pets – Michmutters

Mystery as several dogs die after visiting Queensland beaches

Sunshine Coast pet owners have been put on high alert following a spate of mysterious dog deaths after visiting local beaches.

The Sunshine Coast Council confirmed to that it had received reports from a local vet of at least five dogs experiencing symptoms of poisoning after visiting the Point Cartwright and Buddina area.

7NEWS understands all five died as a result. The council expressed its condolences to impacted community members.

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The North Coast Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care has since warned residents to “use caution” when walking pets around the areas of Buddina, Minyama, Point Cartwright and La Balsa, which are part of one continuous coastline.

“We, unfortunately, have had a series of patients presenting with alike symptoms that may suggest a toxicity by ingestion,” it said.

“Although we are unable to confirm the cause of these presentations, the link to these patients is the area that they have walked within the 12 hours prior.”

Buddina Beach. File image. Credit: SLSA Beachsafe

Symptoms include gastrointestinal upsets, breathlessness, lethargy, or any change in the behavior of your pet.

‘Absolutely heartbroken’

One man claimed his six-month-old puppy fell ill after visiting Kawana Beach on Wednesday. On Saturday, she was put down.

“This doesn’t seem like a coincidence, so I’d recommend steering clear for now. Please share around, as I don’t want any other beloved pets to die or anyone else to go through what I have,” he said.

“Absolutely heartbroken.”

Buderim dog day-care centre, Doggie Adventure Playhouse, also shared that one of its dogs, Billy, appeared to have been a victim of poisoning after visiting Buddina on Sunday. He died on Monday morning.

“Our loving thoughts and cuddles go out to Billy’s beautiful and heartbroken parents,” it said.

Silver Lining Pet Rescue Inc said one of her dogs, Sophie, also died over the weekend while on an adoption trial.

“Both Sophie’s now owner and foster mum are devastated at her passing. Please take care until the cause is known, ”she said.

The North Coast Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care has urged residents to ‘use caution’ when walking pets around the areas of Buddina, Minyama, Pt Cartwright and La Balsa. File image. Credit: Laura Reed/Getty Images

Some locals had expressed concern online that communal drinking bowls might have been contaminated.

Queensland Police told that it had been “made aware of several instances of alleged dog poisoning in the Sunshine Coast area and are looking into the matter”.

“Anyone with information is being urged to contact police.”

While the exact cause of the poisonings is unclear, a Sunshine Coast Council spokesperson confirmed it was assisting the Queensland Police Service and RSPCA Queensland in the investigation.

“In the meantime, the Council has taken precautionary measures to reduce the risk of animals drinking possibly contaminated water by emptying and sanitizing all dog water bowls in the area,” she said.

“We are also working to remove any loose water bowls and seal any fixed bowls to prevent access.”

The council also encouraged pet owners to keep their dogs in sight at all times while in off-leash areas, ensure their dog is responsive to voice commands before letting them off-leash and contact their vet at the first sign of any symptoms.

Terrific moment cassowary chases down driver.

Terrific moment cassowary chases down driver.



Man accused of shooting Lady Gaga’s dog walker recaptured after mistaken release

A suspect mistakenly released from a Los Angeles County jail where he was being held on suspicion of shooting Lady Gaga’s dog walker and stealing her French bulldogs has been recaptured.

James Howard Jackson, 19, was arrested nearly five months after being released from jail while awaiting trial “due to a clerical error,” the county Sheriff’s Department says.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest development in the saga.

Wait, what happened?

In February last year, Lady Gaga’s dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was shot by a man who stole two of the singer’s French bulldogs in Hollywood.

Detectives said they did not believe the thieves knew the dogs, Koji and Gustav, were Lady Gaga’s at the time.

It is believed the offender was motivated by the value of French bulldogs, which can be thousands of dollars each.

Blonde woman hugs small yellow dog
Lady Gaga with one of her beloved French bulldogs.(Supplied: Instagram)

Is the dog walker OK?

Yes, but he has lost part of a lung as a result of his injuries.

In a social media post following the attack, Mr Fischer thanked Gaga for her support while he was fighting for life in hospital.

“You have shown so much support throughout this whole crisis to both me and my family,” he said.

“I look forward to the future and the moment when I get bombarded with kisses and licks (and maybe even an excitement pee?) from Asia, Koji, and Gustav.”

Man recovering in hospital.
Ryan Fischer thanked Lady Gaga for her support while he recovered in hospital.(Supplied: Instagram)

And the dogs?

They’re also safe and well.

Lady Gaga offered a $US500,000 reward ($643,000) — “no questions asked” — to be reunited with the dogs.

The dogs were returned two days later to an LAPD station by a woman who police initially said appeared to be “uninvolved and unassociated” with the crime.

three french bulldogs
Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs Koji, Miss Asia and Gustav. (Supplied: Instagram)

Who was charged?

A month after the kidnapping, multiple people were charged with attempted murder and robbery in connection with the armed snatching of Lady Gaga’s dogs and the shooting of their walker.

Police arrested James Jackson, 19, Jaylin White, 19, and Lafayette Whaley, 27, in connection with the violence.

Police also arrested 50-year-old Jennifer McBride — the woman who returned Lady Gaga’s dogs who police initially said appeared to be “uninvolved” with the crime.

Ms McBride turned out to be in a relationship with the father of one of the suspects.

So someone was arrested, then mistakenly released, but has now been recaptured?


Mr Jackson was mistakenly released from a Los Angeles jail in April this year, where he was being held on a charge of attempted murder.

Last month, US authorities offered a $US5,000 ($7,200) reward in return for information that led to his arrest.

At the time, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said the move aimed “to speed up the legal process” and Mr Jackson was arraigned under a new case number.

“Mr Jackson was subsequently released from custody by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. We are unsure as to why they did so,” the statement from the District Attorney’s Office read.




Victorian animal rights MP proposes ‘Veticare’ scheme to offer public care for pets and animals

Vet care in Victoria would become free or subsidized under proposed new laws to introduce a Medicare system for animals dubbed “Veticare”, to make seeing a vet more affordable and accessible.

Australia is experiencing a national vet shortage and combined with an increase in pet ownership during the pandemic, it has resulted in some vets closing their doors, particularly in rural and regional areas.

In response to the issue, the Animal Justice Party will introduce a motion into the Victorian parliament which includes establishing public vet hospitals, upskilling vet nurses and setting up a bulk-billing model for vet care.

It remains to be seen how many supporters the minor party will be able to win over with its bold new plan — but here’s how it says it would work.

Why has it been introduced?

Pets and wildlife are not getting the care they need because animal owners and rescuers simply cannot afford it, according to the Animal Justice Party leader Andy Meddick.

“Victoria has a vet shortage crisis, and it is not just creating animal welfare issues, it is driving up prices and placing unimaginable pressure on vets to work overtime, unsupported,” Mr Meddick said.

“Just like we can visit our doctor with a Medicare card, Veticare creates public clinics allowing for free or low-cost appointments.”

Penny Hocking has been a vet for more than three decades and said Veticare could make a huge difference, particularly in rural and regional areas.

Penny wears glasses and smiles at the camera
Vet Penny Hocking says free veterinary care would help ease the burden on animal rescue groups.(Supplied: Animal Justice Party)

“Some people are driving hours to get vet care in regional Victoria, because there is very limited after-hours services there and in the cities it can be very expensive,” she said.

“When people cannot afford vet care, not only does the animal not get adequate care but often they can be euthanized or surrendered to a rescue group who are burdened with the vet expenses.”

What would it cover and how would it work?

The system would cover everything from companion animals needing minor care, including a yearly check-up and injections, to more serious operations.

People who have domestic animals would pay an annual fee and receive a Veticare card.

The Veticare card means pet owners would pay a scheduled fee (as with Medicare) and depending on an owners financial situation, they would be charged a gap fee.

A sick dog
The ‘Veticare’ system would cover a range of procedures from yearly vaccinations to serious operations.(abcnews)

The laws would also introduce government-funded public veterinary hospitals which would be bulk-billed with no over-the-counter fees.

Vet clinics are privately owned and there are currently no public clinics in Victoria.

Who would be eligible?

Every Victorian pet owner would be eligible to have the scheduled fee covered for their vet appointment, but the gap fee would differ based on a person’s financial situation.

Concession, pension and healthcare cardholders would have the entire costs covered, receiving the same benefits as Medicare, for their pets through Veticare.

Animal rescuers and carers would be provided with a Veticare card but would not have to pay an annual fee, to recognize the contribution they make to protect animals.

A black dog with gray markings stars at the camera on a sunny day
‘Veticare’ would work in a similar way to Medicare, with scheduled fee coverage but gaps would be based on a person’s financial situation.(abcnews)

“Vets are often under stress because they have to attend to wildlife and use resources at their clinics they are not reimbursed for, we want to make sure they get that reimbursement,” Mr Meddick said.

As part of the laws, dedicated wildlife hospitals would also be set up in regional areas with wildlife-skilled vets to reduce the burden on other clinics, with the first hospital to be located on the Great Ocean Road near the Surf Coast.

“There is currently no wildlife vet or specialty service for the entire area of ​​western Victoria,” Mr Meddick said.

Is there anywhere else in the world that does it?

The proposal is an Australian first, and could be the first in the world.

“The idea sprung from the question how do we fix the vet crisis?” Mr Meddick said.

“We had to find a way to alleviate pressure on vets and their mental stress, alleviate financial stress on people who want their animals to be seen and the burden wildlife rescuers are placing on vets and vet nurses, so we looked to the health system and Medicare.”

Andy Meddick smiles, dressed in a dark blue shirt as he holds a small dog dressed in a warm coat, under gray skies.
Victorian Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick believes his bold vision will attract some support in parliament.(Supplied: Andy Meddick)

What about the issue of vet shortages?

Vets are leaving the industry in record numbers because of increasing stress and patient load.

The proposed laws would supply extra training and upskilling for vet nurses to become technicians and nurse practitioners.

In human medicine, nurse practitioners and technicians are allowed to do minor surgical procedures and the same principles would apply in the animal healthcare sector to reduce the patient load and burden on vets and enable more animals to be cared for.

Vet nurses would also be able to assess wildlife in a bid to free up time for vets to take on other appointments and improve access and encourage them to stay in the industry.

Dana hugs two dogs while sitting in a sunny yard
Vet Dr Dana Kolosky says many veterinarians have left the industry during the pandemic.(Supplied: Animal Justice Party)

Last year the Victorian government introduced vet nursing as a free TAFE course to help address the shortage.

Vet Dana Kolosky said since the pandemic the industry had lost a lot of staff.

“It is busier than ever, a huge amount of staff have left and the public has gone out and taken a lot more animals,” Dr Kolosky said.

“We experience a lot of stress and fatigue, it is not the well-paid, easy job that people perceive it to be, we take a lot of stress home and emotional blackmail is a huge issue – people say to us things like ‘if you don’t do this our animal will die’.”

“People look at vet care and think it is very expensive, but they are comparing it to a heavily subsidized human system.”

What happens next?

Today, the Animal Justice Party’s sole MP, Andy Meddick, is introducing the motion into the Victorian Parliament’s Upper House, where the state government does not have a majority.

A whippet sleeps under a doona with its head on a pillow
Mr Meddick argues his proposal would make access to vet care more equitable.(abcnews)

Mr Meddick said he had some crossbench support and he had been discussing the plan with the government.

“I would like to see it up and running within 12 months, but I can appreciate the government might want to spend more time on this,” Mr Meddick said.

As for the cost?

“I would be lying if I said it was going to be cheap, I would expect it to be over $10 million,” Mr Meddick said.

“But the benefit would far outweigh the costs.”



Tokyo heatwave inspires creation of wearable fans to help dogs and cats stay cool

A Tokyo clothing manufacturer has joined forces with veterinarians to create a wearable fan to help pets beat the heat.

Maternity clothing brand Sweet Mommy has created an 85-gram battery-operated fan for dogs and cats to wear.

The fan attaches to a mesh outfit and blows air around their bodies.

Clothing brand president Rei Uzawa said the fans were designed for dogs and cats that could not shed their fur coats in Japan’s blistering summer weather.

Tokyo recorded its longest heatwave on record in June, with temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius for nine days.

A small brown dog wears a circular portable fan and a white vest.
The fans have been designed to keep dogs cool during walks in the summer heat. (Reuters: Issei Katō)

Ms Uzawa said seeing her pet Chihuahua exhausted by the summer heat had motivated the invention.

“There was almost no rainy season this year, so the hot days came early, and in that sense, I think we developed a product that is right for the market,” she said.

Ms Uzawa said since the fans were released in July she had received about 100 orders.

She said the fans were available in five different sizes and sold for 9,900 yen ($107).

One small brown dog wears a pink jacket with a fan and is sitting next to a white dog wearing a blue jacket and fan.
The portable fans come in five different sizes and weigh 85 grams. (Reuters: Issei Katō)

Mami Kumamoto, who has a miniature poodle named Pudding and a terrier named Maco, said she usually used dry ice packs to keep her dogs cool.

She said she believed the fans would make it easier to walk her dogs in the summer heat.