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Weekly Round Up

January 12,2014

How Humans Use Sound to Understand Animal Emotions

Another study, reported by Live Science, examines the relationship between man and his best friend to determine the role of sounds in interspecies communication. The research focused on the two aspects of how dogs convey their emotions and the extent of the human capacity to understand their efforts. Performed by the Hungarian Eotvos Lorand University, the study recruited volunteers and exposed them to a series of sounds from both humans and dogs.

Participants exposed to the sounds rated each for both the emotional intensity expressed and the relative nature of these emotions. The participants consistently correlated shorter noises with more positive emotions and longer noises with negativity. The pitch of the sounds, on the other hand, appeared to have a positive correlation with an interpretation of a soundís emotional intensity. The higher the pitch, the more emotionally intense the sound appeared to be.

These results suggest that humans detect emotion in animals in much the same way that they detect it in humans. The study also appears to indicate either that the ability to determine emotions from auditory cues is an inherent evolved in numerous species or that humans attribute emotions to animals based on their system for interpreting human sounds. Additional experiments would need to determine which possibility is the most accurate explanatory model.

Illinois Law Protects Potential Owners From Irresponsible Sellers

When purchasing a dog from a pet store, itís entirely reasonable to expect that the puppy you are buying is healthy and happy; however, this is not always the case. Pet stores occasionally sell puppies that are known to need medical attention or that have a medical condition that will adversely affect their health. If pet stores do not disclose this information then there is good chance that pet owners will be disappointed upon bringing their new family member to the veterinarian for their first check up.

ABC News reports that the new law prevents buyers by requiring pet stores to disclose any conditions that adversely affect any dogs to potential buyers. Additionally, the law contains provisions to ensure that pets that are unfit to be sold can be declared as such by veterinarians after the fact. If the veterinarian makes the declaration within 21 days of the purchase then the owner has the remainder of the 21-day period to receive compensation.

Pet owners who have discovered that their pet is unfit for purchase may exchange the dog, return it for a full refund, or receive monetary compensation for the petís medical bills. This law, however, applies only to pet stores and not to breeders or animal shelters. This limitation discourages the sale of pets by a retail store unless the dogs are known to be in good health. The restriction also discourages the purchase of dogs from puppy mills and illegitimate breeders that tend to sell malnourished or ill puppies.

Feral Cat Population in Coney Island Goes Unchecked

Coney Island has long been a home to stray cats; however, the population continues to grow as their habitat shrinks with impending construction plans. Bensonhurst News reports that a small non-profit organization is currently working to find homes for the numerous cats staying in the abandoned sections of the Coney Island Boardwalk. The organization, Brooklyn Rescue Umbrella (BRU) is a no-kill rescue organization that is operated entirely by volunteers.

The understaffed organization has managed to relocate more than ten cats- but thatís just a drop in the bucket. The organization estimates that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of cats residing on the premises. These cats have made their home in the abandoned parking lots of the boardwalk, many of which wonít be there in the coming months. Plans to demolish the parking lots are expected to lead to the displacement of hundreds of cats.

Considering their limited resources, BRU will have a difficult time ensuring the safety of these cats after demolition begins. Josie Marrero, founder of BRU, believes that this will lead to the death of many cats. Unfortunately, the organization does not have the resources to provide an alternate shelter or form of care to the dislocated cats. In spite of these difficulties, BRU continues to seek aid for the cats and do what it can to alleviate the situation. Currently, they are Trap-Neuter-Return initiative intends to humanely prevent the population from spiraling further out of control.

Cats Unite Prisoners and Guards through Unbridled Cuteness

Cats make their homes in a wide variety of interesting places; however, the home of this litter of kittens may take the cake for strangest home. This week, PostStar reported that a litter of kittens was found in a maximum-security prison in Fort Ann, New York. The kittens somehow made their way into the prison to find shelter in the most unlikely of places.

Currently, the inmates and staff are both working to take care of the freshly found felines until they can be relocated into proper homes. The situation has interestingly united the two groups under the common cause of caring for these cats. While inmates have built a cage for the kittens, staff members have altered the schedules to ensure that they have allotted time to tend to the strays.

Though the prison is searching for homes, the kittens seem to be content with the current situation. Surrounded by both inmates and guards, there is always one person available to watch and care for the kittens. Whether the cats will remain in the prison, or find new homes with volunteers remains to be seen.