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MARCH 23, 2015


After pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges, the two men involved last summer's raccoon mauling at the Boyle County Fair will do their community service time at the local Humane Society's animal shelter.

Donald Pike, 31, and Brandon McQueary, 31, both entered guilty pleas Wednesday in Boyle District Court to second-degree animal cruelty. Each was sentenced to perform 100 hours of community service at the shelter as part of their plea agreements.
The men were also each sentenced to 180 days in jail probated for 2 years under supervision, fined $250 and will lose their hunting licenses for a year.

"I thought to serve their community service time at the animal shelter would be instructive to these two individuals," Boyle County Attorney Richard Campbell. "I spoke with (shelter director) Dan Turcea and he was receptive to having them come out."

According to witnesses, a caged raccoon was released into a pack of hounds primed for the hunt, attacked and nearly killed. The event was staged inside the horse arena at the fairgrounds on a Friday night and was witnessed by dozens of people. Pike and McQueary were determined to the be the main organizers and participants in the incident, Campbell said.

The story drew outrage from animal lovers across the nation and came to the attention of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which kept tabs on the case through its investigation by Danville police and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and into the court system.

"We're very familiar with the case," said PETA spokeswoman Stephanie Bell, who follows animal cruelty cases nationwide.

"It's clear that local and state officials took the case very seriously — we were thrilled by the indictment," Bell said. "However, we would have liked to have seen the maximum sentence imposed. Maximum sentencing serves as a deterrent, a lesson and justice for the victim."

Campbell said the maximum sentence for second-degree animal cruelty is $500 and 12 months in jail.
Neither Pike nor McQueary have a significant criminal history, Campbell said, and both would likely have taken their chances at trial without some incentive to plead guilty.

"You have offer something that gets the cases disposed of," the prosecutor said.

Turcea, the shelter's director, was unable for comment Thursday. Another shelter employee, John Hambel, said people assigned to the shelter to perform community service usually clean out areas where dogs and cats are kept, and feed and water the animals.


By Todd Kleffman
The Advocate Messenger

Help name this rare Golden eagle...




MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2015

While Great Lakes states are contending with an influx of invasive Asian carp that are threatening the fishing industry, business is booming for fisheries in Kentucky that process the species to be shipped to Asian countries such as China and Korea, Jere Downs reports for The Courier-Journal in Louisville. Carp, a favorite for fish balls and dumpling filling, is the second most eaten fish in the world. (C-J photo: Fisher-processor John Crilly hefts a 25-pound Asian silver carp into the hold of a fishing boat on Kentucky Lake)

Two Rivers Fisheries, located in Wickliffe, where the Ohio River meets the Mississippi, "shipped 264,000 tons of Asian carp—beheaded, dressed and frozen—overseas last year, said operations manager Jeff Smith. Two Rivers buys between 6,000 and 8,000 tons of Asian carp daily from fishermen in Kentucky and Missouri and expects to ship 440,000 tons this year overseas, he added."

RCB Fish Co., which has only been in business since February, is already taking big orders, with a bulletin board displaying current orders that include "12 tons of fish heads, six tons of silver carp meat, one ton of grass carp, and nearly seven tons of surimi, a paste of fish and natural ingredients like egg white that is most often processed to become imitation crab meat overseas," Downs writes.

"A third new Asian carp processing plant, Riverine Fisheries, aims to moor a fish factory barge on the Mississippi River in Hickman, Kentucky, to create 110 new jobs by year's end," Downs reports. The three companies "have received preliminary approval to receive state tax incentives worth a combined $5 million to process and market the carp to consumers worldwide," she writes in another story.

Written by Tim Mandell

March 18, 2015

Animal-assisted therapy can help healing and lessen depression and fatigue

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Is medicine going to the dogs? Yes, but in a good way. Pet therapy is gaining fans in health care and beyond. Find out what's behind this growing trend.



What is pet therapy?

Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from or better cope with health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and mental health disorders.

Animal-assisted activities, on the other hand, have a more general purpose, such as providing comfort and enjoyment for nursing home residents.

How does animal-assisted therapy work?

Imagine you're in the hospital. Your doctor mentions the hospital's animal-assisted therapy program and asks if you'd be interested. You say yes, and your doctor arranges for someone to tell you more about the program. Soon after that, an assistance dog and its handler visit your hospital room. They stay for 10 or 15 minutes. You're invited to pet the dog and ask the handler questions.

After the visit, you realize you're smiling. And you feel a little less tired and a bit more optimistic. You can't wait to tell your family all about that charming canine. In fact, you're already looking forward to the dog's next visit.

Who can benefit from animal-assisted therapy?

Animal-assisted therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems:

  • Children having dental procedures
  • People receiving cancer treatment
  • People in long-term care facilities
  • People hospitalized with chronic heart failure
  • Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

And it's not only the ill person who reaps the benefits. Family members and friends who sit in on animal visits say they feel better, too.

Pet therapy is also being used in nonmedical settings, such as universities and community programs, to help people deal with anxiety and stress.


Does pet therapy have risks?


The biggest concern, particularly in hospitals, is safety and sanitation. Most hospitals and other facilities that use pet therapy have stringent rules to ensure that the animals are clean, vaccinated, well trained and screened for appropriate behavior.

It's also important to note the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has never received a report of infection from animal-assisted therapy.


Animal-assisted therapy in action


More than a dozen certified therapy dogs are part of Mayo Clinic's Caring Canines program. They make regular visit to various hospital departments and even make special visits on request. For example, one dog and his trainer worked with a 5-year-old girl recovering from spinal surgery. The therapy dog helped her relearn how to walk, taking a step backward each time she took a step forward.


March 4, 2015

This female black Labrador retriever, named Jesse, shown here at the Hardin County Animal Shelter, was rescued Tuesday after falling through ice into a pond.A Labrador retriever is safe and warm following a close call on a melting ice-covered pond in Vine Grove.

Hardin County Animal Control and Vine Grove and Radcliff Fire Departments responded to a call Tuesday afternoon that a black lab had fallen through thinning ice in the middle of a pond on Deckard School Road.

The dog, named Jesse, had been treading water for a few minutes before Debi Dirolf saw her and called authorities fearing for the dog’s safety, Animal Control Director Jerry Foley said.

Animal control officer Mike Patterson said when he got to the scene, Jesse was 35 to 40 feet away from shore and appeared to have been treading water for a while. Another black lab, named Jake, was running around the shore line directing the rescuers to his sister, he said.

“If it had been any other type of dog, she probably wouldn’t have made it,” he said.

Jesse weighed just enough that if she tried to pull herself back on to the ice, it would collapse and she wasn’t able to break the ice to return to shore, Patterson said.

Patterson said he and Dirolf were able to break the ice to get almost to the dog and Radcliff Fire Chief Jamie Henderson waded in the rest of the way to pull the dog to safety.

Henderson said he waded into the pond up above his waist to retrieve the dog.

“Everything was on its way, but it was the right time (to go in and get her),” Henderson said. “She made her way back quite a bit, but she was just wore out. She was just exhausted.”

Henderson estimated he was 15 to 20 feet out when he grabbed the dog.

“She was pretty happy to see us,” he said. “She was wagging her tail.”

Patterson estimated the dog had been in the water between 30 minutes and an hour. She was wearing a blue collar and the other dog, a male, was wearing a red collar.

After checking her vitals, both dogs were taken to Hardin County Animal Shelter to warm up and dry off, Patterson said.

The dogs' owner, Jane Jones, said she was thankful to find out where her dogs were and that others cared enough to save her dog.

Jones said when she returned home from work and couldn't find her 10-month-old dogs, she felt "sick to her stomach."

"They love being outside," she said, adding the dogs are protected during the day by an invisible fence. "They're best buddies."

Jones said she's had the pair since they were 6 weeks old because their mother got sick. Now the dogs are part of the family. 

"They love people," she said. "I don't know how long Jesse would have lasted. Thankfully everyone got wet and saved her."

Although animal control was closed by the time Jones returned from work, she said she looks forward to being reunited with her dogs "first thing in the morning."

By Gina Clear
The News-Enterprise


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