Family & Pets

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Owners shocked as they’re reunited with cat after 3,400km five-year trip

<p>Sasha the cat hadn’t been seen by his owners in five years after a long walk meant that he didn’t come home.</p> <p>However, in a surprise twist, they are set to be reunited this week as the adventurous cat went on a shocking 3,400km journey from their home in Portland, Oregon. This means that Sasha was found in Santa Fe, which is in the US’s far south.</p> <p>His owner, Vicktor Usov had figured that a coyote had gotten to Sasha five years ago.</p> <p>“We waited a week or so,” Mr Usov said to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2019/11/portland-man-to-reunite-with-lost-cat-found-1300-miles-away-after-five-years-on-the-loose.html?utm_medium=social&amp;utm_campaign=theoregonian_sf&amp;utm_source=facebook" target="_blank">The Oregonian</a></em>.</p> <p>“But when we didn’t get a call from the Humane Society and no one returned him, we figured a coyote got him. We were upset but we moved on.”</p> <p>However, a phone call from an animal shelter in Santa Fe turned around Usov’s day.</p> <p>"We have this long-haired black cat ... it's attached to your name on its microchip," the voice on the line said.</p> <p>The animal shelter officer that found Sasha said that they were lucky he was microchipped as it could be proved he belonged to Portland resident Viktor Usov.</p> <p>It appears that Sasha was less than thrilled when he was picked up.</p> <p>"He was very mad when we picked him up," said Murad Kirdar of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/portland-cat-turns-up-1300-miles-away-five-years-later-santa-fe-new-mexico/283-657bf08c-8683-4b05-bcdd-ecd755924e53" target="_blank">KGW</a></em>. "He's not skinny ... definitely been eating."</p> <p>Usov is thrilled for his return, although he’s unsure as to how Sasha got more than 3,400kms away.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fsfhumanesociety%2Fvideos%2F441579156500117%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>"He went on a grand American adventure," Usov said. "He stopped by the Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, he saw the monuments, all the national parks, definitely Redwood Forest."</p> <p>Usov also reminisced on quirks of Sasha after adopting him from the Humane Society in Oregan.</p> <p>"He'd always greet you at the door with his little tail wagging," said Usov. "Loved his belly scratched."</p> <p>"I will recognise him for sure," Usov said.</p> <p>Sasha is currently on a flight home to Portland, where the pair will be reunited.</p>

Family & Pets

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Bei Bei the giant panda leaves Washington for China

<p>Bei Bei the giant panda was born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C in 2015.</p> <p>However, he’s heading back to China after an agreement with the zoo. It means that giant pandas go back to China after the giant panda turns 4.</p> <p>Bei Bei was named by former First Lady Michelle Obama and China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan and was the first generation of pandas to live at the National Zoo.</p> <p>"Bei Bei is part of our family," Steve Monfort, a zoo director, told <em><a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/17/us/bei-bei-giant-panda-national-zoo-trnd/index.html">CNN</a></em>. "Our team has cared for him, learned from him and, along with millions, loved watching him grow."</p> <p>“We’re sad he’s leaving, but excited for the contributions he will make to the global giant panda population. Bei Bei is an ambassador for conservation and part of a 47-year program that proves bringing species and habitats back from the brink is possible through global cooperation.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Bei Bei always sticks the landing. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ByeByeBeiBei?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ByeByeBeiBei</a> <a href="https://t.co/gEFU641UGs">pic.twitter.com/gEFU641UGs</a></p> — National Zoo (@NationalZoo) <a href="https://twitter.com/NationalZoo/status/1196422839672475648?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">18 November 2019</a></blockquote> <p>If you’re worried about how he’s travelling, Bei Bei gets his own private jet for the journey from Washington to China.</p> <p>It’s called the Panda Express and he has great snack options on board, including 66 pounds of bamboo, snacks and water. As giant pandas eat 20 to 40 pounds of bamboo each day, this should last Bei Bei a day and a half on his long journey.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">Wheels up on the FedEx Panda 🐼 Express! ✈️ You can track Bei Bei’s flight FDX9759 here: <a href="https://t.co/PizokJyYDt">https://t.co/PizokJyYDt</a> Thank you <a href="https://twitter.com/FedEx?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FedEx</a>! <a href="https://t.co/N93Y7HVS3r">pic.twitter.com/N93Y7HVS3r</a></p> — National Zoo (@NationalZoo) <a href="https://twitter.com/NationalZoo/status/1196844909979938818?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">19 November 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Bei Bei is the third giant panda that was born at the zoo to move to China, following Tai Shan who moved in 2010 and Bao Bao who moved in 2017.</p> <p>In order to celebrate his time at the zoo, Bei Bei was awarded with an ice cake which had some of his favourite treats, such as sugar cane and sweet potato.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">🐼🎂 Here’s a close up of Bei Bei’s ice cake! It featured some of his fav treats like sugar cane and sweet potato! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ByeByeBeiBei?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ByeByeBeiBei</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PandaStory?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PandaStory</a> <a href="https://t.co/MJYuLAoHEG">pic.twitter.com/MJYuLAoHEG</a></p> — National Zoo (@NationalZoo) <a href="https://twitter.com/NationalZoo/status/1196115384354721792?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">17 November 2019</a></blockquote> <p>He has now arrived safely in China and is in safe hands at the Bifengxia Panda Base. The animal care team at the Smithsonian zoo will stay with him for a few days to make sure that Bei Bei adjusts well to his new home.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">🐼 🛬 Bei Bei has arrived safely in China. Our animal care team will go with Bei Bei to his new home and stay with him for a few days at the Bifengxia Panda Base. Thanks to <a href="https://twitter.com/FedEx?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FedEx</a> and their crew! Thanks for the outpouring of support for Bei Bei ❤️and our panda team! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ByeByeBeiBei?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ByeByeBeiBei</a> <a href="https://t.co/rFf9aXZYQc">pic.twitter.com/rFf9aXZYQc</a></p> — National Zoo (@NationalZoo) <a href="https://twitter.com/NationalZoo/status/1197090641177649153?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">20 November 2019</a></blockquote> <p>There are an estimated 1,800 giant pandas left in the wild and they are listed as “vulnerable” in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.</p>

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How to plan for animals in emergencies

<p>Animals are desperately vulnerable to natural disasters. An <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw-bushfires-koala-population-like-in-a-cremation-after-blazes-20191110-p5396f.html">estimated 350 koalas have died</a> during <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2019/nov/12/nsw-fires-qld-bushfires-queensland-australia-new-south-wales-catastrophic-fire-danger-warning-emergency-sydney-illawarra-hunter-shoalhaven">catastrophic bushfire conditions</a> across eastern Australia and reports of injured animals continue to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-06/first-koalas-triaged-after-devastating-bushfires/11671924">pour in</a>.</p> <p>It’s not just wildlife at risk. February’s Townsville floods claimed the lives of some <a href="https://theconversation.com/catastrophic-queensland-floods-killed-600-000-cattle-and-devastated-native-species-120753">600,000 cattle</a>. People are often injured while attempting to rescue pets, and the thought of leaving a dependent animal to face fire alone is devastating.</p> <p>The good news is there are already disaster management plans for animals in some states in Australia. Knowing about these plans can help you reduce the risk to your loved ones – human and otherwise.</p> <p><strong>Know your state’s rules</strong></p> <p>Since the 2009 Royal Commission into Victorian bushfires, <a href="https://www.emergency.nsw.gov.au/Documents/plans/supporting-plans/Agriculture-and-Animal-Services-Functional-Area-Supporting-Plan-2016.pdf">New South Wales</a>, <a href="http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/365088/Victorian-Animal-Emergency-Welfare-Plan_updated.pdf">Victoria</a>, <a href="https://semc.wa.gov.au/emergency-management/plans/state-support-plans/Documents/InterimStateSupportPlanAnimalWelfareinEmergencies.pdf">Western Australia</a> and <a href="https://www.dpc.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/38355/Managing-Animals-in-Emergencie....pdf">South Australia</a> have adopted animal welfare plans for pets, livestock and wildlife.</p> <p>Animal disaster management plans try to anticipate how the needs of animals will be managed in the event of a disaster. They assign roles to government agencies and non-government organisations to administer relief for animals.</p> <p>During a disaster, however, animal owners remain responsible for them. A legal duty of care remains, although what that demands obviously changes during an emergency.</p> <p><strong>What about pets?</strong></p> <p>In NSW, people are advised to keep their pets with them in an emergency. Contained animals, such as dogs on a leash or cats in a carrier, may be taken to “animal friendly” evacuation centres.</p> <p>Likewise, the Victorian plan directs councils either to ensure evacuation centres are equipped for animals or to advise people of alternative arrangements.</p> <p>Unfortunately, SA and WA do not allow pets in evacuation centres (with the exception of assistance animals), meaning they must be housed outside or at a different location. Animal management plans in these states cite fairly vague “health and safety” reasons for the exclusion.</p> <p>If you’re at any risk of future evacuation it’s vital you check whether your nearest relief centre can accommodate your pet. Even if you’re planning to stay with friends or family, unexpected circumstances may force you to spend some time at a relief centre.</p> <p>Your disaster kit should contain pet food, registration and vaccination details, bedding, and any other equipment and medicine. You should also have a recent photo of your animal on your phone or printed out (puppy photos will not be useful in tracking down your adult dog).</p> <p>State guidelines also urge pet owners to make sure your animals are properly vaccinated, microchipped, and wearing identification tags. Local councils, veterinarians, the RSPCA and Animal Welfare League are often designated points of contact when companion animals become lost in a disaster.</p> <p><strong>Livestock and horses</strong></p> <p>Livestock and large companion animals are obviously harder to manage than small pets. Disaster management guidelines recommend contacting relocation sites well before an emergency happens to arrange accommodation, and ensuring you have access to suitable transport ahead of time.</p> <p>If you are unable to make advance arrangements – or if your plans have been disrupted – you can generally take large animals, such as horses, to your local evacuation centre for advice on your options.</p> <p>If your animals cannot be moved off your property, the guidelines call for owners to move the animals to a low-risk area stocked with food and water for several days. Even if you plan to evacuate your horses or livestock, it’s a good idea to identify a suitable spot just in case.</p> <p>Planning and guidance documents also stress that horses should be microchipped. The <a href="https://www.nlis.com.au/">National Livestock Identification System</a> may be used to track certain agricultural animals. They also arrange the distribution of emergency fodder following disasters.</p> <p><strong>Wildlife</strong></p> <p>Wild animals face unique challenges in disasters. They cannot be systematically evacuated and are highly dependent on natural habitat for their survival.</p> <p>Animal emergency plans and guidance therefore tend to focus on providing relief to wild animals affected by disaster, relying on the contribution of charitable organisations.</p> <p>The NSW plan identifies several partner wildlife rescue organisations, including WIRES, which is the state’s principal avenue for reporting injured wildlife. In SA, animal welfare organisations also lead relief efforts, whereas in Victoria, the government coordinates rescue and triage actions with support from volunteers.</p> <p>In addition to relief services, holistic planning requires measures for preserving habitat and wildlife corridors. These reduce the risk of animal populations becoming isolated, and improve the availability of viable alternative habitat.</p> <p>While some states have made good progress, every jurisdiction needs clear processes for managing animal welfare during emergencies. As our fire season continues, make sure you’re familiar with your state or territory and local council animal welfare plans.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/126936/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><span><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/ashleigh-best-821440"><em>Ashleigh Best</em></a><em>, PhD Candidate in Law, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a></em></span></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-we-plan-for-animals-in-emergencies-126936">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What a mass extinction is and what it means for you

<p>For more than 3.5 billion years, living organisms have thrived, multiplied and diversified to occupy every ecosystem on Earth. The flip side to this explosion of new species is that species extinctions have also always been part of the evolutionary life cycle.</p> <p>But these two processes are not always in step. When the loss of species rapidly outpaces the formation of new species, this balance can be tipped enough to elicit what are known as “mass extinction” events.</p> <p>A mass extinction is usually defined as a loss of about three quarters of all species in existence across the entire Earth over a “short” geological period of time. Given the vast amount of time since life first evolved on the planet, “short” is defined as anything less than 2.8 million years.</p> <p>Since at least the <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/215/4539/1501">Cambrian period</a> <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.earth.33.092203.122654">that began</a> around 540 million years ago when the diversity of life <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/105/Supplement_1/11536">first exploded</a> into a vast array of forms, only five extinction events have definitively met these mass-extinction criteria.</p> <p>These so-called “Big Five” have become part of the scientific benchmark to determine whether human beings have today created the conditions for a sixth mass extinction.</p> <p><strong>The Big Five</strong></p> <p>These five mass extinctions have happened on average every 100 million years or so since the Cambrian, although there is no detectable pattern in their particular timing. Each event itself lasted between 50 thousand and 2.76 million years. The first mass extinction happened at the end of the Ordovician period about 443 million years ago and wiped out over 85% of all species.</p> <p>The Ordovician event <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/pala.12397">seems to have been the result</a> of two climate phenomena. First, a planetary-scale period of glaciation (a global-scale “ice age”), then a rapid warming period.</p> <p>The second mass extinction occurred during the Late Devonian period around 374 million years ago. This affected around 75% of all species, most of which were bottom-dwelling invertebrates in tropical seas at that time.</p> <p>This period in Earth’s past was characterised by high variation in sea levels, and rapidly alternating conditions of global cooling and warming. It was also the time when plants were starting to take over dry land, and there was a drop in global CO<sub>2</sub> concentration; all this was accompanied by soil transformation and periods of low oxygen.</p> <p>The third and most devastating of the Big Five occurred at the end of the Permian period around 250 million years ago. This wiped out more than 95% of all species in existence at the time.</p> <p>Some of the suggested <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018216306915">causes</a> include an asteroid impact that filled the air with pulverised particle, creating unfavourable climate conditions for many species. These could have blocked the sun and generated intense acid rains. Some other possible causes are still debated, such as massive volcanic activity in what is today Siberia, increasing ocean toxicity caused by an increase in atmospheric CO₂, or the spread of oxygen-poor water in the deep ocean.</p> <p>Fifty million years after the great Permian extinction, about <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/248289771_Triassic-Jurassic_boundary_events_Problems_progress_possibilities">80% of the world’s species</a> <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/292/5519/1148">again went extinct</a> during the Triassic event. This was <a href="https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319680088">possibly caused</a> by some colossal geological activity in what is today the Atlantic Ocean that would have elevated atmospheric CO₂ concentrations, increased global temperatures, and acidified oceans.</p> <p>The last and probably most well-known of the mass-extinction events happened during the Cretaceous period, when an estimated 76% of all species went extinct, including the non-avian dinosaurs. The demise of the dinosaur super predators gave mammals a new opportunity to diversify and occupy new habitats, from which human beings eventually evolved.</p> <p>The <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/350/6256/76">most likely cause</a> of the Cretaceous mass extinction was an extraterrestrial impact in the Yucatán of modern-day Mexico, a massive volcanic eruption in the Deccan Province of modern-day west-central India, or both in combination.<img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/301159/original/file-20191111-178484-1e7unnm.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /><strong>Is today’s biodiversity crisis a sixth mass extinction?</strong></p> <p>The Earth is currently experiencing an extinction crisis largely due to the exploitation of the planet by people. But whether this constitutes a sixth mass extinction depends on whether today’s extinction rate is greater than the “normal” or “background” rate that occurs between mass extinctions.</p> <p>This background rate indicates how fast species would be expected to disappear in absence of human endeavour, and it’s mostly measured using the fossil record to count how many species died out between mass extinction events.</p> <p>The most accepted background rate estimated from the fossil record gives an average lifespan of about one million years for a species, or one species extinction per million species-years. But this estimated rate is highly uncertain, ranging between 0.1 and 2.0 extinctions per million species-years. Whether we are now indeed in a sixth mass extinction depends to some extent on the true value of this rate. Otherwise, it’s difficult to compare Earth’s situation today with the past.</p> <p>In contrast to the the Big Five, today’s species losses are driven by a <a href="http://assets.press.princeton.edu/chapters/s5_8879.pdf">mix of direct and indirect human activities</a>, such as the destruction and fragmentation of habitats, direct exploitation like fishing and hunting, chemical pollution, invasive species, and human-caused global warming.</p> <p>If we use the same approach to estimate today’s extinctions per million species-years, we come up with a rate that is between <a href="https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/66/9/785/1753703">ten and 10,000 times higher than the background rate</a>.</p> <p>Even considering a conservative background rate of <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/5/e1400253">two extinctions per million species-years</a>, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have otherwise taken between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear if they were merely succumbing to the expected extinctions that happen at random. This alone supports the notion that the Earth is at least experiencing many more extinctions than expected from the background rate.</p> <p>It would <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature11018">likely take several millions of years</a> of normal evolutionary diversification to “restore” the Earth’s species to what they were prior to human beings rapidly changing the planet. Among land vertebrates (species with an internal skeleton), <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/345/6195/401">322 species have been recorded going extinct</a> since the year 1500, or about 1.2 species going extinction every two years.</p> <p>If this doesn’t sound like much, it’s important to remember extinction is always preceded by a loss in population abundance and shrinking distributions. Based on the number of decreasing vertebrate species listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s <a href="https://www.iucnredlist.org/">Red List of Threatened Species</a>, 32% of all known species across all ecosystems and groups are decreasing in abundance and range. In fact, the Earth has lost about <a href="https://wwf.panda.org/knowledge_hub/all_publications/living_planet_index2/">60% of all vertebrate individuals since 1970</a>.</p> <p>Australia has one of the worst recent extinction records of any continent, with <a href="https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9ca4/f10e7349b6618dfbbfeb118a0954ab0643b8.pdf">more than 100 species of vertebrates going extinct</a> since the first people arrived over 50 thousand years ago. And more than 300 animal and 1,000 plant species are <a href="https://www.iucnredlist.org/">now considered threatened with imminent extinction</a>.</p> <p>Although biologists are still debating how much the current extinction rate exceeds the background rate, even the most conservative estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity typical of a mass extinction event.</p> <p>In fact, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12210-013-0258-9">some studies show</a> that the interacting conditions experienced today, such as accelerated <a href="http://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-35068-1">climate change</a>, changing atmospheric composition caused by human industry, and abnormal ecological stresses arising from human consumption of resources, define a perfect storm for extinctions. All these conditions together indicate that a sixth mass extinction is <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature09678">already well under way</a>.</p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frederik-saltre-220925">Frédérik Saltré</a>, Research Fellow in Ecology &amp; Associate Investigator for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/corey-j-a-bradshaw-9183">Corey J. A. Bradshaw</a>, Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology and Models Theme Leader for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-is-a-mass-extinction-and-are-we-in-one-now-122535">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Dog theft is on the rise: How in danger is your pet and what can be done about it

<p>Dog theft has a devastating impact on people and families and is a known <a href="https://theconversation.com/pet-theft-is-on-the-rise-with-more-than-60-dogs-stolen-in-the-uk-every-week-91418">gateway to animal cruelty</a> and <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/your-money-or-your-pet-76911.html">extortion</a>. Yet <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050209">very few criminals get caught, let alone charged</a>.</p> <p>Some victims point to police inaction, others to the courts. But the reality is that the law informs police priorities and resources, and the sentencing of magistrates. The law has also made dog theft a low-risk, high-reward crime which continues to rise in the UK.</p> <p>Under the <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/60/contents">Theft Act 1968</a>, animal companions are legally regarded as inanimate objects when stolen – their sentience and role within the family are not taken into consideration. Nor is pet theft recognised in the <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/45/contents">Animal Welfare Act 2006</a>.</p> <p>Dog theft crime, and pet theft more generally, is therefore not a specific offence. Instead, stolen pets come under other theft offences such as burglary or theft from a person. Bicycle theft, on the other hand, is recognised as its own offence.</p> <p>This means police records on dog theft are not included in crime statistics, and the only way to access such information is through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to individual police forces.</p> <p><strong>The facts</strong></p> <p>Over the years, <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050209">stolen dog figures</a> have been collected by insurance companies and charities and shared by the media, helping to raise awareness of the growing issue. These statistics, however, are always incomplete as police forces do not use a standardised approach to recording pet theft.</p> <p>This means that gathering data from crime recording systems can be time consuming and expensive. The FOI response from Police Scotland, for example, states their systems “do not offer the capability to search according to property stolen”; this is much the same for police forces in Wiltshire, Hampshire and Sussex.</p> <p>My forthcoming <a href="https://www.keele.ac.uk/gge/ourpeople/danielallen/#research-and-scholarship">study</a>, which includes complete FOI statistics for 39 of 44 police forces in England and Wales, found that recorded dog theft crimes rose from 1,545 in 2015 to 1,849 in 2018 – a rise of nearly 20%. Meanwhile, there was a fall in charges related to dog theft crimes: 64 in 2015 to 20 in 2018 – a reduction of nearly 70% (68.7%).</p> <p>In 2018, the police forces with the most dog theft crimes were: Metropolitan (London) (256), West Yorkshire (167), Greater Manchester (145), Merseyside (117), and Kent (108). But overall, only 1% of dog theft crime cases investigated resulted in a charge in England and Wales.</p> <p>Under the Theft Act 1968, sentencing is dependent on the monetary value of the stolen animal (under or above £500), and the crime is treated as a category three (fine to two years in custody) or four offence (fine to 36 weeks in custody) in magistrates court.</p> <p>The Ministry of Justice has rejected multiple FOI requests to establish what exact sentences have been handed down, but media reports show what some dog thieves are receiving if caught.<span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/download/success?u=http%3A%2F%2Fdownload.shutterstock.com%2Fgatekeeper%2FW3siZSI6MTU3MTA4NDc0MCwiYyI6Il9waG90b19zZXNzaW9uX2lkIiwiZGMiOiJpZGxfMTIyMzAzNjMzOCIsImsiOiJwaG90by8xMjIzMDM2MzM4L21lZGl1bS5qcGciLCJtIjoxLCJkIjoic2h1dHRlcnN0b2NrLW1lZGlhIn0sImNGK3lsblhKczRzdk13R0xJUGVMMFh3ekhocyJd%2Fshutterstock_1223036338.jpg&amp;pi=33421636&amp;m=1223036338&amp;src=xrXsrrUiknzyi-_dSK0RjQ-2-30" class="source"></a></span></p> <p>In June 2018, a gang of four were tried at Lincoln Crown Court for stealing <a href="https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/news/local-news/real-life-cruella-de-vil-1651862">15 Cavalier King Charles spaniels</a> from a Lincolnshire breeder. Only one of the dogs was later recovered and reunited with its owner, having been thrown from a moving vehicle. All four of the accused pleaded guilty to theft – and the gang members received suspended sentences of between 12 and 16 months.</p> <p>In December 2018, a dog thief who pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates Court to stealing <a href="http://www.stolenandmissingpetsalliance.co.uk/dog-thief-pleads-guilty-and-received-200-fine-400-costs-and-received-a-drugs-rehabilitation-order-and-my-dogs-are-still-missing-pettheftreform/">two pugs named Betty and Harry</a> and was ordered to pay £200 compensation, £400 costs and received a drugs rehabilitation order – the stolen dogs remain missing.</p> <p>In February 2019, an Amazon driver who stole <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-47307136">miniature schnauzer Wilma</a> when delivering dog food was given a 12-month community order by magistrates in High Wycombe.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/dundee/987748/outcry-as-dundee-dog-thief-fined-after-pug-puppy-mysteriously-disappears/">Pixie, an 11-month-old pug,</a> also went missing while being looked after by a family friend in July 2018, and has not been seen since. In September 2019, the dog thief was ordered to pay a £250 fine at Dundee Sheriff Court.</p> <p><strong>Pet theft reform</strong></p> <p>There are currently minimal deterrents for stealing dogs, and it seems the government does not take the crime seriously.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.stolenandmissingpetsalliance.co.uk/">Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (Sampa)</a>, however, is calling for MPs to change this through “Pet Theft Reform” – a campaign which is growing in public and cross-party political support. Campaign petitions in <a href="https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/212174">2018</a> and <a href="https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/244530">2019</a> government petitions both passed 100,000 signatures, triggering two parliamentary debates.</p> <p>Sampa has set out two routes to reform. One <a href="https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/212174">is to revise sentencing guidelines</a> in the Theft Act 1968 to “reclassify the theft of a pet to a specific crime in its own right”.</p> <p>Indeed, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8050078">Dogs Trust</a> is also lobbying for dog theft to be recognised as a more serious <a href="https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/news-events/news/dog%20theft%20briefing%20june%202018.pdf">category two offence or above</a>. And according to DEFRA minister <a href="http://bit.ly/2lUfFSS">George Eustice</a>: “The government interpret the latest guidance from the Sentencing Council that the theft of a pet should generally be treated as a category two or three offence.”</p> <p>Although a positive interpretation, this is not the reality in the courts. Also, the sentencing council will not make any revisions to sentencing unless advised by government.</p> <p>The second route <a href="https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/244530">is to</a> “amend animal welfare law to make pet theft a specific offence” through the Animal Welfare Act 2006. This would ensure courts consider the fear, alarm or distress to sentient animals rather than their monetary value. It would also mean the proposed six-month to <a href="https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/animalwelfaresentencing.html">five-year sentences for animal cruelty</a> could be used. MP Ross Thomson’s <a href="https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2017-19/petstheft.html">Pets Theft Bill</a> made this case – but it failed to complete its passage through parliament before the end of the last session.</p> <p>It is clear that police recording systems for pet theft need to be standardised; dog theft crime statistics need to be more transparent; more resources must be given to help police enforcement; the theft of sentient animal companions should be differentiated from the theft of inanimate objects; the monetary value of the pet should be made irrelevant, and sentences fitting the severity of the crime should also be available in courts.</p> <p>The only way the rise in dog theft can be tackled is by implementing pet theft reform to make this crime a specific offence with custodial sentences. Anything less and the damaging upward trend will likely continue.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125010/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/daniel-allen-329489">Daniel Allen</a>, Animal Geographer, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/keele-university-1012">Keele University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dog-theft-on-the-rise-how-in-danger-is-your-pet-and-what-can-be-done-about-it-125010">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Proud parents Harry and Meghan reveal Archie's latest milestone

<p>The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shared some exciting news regarding their six-month-old son Archie.</p> <p>Archie is crawling.</p> <p>Duchess Meghan shared the exciting news with military families during a surprise visit. Archie is ahead of schedule with this milestone, as most babies begin crawling at the ages of seven to ten months.</p> <p>During the visit, the Duke and Duchess spoke to fellow parents about the difficulties they face as their partners travel to serve the country.</p> <p>Amy Thompson, whose husband Brad is attached to the Welsh Guards, told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://honey.nine.com.au/royals/archie-new-milestone-revealed-by-proud-parents/e5d0137a-4c01-4510-89c9-c159138f94e5" target="_blank">9Honey</a></em>:</p> <p>"My daughter Aeris is the same age as Archie and we talked about weaning and the children beginning to crawl. [Meghan's] just a normal mum and it was like talking to a friend."</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4j36_wlAPC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B4j36_wlAPC/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Thank you from The Duke and Duchess of Sussex to all the military families they met with yesterday. For more details on this surprise visit, please see our previous post. #remembrance #lestweforget Photo ©️SussexRoyal/MOD</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/sussexroyal/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> The Duke and Duchess of Sussex</a> (@sussexroyal) on Nov 7, 2019 at 2:16am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The duo also learned about the unique challenges surrounding military life as well as the importance of social networks that exit to support families during deployments.</p> <p>This struck a chord with Prince Harry, as he has previously served in the military.</p> <p>"I can't imagine what it's like to miss so much, as they change so quickly," he said.</p> <p>The couple also spent time speaking with their neighbours, including army wife Leigh Smith and her daughter Molly, 8.</p> <p>"Meghan promised not to tell anyone that I was off school," Molly later told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.hellomagazine.com/royalty/2019110780244/meghan-markle-prince-harry-reveal-archie-new-milestone/" target="_blank">HELLO!</a>  </em>"She asked me who my best friend was."</p>

Family & Pets

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Father adorably interrogates his daughter after returning home with a classmate’s jacket

<p> A little girl, 3, was sweetly questioned by her father after she came home with her classmate’s jacket on.</p> <p> <span>Mila, who lives in North Carolina, is seen in the video wearing a pink and grey jacket that she bought for “five monies” from the “jacket store”.</span></p> <p>Her father, Ehab Rahman, continued to question Mila about where it came from after Mila’s mother Ranya spotted it in her backpack after school.</p> <p><em>Ehab told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/clarissajanlim/this-little-girl-came-home-from-school-with-a-new-jacket?bftwnews&amp;utm_term=4ldqpgc#4ldqpgc" target="_blank">Buzzfeed News</a><span> </span>a</em>bout the incident.</p> <p>“So as soon as I saw it I was like, ‘OK I have to have this conversation with her’.</p> <p>“And that's when I pulled her to the side and I started interrogating her.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">so mila came home from school today with a random jacket <a href="https://t.co/bAnBo3NOUf">pic.twitter.com/bAnBo3NOUf</a></p> — آيه (@samaraa0) <a href="https://twitter.com/samaraa0/status/1189728296969392129?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">October 31, 2019</a></blockquote> <p><span>The clip shows Ehab questioning Mila about where the jacket came </span><span>from.</span></p> <p>“Where did you buy it from?” Ehab asked.<span> </span></p> <p>Mila sweetly replies: “From the jacket store.”</p> <p><span>Her father then asks: “And how much did you pay for it?” to which she replies: “Five.”</span></p> <p><span>When her father asks her what she means, she says: “Five monies”. </span></p> <p><span>Eventually Mila’s father realises that the jacket isn’t hers and says that they have to return the jacket to who it belongs to.</span><span> </span></p> <p>“Okay I think we have to return this jacket because I don't think it's for us,” he says.</p> <p>“I don't think it's for you. Mama didn't buy it for you, I didn't buy it for you.”</p> <p>Her father also mentions that the jacket is “too small”.</p> <p>Mila protests and says that it’s hers.</p> <p>“It's not too small, it fits me!”</p> <p>Mila’s aunt shared the clip on Twitter, explaining the situation.</p> <p>“So Mila came home from school today with a random jacket.”</p> <p>She added: “The jacket belonged to a girl in her class and we were fairly sure the entire time - the questioning was just funny!</p> <p>“We were confused why she would say Connor because we knew it did not belong to him!”</p> <p>She added: “And secondly, for those asking, Mila gave back the jacket to the girl in her class this morning with absolutely no fuss and the Mom thought it was hilarious (I hope this shows that speaking to kids calmly and like they’re adults is important).”</p>

Family & Pets

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New research shows that dogs really do chase away loneliness

<p>Feeling lonely? A dog may help. Our research out today confirms what many dog owners already know: dogs are great companions that can help you to feel less lonely.</p> <p>Cuddles and slobbery kisses, meeting other dog owners in the park and a general lift in mood all likely help.</p> <p>But our study, published today in <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-7770-5">BMC Public Health</a>, found dogs didn’t affect psychological distress, the type seen in depression and anxiety.</p> <p><strong>Why are we studying this?</strong></p> <p><a href="https://animalmedicinesaustralia.org.au/report/pets-in-australia-a-national-survey-of-pets-and-people/">Almost two in five Australian households own a dog</a>. And although most dog owners will assure you, in no uncertain terms, their dog is a source of sheer happiness, scientific evidence is lacking.</p> <p>Most previous studies have compared the mental well-being of dog owners to non-owners at a single point in time. The problem with these studies is they cannot tell if dogs actually make us happier, less lonely or less stressed. They also cannot tell us if dog owners are simply in a more positive state of mind in the first place.</p> <p>So, in this study, we measured mental well-being at three points in time: before owning a dog, three months after owning a dog and eight months after owning a dog.</p> <p><strong>What did we do?</strong></p> <p><a href="https://sydney.edu.au/charles-perkins-centre/our-research/current-research/physical-activity-exercise-and-energy-expenditure/dog-ownership-and-human-health.html">Our study</a>, known as the PAWS trial, involved 71 Sydney adults who were separated into three groups:</p> <ul> <li>people who bought a dog within one month of starting the study</li> <li>people who were interested in getting a dog in the near future but agreed not to get one during the study, and</li> <li>people who had no interest in getting a dog.</li> </ul> <p>People filled out surveys to measure their mood, loneliness and symptoms of psychological distress at the three different time-points. We then compared the mental well-being of the groups at the beginning of the study, to the mid-point and to the end-point.</p> <p><strong>Here’s what we found</strong></p> <p>New dog owners felt less lonely after they got a dog compared to the other two groups. The effect happened quite quickly, within three months of acquiring a dog. There was no further decrease in loneliness between three months and eight months.</p> <p><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/298491/original/file-20191024-170462-1dsu3q3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/298491/original/file-20191024-170462-1dsu3q3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" alt="" /></a> <span class="caption">Aww. The joy of a new dog eased loneliness within the first few months.</span> <span class="attribution"><a href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/cute-red-white-irish-setter-pup-1369680155?src=pmJrtCxnszgy7I5x5_29XA-1-47" class="source">from www.shutterstock.com</a></span></p> <p>We also found some evidence that dog owners had fewer negative emotions, such as nervousness or distress, within three months of getting a new dog but this finding was not as clear cut.</p> <p>We found that symptoms of depression and anxiety were unchanged after acquiring a dog. Maybe the dog owners in our study already had low levels of psychological distress before they got a dog, so dog ownership didn’t lower these levels any further.</p> <p><strong>What does it all mean?</strong></p> <p>There are lots of possible reasons dogs can help to lessen feelings of loneliness. We know having a quick cuddle with a dog <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08927936.2015.1070008">boosts people’s mood in the short-term</a>. Maybe daily dog cuddles can also boost owners’ mood in the long-term which could help to lower feelings of loneliness.</p> <p>Dog owners may also meet new people through their dog as <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1348/000712600161673">people are more likely to talk strangers if they are accompanied by a dog</a>. In our study, dog owners also said they had met new people in their neighbourhood because of their dog.</p> <p>So far, there have only been two similar studies to look at mental well-being in new dog owners, one of which was conducted almost 30 years ago.</p> <p>Of these studies, one found dog owners had <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1774745">fewer symptoms of psychiatric disorders</a> after they acquired a dog. The other study found <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2752/089279307X245473">no difference in loneliness</a> after people brought a new dog home.</p> <p>Dogs may also improve our <a href="https://ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/cir.0b013e31829201e1">physical health</a>, by reducing blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health and increasing the amount of physical activity their owners perform. But, as is the case with mental well-being, the scientific evidence is still limited.</p> <p><strong>So, what happens next?</strong></p> <p>One of the things our study cannot determine is how dogs affect men’s mental well-being. By chance, all the new dog owners in our study were women. So, we don’t know whether dogs affect men’s mental well-being in a different way to women’s.</p> <p>Our next step is to look at mental well-being in a much bigger group of new dog owners to confirm these findings. A bigger study could also provide more insight into the relationship between dog ownership and mental illness, such as depression and anxiety.</p> <hr /> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125495/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/lauren-powell-864071">Lauren Powell</a>, PhD candidate, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/emmanuel-stamatakis-161783">Emmanuel Stamatakis</a>, Professor of Physical Activity, Lifestyle, and Population Health, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-sydney-841">University of Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dogs-really-can-chase-away-loneliness-125495">original article</a>.</em></p>

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What the Queen was like as a mother to her children

<p>Queen Elizabeth first became a mother over 70 years ago, when she welcomed Prince Charles to the world in 1948. </p> <p>Soon after came Princess Anne in 1950, just three years before the then-Princess Elizabeth was thrust into the position as the reigning monarch of Great Britain and head of the Commonwealth. </p> <p>It was not for another decade that she had two more children - Prince Andrew in 1960 and their youngest child, Prince Edward in 1964. </p> <p>Despite over 70 years of the royal children of the Monarch being in the spotlight, there is only a handful of information we know about their relationship with their mother. </p> <p><strong>Prince Charles</strong></p> <p>As the heir to the throne, the Prince of Wales has had an abundance of speculation and debate surrounding the strength of his relationship with his mother. </p> <p>Since the Queen’s royal duties came much quicker than she anticipated, she was immediately thrown into the life of a Monarch when her first two children were incredibly young. </p> <p>While there is no doubt Prince Charles was remarkably close to the Queen mother, it is suggested by royal insiders that he was not as close to his own mother. </p> <p>Historian and advisor for<em> The Crown</em>, as well as the author of <em>The Crown: The Official Companion</em>, Robert Lacy, said the Queen thought it to be better to leave her children in the care of nannies and her mother, instead of carting them around the world. </p> <p>She had been brought up in that style herself, after all, with her parents leaving her at home and entrusting her entire schooling to a governess and home tutors," he explained to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.townandcountrymag.com/" target="_blank"><em>Town &amp; Country.</em></a></p> <p>He was also quoted in his controversial 1994 autobiography as saying it was “inevitably the nursery staff” who taught him to play, witnessed his first steps and punished and rewarded him, as a mother would. </p> <p>It was also addressed in a recent biography by Sammy Bedell-Smith that "When Elizabeth became Queen on the death of her father, her dedication to her duties meant even less time for her children.”</p> <p>"She relied increasingly on her husband to make the major family decisions and she depended on the nannies to supervise the daily lives," the historian wrote, and added the Queen and Duke saw their children after breakfast and tea time but "in the manner of the upper class, neither of them were physically demonstrative."</p> <p>It was Prince Charles’ grandmother who seemed to have more of a motherly nature towards her grandson, and royalists were given an insight into just how close they were when he delivered a heartfelt speech at the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002. </p> <p>"For me, she meant everything and I had dreaded, dreaded this moment along with, I know, countless others,” he wrote. </p> <p>Somehow, I never thought it would come. She seemed gloriously unstoppable and, since I was a child, I adored her."</p> <p><strong>Princess Anne </strong></p> <p>Interestingly enough, the second eldest and only daughter to the Queen and Prince Philip, holds entirely different sentiments on her mother’s ability to parent. </p> <p>"I simply don't believe there is any evidence whatsoever to suggest that she wasn't caring. It just beggars belief," Anne said during a sharp-tongued 2002 interview with the BBC to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee.</p> <p>According to historian Lacy, Princess Anne had a close bond with her mother particularly in her teen years. </p> <p>"Princess Anne and the Princes Andrew and Edward have all made public their disagreement with Charles in his criticism of the parenting they received. With her love of horses, Anne developed an especially close relationship with her mother during her teenage years, giving her advice about fashion and clothes," he said.</p> <p>Lacy also noted the Queen’s favourite night of the week was “Mabel’s night off” - Mable being the nanny to both Prince Charles and his younger sister as kids. </p> <p>"When nanny Mabel was off duty, Elizabeth could kneel beside the bath, bathe her babies, read to them and put them to bed herself," he wrote. </p> <p><strong>Prince Andrew</strong></p> <p>The royal was born 12 years after his eldest brother, and over eight years on the throne meant the Queen had become “warmer and more flexible,” Lacy wrote. </p> <p>The Queen took a step back from some royal duties to play a hands on role in her third child’s life, as well as Prince Edward who would come four years after Andrew. </p> <p>"Early in the 1960s, Her Majesty decided that she had done her duty by her country, and took the best part of eighteen months off work to produce and enjoy her ‘second family’, the young princes Andrew and Edward, born in 1960 and 1964 respectively," Lacy wrote. </p> <p><strong>Prince Edward</strong></p> <p>Prince Edward was the last of the royal clan to be welcomed in 1964. </p> <p>In the late 1960’s, when Edward was a toddler, Andrew was a young child, and Prince Charles and Princess Anne were well into their early adult years - cameras were allowed into the royal family’s home for a BBC documentary. </p> <p>It was one of the first times the world got to see the Queen as a “playful mother relaxing with her children.”</p> <p>The program included footage of Queen Elizabeth holding her youngest son's hand while the family took a walk around the grounds of Windsor Castle.</p> <p>The sovereign and her youngest child have maintained a close relationship over the years, with Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, spending many weekends away with their Queen. </p> <p>"Today Elizabeth II enjoys life as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother," Lacy said.</p> <p>"She clearly delights in the time she can spend with her family, and she seems to be anything but emotionally reserved.</p> <p>"Would she have mothered her children differently if she had the chance? As one of her close friends has said, the Queen was rather scared of parenting when she started out—she’d not been taught it by her own mother. But as she grew into the job, her successive children helped remove her fears.”</p>

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Ukrainian dwarf abandoned by adoptive parents denies claims she’s a “sociopath”

<p>The Ukranian dwarf orphan who was<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/family-pets/she-tried-to-kill-us-mother-who-adopted-9-year-old-girl-claims-her-new-daughter-is-really-a-22-year-old-sociopath" target="_blank">abandoned by her American adoptive parents</a><span> </span>who accused the dwarf of being an adult pretending to be a child has broken her silence in her first televised interview.</p> <p>Six years ago, in 2013, adoptive parents Kristine and Michael Barnett left Indiana for Canada with their other children and left Natalia Grace Barnett behind, which at the time, Natalia says she was nine.</p> <p>The Barnett family had adopted Natalia three years earlier in 2010 hastily as they were under the impression that she was a six-year-old orphan.</p> <p>However, Natalia’s former adoptive parents became convinced that after adopting her, she was actually 22 and was a sociopathic adult who tried to kill members of their family.</p> <p>“Natalia would do things like place clear thumb tacks on the stairs face up so that when we would walk up the stairs, we would be stepping on thumb tacks to pain and injure ourselves,” Kristine said.</p> <p>However, Natalia has refuted the claims and has spoken to Dr Phil about the accusations, maintaining that she is a child.</p> <p>“It's not true at all. I just want people to hear my side,” Natalia said.</p> <p>Natalia is joined by her new adoptive mother known as Cynthia Mans, who insists that a bone scan that Natalia underwent after she was abandoned proves she is the age she says she is.</p> <p>However, when the Barnett family ordered a bone scan for Natalia, the scans suggested that she had been born in 1989.</p> <p>Cynthia says that despite the first allegations from the Barnett family, herself and her husband did not worry about bringing Natalia into their home.</p> <p>“We're supposed to help. Me and my husband adopted these kids,” she said to Dr Phil.</p> <p>“It's like, who would do it if you don't?”</p> <p>The Barnett family has said that the allegations against them for child neglect have been “devastating”.</p> <p><em>Photo credit: <a rel="noopener" href="https://people.com/crime/ukrainian-adoptee-allegedly-abandoned-by-indiana-couple-opens-up-to-dr-phil/?utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;xid=socialflow_twitter_peoplemag&amp;utm_campaign=peoplemagazine" target="_blank">People</a>  </em></p>

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Baby number four? Duchess Kate ready for “one more child”

<p><span>The Duchess of Cambridge is reportedly vying for “one more child” with her husband, Prince William.</span></p> <p>The senior royal couple has three children already - Prince George, six, Princess Charlotte, four, and 18-month-old Prince Louis. </p> <p>However it has been speculated the Duchess, 37, has desires to expand her royal brood by just one more within the next few years. </p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2CKU6-lbb9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2CKU6-lbb9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal)</a> on Sep 5, 2019 at 8:00am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“Kate would love to have one more child. They love playing together and being creative,” a royal insider told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-moms/news/duchess-kate-would-love-to-have-baby-no-4-with-prince-william/" target="_blank">US Weekly.</a></p> <p>“Painting, baking and building things are all activities they enjoy, and now that Louis' a bit older, he gets involved too."</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxqMfZglEOv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BxqMfZglEOv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Kensington Palace (@kensingtonroyal)</a> on May 19, 2019 at 2:31pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>The insider added both the royal parents take great pleasure in watching their children grow up into completely different people, with unique personalities. </p> <p>Princess Charlotte was described as “extremely confident” and a lover of attention, while Prince George is typically more “reserved,” and is always looking out for his baby brother as an “excellent leader.”</p> <p>Recently, Duchess Kate was spotted with her two eldest kids, at the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s to buy some goodies ahead of Halloween. </p> <p>An onlooker who spotted the happy trio said the royal bought some “Halloween bits for her kids.”</p> <p>“Another shopper said that Kate was in the shop near the clothing and pointed where she was to me. I just couldn't believe it,” the shopper told media.</p> <p>The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently returned from a royal tour in Pakistan where they did a number of fun activities - from playing cricket to donning plastic princess tiaras for a tea party. </p>

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Why some animals are able to pause their own pregnancies

<p>Putting your pregnancy on pause until the time is right to give birth sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, but for many mammals what’s known as “embryonic diapause” is an essential part of raising their young.</p> <p>Although scientists have known since the 1850s that some animals have this ability, it is only now becoming clear how it could teach us valuable lessons about human pregnancy, stem cells, and cancer.</p> <p><strong>Which animals can do this?</strong></p> <p>More than 130 species of mammal can pause their pregnancies. The pause can last anywhere between a couple of days and 11 months. In most species (except some bats, who do it a little later) this happens when the embryo is a tiny ball of about 80 cells, before it attaches to the uterus.</p> <p>It’s not just a single group of mammals, either. Various species seem to have developed the ability as needed to reproduce more successfully. Most carnivores can pause their pregnancies, including all bears and most seals, but so can many rodents, deer, armadillos, and anteaters.</p> <p>More than a third of the species that take a breather during gestation are from Australia, including some possums and all but three species of kangaroo and wallaby.</p> <p>The record-holder for pregnancy pause time is the tammar wallaby, which has been studied extensively for its ability to put embryos on hold for up to 11 months.</p> <p><strong>Why pause pregnancy?</strong></p> <p>The main advantage to pausing pregnancy is that it separates mating and birth. There are two main ways in which animals do this.</p> <p>The first way is to mate soon after giving birth, to have a backup pregnancy in case something happens to the newborn young. The stress of lactating triggers a pause that lasts during suckling, and the pregnancy restarts once the young leave.</p> <p>The second way is to pause every pregnancy until the time is right (usually depending on the season). For example, minks mate around the start of March but put the embryos on pause until after the spring equinox (March 21), when the days are growing longer in their northern hemisphere homes. This ensures that the young are born in spring when conditions improve, and not in winter.</p> <p>The tammar wallaby combines these two methods (suckling in the first half of the year, short days in the second) to pause for almost a year and give birth in January. This ensures the young leave the pouch the following spring instead of in the middle of a hot Australian summer.</p> <p><strong>What can we learn from diapause?</strong></p> <p>Diapause was first identified in 1854 after hunters in Europe noticed that pregnancy in roe deer seemed to last a lot longer than normal. Since then scientists have been fascinated by this process and it has helped us understand more about basic reproductive processes in all mammals.</p> <p>But it took until 1950 before our knowledge of pregnancy had increased enough so that we could confirm what the hunters had observed 100 years earlier.</p> <p>But how the process worked at the molecular level is still a mystery. Until recently, there seemed to be no connection between which species used it and which didn’t and there didn’t seem to be a unifying mechanism for how pregnancy was paused. Even the hormones controlling diapause are different between mammal groups.</p> <p>However, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1387/ijdb.140074bm">research</a> now suggests that regardless of what hormones affect the uterus, the molecular signalling between the uterus and the embryo is conserved, at least between the mouse, mink and tammar wallaby.</p> <p>Furthermore, <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0033027">researchers in Poland</a> paused embryos from sheep (a non-diapause species) by transferring them into a mouse uterus and then back into the sheep with no ill effects.</p> <p>This indicates the potential for diapause could lie in all mammals, including humans.</p> <p><strong>So when can I pause my pregnancy?</strong></p> <p>It’s unlikely that pausing pregnancy will become the norm in humans. For starters, you’d have to know you were pregnant within five days of conceiving to match the time when most species start diapause.</p> <p>Understanding how mammals pause their pregnancies does have <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5949116/">significant implications</a> for our understanding of how to make healthy embryos. The time when the embryo enters into diapause is the same time in IVF when an embryo is transferred into the uterus. Diapause could help us improve how we grow embryos in culture or how to recognise which is the “best” embryo to transfer.</p> <p>Diapause could also help create better stem cells and find new cancer treatments. The <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/292154a0">first stem cells</a> ever isolated by scientists came from a mouse embryo in diapause, when the cell cycle of the embryo is arrested. Stem cells are also <a href="https://www.cell.com/developmental-cell/fulltext/S1534-5807(15)00658-9">remarkably similar</a> to a diapaused embryo.</p> <p>So understanding how diapause works at the molecular level could lead to new therapies to halt cell division or to identify markers for tumour stem cells, which are thought to be <a href="https://stemcellres.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/scrt13">responsible for metastasis</a> in cancer.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/125635/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/jane-fenelon-594114">Jane Fenelon</a>, Research fellow in monotreme and marsupial reproduction and development, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-melbourne-722">University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/some-animals-pause-their-own-pregnancies-but-how-they-do-it-is-still-a-mystery-125635">original article</a>.</em></p>

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One eyed mare defies the odds and gives birth to twin foals

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A horse stud owner has been left stunned after discovering that his one-eyed mare had defied the odds and given birth to live twin foals.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The chances of twin goals being born alive are considered 1 in 10,000.</span></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fabcnews.au%2Fvideos%2F933297287036597%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=476" width="476" height="476" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Spurrs Stud owner Kevin Spurr said that the birth was a complete surprise.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“My first thought was ‘don’t tell me another mare has had a foal and run away and left that’,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“A bit after that I realised she’d had twins. I was a little bit stunned, actually, I didn’t know what to think.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Katanning Regional Veterinary Hospital owner John Maxwell has been practicing as an equine vet for more than 50 years and has said he has never seen the successful delivery of twin goals that go on to survive.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I’m surprised, very surprised,” Dr Maxwell said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I have had a breeder in Wagin that I’ve [aborted] twice because the chances of both surviving were considered almost zero. So this is an exceptional occurrence.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The twin foals, named Snip and Drop, are being well looked after by Mr Spurr and his farmhand Nicole Kumpfmueller. Round-the-clock care is needed for the foals as their mother has one eye and needs to make sure she does not tread on them. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We get out here and they're already waiting and know the routine," Ms Kumpfmueller said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"And you have to give them antibiotics twice a day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Every now and then we give them an extra milk bucket as well to make sure they have enough milk because we currently don't know how much she can produce for them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I think it's worth it. If you look at them, they're just too cute not to get up."</span></p>

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Justice for Kevin: Man who tore kookaburra's head off could face prosecution

<p>A man who tore the head off a kookaburra in a Perth pub in front of families with young children may still face prosecution.</p> <p>The man, allegedly in his 40s, was at the Parkerville Tavern, when the beloved but chip stealing resident kookaburra known as Kevin stole some chips off his plate.</p> <p>The man allegedly grabbed the kookaburra, pulled the bird's head off and threw it under the table.</p> <p>Kevin was beloved by locals who attended the pub.</p> <p>An RSPCA spokeswoman told AAP that the organisation had not given up on pursuing the man but said that the Animal Welfare Act was unclear.</p> <p>Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan has promised to search legal avenues surrounding native wildlife protection.</p> <p>“It is pretty disgusting I think everyone is rightly appalled. We are now checking with the department whether or not this can be characterised as an act of animal cruelty,” she said on Monday to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://10daily.com.au/shows/10-news-first/a191028drqhz/shock-and-disbelief-as-man-who-allegedly-ripped-head-of-kookaburra-may-not-be-prosecuted-20191028" target="_blank">10daily</a></em>.</p> <p>“I think everyone in this community would say there should be some penalty for behaving in this way. And that’s what we are very determined that we will sort this out.”</p> <p>Environment Minister Stephen Dawson has said that a review of the Animal Welfare Act is underway.</p> <p>“If the allegations are true, this is a despicable act. The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and WA Police are conducting a joint investigation into the incident,” he said.</p> <p>“The State Government currently has a review of the Animal Welfare Act underway, with an independent panel due to provide advice to the Agriculture Minister next year.</p> <p>“Cases like this will be examined as part of the review.”</p>

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Brutal killing of a beloved kookaburra deemed not to be an offence by RSPCA

<p>A pub-goer has shocked fellow patrons by allegedly ripping the head off a beloved kookaburra named Kevin in an overly aggressive reaction to the bird taking some chips.</p> <p>The man, in his 40s, was dining at Parkerville Tavern when he reportedly became so enraged that he grabbed Kevin, tore him apart from the neck and threw him on the ground.</p> <p>According to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/wildlife/kookaburras-head-ripped-off-in-barbaric-attack-at-parkerville-tavern-ng-b881364437z" target="_blank">Perth Now</a></em>, a woman named Chantelle was nearby with her eight and ten year old children when the incident occurred.</p> <p>“Kevin had flown down onto this bloke’s plate and the bloke grabbed him and I went, ‘Oh my god, he’s got him’, and then he sort of just hesitated for a moment, like seconds, and then put his hands quickly under the table and just ripped his head off,” she told the publication.</p> <p>“The bird squawked when he grabbed it, obviously, but the sound of that... it was just horrible and I was just instantly on my feet. It all erupted then, people were very, very angry and yelling abuse at him.”</p> <p>Other patrons were shocked and demanded the man leave, but he lashed out and told them to “f*** off”.</p> <p>The incident was then reported to RSPCA WA but the organisation has come out in a statement saying that under Western Australia law, the act does not constitute an offence.</p> <p>“It was reported to the RSPCA Cruelty Hotline last night that a visitor to the tavern killed Kevin in front of other visitors including families with children. An RSPCA WA Inspector has made inquiries. Sadly, right now under Western Australian law, it does not appear that this horrific act constitutes an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2002,” RSPCA WA said in a<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.facebook.com/RSPCAWA/photos/a.10152120272653583/10157000620353583/?type=3&amp;__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARAIS0Hl7OPx5wKZI4grf6PNt_evhCqkzHT2n_I8-z7m4Zm2Rop_wzLiKwVVpTwrE1NEt70zKP4OzTX2JboQle4eehYRVriYRf4nXOXBGxCWX7v91jE-6GSwLh1B5hQIIz-vrccapcvAqRWnabdXzoPIH5axXXAGF9qxKbPJ8rk5v8aFugxpD2P2HmB-s5FjyxpPrFgdcvwQVwnvMrbd8Mj1zo8_8IeEFgCzZcX0Ip6eHLOFAKgpwtCdoq_tGpV8VOo36mVbPphaSY2j-5dYaybFXteUwjInpsv-2xjg1tFN-BC4Q__W4Lt5fZx5oIFMuZWHFOgR_GkX9JxNAFiH&amp;__tn__=-R" target="_blank">statement</a>.</p> <p>“Animal Welfare law in WA is based on cruelty and suffering, and due to the quick nature of this bird's demise, it does not appear to meet the level of suffering required to become an offence under the law. Because of that, RSPCA WA Inspectors may not be able to prosecute for animal cruelty.”</p> <p>The RSPCA WA then went on to announce a review to the current Animal Welfare Act, inviting submissions from the public to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.agric.wa.gov.au/animalwelfare/review-animal-welfare-act-2002?fbclid=IwAR3eDjwZS1ErfsKiNNbVwQZE_9uvfrDYRsalydZ5Rato4kMTCLxv3VfbnYc" target="_blank">help enact the change</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftheparkervilletavern%2Fphotos%2Fa.584488988227854%2F2274794319197304%2F%3Ftype%3D3&amp;width=500" width="500" height="696" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>The pub has expressed its sadness over the death of Kevin, saying that the incident is “not the norm and will not be tolerated”.</p> <p>“RIP Kevin. We are still in disbelief about the barbaric attack on one of nature’s gifts. We are so sorry for those who witnessed this despicable act and whilst for many (especially the children) the memory of seeing such a thing will remain fresh for some time yet, please take comfort in knowing that the whole community is standing together against this type of behaviour,” the post read.</p> <p>“This is not the norm and will not be tolerated. The matter is being dealt with by the authorities, so we will know more about what the outcome will be soon. Thank you for everyone’s support. Such a beautiful community.”</p> <p>However, at the time of writing, the pub has released another post and taken the original post down.</p> <p>“As you may have noticed, we have removed the post about the loss of Kevin, our resident Kookaburra, and whilst the investigation is underway, we kindly ask that no further comments regarding the incident are made on our page. We are awaiting further information from the police and will know more soon.”</p>

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New studies reveal dogs are good for our heart health

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A new study in the US has proven the link between dogs being good for your heart.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The study examined the link between dog ownership and a lowered risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The results showed that dog owners had a 24 per cent lower chance of dying from the disease and it monitored 3.8 million people across the globe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The </span><a href="https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.119.005554"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> also showed that dogs also helped those who suffered from a heart attack or a stroke as participants who experience one of the two diseases had a 34 per cent chance of </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">not</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> dying from the disease.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The study considered the reasons as to why this was the case, but for dog owners, it’s straightforward.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dogs need exercise and in order to keep our furry friends happy, we indulge them by taking them on walks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Humans getting more exercise is good for heart health, so both parties benefit from this.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A </span><a href="https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.118.005342"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Swedish study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> looked at 300,000 people and found that there are huge benefits for dog owners who live alone, as it lowered the rates of depression in dog owners.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The study also found that even those who come near a dog experience benefits, as those with hypertension experienced lower blood pressure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Go out and pat a dog, it’s good for your blood pressure.</span></p>

Family & Pets

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Royal fright: Duchess Kate stuns shoppers with last-minute Halloween shopping spree at local supermarket

<p>The Duchess of Cambridge has been spotted browsing for Halloween kids’ costumes at a local supermarket near the family’s country retreat on Thursday.</p> <p>According to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/10204789/relatable-kate-middleton-praised-royal-fans-spotted-shopping-sainsburys-norfolk/" target="_blank">The Sun</a></em>, the Cambridge family are spending the half term school holidays at their countryside retreat, which is known as Anmer Hall.</p> <p>An onlooker said the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted picking up Halloween costumes with Prince George, 6, and Princess Charlotte, 4.</p> <p>“It was lovely to see her [Kate] just being a normal mum shopping with her kids,” the onlooker said.</p> <p>“I love how she [Kate] just goes about her normal life, she is so down to earth.”</p> <p>Another onlooker told<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/kate-middleton-stuns-shoppers-popping-20718032" target="_blank">The Daily Star</a></em><span> </span>about the encounter.</p> <p>"Another shopper said that Kate was in the shop near the clothing and pointed where she was to me. I just couldn't believe it.</p> <p>"She was with Charlotte and George looking at Halloween outfits, but her bodyguard was kind of watching people with phones and telling them no pictures.”</p> <p>Royal expert Phil Dampier said that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are making sure that their kids are getting a “normal childhood”.</p> <p>He spoke to Fabulous Digital about it.</p> <p>“William and Kate have made sure that their three children are getting as normal a childhood as possible and they all love the outdoor life.</p> <p>“At Anmer Hall in Norfolk they go for long walks in woods and have frequent trips to the beach.</p> <p>“Kate’s mum Carole is very close to George and often takes him out alone.”</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2Bb_K0FDmT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2Bb_K0FDmT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Princess Charlotte arrives for her first day of school at Thomas’s Battersea, joining her older brother Prince George ✏️📚🏫</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/kensingtonroyal/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Kensington Palace</a> (@kensingtonroyal) on Sep 5, 2019 at 1:15am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Fans were quick to praise the Duchess for being “relatable”.</p> <p>“Over the years I've enjoyed seeing pics of Kate going about routine things like shopping,” one fan wrote.</p> <p>“She is a perfect representative of the Crown while on royal duties, and just relatable Kate when not on duties.”</p> <p>Another added: “Humble family.”</p>

Family & Pets

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So grown up! Reese Witherspoon celebrates son’s birthday with heartfelt post

<p>Reese Witherspoon is one who likes to keep a lot of her family life private. </p> <p>However, for her eldest son, Deacon’s sweet 16th she posted a beautiful message along with a snap of the two to celebrate. </p> <p>"Happy 16th Birthday to this guy whose bright smile makes every day better!" she wrote.</p> <p>"Kind, compassionate, hysterical, friendly, and talented," Witherspoon continued. "I'm so lucky to have a son like you!"</p> <p>Witherspoon, 43, shares her son Deacon with ex-husband Ryan Philippe, who posted his own message to Deacon on his Instagram story the night before his son’s milestone age. </p> <p>“The edge of sixteen,” it read. </p> <p>The pair also have another child together, 20-year-old Ava who is their eldest. </p> <p>Witherspoon and her now-husband Josh Toth share a son, Tennesse, who recently just celebrated his seventh birthday. </p> <p>Reese has proven to have some seriously strong genes because her three children look so similar to her it is unnerving. </p> <p>Ava also took to Instagram to share a heartwarming post for her younger brother. </p> <p>“Happy happy sweet 16 to my cooler-than-me little brother with a heart of gold! I couldn’t have gotten any luckier than to have your humor, love, and patience in my life,” she said. </p> <p>“You are always one of the funniest, most thoughtful, peaceful people in the room, and I couldn’t be prouder as your big sister of who you are and who you’re becoming. Happy birthday, D!”</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see Reese’s three kids, Ava, Deacon and Tennesse all grown up! </p>

Family & Pets