Louisiana Pulls Back on Creating a Registry for Convicted Animal Abusers

iStock.com/stevedangers
iStock.com/stevedangers

A House bill in Louisiana mandating that people who have been convicted of animal cruelty register on a statewide animal abuser registry won't take affect this year.

According to KLFY in Lafayette, House Bill No. 161 was sponsored by Rep. Robby Carter. The bill would require anyone found guilty of animal abuse to register within seven days and report their name and address. By law, they would then be prohibited from owning an animal for 10 years following the conviction. If they're convicted a second time, they would be prohibited for life.

In theory, the registration would allow adoption agencies like the Humane Society to check potential pet owners against names on the list to make sure no one with a history of harming animals is able to acquire another pet.

The requirement would apply to any resident of Louisiana, even if the crime took place out of state. If someone fails to register, they could faces fines of up to $1000 as well as six months in jail.

After garnering early support, the bill was pulled from committee consideration after some critical response. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) argues that registries are expensive to maintain and might prompt those charged with animal cruelty to plead to a lesser offense to avoid having to register. The group advocates for court-mandated no-contact orders for those convicted of such crimes. Critics in areas with registries argue that pet store or adoption agency employees are put in an uncomfortable position in declining to deal with a customer who might potentially be violent. Critics also say the registries should distinguish between actual cases of animal cruelty and events involving improper care, like a poorly maintained doghouse.

A number of jurisdictions in the country have similar registries, including Hillsborough County, Florida; Cook County, Illinois; and New York City.  Rhode Island recently passed a bill for a registry that would prohibit those convicted of animal cruelty from owning an animal for 15 years. It's now awaiting Senate approval.

[h/t BRProud.com]

A Python Swallowed a Crocodile Whole—and a Photographer Was There to Capture It All

KarenHBlack/iStock via Getty Images
KarenHBlack/iStock via Getty Images

As long as it can fit through their elastic jaws, there's not much pythons won't eat. This genus of snakes has been known to swallow everything from small bears to porcupines. As Live Science reports, a python was recently spotted eating a crocodile in Australia—and the disturbing encounter was caught on camera.

On May 31, 2019, the Australian nonprofit GG Wildlife Rescue Inc. shared photos a kayaker named Martin Muller captured of a snake inhaling a crocodile outside Mount Isa in Queensland. The snake was an olive python—a native Australian species that's found exclusively on the continent. Pythons can subdue large prey by wrapping their powerful bodies around it and constricting the animal until it suffocates. Killing a large, aggressive predator like a freshwater crocodile is only half the job. Once its prey is ready to eat, the python opens its jaw, which can stretch several times larger than its head, and gradually consumes its meal, a process that can take hours.

The images below offer a rare look at this brutal act of nature. Muller captured the entire scene, from the python wrangling the croc to the gluttonous feeding that takes place afterwards. The last photos in the series show the python with a large, lumpy bulge in its belly—a sign of its success.

Pythons have been spotted eating crocodiles and alligators in the past, and it doesn't always end well for them. In 2005, a Burmese python in Florida—where they're an invasive species—burst open after trying to swallow an alligator whole. If this python spotted in Australia can stomach its meal, the croc will potentially sustain the snake for months.

[h/t Live Science]

An Underpass for Turtles in Wisconsin Is Saving Dozens of the Little Guys’ Lives

Dmytro Varavin/iStock via Getty Images
Dmytro Varavin/iStock via Getty Images

Why did the turtle cross the road? Because an underground tunnel made it safe to do so.

In 2016, the Wisconsin Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to construct a tunnel beneath Highway 66, hoping to cut down on high turtle mortality rates, reports Robert Mentzer for Wisconsin Public Radio.

The tunnel, with Jordan Pond on one side and wetlands on the other, was a noble venture, but the turtles had no way of knowing it was a crossing point rather than a dark and potentially dangerous hole. So Pete Zani, herpetologist and associate professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, installed aluminum flashing outside of each opening, which would reflect the sky and let turtles know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Zani also installed grates above the tunnel to make it less shadowy, and a small cul-de-sac in a nearby piece of the fencing to encourage turtles who had missed the tunnel to turn around.

Zani and his team found that in the first year after construction, 85 percent fewer turtles were killed on the road, and no baby turtles were among the casualties. In the last few years combined, only 40 turtles died, compared to 66 deaths in 2015 alone.

That’s great news for local turtles, of course, and it’s great news for local humans, too. The intersection in question is always busy with truckers, commuters, and families en route to Jordan Pond, and turtle crossing can exacerbate traffic congestion and increase the chance of accidents.

Not all turtles have caught on, however, and it looks like some might never get the memo. Zani found that about 30 percent of snapping turtles and 20 percent of painted turtles make it through the tunnel, and those numbers have been consistent each year since construction. “They either get it or they don’t,” Zani told Wisconsin Public Radio.

Other animals are getting it, too. As part of the experiment, Zani set up a turtle-wrangling program in which students monitored trail cameras for turtle activity outside the underpass. In photos captured by the cameras, they noticed that rodents, mink, skunks, raccoons, and even house cats were traveling by turtle tunnel.

[h/t Wisconsin Public Radio]

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