Hamster Ball Derby is today (April 12) at Petco

On Saturday, April 12, Petco stores nationwide (except Hawaii) will host Hamster Ball Derby events.

Starting at 1:30 p.m., families are invited to bring their pet hamster and hamster ball to their local Petco store to watch these tiny companions race to the finish line in an effort to win the grand prize, a Super Pet Hamtrac Exercise Loop.

petco-hamster2 Participating racers must bring their own hamster ball or purchase one prior to the race.

Participants will learn about the different ways they can continue the fun at home, such as adding a tunnel or wheel to their hamster habitat.

Staff members will be on hand to help kids 6 to 13 years old learn why hamsters make good pets and how to best care for these furry critters.

To get hamster fans excited about Hamster Ball Derby, Petco shared the following fun facts:

  • Hamsters’ eyesight isn’t great; be sure to approach them slowly to avoid startling them.
  • Hamsters are naturally nocturnal and are active through the night
  • Hamsters can run up to eight miles a day on their hamster wheels
  • Hamsters are naturally curious about their surroundings, hamster balls are the perfect way to keep them safe while allowing them to explore
  • Hamsters can carry up to half their body weight in food in their cheek pouches
  • Hamsters are smart and can be trained to perform tricks
  • Hamsters like to be clean, be sure to wash hands before and after play time to keep everyone healthy

For more information about hamsters and Petco’s Hamster Ball Derby, visit www.petco.com/HamsterBallDerby or go to the nearest Petco Store.

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Do you drive with your pet on your lap?

Do you allow your pet to ride in the car unsecured? I’ve seen people driving with their small dogs on their laps, and one friend’s dog used to stand on the front seat with his front paws on the dashboard. While I’m sure that’s fun for the dog, it’s definitely not safe.

Keep your pets safe while riding in the car by using a carrier or seat belt harness.

Keep your pets safe while riding in the car by using a carrier or seat belt harness.

When I drive with my cats in the car, I always have them in a pet carrier. I also secure the pet carrier in place by putting the seat belt through the handle of the carrier.

But I will admit, years ago when I had a dog, he was not secured in a carrier or with a seat belt when riding in my car. He was not a small dog, and didn’t try to sit in my lap while I was driving, but he did stand on the front seat and put his head out the window. (Yikes!)

I learned not to allow animals to roam free in the car the hard way, when I picked up an injured stray kitten that I found along the road. I drove her to my veterinarian’s office without a pet carrier, because I didn’t have one in the car. The kitten was in shock, so at first she just stayed on the front seat and didn’t make a sound. About halfway to the vet’s office, she snapped out of it and freaked out. She hissed, growled and jumped off the front seat and right under my brake pedal — while I was driving!

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Can you help? Long-haired, FeLV+ cat losing home because of issues with new dog

This beautiful girl needs a home because she's having trouble adjusting to a new dog in the household.

This beautiful girl needs a home because she’s having trouble adjusting to a new dog in the household.

Harvi, a 3-year-old long-haired dilute calico (or dilute tortoiseshell) cat, is in need of a home because she is not adjusting well to the addition of a dog to the household. She is declawed, spayed and up-to-date on vaccines and vet visits. (Paperwork will be provided.)

Harvi is a leukemia-positive cat, which means it’s not a good idea to have keep her with other cats unless they are also leukemia-positive. She does not do well with dogs, as they tend to scare her. Harvi is shy at first, and takes some time to warm up to people.

“Harvi was rescued from the outdoors as a kitten and deserves a shot at being in a household that is suitable for her and her needs; unfortunately, I can’t provide that,” writes Mike.

There is a rehoming charge of $30 to adopt Harvi. If you can help her, call Mike at 570-299-5982.

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Lhasa/Cavalier mix dog lost in West York

EDDIE HAS BEEN FOUND! A black-and-tan Lhasa/Cavalier mix dog named Eddie was lost April 4 in the South Adams Street area of West York.

He’s 4years old, not neutered, weighs about 20 to 25 pounds and was wearing an aqua/turquoise collar with no tags.

His eyes are dry and have heavy discharge.

A reward is offered for his safe return.

If you see Eddie, please call 717-858-3928 or email

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Help save kittens’ lives with a ‘kitten shower’

In 2013, the Humane League of Lancaster County’s foster families provided TLC to more than 200 mama cats and kittens.

HLLC is gearing up for the 2014 “kitten season,” when many litters of kittens will be brought to the shelter. Many of these kittens will be too young for adoption and will need to be cared for by foster families. Caring for this many kittens requires a significant amount of specialized resources and that’s where you can help.

HLLC is looking for individuals willing to donate needed items; or, if you’d like to make a bigger impact, encourage your friends or co-workers to get involved by throwing a kitten shower to collect supplies.

Click HERE for ideas on how to make your kitten shower a success.


  • KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) cans & powder
  • Canned Kitten Food
  • Baby food – Stage 2 meats
  • Heating Pads or heating discs and covers
  • Unscented baby wipes
  • Small litter boxes
  • Litter scoops
  • Small blankets/bedding
  • Dawn dish detergent
  • Kitchen/food scales
  • Pet store gift cards

Also, check out the amazon.com wish list, where you can place your order online and have your tax-deductible gift shipped straight to the HLLC.

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Letter: Make anti-cruelty laws to protect all animals, not just police dogs

A proposal to make killing or torturing a police dog a second-degree felony was unanimously approved Tuesday (3/18/14) by the Pennsylvania State House. The penalty: up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Great! I’m very happy for the passing of this legislation, but what about the rest of the dogs in Pennsylvania who suffer beatings, cruelty and death every single day? Are their lives less valuable than that of a police dog?
The dog cruelty laws (and animal cruelty laws in general) in Pennsylvania are an insult to anyone with a minimal amount of empathy or compassion for our canine (and feline) companions!

Is one human’s life more valuable than another? Is the punishment for the intentional death of a celebrity more severe than that of a laborer? Homicide is a crime no matter who the victim is, and the punishment should be equal under the law.

But, what about the intentional harming of a dog? What justifies the State House moving so quickly (less than two months after the stabbing death of a police dog in Pittsburgh) to enact a law (unanimously) as a second-degree felony, yet the very same criminal who shot the police dog could shoot an arrow into a dog or cat (both of which occurred in Lancaster County in the past year), and if caught, would get a slap on the wrist and maybe a minimal fine?

Statistics show a trend that most serial killers begin by harming pets. Research shows that violence toward pets is often related to domestic violence toward children, spouses, and the elderly.

It’s time for our legislators to wake up to the reality of the ripple effect that cruelty to animals has on everyone else in society … and do something about it, not just for police dogs, but for ALL animals.

Bob Rudy
Lancaster County

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Actress Denise Richards joins Best Friends Animal Society’s ‘Save Them All’ campaign

denise-richards Denise Richards, actress, businesswoman, philanthropist and New York Times best-selling author (of memoir The Real Girl Next Door), is joining Best Friends Animal Society’s efforts to end the killing of dogs and cats in our nation’s shelters.

Richards joins actor Danny Trejo, Carrie Ann Inaba and other celebrities who will be featured in Best Friends’ photo campaign featuring celebrities posed with their personal rescued dogs and/or cats in support of the Save Them All call to action.

According to national statistics, each day more than 9,000 dogs and cats die in the nation’s shelters. Best Friends aims to bring increased awareness to how people can get involved in the solution by adopting, and spaying/neutering their pets, donating, volunteering and sharing this message with their friends.

“I’ve been involved with Best Friends Animal Society since 2009 and I’ve seen firsthand the differences they’ve made and the countless lives they’ve saved,” Richards said. “From their Pup My Ride program, which transports small dogs from Los Angeles kill shelters to cities around the country where there are forever homes waiting for them, to the Super Adoption events and Strut Your Mutt fundraising walks, Best Friends is taking the lead in the no-kill movement. Having proudly rescued several dogs and cats myself, I’m thrilled to work with Best Friends to promote the adoption of shelter pets and I believe that by working together we can Save Them All.”

Robin Harmon, Best Friends coordinator for the Pup My Ride program, said Richards is not afraid to get her hands dirty on behalf of animals in need.

“My favorite memory of Denise is her comforting and befriending scared or hurt animals during Pup My Ride days,” said Harmon. “I’m especially impressed by the unweaned kitten litters she has taken home to foster; she made it a family affair with her two older daughters sharing in the bottle-feeding duties. There were also several dogs that needed extensive medical help or surgery that Denise took home, paid for everything, took care of them while they were recuperating and then ended up adopting.”

Richards can be seen in ABC Family’s drama “Twisted” as Karen Ryder; the show is in its second season and centers on a teen with a troubled past who reconnects with his two female best friends from childhood. The “Twisted” spring finale airs Tuesday, April 1.

Richards and her children share their home with multiple rescued animals including Scooter, who is featured in the campaign photo.

Like Best Friends Animal Society on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bestfriendsanimalsociety or follow them on Twitter @bestfriends.

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Lions killed at Denmark Zoo

Excerpt from “Something Rotten in Denmark,” a blog post by Wayne Pacelle of Humane Society of the United States:

Take a look at Act II at the notorious Copenhagen Denmark Zoo. Act I, involving the killing of a perfectly healthy 18-month giraffe named Marius, provoked widespread global outrage and condemnation not too long ago. The zoo said that it already had sufficient genetic diversity given the captive population of giraffes within European zoos and so officials there decided Marius was expendable – and should be killed. They did kill him and fed him to the lions.

It was not as if they loved the lions so much that they had to feed the big cats fresh meat. Two days ago, this same zoo announced it had killed four lions, including two cubs. Again, officials said they already had enough genetic diversity among captive lions, so these lions were expendable, too. What’s more, they were bringing in a new male lion and worried he’d kill the cubs.

“If the Zoo had not made the change in the pride now then we would have risked that the old male would mate with these two females – his own offspring – and thereby give rise to inbreeding,” said a statement from Copenhagen Zoo officials.

Apparently, the memos on the option of sterilizing the big cat, or the other cats in the pride, never made it to them.

When you think of animals as individual beings, with their own lives, you rescue them from crisis and then find a way to give them a good quality of life, as we did with the Arkansas animals. If you treat animals like a bunch of ambulatory exhibits or repositories of DNA, then you have the outcome that played out in Denmark. Sadly this outcome is all too routine in many of the zoos of Europe.

The World Associations of Zoos and Aquariums and other professionals in this field must condemn these unacceptable actions in the zoo community and remind officials like those at the Copenhagen Zoo that individual animals matter.

Read more of Wayne Pacelle’s blog, A Humane Nation

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Found a litter of kittens outdoors? Best Friends offers these tips

263 Best Friends Animal Society offers the following tips on what to do if you find a litter of kittens outdoors:

  • First of all – don’t panic. Observe and leave the kittens alone — make sure they have been abandoned before you take action. You’ll often find that their mother is simply out looking for food or for a good place to move them. Take note of the exact location so you can share the address and description of where the kittens are located if you find that they have been abandoned.
  • Contact your local animal shelter to get the contact information for your local community cat or TNR program. These groups will be able to determine if the mother comes back in a normal time frame or if the kittens will need to be bottle fed.
  • Though it may go against your instincts, don’t immediately scoop kittens up and take them to the shelter.
  • If the mother does not come back and you are willing to volunteer with your local group to care for the kittens, please first read Best Friends’ resource article “Feeding and Caring for Bottle Babies.”
  • If the mother does return, keep your eye on her and the kittens until they are old enough to be trapped, spayed or neutered and returned to the area they came from. TNR is not only the most humane method of preventing cats from entering the shelter system, it’s the most effective. (Editor’s note: Often, the kittens can be tamed and adopted into homes if you catch them at a young age. I’ve also had some luck with taming some of the adults.)

Want to help community cats?

  • Best Friends Animal Society has volunteer opportunities in Los Angeles, San Antonio, Baltimore, Albuquerque, DeKalb County, Georgia, St. George, Utah and the Four Directions program for rural southern Utah.
  • The Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network of local animal rescue groups and shelters has more than 250 groups nationwide that are involved in helping community cats.
  • Your local animal rescue groups and shelters can put you in touch with the community cat programs that are not affiliated with Best Friends, you also can do an internet search to find groups in your area. “Bottle feeding is a very rewarding but also incredibly demanding endeavor, so make sure you have the time, resources and a suitable home to care for the kittens,” said Dankert. ​“​And please also remember how important it is to spay and neuter your pets. This is the single most important thing we can do to prevent unwanted litters. Best Friends has an education campaign called Fix at Four and you can enter your zip code to find local veterinarians and low-cost spay/neuter clinics.”

Find out more

Like Best Friends Animal Society on Facebook: www.facebook.com/bestfriendsanimalsociety

Follow Best Friends on Twitter: twitter.com/bestfriends

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Pupthat! photo and video sharing app is just for dogs

photo (1) Pupthat!, a photo and video sharing mobile application just for dogs, is now available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. This new social media mobile app allows users to create a profile for their dog, post photos and videos of their puppy, give dogs virtual bones, comment on photos and videos and form their own “dog pack” of followers.

The photos and videos that receive the most virtual bones from other users will trend on the home page. Users will be able to follow other dogs and stay up-to-date with the activities of their favorite puppies.

Pupthat! was created by brother and sister duo, Carlos and Erika Gutierrez, both of Washington, DC.

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