Click here to learn more.
The closure of the National Zoo — and its Panda Cam — made for some of the splashiest headlines in the first days of the government shutdown. But the zoo is far from the only animal-related institution to suffer while lawmakers argue over funding the federal government.
From dolphin research to therapy dogs, Vetstreet has rounded up some other programs involving animals that have been suspended during the shutdown.
One of the most heartbreaking programs to be halted has to be the therapy dog program at the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. The dogs in the program, who make visits to patients including kids with cancer, need to be seen by veterinarians on the staff at the NIH — unfortunately, those vets have been furloughed, reported NPR. As a result, the dogs aren’t making their rounds for now. Abbey Whetzel, whose son Sam is being treated for leukemia at NIH, said Sam is disappointed that he won’t be getting weekly visits from the dogs. “He really looks forward to the dogs coming,” she said. “He has a special fondness for the little dogs that can come and just sit on his bed and lay down and curl up with him.” Officials said the program will resume when the government is reopened.
The shutdown stopped USDA funding used to ensure animal safety by regulating the conditions at facilities for research labs, commercial breeders and dealers, and exhibitors of exotic animals, according to the Humane Society. In addition, the USDA’s website is dark during the shutdown, meaning the public can’t access animal-welfare inspection reports and violations. “With limited resources and less-than-vigorous enforcement under ordinary circumstances, we know that the shutdown is a terrible blow to dogs in puppy mills,” says Cori Menkin of the ASPCA’s Puppy Mills Campaign.
With the mysterious East Coast bottlenose dolphin die-off reaching record numbers, the shutdown is now threatening to stall research into its cause. Many of the researchers collecting samples from the deceased dolphins have been furloughed; those who are still working are faced with a huge backlog. There’s a definite window of opportunity to gather the needed samples from the specimen, and if the shutdown continues, vital information could be lost. More than 600 dolphins have already died in the “unusual morality event.”
Managers of state marine programs that rely on federal agencies for help with strandings are becoming concerned about the possibility of having to deal with stranded endangered right whales on their own. While the impact has been minimal so far, authorities in Georgia say they’re dependent on information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during the right whale calving season in November. Also, the National Marine Fisheries Service has suspended a program that protects right whales from deadly ship strikes.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank You For Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
No one is sure why snowy owls are showing up in North Carolina, Bermuda, the Great Lakes and the Northeast.
A dog diagnosed with the dangerous parasite may have to take antibiotics, get drug injections and stop exercising.
Escape the shopping mall chaos and help with conservation by participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count.
The baby okapi, whose closest relative is the giraffe, not the zebra, was born on Aug. 26 and recently made its…
Dutch photographer Hellen van Meene overcame her phobia, caused by a dog bite, to make some beautiful images.
Known for her owl-like appearance, the Scottish Fold likes to play fetch and will follow you around the house.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.