L.A. Unleashed

L.A. Unleashed Animal news from The Los Angeles Times. See full coverage at www.latimes.com/unleashed and follow us on Twitter @LATunleashed.

According to a new theme-park industry report, attendance at SeaWorld San Diego dropped 12% last year, and attendance at...
06/04/2015
SeaWorld attendance sinks, rivals thrive

According to a new theme-park industry report, attendance at SeaWorld San Diego dropped 12% last year, and attendance at SeaWorld Orlando was down 8%.

The The San Diego Union Tribune's report:

SeaWorld San Diego shows biggest attendance drop of U.S theme parks, new report reveals.

On horses, the sounds they make, and what those sounds may indicate about their emotional states: "One frequency [in the...
05/30/2015
Horses Use Their 'Voices' To Convey Their Emotions Just Like Humans Do

On horses, the sounds they make, and what those sounds may indicate about their emotional states: "One frequency [in the whinny] indicates whether the emotion is positive or negative, while the other frequency reveals the strength of the emotion. Such vocalizations with two fundamental frequencies are rare among mammals, in contrast, for example, to songbirds."

More from The Huffington Post, including audio of whinnies:

What's in a neigh? A lot more than you might think. According to a new study conducted by researchers in Switzerland, a horse's whinny reflects its emotions -- much like our voices can betray how w

In a new Gallup poll of American adults, 32% said that "animals deserve the exact same rights as people to be free from ...
05/22/2015
In U.S., More Say Animals Should Have Same Rights as People

In a new Gallup poll of American adults, 32% said that "animals deserve the exact same rights as people to be free from harm and exploitation."

An increasing percentage of Americans, 32%, believe animals should have the same rights and protections as people. Americans are most concerned about the treatment of animals in circuses, in sports and in research.

05/22/2015
Dolphin-hunting Japanese town may start farming them on the side

The mayor of Taiji, Japan, says the town is considering starting a dolphin breeding center -- and reiterates that it does not intend to stop the dolphin hunt.

TOKYO, May 21 (Reuters) - A Japanese town notorious for killing dolphins may set up a dolphin breeding farm after zoos and aquariums decided to stop buying their animals caught in the wild, but it has

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to ban performances by wild and exotic animals in the city:
04/22/2015
San Francisco board approves wild animal performance ban

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has voted to ban performances by wild and exotic animals in the city:

Performances by wild and exotic animals, from the circus big top to movie and television sets, will soon be banned in San Francisco under an ordinance given final approval on Tuesday by the city's Board of Supervisors.

Cholita, a spectacled bear who was terribly abused in a Peruvian circus before being seized by the Peruvian government, ...
04/03/2015
Cholita, An Abused Bear In Peru, Gets A New Home In Colorado

Cholita, a spectacled bear who was terribly abused in a Peruvian circus before being seized by the Peruvian government, is moving to a sanctuary in Colorado through the efforts of Animal Defenders International. #SaveCholita

An animal welfare group says it now has permission to bring the Andean bear to a sanctuary in Colorado along with more than 30 lions that have been removed from circuses.

Cholita, an Andean spectacled bear who was abused in a Peruvian circus, has been in limbo, without a permanent home, sin...
03/28/2015
After Abuse In A Peruvian Circus, A Bear Awaits A New Home

Cholita, an Andean spectacled bear who was abused in a Peruvian circus, has been in limbo, without a permanent home, since being seized by Peruvian authorities a decade ago.

Now, Animal Defenders International hopes to bring her to a sanctuary in Colorado. The group is waiting for approval from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a required step because Cholita's species is endangered.

"No zoo will take her because they regard her as ugly," Jan Creamer, the head of Animal Defenders International, said by phone from Colombia. "She is the sweetest bear."

In Pennsylvania, state Senator Daylin Leach is proposing to ban all "wild" animals (not just elephants) from performing ...
03/17/2015
Pennsylvania lawmaker seeks to ban elephant, wild animals from circus

In Pennsylvania, state Senator Daylin Leach is proposing to ban all "wild" animals (not just elephants) from performing in circuses in the state.

"These animals are not made to be show creatures. They are made to run over vast expanses of land. And given that it's against their nature, activities based on cruelty are used so they entertain people," Leach says.

Sen. Daylin Leach of Montgomery County is asking his Senate colleagues to join with him in supporting legislation to bar the display of the pachyderm and other wild animals in traveling shows, but would exclude zoos, educational outreach programs and research activities.

Soon, exotic animals such as elephants and tigers will be prohibited from performing in circus acts in Mexico. One probl...
03/17/2015
Wanted: homes for wild animals as Mexico bans them from circuses

Soon, exotic animals such as elephants and tigers will be prohibited from performing in circus acts in Mexico.

One problem: where will they go?

Mexico is searching for homes for at least 2,000 tigers, elephants, giraffes, zebras and other exotic beasts that will soon be...

"When I was sick, I got to summon people to my hospital room. Ingrid [Newkirk, of PETA] and I got this fun idea. I start...
03/10/2015
Terminally Ill 'Simpsons' Co-Creator Vows to Give Away Fortune

"When I was sick, I got to summon people to my hospital room. Ingrid [Newkirk, of PETA] and I got this fun idea. I started to buy these zoos and circuses in December. I just wanted to have some days where I get to see animals walk in grass for the first time."

Animal advocate and "Simpsons" co-creator Sam Simon, whose many charitable works include founding The Sam Simon Foundation, died today at age 59. Here's a 2013 interview on his work for animals, his health struggles and more. R.I.P.

This story first appeared in the Aug.

A California man has filed suit against the Nestle Purina PetCare Company, claiming that two of his dogs died and a thir...
03/03/2015
Dangerous dog food? Lawsuit claims Beneful sickened, killed pets

A California man has filed suit against the Nestle Purina PetCare Company, claiming that two of his dogs died and a third became sick after eating Beneful dog food.

Class-action lawsuit claims thousands of pets were sickened or killed by a popular brand of dog food

SeaWorld has reported a 4% drop in attendance and a 6% drop in revenue in 2014.
02/27/2015
SeaWorld attendance falls 4%; PETA attributes drop to 'Blackfish'

SeaWorld has reported a 4% drop in attendance and a 6% drop in revenue in 2014.

Attendance at SeaWorld Entertainment's parks dropped 4% in 2014, a decline that one animal rights group attributed to a public revolt against the parks following the release of the 2013 movie "Blackfish."

17 animals died and 26 were injured on U.S. airlines in 2014, according to newly released Department of Transportation d...
02/12/2015
This Is How Many Animals Died on Airlines Last Year

17 animals died and 26 were injured on U.S. airlines in 2014, according to newly released Department of Transportation data:

The Department of Transportation has released its annual list of U.S. animal fatalities on airlines

A parasite is taking a heavy toll on the Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeon, and California wildlife officials are asking ...
02/04/2015
Take down birdbaths, feeders to halt pigeon parasite, Californians told

A parasite is taking a heavy toll on the Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeon, and California wildlife officials are asking residents to take down their birdbaths and bird feeders to stem its spread.

Bird feeders and artificial water sources may increase transmission of the disease because they bring band-tailed pigeons in close contact with other birds.

For the sixth straight year, The Humane Society of the United States has ranked California #1 among U.S. states for laws...
01/27/2015
California again tops ranking of the most animal-friendly states

For the sixth straight year, The Humane Society of the United States has ranked California #1 among U.S. states for laws and policies relating to animals. Oregon placed second and Illinois came in third.

"Across a wide range of animal cruelty issues, California has enshrined more policies to address those problems than any other state," said Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle. "There's been a cascade of reform."

L.A. residents may be able to have more cats if an effort City Councilman Paul Koretz is successful. Koretz wants to cha...
01/21/2015
L.A. may let residents have as many as five cats

L.A. residents may be able to have more cats if an effort City Councilman Paul Koretz is successful. Koretz wants to change city codes to allow residents to have as many as five cats, up from three.

"We euthanize a large number of animals and a large number of them are cats," says Koretz. "We have to try and adopt out more cats. The most likely takers are people who already have them in their home."

A federal judge issued a ruling today that overturned California's law banning the sale of foie gras. The ruling at leas...
01/08/2015
Foie gras ban is overturned

A federal judge issued a ruling today that overturned California's law banning the sale of foie gras. The ruling at least briefly reverses what stood as a major victory for animal advocates trying to stop the practice of force-feeding birds to enlarge their livers.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ruled that the California ban was unconstitutional because it interfered with an existing federal law that regulates poultry products.

Petco says it's the first nationwide pet-store chain to remove all Chinese-made dog and cat treats from its store shelve...
01/07/2015
Petco pulls Chinese-made pet treats from shelves

Petco says it's the first nationwide pet-store chain to remove all Chinese-made dog and cat treats from its store shelves and website. PetSmart will no longer be selling treats manufactured in China by March, a spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times.

Petco says it has pulled all Chinese-made cat and dog treats from its website and stores nationwide following concerns that the treats had sickened...

L.A. County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Mike Antonovich are calling for a study of the county's animal control system, i...
01/07/2015
L.A. County's aging animal shelter system could get major overhaul

L.A. County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Mike Antonovich are calling for a study of the county's animal control system, including looking at relocating shelters to make them more central to constituents and coming up with a plan to repair the existing facilities, which range from 38 to 68 years old.

Los Angeles County officials are considering a major overhaul of aging and outdated shelters that hold thousands of animals, mostly dogs and cats .

A judge has restored federal protections to gray wolves in the the western Great Lakes region.In a sharply worded 111-pa...
12/20/2014
Federal judge puts gray wolf back on endangered species list

A judge has restored federal protections to gray wolves in the the western Great Lakes region.

In a sharply worded 111-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell said the 2012 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take the wolves off the list and hand management responsibilities over to Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin was "arbitrary and capricious" and violated the Endangered Species Act.

The Friday ruling bans any hunting and trapping of gray wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

R.I.P., Angalifu. The death of the 44-year-old male northern white rhino, who lived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, le...
12/16/2014
Only 5 northern white rhinos are left; artificial insemination difficult

R.I.P., Angalifu. The death of the 44-year-old male northern white rhino, who lived at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, leaves only five: an elderly female in San Diego, three in a Kenyan preserve and one at a zoo in the Czech Republic.

There were more than 2,000 northern whites in 1960, according to the WWF, but poachers obliterated the population. By 1984, there were about 15 left. That population was doubled by 1993 through aggressive conservation efforts. But heavily armed poaching gangs have now virtually annihilated the species, the WWF says.

With the death at San Diego Zoo Safari Park of a northern white rhino, the species is five rhinos away from extinction.

A New York state judicial panel, responding to legal action brought by the group Nonhuman Rights Project on behalf of a ...
12/05/2014
Chimps Don’t Have Same Rights as Humans, Court Says

A New York state judicial panel, responding to legal action brought by the group Nonhuman Rights Project on behalf of a captive chimpanzee named Tommy, has ruled that a chimp cannot be considered a "legal person."

Here's The New York Times' story:

In a blow for animal-rights advocates, a judicial panel ruled unanimously that a chimpanzee named Tommy could not be considered a “legal person” so could not sue for his freedom.

A bill on Gov. Chris Christie's desk would ban gestation crates for pigs in New Jersey. It has bipartisan support from s...
11/21/2014
Iowa politics have Christie hog-tied on animal rights bill

A bill on Gov. Chris Christie's desk would ban gestation crates for pigs in New Jersey. It has bipartisan support from state lawmakers, and one survey found that 9 in 10 New Jersey voters approve.

But Iowa — with its many hog farmers, and its prominent role in presidential politics — may weigh heavily on Christie's decision.

Iowa can have a magical effect on visiting politicians.

The parent company and owner of the now-closed Santa Monica restaurant The Hump pleaded guilty today to federal charges ...
11/18/2014
Restaurant owner, parent company plead guilty in sale of whale meat

The parent company and owner of the now-closed Santa Monica restaurant The Hump pleaded guilty today to federal charges stemming from serving meat from the endangered Sei whale to undercover investigators in 2009 and 2010.

Authorities launched an investigation into The Hump, known to specialize in exotic seafood items, after producers behind the documentary "The Cove" secretly filmed whale meat being served at the restaurant.

As part of the plea, restaurant owner Brian Vidor admitted that he was aware his sushi chefs, who have previously pleaded guilty, were serving whale at the restaurant and allowed it.

Visits to Africa by high-level Chinese delegations, including a presidential trip, have been used to smuggle ivory, cont...
11/07/2014
Chinese officials accused of smuggling African ivory on official visits

Visits to Africa by high-level Chinese delegations, including a presidential trip, have been used to smuggle ivory, contributing to an explosion in poaching that has cut Tanzania’s elephant population in half over the last five years, according to a new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency.

The visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping in March last year coincided with another boom in sales that reportedly caused black market prices to double.

11/07/2014
Richard Dawkins on fireworks and animals

For Guy Fawkes Day, Richard Dawkins wrote a piece in the Daily Mail about the fear and stress animals experience because of fireworks. Among his suggested remedies: quieter fireworks.

He writes: "our present disregard of millions of sentient beings incapable of understanding what fireworks are but fully capable of dreading them is utterly — albeit usually unwittingly — selfish."

I love fireworks. The appeal is to the eye more than the ear — the colours that paint the sky, flares lighting the faces of children but why can't they make silent fireworks asks RICHARD DAWKINS,

11/06/2014
Welcome Pup 681!

Pup 681 is a young southern sea otter who was found without her mother along California's Central Coast. The Monterey Bay Aquarium cared for her for several weeks, and she's now moved to Illinois for continued care and rehabilitation.

Photos: http://lat.ms/1siD7DB

Shedd’s newest resident is an orphaned southern sea otter pup. Watch as she arrives at Shedd and gets to know her new family!

Maine voters appear to have voted down a measure that would have banned, in most cases, the use of bait, traps and dogs ...
11/05/2014
Measure to restrict bear-hunting practices fails in Maine

Maine voters appear to have voted down a measure that would have banned, in most cases, the use of bait, traps and dogs to hunt bears in the state. Maine is the only state in the lower 48 where hunters are allowed to use those methods.

Ending a political battle watched closely by sportsmen across the state and nation, Maine voters on Tuesday were set to defeat a ballot measure that called for a ban on bear-hunting methods, such as feeding the animals pizza, to draw them into the open.

There are so many incredible images of animals among the winners of this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year compet...
10/27/2014
Grand title winners | Wildlife Photographer of the Year

There are so many incredible images of animals among the winners of this year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Here are the honorees in the adult competition: http://bit.ly/1tdhbgU. The winning entries by photographers 17 and under: http://bit.ly/1tzwouc.

The winning entry by an adult, shown here, was shot by an American photographer visiting Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. These lionesses and cubs are members of the Vumbi pride. You can learn more about them in this National Geographic piece: http://bit.ly/1l7tB4k

View the winning images selected by our international jury. WPY champions ethical photography.

Next month, Maine voters will decide whether to ban the use of bait, dogs and traps in bear hunting. Maine is currently ...
10/25/2014
Bears are on the ballot in Maine as hunting methods are debated

Next month, Maine voters will decide whether to ban the use of bait, dogs and traps in bear hunting. Maine is currently the only state in the lower 48 where hunters may use those methods to hunt bears, and the campaign manager for the group Save Maine's Bear Hunt says 93% of the kills in last year's bear hunt involved one of the methods that could be banned.

"We think we've got a great case to make," The Humane Society of the United States president Wayne Pacelle said in a heated televised debate Oct. 14. "The fact is, you don't need to use these methods to hunt the animals. Hunting is supposed to give the animals a chance, and this stacks the deck so badly."

It has been a big year for bears in the news, especially in Maine, where voters on Nov. 4 face a question that has bedeviled other bear-heavy states: how to keep the species’ population at bay in the face of pressure from animal rights groups lobbying to ban certain hunting methods.  

An artist from Washington state turned her black German shepherd into a Skeledog with (nontoxic) paint. (She also turned...
10/18/2014

An artist from Washington state turned her black German shepherd into a Skeledog with (nontoxic) paint. (She also turned the dog into a "fox" — photos here: http://on.fb.me/1zfRwcg)

This one time... I decided to paint my dog!

A cat café popup in L.A.'s Chinatown continues through this weekend, and the founder of "Catfé" hopes to make it permane...
10/04/2014
Feline fanatics purr over L.A.'s first cat cafe

A cat café popup in L.A.'s Chinatown continues through this weekend, and the founder of "Catfé" hopes to make it permanent through a Kickstarter campaign. Visitors can pet cats, of course, but are also able to learn about cat care and even adopt!

Shaggy-haired Joseph Lunsford, the costumed head butler at Southern California’s Mochi Cafe, trekked from San Diego to Los Angeles with a mission: Serve tofu balls and sandwiches at Los Angeles' first cat cafe. And of course, pet some cats.  

A new analysis suggests that there are as many blue whales living off the coast of California as there were before human...
09/06/2014
Blue whales of California are back to historical levels, study finds

A new analysis suggests that there are as many blue whales living off the coast of California as there were before humans started hunting them to near extinction 110 years ago.

Today, there are roughly 2,200 blue whales who range from Mexico in the south to Alaska in the north. In the 1930s, that number was closer to 750.

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I was a "Never Trump" guy for a matter of only days, during the Republican primary for many good reasons, that remain true and valid today. But DAMN. Come on people. All of you are out there proclaiming your Conservative and Christian principles and your love for America, but you are sitting quietly by, even now, and watching Her be destroyed before your very eyes. Conservative principles are great. I'm every bit as conservative as any of you, probably more so, however, if you really need this explained to you, here goes. 98% of all news reports on Trump over the past three months, according to a recent Harvard study, have been negative [Blog Editor: Actually, depending on the news outlet the percentage ranges from 80% to 98% being the worst]. What does this tell You? Concerning the Trump-Russia Scandal, initially beginning as a counter-intelligence investigation into Russia hacking the election, there is ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE OF "COLLUSION" between Trump and the Russians. Aside from this fact, he is the President and he is empowered to speak to foreign heads of State on any issue by right of being Our President; if you seek real collusion, just look at when Obama was caught on an open mike, on March 26th 2012, telling the Russian President to wait until after the election, and he could "be more flexible". Just look at Hillary Clinton's deals to give away American uranium resources to Russia, as Secretary of State [Blog Editor: See how the Leftist MSM twist the truth into a lie with semantic spin moves]. Still Trump was acting accordingly, when he fired FBI Director Comey, because Comey was compromised from his affiliations with Clinton; he accepted $6 million from the Clinton Foundation, when he was CEO of Lockheed, and he mishandled the Clinton investigation into her handling of Top Secret and Classified information, trying to play both sides of the fence. Trump had to fire him. [Blog Editor: See HERE, HERE & HERE] If James Comey believed President Trump was really trying to influence his investigation into Gen. Michael Flynn, when the President asked if he "could let it go", then why did hid he wait three months to bring it up, and only after he was fired? Why is this memo, yet to be seen, just now being mentioned? If this memo exists, then James Comey's ethical behavior once again comes under scrutiny. [Blog Editor: Justin’s wondering is right on the money! See HERE] Comey evidently didn't really believe that President Trump was trying to obstruct justice at the time. If he did, he was duty bound by law to report the conversation immediately to the House Senate Intelligence Committee. Pragmatist, liberal Democrat, conman, convert to conservatism, Great American. Put any label you choose, however true or untrue it may be, on President Donald J Trump. The reality remains that President Trump has pursued more conservative items in his first 100 days than many "Never Trump" proponents suggested he would, and he saved the Supreme Court from going completely fascist. And I believe him to be a Fine American truly working to save this Exceptional America of Ours. I'm not debating the pros and cons of what he's done. I will say, that attempting to present a GOP healthcare bill and the trillion-dollar budget shouldn't have occurred. What many seem to miss is this. Trump has given the GOP both Houses of Congress under the Republican platform and a Republican nominated U.S. President, and this can act as a respite from the transformation of the nation into a total authoritarian socialist country in which citizens answer to government bureaucrats; this is where Obama and the Progressive commies were taking us. Remember Trump’s great words only days ago at Liberty University. He said, “In America we don’t worship government, we worship God.” These words will flow throughout history, however, they also solidified the D.C. Establishment's view that Trump is dangerous. And immediately afterwards, all manner of hell broke loose in the Left Wing media. Now in desperation, the Democrats refuse to release their power and give up any gains under Obama, while America hears people such as Representatives Al Green (D-TX), Maxine Waters (D-CA) and prominent Democrat former Rep. Tom Perriello call for President Trump's impeachment. We are seeing an inner struggle, that is nothing short of a coup attempt by Deep State bureaucrats in the FBI, CIA and NSA, "anonymous" leakers, the Leftist Commies in the "mainstream" media and their Progressive allies in both parties, as well as their strong-arm thugs in the streets. This is a total complete attempt to takeover, a very real coup attempt. The Democrats might proceed with attempts to arrive at impeachment, but such proceedings cannot even reach the floor of the Senate without the Senate Majority Leader's approval. McConnell hates Trump, but even he knows the proof of evidence has to be very solid, before moving for impeachment. Aside from all this, 25 Republicans would have to cross over and join the Democrats. That isn't happening anytime soon, not without more substantial evidence. Something that doesn't exist cannot be found, no matter how much the Democrats wish their Lie to become the Truth. Yes, Trump should survive impeachment attempts, but he and his administration will remain under constant attack. In order to minimize the efforts of the Progressive Democrat Communists, Trump must immediately embark on a purge of all Obama bureaucratic holdovers and replace them with solid Conservatives, Christians and Constitutional-minded Patriotic Americans. Keep your precious principles, but don't attack the Republican President, regardless of his lack of conservative credentials, and don't inadvertently or willingly join in the clamor for impeachment, when there is absolutely zero grounds for it, and it is completely unwarranted. Do not aid this coup. If you and other Republicans jump on this pile of manufactured Democratic manure, you are setting in motion a terrible precedent for the future and possibly dooming America to becoming just like the banana republics where the" rule of law" means little and men answer to dictators, rather than the State answering to their citizens. You and your ilk are aiding in the destruction of our Republic. Trump is America's Man, but only if You're one of the people who want out from under the Globalists and the Establishment DC fascists. If this all out assault on the Trump administration and President Trump continues, the path ahead looks very much like another Civil War brewing. Whether America on the whole understands just how much so, these are the most dangerous times America has ever witnessed in my sixty years of sunrises. Don't let the sun set on Our Republic. By Justin O. Smith __________________