I spent a weekend dog-sitting for the first time ever in the spring of 2 B.B. (Before Buddy), rising early to walk my brother’s Chihuahua-terrier before work.
The Manhattan of 7 am is a different world: Everywhere I looked, bleary-eyed New Yorkers clutched leads, yawning as dogs of all shapes and sizes pulled them along. I never knew there were so many dog-friendly apartments, let alone so many people willing to share cramped spaces with dogs of all sizes. Seven-pound Cosmo was one thing, Greate Danes and Dobermans quite another.
You’d think New York City, with its sky-high population density, would be a cat town. It isn’t. Neither is New York State as a whole.
Sadly, Buddy and I live in a state dominated by dog-lovers, one of 25 including California, Texas, Florida, Virginia and both Carolinas. Although cats are the most popular pets in 25 states as well, feline strongholds tend to be in places with lower population density, from Oregon and Washington in the west to Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi in the south, to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maine in the east.
The information was compiled by market research firm Time2Play, which surveyed more than 3,000 Americans. The team also asked respondents whether they posted photos and videos of their pets online. Even though cats remain the undisputed masters of digital space, almost 57 percent of dog people showed off their pooches online, while only 43 percent of cat servants did.
Bud and I have been thinking about moving someplace warmer for years, but of course the king’s needs come first. Maybe we’ll settle in Louisiana or Nevada, where Buddy can establish a new realm for himself.
This is a cat blog, but every once in a while Little Buddy the Cat magnanimously allows us to issue well-deserved props to dogs who do extraordinary things, like Patron, a two-year-old Jack Russell terrier in Ukraine.
The bomb-sniffing good boy has so far sniffed out 150 dangerous explosives, including landmines and live ordnance left behind by the retreating Russians, according to Ukraine’s foreign ministry. He finds the explosives, tells his human buddies, and the de-miners go to work on neutralizing the devices.
Patron is a service dog in #Chernihiv. He has discovered over 150 explosive devices in #Ukraine since full scale #Russian invasion began. Patron works closely with deminers to make #Ukrainian cities safe again.
Not only does Patron help save lives at a crucial time in the war, when Russian forces are covering their retreat with mines and other traps, he’s also a handsome little guy and he happily cuddles with kids who could really use a little brightness after what they’ve endured. Is there anything Patron can’t do?
Patron and other bomb-sniffing dogs perform a critical task as they help their human handlers sweep cities and towns before civilians can return. While some “experts” predicted Ukraine would fall in days, the country has shocked the world by not only enduring the Russian invasion, but pushing the invaders back after inflicting heavy losses on them.
Making home safe for returning refugees
As a result of their failure Russian units are consolidating in eastern Ukraine, and some Ukrainians are cautiously returning to what’s left of their cities and neighborhoods for the first time since the Feb. 24 invasion. Since Russia abandoned efforts to take Kyiv and the entire country, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have been returning home every day, according to a United Nations report.
While Kyiv was a ghost town just a few weeks ago, people have returned to the streets, bakeries and cafes have reopened, and churches are holding services again. Patron and his buddies are making sure hidden mines and other traps are neutralized before people come home, avoiding further tragedy after so much loss.
Patron has been helping clear Chernihiv and its surrounding environs. The northern Ukrainian city, which is about 150 kilometers northeast of Kyiv, has been designated a “Hero City” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The title has also been given to cities like Kharkiv, Volnovakha and Mariupol, and marks sites where Ukrainians dug in to defend their homes despite the brutality of the Russian invasion.
“One day, Patron’s story will be turned into a film, but for now, he is faithfully performing his professional duties,” staffers at Ukraine’s Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security wrote on Twitter when they shared a video of Patron last month.
A dog called Patron, who works with SES rescuers in Chernihiv, has helped defuse nearly 90 explosive devices since the beginning of the full-scale invasion 🐶 One day, Patron's story will be turned into a film, but for now, he is faithfully performing his professional duties. pic.twitter.com/2PpT8p4Yfr
Buddy the Cat salutes Patron and says cats “would totally would help sniff out explosives, but the dogs seem to have a handle on that and we don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder.”
Instead, Buddy said, he’s sure the felines of Ukraine are engaged in some other kind of dangerous, patriotic work, such as reminding humans when it’s dinner time, keeping seats warm and providing delightful company to the war-weary.
Patron atop a destroyed Russian tank.
Patron is one of many animals living through war in Ukraine and enduring alongside their human friends.
A Ukrainian EOD tech shows explosives found by Patron, the bomb-sniffing Jack Russell terrier.
When he’s not helping his buddies find dangerous explosives, Patron cuddles with kids.
While the surveillance footage appeared to show a pair of men siccing pitbulls on a semi-stray cat named Buddy, the suspects are 17 and 12 years old respectively, according to the SPCA.
Investigators were able to ID the pair after getting leads from the public, and on Friday the 17-year-old came in accompanied by a parent to surrender himself to authorities. The 12-year-old has agreed to turn himself in today, March 26, according to the local NBC affiliate.
Authorities said they’ll charge the pair with animal fighting, aggravated animal cruelty and conspiracy for the unprovoked attack, in which they encouraged their dogs to hurt the much smaller cat. The first two charges are felonies.
However, there are caveats. Because the suspects qualify for youthful offender status, they cannot be tried as adults and may be able to wipe the convictions from their records in the future. Such deals are at the discretion of judges, and typically involve the completion of certain programs and require that the offenders stay out of trouble for a set time period after conviction.
Because of that, their names will be sealed in court records. Youthful offender deals are usually reserved for first-time offenders. It’s not clear if the teenagers in this case have priors, and it will be up to the judge to decide the terms of their sentencing if they are convicted or agree to plead to the charges.
The SPCA has taken custody of the dogs, although their fate remains unclear. Hopefully they can be rehabilitated and adopted by experienced owners.
There’s been an outpouring of support for Buddy, with well-wishers across the world donating tens of thousands of dollars toward his veterinary care and related costs, Pennsylvania SPCA’s Julie Klim said.
“While we certainly see a lot of bad as we fight to end animal cruelty, we also see how much good there is, especially in a case like this, from all corners of the globe,” Klim said. “We will do everything humanly and medically possible to ensure Buddy’s future will be a bright one.”
In the meantime, Buddy still clings to life. He remains in critical condition, according to the SPCA, but veterinarians are “hopeful” he’ll pull through. Here’s a video of the little fighter trying to comfort himself by making biscuits on a soft blanket at a veterinary hospital:
Welcome, new readers! This blog is about a different Buddy the Cat, but we also cover news about felines, animal welfare, the pet industry and other cat-centric topics, in addition to frequent humor posts about our benevolent, furry overlords. Buddy the Cat from New York is pulling for Buddy the Cat from Philadelphia, and hopes his fellow Buddy makes a full recovery before finding a loving family and forever home.
I took a pass on this story when I first saw it because there’s only so much senseless violence toward cats people can tolerate, and I don’t want people to feel like they’re going to be stressed out when they visit PITB.
Our primary goal here, after all, is to celebrate cats and have a laugh.
But this story is too infuriating to keep quiet about, and when I realized the victimized cat’s name is Buddy, I couldn’t ignore it.
Buddy, a black cat, was on his front porch in Philadelphia on Tuesday when two men passed by, let their dogs loose and ordered them to attack poor little guy.
The men cheered their dogs on with “Get him!” and “Good boy!”, and Buddy probably would have died there if his human didn’t hear the commotion and run outside to intervene.
⚠️ WARNING – THIS CONTENT IS DISTURBING ⚠️
The Pennsylvania SPCA is asking for the public’s help identifying two individuals who appear to be responsible for an intentional dog attack on a family’s cat in the city’s Frankford neighborhood this morning. pic.twitter.com/tBvTJJOTiL
The two suspects collected their dogs and ran off, while Buddy’s human rushed the injured kitty to the Pennsylvania SPCA, where he underwent surgery for life-threatening injuries.
“Buddy is still hanging in there,” the SPCA announced on Thursday. “He remains in critical condition, but we are cautiously optimistic.”
Buddy, who suffered bite wounds and other injuries over his entire body, was a stray who was cared for — but not fully adopted — by a Philadelphia family. The family told the SPCA that Buddy “didn’t want to live inside,” so after getting him neutered they let him stay on their porch and fed him daily.
“He has lots of puncture wounds,” the SPCA’s Gillian Kocker told KYW-TV, the local CBS affiliate. “They’re worried about infections, but mostly what they’re doing right now is making sure that he’s comfortable and has the medication he needs, especially pain meds.”
While Buddy is recovering and is under 24-7 monitoring, donors from around the world have chipped in, giving more than $30,000. Any money left over after veterinary costs will be used for “Buddy’s buddies,” the SPCA said, meaning other cats in their care.
If and when Buddy recovers, the SPCA said, he will be placed with another family. Meanwhile, the suspects could face felony charges for animal fighting and cruelty to animals if they’re caught, Kocher said. Let’s hope they are.
Anyone who recognizes the suspects should call the SPCA at 866-601-7722.
Declaring cats and dogs should have fundamental rights, an assemblyman in California has introduced a law that would create a Bill of Rights for the two most popular companion animal species.
The text of the proposed legislation covers the basics including the right to food and water, veterinary care and a life free from abuse, neglect and anxiety. It recognizes felines and canines as sentient animals who need mental stimulation, and says adopting means committing to caring for an animal for its entire life.
But it’s really about pushing for an even greater effort to spay and neuter both species to avoid euthanizing almost a million unwanted cats and dogs every year.
There’s been great progress in the last decade alone: In 2011, kill shelters and animal control departments in the US put down more than 2.6 million cats and dogs. In recent years that number has fallen to 920,000, including 530,000 cats, according to the ASPCA.
That’s still a staggering number of lives taken, and animal advocates think the US can continue the downward trend in euthanizing pets via efforts to educate people and execute trap, neuter, return (TNR) plans.
It’s already a crime in California to harm an animal as opposed to the majority of states, where pets are considered property and the consequences for hurting or killing someone’s beloved cat or dog don’t go beyond providing monetary compensation. (However, it’s notable that the proposed cat and dog bill of rights would be added to California’s Food and Agriculture Code, not the Criminal Code. The fact that animal welfare legislation continues to exist in agriculture law instead of criminal is a relic of times when the only laws concerning animals were written to regulate their ownership, sale and slaughter.)
Santiago’s bill doesn’t specify a new plan for spaying and neutering more felines and canines. It doesn’t include funds for TNR or fund new enforcement efforts, and it doesn’t provide welfare groups with new tools.
Mostly what it does is require shelters and rescues to display the pet bill of rights in “a conspicuous place” or face a potential $250 fine. It doesn’t even specify how money collected via fines would be used.
“It sounds pretty simple,” Santiago said, “but we need to talk about it.”
Santiago’s proposed legislation has the support of Judie Mancuso, president of the animal advocacy group Social Compassion in Legislation.
“Those rights go beyond just food, water, and shelter. As stated in the bill, dogs and cats have the right to be respected as sentient beings that experience complex feelings that are common among living animals while being unique to each individual. We’re thrilled to be codifying this into law.”
There’s a long way to go yet for the potential law.
The bill doesn’t have any co-sponsors and it’s not clear how much support it has among other lawmakers. Without significant support it might not be put forth for consideration at all. New York’s assembly, for example, declined to put a declawing ban on the floor for a vote for years until it finally garnered enough support among politicians on both sides of the aisle, as well as voters and organizations like the PAW Project. The declawing ban finally passed in October of 2019.
Even if Santiago gets co-sponsors and convinces enough colleagues to proceed, it would have to pass in the state senate as well. As for PITB, we think failing the first time around might not be a bad thing if it forces Santiago to think bigger and smarter so it includes real measures to get more pets spayed and neutered. A bill of rights is a nice sentiment, but it won’t change much the way it’s written.
If Santiago and future allies lay out a competent plan for tackling companion animal overpopulation, perhaps it could be a model for other state to follow.
Feline humor, news and stories about the ongoing adventures of Buddy the Cat.