chronicled, there is a war going on between the labor union that represents Central Park horse-carriage drivers and animal rights activists who think keeping horses in midtown Manhattan is dangerous and inhumane.

Now the activists are using illegal immigrants as PR ammo against the union.

The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages sent us an e-mail this morning with the subject line "Illegals in Horse Carriage Trade." In the e-mail, the group outlines how the union employs illegal immigrants, one of whom "foolishly lied about an animal activist, Roxanne Delgado, attacking him at the hack line."

The group says another "illegal" was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers about six weeks prior. 

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Rabies Kills 55,000 People Every Year, Which Is Ridiculous

Categories: Animals, Health
Today is World Rabies Day, and to celebrate we're going to hit you with a pretty alarming statistic: Rabies, a disease for which there has been a vaccine since 1885, kills 55,000 people every year.

Granted, only two of those deaths happen in the United States, but that's still two too many, veterinary officials say.

Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says rabies is 100 percent preventable, noting that "your local veterinarian plays a key role in controlling rabies."

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Bronx Zoo Jumper's Reasoning: Being "One With The Tiger"

The story yesterday about the man who leaped off the Bronx Zoo monorail into a pit occupied by a Siberian tiger named Bashuta has transfixed New York media outlets due to its sheer absurdity. David Villalobos, the jumper himself, was brought to a nearby hospital and treated for all types of punctures and broken bones. Originally, cops believed that the man had jumped "on purpose" but, as we had briefly mentioned, maybe the motive had something to do with the act itself - in other words, Villalobos jumped for the thrill of it, not for the remorse.

Turns out we may have been right.

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Guy Jumps Into a Bronx Zoo Tiger Pit And Lives To Tell the Tale

This isn't Bashuta but this is what Bashuta looks like.
We all love the Bronx Zoo. Who doesn't? The mini-jungle of Morris County provides fun for all age groups and houses a few animals that you wouldn't ever think of seeing in the Big City. One of which is a tiger (actually, that's not always true) and, sometimes, people get a little too excited about going to the Zoo.

To get from point A to point B fast, a visitor can take the monorail over the Bronx River. The train car that you ride in has no sides and passes by the most ferocious animals the Amazonian theme park has to offer. And this didn't stop a 25-year-old man from leaping off the train car and over a 16-foot-high fence, landing in a pit occupied by Bashuta - an 11-year-old male Siberian tiger.

After about ten minutes of straight pain for the jumper, zoo officials showed up with a fire extinguisher and managed to get the tiger to leave. However, in that time, the guy had punctures all of his body, a broken arm and a broken leg.

Because that's what happens when you jump into a tiger pit.

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Brooklyn Man Found With a Small Zoo Inside His Apartment

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In 2003, police officers received a tip from an anonymous caller for a "large animal" that was biting people in Harlem. The NYPD narrowed down the search to Antoine Yates's apartment and, when they arrived on the scene, the "large animal" turned out to be a 400-pound Bengali tiger. Oh, and an alligator, too

Well, one officer had to grapple down from the roof and tranquilize the ferocious animal; Yates was later arrested for reckless endangerment and the animals were taken to a shelter nearby, even though it was seen that the Bengali tiger was actually in great shape. Commissioner Ray Kelly described the encounter as an "only-in-New-York story" and we couldn't agree more.

Why did we mention this story from nine years ago? Yesterday, a similar event occurred in Crown Heights and nostalgia is always an appropriate introduction. For an unrelated matter, police officers were conducting a search of Weeksville Houses on Dean Street around 2 in the afternoon. By accident, they stumbled upon a public housing version of the Bronx Zoo.
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