Doug the dog helped his fellow Concord law enforcement officers find a school hacking suspect, CBS San Francisco reported.
“Doug the dog — he is one of the few canines who is trained to sniff out hidden electronics, and that’s what he did. He actually located a hidden thumb drive in a box of tissues,” Concord police Sgt. Carl Cruz said.
Police had followed an electronic trail to the suspect’s house and searched it and brought in Doug, a Contra Costa County K-9 officer who found the key evidence.
The student was accused of hacking into his school’s computer network at Ygnacio Valley High School to change grades. He apparently achieved login information from a teacher who responded to an email sent that looked like official Mount Diablo School District correspondence asking for login or password information.
“Approximately 16 students were affected by this,” Cruz said. “Some of them [grades] he raised up, and some of them he raised down.” Police have not released the suspect’s name because he is a juvenile.
OAS Director Resigns
Oakland Animal Services director Rebecca Katz announced she would resign from her job in mid-June, citing frustration over a lack of city support for the department, the East Bay Times reported in early May.
“I gave it my best for more than three years, and OAS is in a much better position than when I inherited it, but I simply cannot continue to work at an agency that does not get the resources and support from the city needed to fulfill its mission,” Katz wrote in an email to volunteers in April.
Katz had asked the city to fill long-vacant positions, push for improved funding, and oversee police more closely in animal investigations. The OAS Department was part of the Police Department until 2016. The director and volunteers have often complained that OAS is understaffed and underfunded.
New Director in Antioch
Antioch Animal Services has named a new animal services director: George Harding IV, according to the East Bay Times.
Previously, Harding was manager of Lee’s Summit’s Animal Control program in Missouri and executive director of the National Animal Care & Control Association. He also has professional certification as an animal welfare administrator.
He does have pets, by the way: Ruby, a golden retriever; Cooper, a Maine coon cat; and Charlie, a shorthaired cat.
And he told the East Bay Times he hopes to collaborate with local animal rescue groups, the county animal services, and shelters around the country.
Beware Those Robotic Dogs
Company CEO Marc Raibert announced at a recent TechCrunch conference at UC Berkeley that the company would start selling them to businesses next year. They could wind up as “guard dogs” outside construction zones or offices and in hard-to-reach spaces surveying and collecting data with their built-in security cameras. They can be programmed to do just about anything, from detecting gas leaks to sifting through rubble.
About 10 SpotMinis have been built, and the plan is to manufacture about 100 more for testing with mass production starting mid-2019. The price, expected to be quite hefty, hasn’t be revealed
Yep, Dogs Get Jealous, Too
A new study, “Jealousy in Dogs? Evidence From Brain Imaging,” seems to indicate dogs do get jealous like humans, Psychology Today recently reported.
Published in the journal Animal Sentience, the study looked at 13 dogs that entered into a scanner where they stayed calm. Their brains were scanned when a dog got food, when a fake-dog got food; and when food was deposited in a bucket. Researchers observed the dogs’ amygdala activity and used aggression as a measure of jealousy. The study showed dogs were more aroused when caregivers gave food to the fake dogs than when they dropped the food into the bucket.
Researchers are hopeful that this greater understanding of jealousy could lead to improved success in interventions to stop dog-dog/human aggression.
Diabetic Alert Dog Alert
Ars Technica reported recently that some dogs supposedly trained to detect and respond to potentially life-threatening blood sugar levels in people with diabetes were mostly untrained and un-housebroken puppies
According to a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Mark Herring for the Commonwealth of Virginia, people paid about $25,000 to Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers and its owner Charles Warren Jr. for diabetic alert dogs that were not trained, despite the company’s claims otherwise.
The SDWR website advertised the animals as being able to detect low/high blood sugar levels through scents in skin and breath, retrieve needed food and medications, seek help when required, and dial 911 in an emergency. Yet the “ready” dogs customers got were anything but ready, the lawsuit alleges. Additionally, scientific evidence behind whether dogs are effective and accurate at monitoring blood sugar levels is unproven.
SDWR’s attorney, John B. Russell Jr., said the company denied Virginia’s claims and planned to “fight these ridiculous allegations at every step.”
Dogs and Sleep
Still sleeping with your dog? Maybe you shouldn’t be. According to Southern Living, some new research suggests the practice might be preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic who monitored 40 adult dog owners without sleep disorders and their sleep quality over seven nights with and without their dogs found there wasn’t too much difference
in the sleep efficiency between the two groups. But those who did sleep with their dog on the bed woke up more frequently, and that can lead to feelings of exhaustion.
Athletes Could Use a Boost
Hunting dogs, research suggests, may benefit from getting an antioxidant boost in their diets, Science Daily reported recently.
A new study by the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences posited that hunting dogs and other extremely athletic dogs might experience improved performance with supplemental antioxidants. Exercise produces damaging free radicals, and antioxidants supposedly help minimize those effects.
Researchers followed a kennel of American Foxhounds in Alabama during a hunting season. One group got a high-performance commercial diet, and the other was on a test diet that was similar to the commercial diet but added antioxidants (vitamins C and E, and lutein), zinc, and taurine. During the study, dogs from both groups went on two to three hunts per week, with each hunt two to five hours long.
Researchers took blood samples from the dogs before they started the diets and four times during the seven-month study to reveal oxidative stress markers and other blood metabolites.
“It turns out performance wasn’t affected by diet, but the test diet did improve indirect measures of oxidative stress. Therefore, improved performance may be expected with more strenuous exercise when metabolic demands are higher,” said Kelly Swanson, an author of the study.
Dogs on the commercial diet incurred a decrease in the amino acid taurine and vitamin E. For dogs on the test diet, taurine and vitamin E levels were maintained at or above the baseline. The results suggested to the researchers these compounds are compromised in athletic dogs over months of unstructured exercise and more-active dogs may experience greater depletion.
“We can conclude that athletic dogs may benefit from supplementation of vitamin E and taurine to minimize oxidation and maintain taurine status,” Swanson said.
Accidental Law Breakers
Residents of Lead, S.D., inadvertently have been breaking the law for the last three years if they have owned a dog within city limits, the Black Hills Pioneer reported.
It was just an oversight by Lead officials who approved an ordinance in 2015 accidentally banning dogs. City Ordinance 91.001 made it illegal for anyone to keep a wild/exotic animal in town, and all members of the family canidae, even domestic dogs, were included in the ban. Officials intended to exclude coyotes, foxes, jackals, wolves, and wild dogs but not domestic dogs. A modifying ordinance, 1059-18, will alter the wording to exclude domestic dogs from the list of wild/exotic animals and was schedule for approval in mid-May.
The discrepancy was recently discovered when Lead resident Chad Baker thought it was OK to have a pet fox, though the city administrator has since contended foxes are prohibited.
“The main reason is the vaccine for rabies is only good on horses, cats, and dogs,” Police Chief John Wainman said. “By state standards, even if that fox was vaccinated, that vaccination would not count by state standards because it’s an unofficial use for the vaccine for rabies.”
Fur-Ever Wild opened in nearby Deadwood in 2015 intending to house baby wolves, foxes, and other wild animals as a petting zoo. Area residents were concerned about allegations of animal mistreatment by Fur Ever Wild and got wild animal ordinances approved in Lead and Deadwood prohibiting the private possession of all wild animals such foxes, wolves, raccoons, elephants, primates, and some snakes. Fur-Ever Wild last about two months.
Do Or Don’t, An Online Matchmaker
Aiden Horwitz, a 13-year-old student at Austin Jewish Academy, recently created a website to connect Austinites with their perfect shelter mate, according to the Austin American Statesman.
The name of the website is DogDoOrDogDont.org, and it tells users which shelter dogs at Austin Pets Alive! just might be the right match for them. Prospective pet owners can fill out a survey about the size of their home, how much barking they can put ip with, how long their pup might be home alone every day, and other details. Then they get a score that matches them to a type of suitable dog plus website links to real dogs available for adoption from Austin Pets Alive under each category. Those who receive a score of zero to 10 percent are steered way from dogs altogether and told they might do better with a cat.
“I wanted to come up with a way to help get dogs adopted or help people get the right dog for them and their family,” Horwitz wrote on the website.