Reuters: Feline good: French cat survives coronavirus infection. “Papille purrs contentedly as her owner rubs the back of her head, her coat glossy and her eyes a piercing green – back to her old affection-seeking self after recovering from COVID-19.”
NBC News: Pug in North Carolina tests positive for coronavirus, may be first for dog in U.S.. “A pug in North Carolina has tested positive for the coronavirus, which may the the first such case for a dog in the U.S. The dog, Winston, was part of a Duke University study in which a whole family in Chapel Hill, the McCleans, were tested for the virus. The mother, father, son, and pug tested positive, while the daughter, another dog and a cat tested negative, according to NBC affiliate WRAL in Raleigh.”
CountryLiving: New app tells you if your dog is getting enough exercise during lockdown. “The Work Out Your Walkies calculator enables owners to enter the breed of their dog, their dog’s age, and the dimensions of their garden or outdoor space. Once the information has been filled in, the app calculates the exact number of garden laps their dog needs to do each day based on recommended expert guidelines.”
BBC: Coronavirus: ‘Pets no risk to owners’ vets stress. “Veterinary scientists have recommended cat owners keep their pets indoors to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus among animals. But the British Veterinary Association stressed ‘owners should not worry’ about risk of infection from pets.” Also, birds everywhere will thank you.
America’s Best Racing: The Horse Lover’s Guide to Staying Inside. “Hi friends. I know COVID-19 is a scary time for us all; but, if you’re a horse lover like me who can’t go riding or get to the races anymore, you may be wondering what to do with yourself during this time of social distancing. So, here’s my handy guide for horse lovers who suddenly find ourselves stuck indoors for the foreseeable future.” This is a series that’s up to four parts at this writing.
Phys .org: Routine and learning games: How to make sure your dog doesn’t get canine cabin fever. “Staying home and not socializing your dogs, most notably puppies, risks them becoming afraid of unfamiliar people and other dogs. This, combined with a being in an urban environment for a long time, relative inactivity, and sub-optimal training activities, could set up a COVID-19 generation of dogs who aren’t equipped for urban and suburban living. And considering the biggest killer of dogs under three years old is behavioral euthanasia, it’s important to take steps to enrich your dog’s environment.”
Phys .org: How do I include my pets in my family’s emergency planning for COVID-19?. “The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has created a helpful toolkit on how to include pets in preparedness planning for house fires, natural disasters, and other emergencies. I recommend reviewing the AVMA’s pet-evacuation kit checklist for a list of items to have on hand—and stocking up on two weeks’ worth of food, water, medicines, flea and tick prevention, kitty litter (if needed), and cleaning supplies for your pet.”
CNET: New AI dog trainer uses computer vision and a treat launcher. “Dog training generally requires a human dog trainer, but what if it didn’t and delivered better results? That’s the promise of a startup called Companion Labs that has unveiled its first AI-driven dog-training machine in conjunction with the San Francisco SPCA.”
New York Post: Spotify is now making playlists for your pets. “Spotify can now generate playlists for your pets, with a new tool that claims to customize mixtapes to a critters’ species and personality traits.” I tried this but it did not work for me; got all the way to the end of the process of generating the playlist and then threw an error. I tend to listen to Spotify kind of erratically, though.
For a given value of useful, from Mashable: Wonder what your dog would look like as a cat? There’s a new AI tool for you. . “NVIDIA has leveraged big gains in AI technology to develop a fun tool called the GANimal App, which allows users to upload a photo of their pet and generate pictures of what it would look like as either different breeds of the same animal — or a different animal altogether.” I tried this with a cat and a dog and wasn’t super impressed.
From Harefield Radio, and I should note here this is UK-only: Dog Furiendly’s New Website Becomes a TripAdvisor For Dog Owners. “Dog Furiendly has unveiled a new interactive website for dog owners across the UK. The free-to-use website features a sophisticated search engine to find dog friendly places and dog-related events.” I did a search for listings within 10 miles of Chichester, and found 10 listings. A search for listings within 10 miles of Liverpool found 68 listings.
Animal Legal Defense Fund: Exposing Animal Abusers: Update on the Animal Welfare Blackout. “In early 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purged tens of thousands of important documents related to animal welfare from the agency’s website…. On February 22, 2017 the Animal Legal Defense Fund, leading a coalition of organizations including Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!, Companion Animal Protection Society, and Animal Folks, sued the USDA.”
Abacus News: Move over humans, this startup is making facial recognition for pets. “If you’re a dog lover, you probably don’t need convincing that your furry friend is like no other. But just how exactly can you tell two pups apart? AI startup Megvii says they have an answer. The company, known better as a supplier of facial recognition surveillance software to the Chinese government, is now dabbling in biometric recognition for animals. But rather than scanning the whole face of a dog, it focuses solely on one feature: The nose.”
CNET: This Cat is Chonky: The fat-cat online shrine lifting humans from despair. “I’m standing at my desk working. Archer, a 10-pound bundle of sass and midnight fur, sits behind me on a stool, a single claw plunging repeatedly into the elbow of my sweater: ‘Pay attention to me!’ Archer knows I’m looking at other cats. He just knows.”
Mashable: Facebook used as a platform to promote dog fighting, report finds . “The report, published by animal rights organisation Lady Freethinker, highlights how dog fighting content is easily found on the platform, and how the company has failed to enforce its own policies against the practice. Between Oct. 2018 and Feb. 2019, the organisation found 2,000 posts which promoted dogfighting or trafficking animals used for fighting, more than 150 pages, groups and profiles actively involved in the practice, plus 160,563 members in the top five pages and groups.”