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How will your pets react to the solar eclipse?

Published: Wednesday, August 09, 2017 @ 7:39 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2017 @ 11:30 AM

(Cox Media Group National Content Desk)
(Cox Media Group National Content Desk)

The August 21 Great American Solar Eclipse will be the first total solar eclipse to stretch coast to coast in the continental United States in 99 years. Humans are expected to react with amazement when the thin path of totality, or total eclipse, passes through portions of 14 states, but what about their pets?

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Dogs and cats will be affected by the eclipse much less than wildlife, says to Russell McLendon, science editor for Mother Nature Network. But there are still important things to know about how the solar eclipse could affect dogs and cats, including safety measures responsible pet owners should take.

>> Want to see the solar eclipse? Head to these 10 places for best views

How To Safely Watch A Solar Eclipse

Here are five of the most important things to know about how the solar eclipse could affect your pet:

Cats and dogs may not notice the solar eclipse much. 

Many wild animals may mistake solar eclipses for twilight, McLendon wrote in MNN. Crickets and frogs may jump-start their evening chorus, diurnal animals might quiet down and even nocturnal animals like bats and owls might be lured into activity in the eclipse's totality. 
While they can't anticipate the eclipse phenomena like humans who read about it ahead of time, family pets are unlikely to have a primeval reaction to the eclipse like their wild animal relatives. They react differently, because their daily routines are influenced by human schedules as well as sunlight levels, McLendon reported.

Pets may still become fearful during the eclipse. 

More than the darkness of the solar eclipse, pets may be apprehensive about the crowds that gather to view it, according to Lloyd Nelson, an Illinois animal-control officer interviewed by the Southern Illinoisan. Be aware that your dog or cat could get spooked by solar eclipse-inspired events that involve crowds of people, whether you take a pet with you to a viewing spot or it's near your home.

"It's sort of like the Fourth of July, but tripled," Nelson said. "We are going to have concerts, people shooting off fireworks in the dark of the midday sun, loud noises and strangers." 
Just as you do during firework holidays, make sure your pet is either safe inside for the eclipse or on a leash and under careful watch.

Pets can suffer "eclipse blindness." One thing we do have in common with our pets is that human, canine and feline eyes can all suffer from "eclipse blindness" when safe precautions are not taken during the eclipse viewing. During the eclipse, as the moon's shadow starts to block the sun's light, some of the sun's fiery disk will still be visible, according to LiveScience.com . A view of that light can literally burn any eyes, human, cat or dog, that look up at it. 

>> 7 things to know about the rare total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August
The condition, commonly called "eclipse blindness," happens when the sun's powerful rays burn sensitive photoreceptor cells in the retina. It usually results in blurred vision and other vision loss instead of complete blindness, since humans and animals ordinarily turn away before complete blindness occurs.

Pet's don't necessarily need glasses, but it wouldn't hurt. 
Space.com's safe viewing recommendations for humans include proper eye protection from NASA-approved eclipse glasses, along with strict warnings against trying to view the partial eclipse with a camera or telescope.

Whether your dog or cat also needs the glasses is up for debate in the scientific community. Mike Reynolds, an astronomy professor at Floriday State College in Jacksonville, Florida, told LiveScience.com that it's best to outfit pets that will be out during the eclipse with protective glasses.
Another expert quoted in the article wasn't as concerned. "On a normal day, your pets don't try to look at the sun, and therefore don't damage their eyes," said Angela Speck, director of astronomy and a professor of astrophysics at the University of Missouri. "And on this day, they're not going to do it, either,"

Animal lovers can help with worldwide research. While it's unlikely that your dog or cat will have a remarkable reaction to the Great American Eclipse, pet lovers might enjoy observing how animals in the wild or even the neighborhood do unusual things. Previous eclipses worldwide have involved reports of night birds singing, bats flying, spiders tearing down webs or owls calling, according to a report in the Southern Illinoisan.
But because total solar eclipses are so infrequent, scientists have little beyond anecdotal evidence of animal behavior, Rebecca Johnson, citizen science research coordinator at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, told the paper.
To remedy the dearth of research, the academy created a "Life Responds" project where citizens all over the world download the iNaturalist app from Apple or Android platforms and document the plant and animal reactions they see during the eclipse.
To join in the fun, download the iNaturalist app, make an account and practice making observations before the eclipse using the project "Getting Started" guide.

Police: Man crashed car in icy river, left girlfriend to drown

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 10:20 AM

Man Arrested After Allegedly Leaving Girlfriend To Die In Icy River

A New Jersey man has been charged in connection with his girlfriend’s death after police say he left her to drown following a crash in the Delaware River.

Jacob T. Garrett, 24, of Burlington City, is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, causing a death while driving with a suspended license and endangering an injured victim, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office. He is being held in the Burlington County Jail. 

Stephanie White, 23, of Burlington City, was killed in the crash.

Burlington City police investigators said that Garrett was speeding around 1 p.m. Sunday when his vehicle struck a parked minivan and went over a river wall into the water. The front end of the car broke through the ice on the surface and the vehicle became submerged.

Bystanders told detectives that they found Garrett standing on the roof of the car, yelling, “Help my girlfriend.” Then he fled the scene on foot.

“He left his girlfriend in the water to die,” Burlington City police Capt. John Fine told NBC New York

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Videos from the scene, including one obtained by NJ.com, show firefighters working to extract White from the car, a Ford Taurus. They had to go in through the rear window of the Taurus, which jutted from the icy surface of the river. 

One video, which can be found here, shows the entire rescue, including the moment when rescuers pulled White’s body from the car. 

First responders found White in the passenger seat, her seat belt still on, prosecutors said in a news release. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

A police K-9 officer tracked Garrett from the river to a nearby light rail platform, officials said. Investigators had the train he was on stopped at the next station, where he was taken into custody.

Garrett was soaking wet when he was found, NBC New York reported

White’s friends and family mourned her on social media. Her mother, Ina White, posted a video tribute someone made in her daughter’s memory. 

“Love and miss my daughter. My heart is broken,” White wrote. “Thank you for this tribute. I'll hold it dear to my heart always.”

“I love you, sis, Steph Birdy White. Words can't even explain,” another woman wrote. “You meant everything to me . You had a big heart inside and out. I miss you and you will never be forgotten.” 

GoFundMe page established by White’s aunt to help pay for her funeral expenses described the young woman as “loving, kind, soft spoken, (a) hard worker and loved by all that knew her.”

“She had so much innocence in her presence, and always smiled when she greet(ed) you,” Rosie White wrote about her niece. “Her mother can not financially afford funeral expenses for this, and any amount will help with burial costs.”

Stephanie White’s wishes were to be buried next to her grandmother in Maplewood Cemetery in Freehold, where she grew up.

The case against Garrett remains under investigation, and additional charges may be filed, prosecutors said. 

NJ.com reported that Garrett has two previous criminal convictions, including a 2016 conviction of criminal sexual contact. He also served 93 days in jail, and received two years’ probation, the year before for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. 

Details of those crimes were not immediately available. 

Police use Facebook to help man get off work during icy weather

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 12:51 PM

Safety Tips for Driving on Icy Roads

Police in Texas used social media to offer a helping hand to a man who was trying to get off work as roads across the region began to ice over earlier this week.

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Police posted a warning on their Facebook page at 6:37 a.m. Tuesday telling citizens that all city offices would be closed. They urged area residents to stay inside and do their best to keep warm.

All City of Seguin offices will be closed today. Yep, the roads are really icy and will only keep getting worse today....

Posted by Seguin Police Department on Tuesday, January 16, 2018

One man needed more help and turned to the Seguin Police Department. Justin Garcia, who is listed on Facebook as a resident of San Marcos, asked police for a note for work.

>> Photos: Snow blankets the South

Deputy Chief Bruce Ure delivered:

“Dear Justin’s Boss,” Ure wrote, “The roads are bad and are going to get worse. Much worse. Please let him stay home, warm and safe and enjoy some Hulu or some cool shows on Netflix. And, he needs a raise. He rocks. Respectfully ~ Deputy Chief Ure.”

Garcia left a comment on the police Facebook page the next day, saying he had gotten the day off. 

Government shutdown: What would close; would you get your Social Security check; what would happen to SNAP, WIC

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 12:35 PM

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

The fight over a border wall, the fate of nearly 800,000 DACA recipients, and the wrangling over the funding of an insurance program for children could force a U.S. government shutdown after midnight on Friday if Congress does not pass legislation that would keep the government up and running.

While negotiations on a temporary spending bill, called a continuing resolution, are ongoing, House Republican leaders said late Wednesday that  they lacked the votes to prevent a shutdown, but that they are pressing members to back Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wisconsin), on the  temporary spending bill.

“I think it passes,” Republican Study Committee Chairman Mark Walker, (R-North Carolina), told reporters on Wednesday. I"I don’t think it’s overwhelming, but I think it passes.”

>>Read more trending news

What would happen if no bill is passed and the government “shuts down?” Here’s what to expect:

First, a government shutdown doesn’t mean the government completely shuts down. Employees and services deemed “essential” would remain in place. About half of the federal employee workforce, however, could be furloughed – sent home without pay.

Government agencies would shut down because of the lack of a bill that funds services those agencies provide. What Congress will be considering Thursday night and Friday is a continuing resolution, a way to temporarily fund the government.

What is a continuing resolution?
A continuing resolution, or “CR,” is legislation that funds government operations at the current spending level. In normal years, a bill that funds government operations is signed by Oct. 1, which is the end of the fiscal year. That didn’t happen this year.

CRs can fund the government for days, weeks or months. The CR that could be considered Thursday would fund the government through Feb. 16.

Here is a list of services and how they would be affected if a CR is not passed by Friday night:
Air travel
Air travel would not be affected as federal air traffic controllers would remain on the job and Transportation Security Administration screeners would remain in place.
Federal court
For about two weeks, federal courts would continue operating normally. After that time, the judiciary would have to furlough employees not considered essential.
Food safety
The Food and Drug Administration would handle high-risk recalls. Most routine safety inspections would be halted.
Health
Patients in the National Institutes of Health would continue to be treated. New patients would not be accepted until a funding bill is in place.
International travel 
You could still get a passport and visa applications would still be processed by the State Department. Fees collected when someone applies for a visa or a passport fund those services.
Loans 
The Federal Housing Administration, the agency that guarantees about 30 percent of all American home mortgages, wouldn't be able to underwrite or approve any new loans during a shutdown, causing a delay for those using one of those loans to purchase a home. 
The mail
You would still get mail, as the U.S. Postal Service is not funded by taxpayer dollars for everyday operations.
Military
Active-duty military personnel would stay on duty, but their paychecks would be delayed.
National parks
All national parks would be closed, as would the Smithsonian museums. Visitors in overnight campgrounds in national parks would be given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park.
School lunches, SNAP and WIC
School breakfasts and lunches funded by the federal government would not be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, could be affected. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which used to be called the Food Stamp Program, would continue to be funded and SNAP benefits would continue to be distributed. But several smaller feeding programs would not have the money to operate.
Science
The National Weather Service would keep forecasting weather.
Social Security
Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits would be paid, but new applications for those payments could be delayed. 
Veterans services
Most services offered through the Department of Veterans Affairs would continue.
Sources: The Associated Press; Politicothe Congressional Research Service

  

Firefighters rescue dog from freezing waters in Colorado

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 11:11 AM

WATCH: Firefighters Rescue Pup From Freezing River

Firefighters in Colorado recently rescued a German shepherd from a freezing river.

The Pueblo Fire Department posted the now-viral rescue on its Facebook page.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

The 1-year-old pup, named Bill, was pulled from the Arkansas River by the department’s Ice Rescue team on Jan. 17.

The department is reportedly unsure how Bill ended up in the river, but he was reported as OK and reunited with his owner.