Man banned from pub for bringing his pet ferrets: ‘I felt sick, shocked and upset’

A man has been banned from his favorite pub after complaints about his three ferrets. Former soldier Tim Pender, 57, regularly drinks and dines in the Old Coastguard hotel in the U.K. with his pets Joy, Grace and Jason. The three ferrets have long dined with him on his lap or on a leash and Pender … Continue reading “Man banned from pub for bringing his pet ferrets: ‘I felt sick, shocked and upset’”

A man has been banned from his favorite pub after complaints about his three ferrets.

Former soldier Tim Pender, 57, regularly drinks and dines in the Old Coastguard hotel in the U.K. with his pets Joy, Grace and Jason.

The three ferrets have long dined with him on his lap or on a leash and Pender says he needs them to help him leave the house each day because he's agoraphobic. But Pender says he is distraught after being barred from the boozer because of his furry friends.

"They are my companions. I suffer from a form of agoraphobia and having these wonderful little creatures with me gives me the courage to leave the front door every day," he said.

The manager said they had to take action after getting several complaints over many months from other diners about their "pungent" smell. Pender said he felt "physically sick and upset" by the decision and claimed he is the victim of "discrimination."


The ferret owner said the general manager followed him outside and ordered him to stop bringing his beloved pets with him. The hotel hit back and claimed it dealt with the matter sympathetically and that Pender was himself only then barred for being rude to staff.

“It was a big shock…when the manager, Louis, followed me outside and told me not to come back with my ferrets anymore. It feels like I’ve been discriminated against – I felt sick, shocked and upset,” Pender said.

He added: “People who come into the Old Coastguard have never seen an animal like them. Lots of people are delighted by them – they are very intelligent and affectionate creatures very similar to a dog. They are as good as gold. They love music. In fact, they were enjoying some bluegrass in a pub last night.”

Pender said when he had previously taken them into the Old Coastguard the ferrets had always either been in a bag, on a leash or sat on his knee.

“People who come into the Old Coastguard have never seen an animal like them. Lots of people are delighted by them," Pender said.<br> (Google)

“They have never caused a problem that I have known of," he said. “To be barred is very upsetting, especially as I actually worked at the Old Coastguard for a couple of summers as a young man when I was at university.”

The hotel general manager Louis Vanhinsbergh said he approached Pender in a sympathetic manner to ask him to refrain from bringing in his ferrets as a large number of customers had complained about the smell of the animals.

He said: “We had been receiving complaints for a good few months – people were asking to move tables and some were not willing to even eat here anymore because of the pungent smell of the ferrets. They had also escaped off the lead in the garden which is a health and hygiene issue. Plus, we allow dogs, and ferrets and dogs don’t get along that well. We had a very amicable conversation about it. In fact, I didn’t tell him just how many people had complained and for how long as I knew it would upset him.”

Vanhinsbergh said there then followed a “tirade” against the hotel from Pender on social media as well as personal comments aimed at him. The manager messaged Pender asking him to stop being rude to his staff.

Vanhinsbergh pointed out that the former customer had not been barred over the ferrets issue but after an outburst in the restaurant last week when he shouted and was “outrageous” to staff in front of other diners.


Edmund Inkin, one of the owners at The Old Coastguard, added: “Being a good community pub matters to us and is something into which we have invested an enormous amount of time and energy. So our decision to ask Tim not to bring his ferrets into the building or its garden was only one we’d take after much thought. The more recent move to ask Tim himself to stay away is as a direct result of his behavior on site towards members of our team."

Pender is now regularly drinking with his ferrets in the King’s Arms in the neighboring village of Paul.

Are Christmas trees safe for dogs and cats? What to know about the potentially hazardous holiday staple

Oh, Christmas trees. The traditional holiday item can brighten a home with sparkling lights, dazzling ornaments and a plethora of presents below. But Christmas trees can be potentially dangerous for pets, such as dogs and cats.

With the holiday season in full swing, read on for a look at how Christmas trees and other seasonal items may prove to be a problem for your pet.

Christmas trees

Make sure your pets are safe this holiday season. (iStock)

Needles and tree water are two of the most dangerous aspects of the holiday item for your cat or dog. According to PetMD, the trees’ needles can cause “gastrointestinal irritation” if ingested by a cat or dog, as well as possibly causing an obstruction or puncturing the animal’s intestinal lining.


“The oils produced by fir trees can be irritating to a pet's mouth and stomach, causing excessive vomiting or drooling,” the site notes.

Pet supply company Hartz also warns on its website that the needles are considered to be “mildly toxic,” while Modern Dog Magazine also says the pine needles can damage a pet’s eyes if they were to run into the tree, potentially resulting in a corneal laceration.

Tree water, too, can prove to be hazardous. In fact, the water can poison pets after “only a few laps,” PetMD states. Different substances used to keep the tree fresh and healthy — such as a preservative, fertilizers, pesticides and even aspirin — can harm your furry friend.

"Even untreated water may cause problems, so don’t allow your dog access to the tree water. It’s best to cover the tree stand and water to prevent a dog from getting to it," Jerry Klein, the chief veterinary officer at the American Kennel Club (AKC), told Fox News..

But the danger isn’t limited to live trees. Fake trees can be an issue for your dog or cat as well.

“Be extra vigilant if you use an artificial tree, especially as it becomes more brittle with age. Small pieces of plastic or aluminum can break off and cause an intestinal blockage or mouth irritation if ingested by your dog,” Hartz warns online.

Other hazardous holiday items


For cats, specifically, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns these festive red and white plants can be harmful to your fluffy feline.

In fact, poinsettias “have a milky white, latex sap that can be very irritating to his mouth and stomach,” the FDA states online. That said, poinsettia toxicity is relatively mild — typically resulting in drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, which usually betters after a couple of hours.


While hanging mistletoe may be a romantic gesture this holiday season, certain substances found in the plant could harm your pet.

Lectins and phoratoxins — two chemicals found in mistletoes — can “affect the heart, causing low blood pressure and slowed heart rate,” the FDA says.

Thankfully, “severe mistletoe toxicity is uncommon and usually only occurs if your pet eats a large amount,” the agency continues. Cats and dogs who eat mistletoe may have diarrhea or vomit.

And for those who hang mistletoe in a barn, the plant can cause colic (a sometimes serious belly ache) if eaten by horses, the FDA warns.

“If you see these symptoms in your pet and suspect or know they ingested mistletoe, you should seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible,” Dorothy Black, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, told the Modern Dog Magazine. “Mistletoe shouldn’t be used where pets could possibly reach it.”

Lights, tinsel and ornaments

Lights can become too hot and potentially burn animals that come into contact with them, warns Hartz. Dogs or cats that chew on the wire could also unknowingly put themselves at risk to suffer an electric shock or mouth burn.

"Chewing on an electric wire also can cause pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) which can be fatal," Klein said.


Tinsel, if ingested, can block intestines “causing decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and weight loss,” Hartz also warns.

"Surgery is often necessary to remove the tinsel. This is especially true for cats," Klein added.

Edible or glass ornaments can be a danger to pets as well, especially if a dog or cat knocks the tree over and steps on or eats pieces of the broken ornament.

“Swallowing an ornament also can cause a gastrointestinal blockage. Some ornaments may be lethal depending upon the materials or chemicals used to create them,” Hartz states.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Delta Air Lines bans emotional support animals on flights longer than 8 hours

Better buckle up, Fido — Delta Air Lines has announced that emotional support animals will no longer be allowed on flights longer than eight hours.

The rules for pups are getting tighter too, since neither support animals nor trained service animals will be allowed on any Delta flights if they are under four months old, regardless of flight length.

The changes are slated to take effect on Dec. 18 (iStock)

Both changes are slated to take effect on Dec. 18, the Atlanta-based carrier confirmed in a press release published on Dec. 10.


“We will continue to review and enhance our policies and procedures as health and safety are core values at Delta,” John Laughter, Senior Vice President of Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance said in the announcement. “These updates support Delta's commitment to safety and also protect the rights of customers with documented needs – such as veterans with disabilities – to travel with trained service and support animals.”

Delta’s decision comes in the wake of an 84 percent spike in reported incidents involving service and support animals through the 2016-2017 year, including urination, defecation, biting and an attack by a 70-pound dog. (iStock)

According to the notice, the airline says exceptions will be made until Feb. 1 for customers who have already purchased a ticket and asked to bring a support animal. In addition, service and support animals under four months old will not be allowed onto any flight on or after Feb. 1.

As noted in the press release, Delta’s decision comes in the wake of an 84 percent spike in reported incidents involving service and support animals through the 2016-2017 period, including urination, defecation, biting and an attack by a 70-pound dog (which occurred aboard a Delta flight), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.


“The updated support and service animal age requirement aligns with the vaccination policy of the CDC, and the eight-hour flight limit for emotional support animals is consistent with the principles outlined in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Carrier Access Act,” the release states.


The subject of emotional support and service animals on airplanes has proven to be one of the most controversial travel topics of the year, ever since an emotional support peacock named Dexter and his owner were rejected from boarding a United Airlines flight in January. A few months later, a French bulldog died midflight after being accidentally placed into an overhead bin by a United Airlines flight attendant for the duration of the trip.

Various carriers have been tightening the leash on their respective rules regarding the transportation of both companion and service animals in the high skies.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter at @JaninePuhak

Dog waits for owners to return to California property destroyed by wildfire

Talk about a good boy.

A dog in Paradise, Calif., was found patiently waiting for his owners to return to their property following the devastating Camp Fire that ripped through the Butte County area last month.

The dog, named Madison, was left at the property because his owners were unable to reach him when the Camp Fire began to spread, the K9 Paw Print Rescue group wrote on Facebook earlier this week.

“They hoped and prayed he would be OK,” the center added.

"Madison," the Anatolian shepherd dog that apparently guarded his burned home for nearly a month, approaches his owner, Andrea Gaylord, as she was allowed back to check on her burned property in Paradise, Calif. (Shayla Sullivan via AP)

After she was notified about Madison, an animal rescuer named Shayla Sullivan went to the scorched property to check on the dog, an Anatolian shepherd, several times before the pup’s owners were able to return.

Sullivan, who also helped to locate Madison's brother Miguel, another Anatolian shepherd, said she left food and water for the dog regularly until one of his owners, Andrea Gaylord, was able to come back.

Finally, on Wednesday, the moment came.

“When they finally got clearance to go back to the lot where their house once stood…Madison was waiting there for them as if he were protecting his former home,” the rescue center wrote in a Facebook post, which had 17,000 reactions and more than 11,000 shares as of Saturday afternoon.

"He had stayed to protect what was left of his home, and NEVER gave up on his people!" Sullivan added on Facebook. "He didn’t give up through the storms or the fire! A LOOOOONG month it must have been for him!"

Shayla Sullivan, an animal rescuer, left food and water for Madison during his wait. Gaylord fled when the Nov. 8 fire destroyed the town of 27,000. (Shayla Sullivan via AP)

Many people on the social media platform applauded Sullivan for helping Madison and commended the pup for his loyalty.

"Dogs are the very best of God’s creatures," one person wrote.

"That’s amazing! Wonder how he stayed safe during the fire and has survived the last month. God is good," another added.

"What a miracle. So happy for this family," another wrote.

The Camp Fire burned more than 150,000 acres, destroyed nearly 14,000 and killed 85 people, according to Cal Fire.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

The Daily Spike: Does lying down make a dog loyal?

I probably tell Spike he’s a "good boy" about 100 times a day. When he successfully does one of his commands, when he walks right by my side on a loose leash, etc., he usually earns himself a ‘Good boy!’

Does he understand what the words "good boy" mean? Well, he knows it’s a sign of my approval, and dogs love approval. You can tell because his tail wags a mile a minute, and he stares into my eyes as if to say, “What do you need me to do now?”

One command we work on a lot is "down," meaning Spike needs to lie down. It’s a simple enough command, but it can be difficult for the dog to maintain. It’s a vulnerable position, as they’d have to spring up in order to defend themselves. It takes great discipline for a dog — and a trainer — to maintain their "down," especially when surrounded by distractions.


At Canine Companions for Independence, we teach the dogs to stay in a "down" for a variety of situations. The pets need to learn to lie down while their human companion is in a long meeting, or taking night classes, or eating at a restaurant. Their human partner may need to fly across the country, and the dog may need to lie down for three to six hours, ready to work at a moments’ notice, and not whine or decide to bolt down the plane aisle. Or a dog may need to stay in a "down" next to their partner when they’re talking to their doctor about a difficult medical issue.

This is their "work." Do they like to work? Yes! Most dogs truly want nothing more than a pat on the head, or some sort of sign of approval from their owner or anyone who is working with them, if only to know when they do something right, regardless of how long they’ve worked together with their partners.

A photo of Bush’s service dog Sully lying down next to his casket struck a chord on social media earlier this week, resulting in an outpouring of emotional reactions across the spectrum. A recent Slate op-ed about him, however, took a contrarian view, questioning the level of attachment possible between Sully and the president given their limited time together (roughly six months).


The author equated their relationship to more employer/employee, with Sully performing tasks such as opening doors and picking up things, something far short of true companionship.  The article mocked those ‘demented’ enough to project grief onto the dog, and chided those that would consider Sully a hero, when all he did was do what he was trained to do.

I, on the other hand, am positive Sully was a good boy, and loyal, and liked working for President Bush and provided some comfort and joy to the entire Bush family. All working dogs are heroes to some degree in my mind.


A woman I know recently shared an incredible story about her Canine Companions for Independence service dog. She fell out of her wheelchair in a locked restaurant bathroom, and in the process, the chair went flying across the room — maybe seven feet. It was out of reach for her, and she couldn’t get up. No one else was around, and she had few options. Normally her dog would be able to bring her the chair by pulling on an attached rope, but the rope wasn’t attached.

She didn’t want to call 911 and have the police break down the door while she’s lying on the bathroom floor, at least not at first. That, she said, would have been embarrassing.

Instead, her dog went over to the chair and figured out what she needed. She encouraged him, lauding him as a "good boy" as he pulled on the metal frame of the wheelchair, dragging it seven feet in spite of the one of two wheels' brakes being activated. This woman was so grateful to have preserved her independence and dignity. Her dog was absolutely a hero.


Grief is an incredibly personal and subjective thing, and projecting these feelings onto a dog in a photo is far from demented, as the Slate article suggests. Having lost two brothers and my father before any of them got the chance to turn 46, I’ve had my share. I have also seen how others react to the loss of a loved one — or the loss of someone they never knew. Some people bury their grief so deep down, it ruins their lives. I never had the honor of meeting President George HW Bush, but I will admit to being sad and teary-eyed at several points during his services. He’s lived such a full life, and his dedication to service is beyond admirable, to say the least.

And I found the photo of Sully at the President’s casket to be… perfect.


Does lying down make a dog loyal?  Not necessarily, although I bet he was. But if one photo can inspire so many to channel their thoughts, their grief, their enthusiasm in some form — even if its only Twitter or Instagram — I think that’s a good thing.

I now plan to spend the rest of this day watching my loyal dog lie down next to me. He’s a good boy. And while we’ve only been together eight months, he’s loyal to an incredible degree.

To find out more about Canine Companions for Independence, visit

Popular dog food brands facing recall for potentially ‘toxic levels’ of vitamin D, FDA warns

Multiple dry dog food brands are being recalled after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said they contain “toxic” levels of vitamin D, which can be deadly to dogs.

The brands include Nutrisca, Natural Life, Sportsman's Pride and Evolve, among others. Many of the affected brands were made by the same manufacturer. Various sizes and flavors — which include chicken, lamb and rice — are subject to the recall. A full list can be found on the FDA’s website.


Additional recalls could be announced.

While vitamin D is “an essential nutrient for dogs … very high amounts can cause serious health problems like kidney failure or death," the FDA said in a statement. The recalls were issued after pet owners contacted the food and drug agency with reports of vitamin D toxicity in their dogs after they consumed food from one of these brands.

“FDA scientists have evaluated samples of some of these products, and State and private lab test results indicate that the food contained as much as approximately 70 times the intended amount of vitamin D,” the FDA added.

In severe cases, vitamin D toxicity can lead to kidney failure or even death in dogs. Those who survive may have “long-term impairments,” including kidney or heart disease, which require “life-long management," according to VCA Animal Hospitals.


If your dog eats one of the affected brands, be on the lookout for vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, weight loss, increased urination and excessive drooling — all of which are signs of vitamin D toxicity, according to the FDA.

“Pet owners should discontinue feeding these recalled products,” the FDA said, noting "the only pet products that have been impacted are food made for dogs" at this time.

Madeline Farber is a Reporter for Fox News. You can follow her on Twitter @MaddieFarberUDK.

Family has pet bobcat returned after court battle

An Illinois court has ruled that a family may keep their 2-year-old pet bobcat following a two-month battle.

The bobcat, Capone, was taken from the Swansea family by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources because they did not have the proper permit to import live game.

However, Lakesha Mayweather, the owner of the wild animal, said even after she got the permit, the court still contested it.


“They said I needed a USDA permit so I got that. Then, once we presented that on the 13th of November, they said still they weren’t going to honor it,” she said to KTVI. She was also cited for keeping a dangerous pet.

Mayweather believed she could keep the animal, who was purchased from a breeder and raised around people, because she had a state-issued fur-bearing animal breeders permit, KTVI reported.

The permit issue was eventually solved in court after Mayweather pleaded guilty to keeping a dangerous animal. She was ordered to pay a $50 fine and $3,562.14 fee to cover the boarding costs Capone incurred.


Conservation officer Don Schachner said they would have fought harder not to return Capone had he been caught in the wild, but as the animal had been “humanized,” did not.

Schachner said there are a “couple of exemptions” for people owning exotic animals, Belleville News-Democrat reported.

“Realistically (the exemptions) don’t apply to individuals,” he said. They are typically intended for people who are rehabilitating the animals, BND reported. Though the state made an exception for Mayweather because she did not intend to breed the bobcat, who has been neutered.

Mayweather and her family were happy to have Capone back, but did learn from the event.


“It’s a blessing in disguise,” Schachner said of Capone’s removal, noting that Capone was found to have a diet deficiency that was affecting his neurological and vision functions, and likely would have proved fatal without intervention.

Now that Capone is back home, Mayweather said she is feeding him a “live feed diet,” that will keep him healthy and provide the specific amino acids and proteins bobcats require.

Alexandra Deabler is a Lifestyle writer and editor for Fox News.

Marine veteran says dog sniffed out cancer 3 times

A Marine veteran is crediting the Siberian husky she inherited from her Air Force son in 2011 with helping to save her life after the dog sniffed out ovarian cancer three times. Stephanie Herfel, of Wisconsin, told the Journal Sentinel that it first happened in 2013 when the dog, named Sierra, began acting strangely around her.

“She put her nose on my lower belly and sniffed so intently that I thought I spilled something on my clothes,” Herfel, who had been experiencing abdominal pain, told the news outlet. “She did it a second and then a third time. After the third time, Sierra went and hid. I mean hid.”

With the dog cowering in the closet, Herfel made her way to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst, but Sierra’s strange behavior pushed the 52-year-old to make an appointment with her gynecologist. A few weeks later she was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer and underwent a full hysterectomy. She lost her spleen and continued with chemotherapy until April 2014, according to the Journal Sentinel.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 22,240 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer this year, with it accounting for about 14,070 deaths. It's the fifth most deadly cancer in women, with women facing a 1 in 78 chance of developing ovarian cancer during her lifetime.


In 2015, Sierra began acting strangely again, which Herfel later discovered was because her cancer had returned. It happened for the third time in 2016.

“Sierra smelled my cancer not only the first time by smelling my belly and hiding, but hid on my two reoccurrences where my scan showed an area of suspicion and I had to wait 3-4 months for another scan to confirm – she was right!” Herfel wrote in a Facebook post about gratitude on Nov. 28.

Herfel wrote in the Facebook post that Sierra even detected a friend’s tumor as well.


On Sept. 25, Herfel posted that her latest scan was clear, and in November she marked 5 years of survival since being diagnosed with the disease. A previous post noted that she’s been enrolled in a clinical trial for 26 months, and it includes taking chemotherapy pills every day.

Herfel told the Journal Sentinel that she plans to write a book about her relationship with Sienna.

Army soldier’s emotional reunion with dog at airport goes viral

They don’t call them man’s best friend for nothing.

An Army soldier who returned home on Thanksgiving was greeted by her family members at the airport, including her beloved dog, and the emotional reunion has gone viral.


Cassandra Cabrera deployed to Africa when her pet, Miss May, was just a puppy, so she was worried the animal wouldn’t remember her when she came home, ABC News reports.

As she comes down the escalator at the Sacramento Airport just in time for the holiday, her family and pup eagerly await the reunion.


As soon as the dog sees her owner, she goes nuts. Miss May can’t contain her joy, wagging her tail, licking Cabrera and jumping up and down excitedly.

Michelle Gant is a writer and editor for Fox News Lifestyle.

5 pet gifts for the good doggo in your life

As you’re checking items off your gift list, don’t forget about Fido this holiday season. Your furry four-legged family members deserve some extra love too, and what better way to do so than by gifting them with a special surprise.

A cushy spot to take naps

Nest Bedding Bolstered Dog Bed, starting at $69; at Nest Bedding

A tasty snack when you’re away

Furbo Dog Camera, $249; at Furbo

A soft (and stylish) collar

Pipolli Leather Collar with Removable Bow, $65; at Pipolli

A cozy shirt to keep warm

Dog Threads Great Plains Flannel, starting at $36; at Dog Threads

An entertaining new toy

Bark Shop Pawtato Chips, $10; at Bark Shop


And once you're done shopping, kill some time checking out the 15 cutest dogs on Instagram.

Michelle Gant is a writer and editor for Fox News Lifestyle.