This Pit Bull Carried Her Injured Chihuahua ‘Soul Mate’ To Safety, Now They Need A Loving Home
Jul22

This Pit Bull Carried Her Injured Chihuahua ‘Soul Mate’ To Safety, Now They Need A Loving Home

About a week ago, Joanie the pit bull was discovered carrying an injured little friend — Chachi the Chihuahua — inside her mouth, around a Savannah, Georgia, neighborhood.

Animal control officers found Joanie putting Chachi down from time to time, to lick the Chihuahua’s badly infected eye. Chachi “appreciated the attention,” according the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department’s Facebook post on the pair.

“It’s not every day we get to see such devotion between two special dogs like this,” Animal Control Officer Christina Sutherin is quoted as saying. “They are both such sweet animals. But the relationship they share just sets them apart.”

Shelter veterinarians had to remove Chachi’s bum eye, and so Joanie has been living separately from her companion while he convalesces — though Sutherin tells HuffPost that the two still “get together-time daily.”

“Staff is amazed at the dedication and love these two have for one another,” says Sutherin.

At first, police expected Joanie and Chachi’s owner to come forward; since no one has yet claimed the pair, the new hope is that the pups will be adopted together, into a family with lots of love — but maybe without any other dogs.

“Neither one seems to care about another dog they are exposed to, only each other,” says Sutherin. “They truly appear to be soul mates.”

Find out more about this special couple of doggies from the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department — and get in touch at arin.greenwood@huffingtonpost.com if you’ve got an animal story to share!

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Death Toll Of Typhoon Rammasun Rises To 151
Jul22

Death Toll Of Typhoon Rammasun Rises To 151

BEIJING (AP) — The death toll from the strongest typhoon to hit China’s south in decades was raised to 46 on Tuesday, increasing the overall toll to 151 people dead in three countries just before a second storm approaches land.

The Civil Affairs Ministry said 25 other people were still missing after Typhoon Rammasun made landfall Friday. The storm brought hail and heavy rains and destroyed tens of thousands of homes, damaged roads and ports and cut electricity and water supplies in southern Chinese cities. It was the strongest typhoon to hit southern China in 41 years, with wind speeds reaching 216 kilometers per hour (130 mph), according to the China Meteorological Administration. It also caused 94 deaths in the Philippines earlier last week and at least 11 in Vietnam over the weekend.

Another typhoon, Matmo, packing sustained winds of 139 kph (85 mph) was approaching Taiwan and forecast to hit its east-central coast Wednesday morning. Torrential rains, exceeding 20 centimeters (7.8 inches) over 24 hours, were forecast for virtually the entire island. Some areas of Taiwan are mountainous and prone to mudslides.

Matmo is forecast to cross the island before hitting the Chinese mainland in the afternoon or evening, far east of Rammasun’s path.

The official Xinhua News Agency said heavy rains were expected in Shanghai and other areas and that authorities were prepared to respond to flooding.

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Houston, We Have a Problem – With Bird Poisoning

Images of distressed birds writhing, seizing and flopping their wings, broadcast last week on Houston television, were tough for the public to see. Photographers for KHOU-TV recorded this horror show at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) after a contractor hired by airport authorities, in cooperation with United Airlines, intentionally poisoned grackles, pigeons and other birds, with corn kernels mixed with the deadly toxicant Avitrol®. Startled airport employees saw birds dropping out of the sky shortly after dawn on Saturday and the deaths continued through the weekend. Some birds being filmed took almost an hour to die.

Aviation safety must be a priority, given that so many human lives depend on incident-free flights, and there are times when aggressive management of birds at airports is warranted. But the plan executed in Houston seems particularly cruel and unnecessary. No management authority should be able to vaguely invoke public health and safety as a rationale for this kind of cruel killing, especially when it has allowed airport bird populations to reach into the hundreds and made a minimal effort to employ preventative and non-lethal strategies first.

Today, I wrote to city, airport and United Airlines officials, pointing out that “exclusion, with netting or by other means, keeps birds from places where they might nest, roost, or simply find shelter. Managing the habitat, such as altering the height of grass on runways, can help keep birds off airfields, and other management actions can be undertaken to deny birds access to key on-site sources of food and water, as a means of compelling them to go elsewhere.” I also noted that “frightening devices and visual repellents are commonly deployed at airports to reduce risks of bird strikes. Underlying all of these approaches is a humane population management strategy that can stabilize populations through the use of birth control via a commercially available reproductive inhibitor, OvoControl®.” Why were these types of practices not employed prior to the decision to conduct indiscriminate poisoning?

Airport authorities in Dallas-Fort Worth told the Houston Chronicle that they do not use lethal tactics, and many other airports around the nation have discarded Avitrol as a realistic means of preventing airplanes from striking birds. Avitrol is a particularly inhumane and indiscriminate poison that is marketed as a “frightening agent” because it causes birds to convulse and suffer over long periods of time. The erratic movements of the dying birds ostensibly scare other birds. The Environmental Protection Agency rightly placed new restrictions last year on Avitrol’s use

Bird killing, especially by cruel methods, is an issue we’ve been confronting for years, especially as conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at airports and aquaculture facilities, in municipalities, crop fields, feedlots and other settings where conflicts between birds and people arise. Wildlife Services, as the USDA’s program is known, kills 3 to 5 million birds a year. The government’s approach, like the Houston airport’s, needs to be re-examined in light of the public’s concern about humane treatment of all animals.

We are fortunate to have a world populated with birds. To be able to watch their incredible feats of flight and hear their marvelous song is a source of human wonder and enjoyment. We see them around our homes and workplaces in ways we cannot often see and enjoy other wildlife. They enrich our lives. Of course, conflicts are inevitable but the challenge for us is to actively manage these in a way that does not leave a trail of death and misery in its wake.

Houston airport officials and United Airlines showed us the wrong way to handle the conflict. Let’s take a lesson from this and move toward more humane control methods, so this grisly scenario is never repeated again. The events in Houston should be a primer for every airport in the nation on how not to handle a situation with birds and aircraft.

This article first appeared on Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation.

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When Kids Know Best

He thought parenting was something a couple did together, but when your wife is a busy pastor, sometimes you have to handle it solo.

A gloomy, foggy morning in San Francisco. Standard issue for the City by the Bay. I swerved into a rare parking spot and the kids woke up in the backseat, grumpy. I tried to filter the irritation out of my voice as I helped them out of the car.

I hoisted up my backpack, full of our lunches, and herded seven-year-old Frances and four-year-old Benjamin toward the light-rail stop. This was supposed to be fun, I reminded myself. A day out with the kids.

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Armed Bandits Demand Water In Dry Northern India
Jul22

Armed Bandits Demand Water In Dry Northern India

LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Armed bandits in drought-stricken northern India are threatening to kill hundreds of villagers unless they deliver 35 buckets of water each day to the outlaws in their rural hideouts.

Since the threats were delivered last week, 28 villages have been obeying the order, taking turns handing over what the bandits are calling a daily “water tax,” police said Monday. “Water itself is very scarce in this region. Villagers can hardly meet their demand,” officer Suresh Kumar Singh said by telephone from Banda, a city on the southern border of central Uttar Pradesh state and caught within what is known in India as bandit country.

Though the number of bandits has declined drastically in recent decades, they are still common in the hard-to-reach forests and mountains of the Bundelkhand region. Banditry dates back some 800 years in India to when emperors still ruled.

The area is cut off from supply lines, leaving the bandits reliant on surrounding villages. Since 2007, it has been starved for rain, with the yearly monsoon bringing only half the usual number of 52 rainy days a year.

“A few bandits are still active in the ravines,” Singh said. “They ask for water, food and shelter from the villages.”

But while the bandits were once admired as caste warlords with a touch of Robin Hood about them, as they fought to protest feudal orders or to avenge personal wrongs, today’s bandits are considered mostly opportunistic thugs seeking personal wealth and power.

Last week, the bandits sent messengers to tell people in nearby villages they would be “shot dead” unless they provided the water, said Bagwat Prasad, from the local charity group that works on water and sanitation issues.

Small lakes and streams in the area have dried up, and the bandits are reluctant to risk running into police by leaving the area to fetch water supplies. India has set a $4,200 reward for information leading to the gang leader’s arrest on charges of murder, looting and kidnapping.

Afraid of the bandits, who are from the Balkhariya gang, villagers last Wednesday began hauling water — sometimes 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) — into the unruly region where the gang is believed to have hideouts, Prasad said.

“Any request from Balkhariya gang members is an order,” Prasad said. “No one can dare to say no.”

Police said the water supply scheme could give them an opportunity to hunt down the bandits.

“Secrecy is the mantra of any gang,” Deputy Inspector General Amitabh Yash said. But “if the supply line is exposed, the gang can be finished any day.”

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‘Pay-as-you-go’ solar financing hits new milestone
Jul22

‘Pay-as-you-go’ solar financing hits new milestone

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: pay-as-you-go solar is the future for those working beyond the grid.

From Pakistan to Kenya, anecdotal reports have trickled in that pay-as-you-go solar finance — the off-grid solar market’s version of a “solar lease” — is driving record sales. Now, we have one more data point to add to the mounting evidence. Solar market leading d.light, a manufacturer and distributor of solar light and power products that just closed a $11 million series C investment, announced it sold a record 500,000 solar systems. Those systems will serve a record 2.5 million people. This is all thanks to pay-as-you-go financing.

This announcement is a confirmation of what many in the off-grid solar market have been saying for quite some time: it’s all about unlocking finance. That’s why the solar industry continues to demand $500 million from the World Bank in order to catalyze growth. (You can support their call by signing our petition here). Of course with millions flowing into the solar market from a variety of sources, they’re not exactly waiting for international financial institutions to make a move.

But enterprise financing is just one piece of the puzzle. Access to financing for everyday consumers is just as critical to unlock solar for the masses. That’s because the upfront costs of solar technology can often times leave these clean off-grid energy products out of reach for many.

That’s why d.light is doubling down on its success by announcing a new initiative that will focus on integrating advanced product technology and service offerings for a full range of payment systems, including microloans, self-help groups, top-up cards, and mobile money. Making solar financing as easy as possible for customers is the best way to get solar power into their hands.


Photo courtesy of d.light

The new initiative, dubbed ‘Energy Access Accelerator’, will be led by d.light’s President, Ned Tozun, and Managing Director of Global Consumer Finance, Sateesh Kumar. Mr. Kumar is a former Executive Vice President of SKS Microfinance, one of the largest public microfinance institutions in the world.

And by unlocking consumer finance, that means unlocking this $12 billion solar market.

According to Donn Tice, Chairman and CEO of d.light, the “Energy Access Accelerator will be focused on scaling distributed energy solutions. Scale requires a consistent user experience, reliable energy and flexible payment options.”

With over six million solar products currently being used around the world — serving an estimated 36 million people — d.light knows a little something about scale. But until now, pay-as-you-go finance, currently 20 percent of d.light’s sales, was a relatively minor arrow in the companies quiver.

With this announcement, that’s set to change, and it’s a potent signal of the emergence of consumer finance in the beyond the grid marketplace.

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Put This Marijuana Quiz In Your Pipe And Smoke It
Jul22

Put This Marijuana Quiz In Your Pipe And Smoke It

This year has already been a huge one for marijuana and pot policy, and if you don’t know why, this quiz is already looking pretty tough. Whether you’re an occasional toker, a hardcore marijuana policy expert or just love the fact that the substance has about 3 million different nicknames, take the quiz below and test how much you really know about pot, weed, ganja, grass, chronic, green, reefer, etc.

Be sure to click the key icon when you’re done for full answers to the quiz.

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Matt Ferner contributed to this piece.

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Homeless Man Who Sold Sketches Of Dog Now Has Own Art Show, Credits His ‘Guardian Angel’ Pup
Jul22

Homeless Man Who Sold Sketches Of Dog Now Has Own Art Show, Credits His ‘Guardian Angel’ Pup

Many of us love our dogs, but not many of us have them to thank for our success.

John Dolan, a 43-year-old artist living in England, struggled with poverty, drug addiction and homelessness for much of his life, Reuters reported. Then, one day, a fellow homeless woman gave Dolan a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy who she had traded for the price of a can of beer. The dog’s name was George, and he would have a transformative effect on his new owner’s life.

Dolan quickly formed a deep bond with George, and realized that he had to clean up his act if he wanted to keep him, according to The Guardian. Dolan, who had a record, knew that if he wound up in prison again he would lose his canine companion, and so he turned to begging and selling sketches on the street to make ends meet.

It was only because I had the animal and he’s a responsibility,” he told the outlet. “He’s like my child in a sense and I feel obliged to keep a roof over his head and keep him warm.”

For three years Dolan sold sketches of George and the surrounding buildings to passersby for a few dollars, until he was approached by a gallery director named Richard Howard-Griffin. Howard-Griffin discovered him and helped him put on his first art show in September of last year. It was a huge success.

I mean, John’s rise has been really meteoric in the art world,” Howard-Griffin told Reuters. “It’s like watching an artist’s career in fast-forward — that’s what a lot of artists say so his first show was a sell-out, he’s got a second show now coming out which is really, really amazing.”

Dolan, who used to sell his sketches for pocket change, now makes 3,000 to 4,000 British pounds (about $5,000 to $6,800) for them, the outlet reported. He will be heading to Los Angeles soon for his first show abroad, and has also written a book, called “John and George: The Dog Who Changed My Life.”

It’s undeniably a huge change for Dolan, but no matter where success and fame take this artist, you can be sure that his best friend George won’t be far behind.

I feel like he’s a guardian angel.” Dolan told the Guardian. “If it hadn’t been for him I’d have never picked up my pen.”

To see more of John Dolan’s work at the Howard Griffin Gallery, visit here and here.

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