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Pets & Animals

Animal Shelters Going MIA, LA’s Ace of Hearts Refuses to Fold

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LOS ANGELES (TMZ) — As the coronavirus spreads, some animal shelters and private rescue orgs are throwing up their hands and leaving their animals in the wind — fortunately for Angelenos, one place isn’t.

TMZ called various shelters (which are usually run by local or county governments) as well as rescues (privately run) and it appears most of them are ill-equipped to handle the influx of people looking to foster and/or adopt a dog right now.

We’re talking about locations in and around California, Philly, NYC, Chicago, Miami … by and large, a lot of the calls we placed went straight to voicemail — which isn’t that unusual.

But, what is strange is what happened next … little to no information on ways to get in contact, book appointments or, most importantly, go about taking in a dog from their facility.

It’s pretty shocking. Some of these shelters and rescues have voicemails that say “we’re closed due to the coronavirus.” The obvious question … what about your dogs??? The sad truth … a lot of these shelters appear to have thrown in the towel. BTW, more people are looking to foster/adopt than ever … so there are plenty of potential homes out there.

Enter, L.A.-based private rescue — Ace of Hearts — which has NOT closed its doors … and is actually managing the influx of both dogs and clients pretty well these days. Their voicemail system is organized and clear about how to get in touch, as is their website … which walks folks through how to go into the dog process.

The rescue’s founder, Kari Whitman, tells us … there has never been a better time to get these poor abandoned pups into a decent home — ’cause people are, in fact, at home and realizing a pet in their lives wouldn’t be such a bad thing right about now.

As such, Kari says she’s seeing a massive rush of interest on both ends of the business — she tells us she’s taking in and housing up to 31 dogs in a matter of 3 days (that’s the number she’ll normally see in 10 weeks) and she’s getting up to 40 foster/adoption apps a day.

She tells us she and her staff are working around the clock to get back to everyone, and then to interview them and see which households would be a good fit for which dog. It’s a whole lot of work, but Kari says it’s a lifestyle, and not one she intends to put on pause.

As for how exactly she goes about pairing dogs to people, she’s taking precautions … doing virtual house checks first, and then bringing the would-be new dog owners to her rescue where they can get to know the doggo. Masks and gloves are worn for this part.

Bottom line … she hasn’t stopped working for the cause. If anything, she’s working harder than ever when the demand has never been higher. It’s a win-win for both the people and the animals, as far as she’s concerned.

Kari says there was one particular shelter out in San Bernardino County’s Victor Valley that seemed more inclined to put dogs down than facilitate a transfer to Kari’s place … which might very well be happening at other locations too.

Moral of the story here … dogs are still sitting in shelters, and some of them are eager to help you make them part of your family. So, doggonit … adopt or foster a dog today!

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

TMZ refers to to a studio-established “thirty mile zone” to monitor rules for filming in Hollywood. The center of the zone was the offices of The Association of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, formerly at Beverly and La Cienega Boulevard. Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check https://www.tmz.com/shows/ for syndicated/local listings at the bottom of the page)

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Health

Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions

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Texas & California Wet Markets Show Full Extent of Vile Conditions

(TMZ) — It’s becoming more clear by the day that wet markets are NOT just a China problem — it’s an American problem too … just take a look at these latest clips from Texas and California.

TMZ has gotten a hold of even more graphic videos of two different live animal shops in TX and CA — where people pick out the animal, have it slaughtered on the spot and then sold to them right then and there — and you see the mixed-in livestock runs the gamut.

There are pigs in pens, goats and sheep hoarded together … and, of course, as we’ve seen in New York and elsewhere — chicken and rabbits cooped up in cages — all in the same area within earshot of each other, and all getting butchered.

Ya got pigs hanging from hooks out in the open, chicken beaks, feathers and guts all over the floor and in an exposed trash can — this while customers (including kids) come in and browse the freezer for whatever cuts of meat they want. It’s downright dirty and gross.

As we’ve been told by the experts, these one-stop-shop slaughterhouses/storefronts can be breeding grounds for disease — including new viruses, like COVID-19, which supposedly got started at a wet market in China.

We already know of lawmakers in Cali and New York working to get these things shut down, but it’s pretty apparent there needs to be federal legislation rolled out to address this. Can’t call the kettle black when we’re swimming in the freakin’ pot.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Celebrity News

Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest ‘Rona Rate

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Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest 'Rona Rate

FORT WORTH (TMZ) — The prison Joe Exotic is currently being held at is the second leading hotbed for coronavirus in the entire federal prison system — but not to worry … Uncle Sam’s got a plan.

The ‘Tiger King’ star has been locked up at FMC Forth Worth in Texas, and as of Tuesday … there was a total of 298 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates, making it number 2 behind a federal CA facility at 570 inmate cases.

If that sounds troubling, it should … we’ve seen jails and prisons across the U.S. getting besieged with the virus — and some of the inmates are suffering. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has assured us they’re going above and beyond for their prisoners, staff and visitors alike at Joe’s facility to keep them safe and healthy.

As for Joe … his people have repeatedly told us … he’s virus-free.

The agency tells TMZ there’s a comprehensive action plan in place at all of their institutions — which includes reducing inmate transfers, increasing screening and testing, minimizing unnecessary movement on the inside and temporarily canceling social and legal visits, not to mention training for BOP employees. They will also do regular temperature checks.

The trick is … as little congregating as possible. BOP says it’s trying to keep guards at one post for as long as possible to avoid unnecessary interaction.

BOP also tells us they’ve made sure everyone — prisoners and staffers — have received surgical masks. BOP says it has things under control — so far fewer than 5 deaths at the Fort Worth facility … but with nearly 300 cases, it’s gotta be viewed as a full-fledged outbreak.

So … guess that means Joe’s in good hands??? Here’s hoping so.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Pets & Animals

Dolphins Still Putting on Show in Japan without Spectators

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Dolphins Still Putting on Show in Japan without Spectators

JAPAN (TMZ) — Move over LeBron James … while pro sports leagues are trying to figure out when they can return to action, some dolphins are way ahead of ’em.

These photos are from Hakkeijima Sea Paradise’s special dolphin show Thursday in Yokohama, where they had zero spectators due to the coronavirus quarantine guidelines there.

Animal trainers still did their thing, though, with dolphins and a beluga whale putting on quite a show — despite lacking a crowd of oohing and ahhing humans. Let’s keep it real … the animals are in it for the food.

The show wasn’t just a dress rehearsal … the aquarium videotaped the performance and aired it on the web for folks to watch safely from home.

Makes ya wonder … do the animals feel differently performing without a crowd? Or, is it just a little closer to being in the wild without a loud pack of humanity watching ’em? We sure hope so.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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