Prisoners Given Pedigree Dog To Stroke To Prevent Them Smashing Up Cells

Violent prisoners who wreck cells are being given a dog to stroke to control their rage.In a new Government initiative to help young offenders, the pedigree dog called Barney will be taken into a notorious jail to relax inmates.The Pets As Therapy programme is being pioneered at Her Majesty’s Prison Hindley, a young offenders’ institute which has been home to a number of violent criminals, including Sean Mercer, the killer of 11-year-old Rhys Jones.

A source at the prison said: ‘The kids in here regularly go mad, smashing up their cells. This is seen as an answer. Pets, and dogs in particular, are known to make people calmer.’But last night Tory candidate David Davies condemned the plan as ‘utterly ridiculous’.He said: ‘This just proves that this Government has made a dog’s breakfast of the penal system. Why is it that criminals are not simply locked up?

‘Why is that we give them PlayStations, DVDs, televisions and now pedigree dogs to keep them entertained while the victims are left to pick up the pieces of their lives?’Barney, a black-coated Bouvier des Flandres dog, is undertaking specialist training to cope with life behind bars.He will roam the jail, near Wigan, Greater Manchester, under the supervision of a prison worker.Stroking the pet and enjoying its companionship is intended to ease anxiety and it is hoped he will also encourage feelings of affection.

Buddy The Dog Saves Owner's Home From Fire

A German Shepherd named Buddy saved his owner’s home by guiding emergency services to the blazing building. The dog was in the workshop at the Alaskan home of his owner, Ben Heinrichs, when a spark from the truck he was working on ignited Mr Heinrichs’ clothes.

Mr Heinrichs, 23, ran out as the fire grew and told Buddy: “We need to get help.” The dog then ran out, finding Alaskan Trooper Terrence Shanigan at a crossroads, and guided him to the blaze at their home in Caswell Lakes.Trooper Shanigan was working with rescuers to find the property in an area with about 75 miles of back roads, but their GPS systems were unable to locate the house.

“Buddy was able to connect with me, giving me a lot of non-verbal cues, kind of loping, and wanting me to speed up at times,” Trooper Shanigan said.”And when I finally pulled in, Buddy greeted me at the driver’s side door and kind of nudged me towards the house. It was surreal,” the Trooper told reporters.The event was recorded by the video camera inside the patrol car, and shows Buddy occasionally looking back at the car as he raced ahead, galloping around three turns before arriving in front of the blaze, which was very close to the Heinrichs’ home

'Toxic stew' Of Chemicals Causing Male Fish To Carry Eggs In Testes

More than 80% of the male bass fish in Washington’s major river are now exhibiting female traits such as egg production because of a “toxic stew” of pollutants, scientists and campaigners reported yesterday.Intersex fish probably result from drugs, such as the contraceptive pill, and other chemicals being flushed into the water and have been found right across the US.

The Potomac Conservancy, which focuses on Washington DC’s river, called for new research to determine what was causing male smallmouth bass to carry immature eggs in their testes. “We have not been able to identify one particular chemical or one particular source,” said Vicki Blazer, a fish biologist with the US geological survey. “We are still trying to get a handle on what chemicals are important.”

Essex Couple In Donkey Sanctuary Row With Delhi Neighbours

A retired Essex couple are facing the Indian equivalent of an anti-social behaviour order after neighbours in a smart gated colony in Delhi were upset by their decision to turn their home into a donkey sanctuary. Bob Harrison, 67, a retired immigration investigator, and his wife Jean, 69, are passionate defenders of animal rights who have provided an ambulance service for the city’s distressed donkeys since he took early retirement from the British High Commission in the late 1990s.

Their work with the animals and their owners – some of the poorest and most marginalised in the capital – has won them many admirers in India and throughout the world. Their work, under the banner of their Asswin Project charity, is largely unpaid and subsidised by his civil service pension. But their neighbours in Gurgaon, the hi-tech hub for India’s leading call centres, have accused them of lowering the tone of their area.

Baffling Death Of Rare Siberian Tiger Malyshka At Zoo

One of the world’s rarest tigers has died in mysterious circumstances at a zoo.Malyshka, a Siberian tiger which was pregnant with three cubs, drowned in her enclosure at Banham Zoo, near Diss, Norfolk – even though the predators are excellent swimmers.The five-year-old – mother to 17-month-old cubs Vasya and Kuzma – was found by keepers in shallow water.

She also shared her enclosure with 15-year-old male tiger Mischa, described as ‘good natured and placid’.Zoo director Martin Goymour said a post mortem examination had confirmed Malyshka had drowned, but the cause of the accident was a mystery.He said: ‘Malyshka was such a strong and healthy tigress and showed no signs of external or internal injuries.The pool in the enclosure is not deep or considered hazardous.

Elephant Provides Breakdown Assistance To Zoo Keeper

An elephant put its size to good use when it helped a zoo keeper start his car by giving it a shove. Lawrence Bates was all set to call for assistance when his jeep at West Midland Safari Park broke down, until Five the elephant decided to give him a helping hand.The 18-year-old African Elephant got behind and pushed the car out of trouble and out of the enclosure. She even cleaned the car in the process.

Five reached into a bucket of water with her trunk, sprayed the vehicle with water to remove any dust, then gathered up a sponge with her trunk and cleaned the windows and paintwork with the style of a true professional.Director of Wildlife, Bob Lawrence, said: “The jeep broke down one morning and the lads jumped out to have a look at it, popped the bonnet and had a look at the oil.

The World's Smallest Horse Who Weighs Less Than A Newborn Baby

This pint-sized stallion could be a record breaker as the world’s smallest foal.The three-day old pinto stallion, called Einstein, is just 14 inches high and weighs only an incredible 6lbs.The diminutive horse was born in Barnstead, New Hampshire, on Friday at Tiz Miniature Horse Farm.His tiny proportions may be more suitable for a human baby, but they are tiny for a horse, even a miniature breed like Einstein.Dr Rachel Wagner, Einstein’s co-owner, claims the Guinness Book of Records lists the smallest newborn horse as weighing just 9lbs.Breeders say that unlike the current record holder, Thumbelina, Einstein shows no signs of dwarfism – he is just a tiny horse.


Shih Tzu Puppy 'Baked To Death' At Dog Grooming Parlour

A distraught family have accused a pet grooming parlour of ‘cooking’ their six-month-old shih tzu puppy to death.Pedigree dog Daisy died in ‘unbearable’ heat while in a drying cage after visiting Pets at Home to have her fur cut, washed and dried.Travis Melton, 15, left the dog at the parlour to have her treatments, but when he returned 90 minutes later he was told his pet had died.

The teenager tried to phone his parents to break the news, but was too upset to speak and so the manager of the store – in Sheffield, South Yorkshire – told them Daisy had died in an accident.His mother Sarah, 33, said a member of staff who was about to go on their lunch break had put the puppy in a drying cage and asked two colleagues to keep an eye on her.

‘She was in a shocking state when I saw her body, she must have gone through absolute hell,’ she told The Sun.’If anyone was in that room, they would have been alerted by her whimpering.’But nobody did anything and it carried on to the point where it was as if she was literally “cooked”.’Daisy died after choking on her own vomit and has now been cremated by the family.Two staff at Pets at Home have been suspended and an investigation has been launched.A spokesman said: ‘We have given our condolences to the family.’


Dinosaurs Died From Sudden Temperature Drop 'Not Comet Strike', Scientists Claim

Dinosaurs were wiped out by sudden drop in temperatures, not by comet striking the planet, scientists claimed. British researchers claim that a sudden plummeting in the sea temperature of 16F (9C) more than 137 million years ago was the first step towards their eventual road to extinction.

While studying fossils and minerals from the Arctic Svalbard, Norway, they concluded the sudden change in the Atlantic Gulf Stream during the Cretaceous period would almost certainly have wiped out the ”abundance” of the world’s dinosaurs. Some experts believe the creatures were wiped out by one cataclysmic event 65 million years ago – such as a meteor hitting the planet.

But the new research suggests they were wiped out by a series of environmental changes, starting with a drop in sea temperatures.Gregory Price, from Plymouth University, who led the study, said his team’s research showed the drop in temperature happened when the Earth was in a ”greenhouse” climate, which was very similar to now.He found the drop in temperatures was so severe that numerous species of dinosaur previously living in warm, shallow seas, land and swamps would have died out.

'The Back-Up Plan' Required One J.Lo, Several Dogs

If you intend to see The Back-Up Plan this weekend, you’ll likely fall in love with Nuts, the film’s furry scene-stealer. But if you look closely, you’ll notice Nuts was actually played by several different dogs, all Boston Terriers who were monitored closely by American Humane.”A lot of times you’ll have back-ups that look similar, so you can interchange them,” American Humane senior safety representative Beth Langhorst “They’re like stunt doubles. Some dogs like to run a little more, some like to be held. So directors can work with each dog’s natural abilities.”

Though Nuts is portrayed as a special-needs dog in the movie, Langhorst says none of the pups that played him required assistance. “The wheelchair isn’t for real. It was specially-made, and had a back panel platform for the dogs’ back legs to rest on,” she explains. Dogs were taught to walk with the contraption before filming began, and rewarded with plenty of treats for their efforts.

Langhorst, whose job was to monitor the treatment of the furry stars, says everyone on set was “dog-oriented. They’d make sure not to call the dogs to set unless they were ready to go with the shoot.” And the movie’s star, Jennifer Lopez, took good care of her little castmates, as well. “She spent a lot of time with them and really got them to bond with her,” Langhorst shares. “She wanted the audience to believe Nuts was really her dog.”

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