Rare “singing dogs” found in illegal Pennsylvania kennel

A New Guinea Singing Dog, singing.

Image via Wikipedia

Talk about a strange headline. Personally, I didn’t know there was such a thing as “singing dogs” (autotuned huskies aside). Learning new things is fun, though! Apparently,

Fannett Township [PA] man was recently found with about 80 of one of the
world’s rarest wild dogs, and experts from around the country are now
looking to find them suitable homes.

The man has been cited for
operating an unlicensed kennel and several other related violations. In a
statement issued Thursday, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
characterized him as an animal hoarder.

Prior to the discovery of Hammond’s dogs, there were about 150 members of the breed known to exist in
captivity worldwide, many of them in zoos, according to Tom Wendt of New Guinea Singing Dog International.

for their unique howling vocalizations, “singers” are primitive dogs
from the upper highlands of New Guinea, Wendt said. There have been few
actual sightings of the animal in its habitat in recent years, and some
believe it to be extinct in the wild.

Read the whole story, which is much longer, here.

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The mysterious stone cairns of Susquehanna County

Susquehanna County lies in the upper northeast corner of Pennsylvania. By most accounts, it is a fairly nondescript place – roughly rectangular in shape, fairly rural, a little poorer and more Republican than average, but nothing to write home about. Or nothing, at least, besides the mysterious stone cairns that stand, silently, in the forests of Susquehanna County. You won’t see these bizarre constructs mentioned in the county’s Wikipedia page or local government website. But they’re there.

A cairn, for those unfamiliar, is a manmade pile of stones. According to Wikipedia, they are typically conical, and may mark the summit of a mountain or a burial site (you can read about cairns in great detail here). In the northeastern United States, they oftentimes delimit the boundaries of an old field turned fallow (farmers, when clearing a field, would pile all the rocks alongside it). My friend’s grandparents have a wooded property in New York, for instance, and there is a rough series of cairn-like piles of stones bordering out what once was farmland. Those stones, though, were quite obviously at one point a wall. The Susquehanna stones aren’t so easily explained: they’re too haphazard to demarcate farmland, they don’t appear to be grave markers, and they certainly don’t indicate the summit of a mountain.

The Susquehanna stones, in fact, are apparently the most extensive site of its kind in Photo credit: Brian A. MorgantiPennsylvania. Theories abound as to their origin and purpose; some suggest they were erected by Native Americans, similar to the extensive burial mounds in Ohio. But there is no clear sign as to when they were originally built – Pennsylvania author Matt Lake writes that “no literary works, letters, or paintings from the colonial period mention odd rock piles in this part of the country … the oldest reference seems to date from an 1822 travelogue about a trip across New York State.” Princeton scholar Norman Muller, though, believes that the cairns were nonetheless erected well before then.

The stones themselves provide no answers, though. They simply stand silently in the forest, intriguing and confusing the few visitors who happen upon them.

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