Dog parks continue to grow in popularity
The concept of a public park dedicated for use by off-leash dogs and their owners is a relatively new one, but it has been popular from the start. The nonprofit Trust for Public Land notes that in 2010 there were 569 off-leash dog parks in the 100 largest cities, and that the growth in the number of dog parks has been 10 times greater than the number of parks dedicated to general use. An article in USA Today noted that the trend is not surprising, given that more households today have dogs than have children.
• Rattlesnakes working for the good of humankind? Yes, say researchers from the University of Maryland. That’s because a single snake is responsible for removing 2,500 to 3,500 potentially disease-carrying ticks a year, along with the small mammals that are the snake’s prey. So, thank a snake … but not too closely.
• Norm Lopez, a friendly cat with a catchy name and his own Facebook page, has attracted fans around the world after a well-meaning passerby picked up the portly pet and took him to the animal shelter in the mistaken belief that he was pregnant and in distress. There, the shelter director recognized him from his Facebook page, and Norm was soon back home. After a burst of media fame, he’s back to welcoming guests from his home base near the State Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., but he now has a microchip and is the face of a fundraiser for the city’s shelter.
— Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori