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California breeder who had 20,000 dead, dying reptiles, rats must pay $190,000 in restitution

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - A Southern California exotic pet breeder who had 20,000 dead and dying rats and reptiles in a warehouse has avoided jail time but was ordered to pay more than $190,000 in restitution. Mitchell Steven Behm, 55, of Coto de Caza, also was sentenced to five years of probation and 200 hours of community service during a hearing Wednesday. He owned Global Captive Breeders in Lake Elsinore, 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles, which sold exotic snakes and reptiles, along with rats for reptile food.

UK animal rights activist jailed for blackmail plot

A British animal rights activist was jailed for six years on Thursday for her part in a Europe-wide campaign of intimidation targeting a leading animal testing company. Debbie Vincent, a 52-year-old former soldier who underwent a sex change, was found guilty last month for her part in a conspiracy to blackmail British-based Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). Vincent became the public face of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) after seven members of the group were jailed for a total of 50 years in 2009 for their role in the campaign.

Fur flies as US gets to grips with feral cats

It's Friday night in Eckington, a quiet residential corner of Washington, and the back alley is crawling with feral cats -- rich pickings for seasoned cat-trapper Marty King. "Here, kitty kitty kitty kitty," said King after setting four metal traps baited with flaked shrimp and fish cat food and lined with fresh newspapers. "If they're hungry and they haven't seen traps before, they're not hard to catch," she explained. "But some of them are very smart. There's a female I've been trying to get for a couple of years now and I haven't been able to get her yet."

New-look Paris Zoo rethinks 'humanimal' relationship

Paris Zoo reopens its gates on Saturday after a six-year revamp to shed its image as a traditional city zoo and change how humans see wild animals. Swept away is the zoo as a place simply to gawp at animals for being weird, exotic or dangerous -- replaced by an environment designed to appreciate their uniqueness in bigger, less crowded and more nature-mimicking enclosures.

Lobster dies after being found abandoned in St. Catharines, Ont., parking lot

ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - An Ontario humane society says a lobster found abandoned in a box in a restaurant parking lot has died. The Lincoln County Humane Society in St. Catharines sent out a tweet Thursday saying the crustacean — dubbed Mickey the Lobster — died overnight. The lobster's predicament became national news after it was discovered Wednesday in the parking lot in the southern Ontario community.

Panama bars importation of wild animals for circuses, shows

Panama City, Mar 28 (EFE).- Animal rights activists in Panama are applauding a decision by the government's ANAM environmental agency to prohibit the importation of wild animals for use in circuses and shows. Though approved last month by ANAM, Resolution 149 was not published until this week. The new regulation "is an enormous joy and one more demonstration that Panama is maturing in the matter of respect, conservation and protection of animals," Karina Bazan, president of the Angels of the Animals Association, told Efe.

Washington, DC, dog shelter to offer Sochi strays for adoption

By Lacey Johnson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ten dogs from Sochi, Russia have arrived at a Washington, D.C., animal shelter where they will be offered for adoption after the round up of thousands of strays garnered international attention in the lead up to February's Olympic Games. Russian officials began the catching the dogs roaming the Black Sea resort city ahead of the opening of the games, leading to charges that the animals were being killed.

Fisheries ministers hope lobster levy will be in place by year's end

HALIFAX - Fisheries ministers from the Maritimes say they hope a levy to market the lobster industry will be in place by the end of the year, but some consultation is still needed with fisheries organizations. The levy would see fishermen and the onshore side of the industry each pay one cent per pound of lobster caught to help market their product, which has been plagued by poor prices. Nova Scotia Fisheries Minister Keith Colwell said there's consensus among most fishermen and processors to act.

Farmer in Norway jailed for starving pigs to death

A Norwegian court on Friday sentenced a farmer to a year in prison for leaving more than 400 pigs to die of hunger and thirst in a rare case of animal cruelty, reported public broadcaster NRK. "It is incomprehensible in the view of the court that (the accused) knew for some time (the condition of the animals) without doing anything to prevent an animal tragedy," announced Toensberg court in southern Norway, handing down a tougher ruling than the seven months demanded by the prosecutor.

Uruguay mulls jail time for animal cruelty

Montevideo, Mar 19 (EFE).- Uruguayan lawmakers are considering a bill that would broaden protections for domestic animals, including the creation of an offense of killing an animal "with cruelty," punishable by up to two years in prison. The aim is to improve animal welfare and "to punish those who make them suffer," one of the authors of the measure, Fitzgerald Cantero, told Efe.
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