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Animal lovers' calendar: Week of July 12-18

July 13, 2009 |  5:07 pm

Microchip

Whether it's the animal-rights movement, zoos and aquariums or plain old dogs and cats that suit your fancy, animal-loving Angelenos have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks.  (Are we missing an event?  Let us know by leaving a comment.)

This Week:

Thursday, July 16 to Monday, July 20, a group of organizations including Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), In Defense of Animals (IDA) and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society host the 2009 Animal Rights conference.  A wide variety of speakers, workshops and exhibits are on the bill, and the fare is, naturally, vegan.  For more information, check out ARConference.org.

Saturday, July 18, spcaLA hosts a low-cost vaccination and microchip clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its Specialty Spay Neuter Center at 5026 W. Jefferson Blvd.  The clinic will offer rabies vaccinations for both cats and dogs ($5); DHPP vaccinations for dogs ($15); bordatella vaccinations for dogs ($10); FVRCP and leukemia vaccinations for cats ($15 each); and microchipping for cats and dogs ($25).  More information at spcaLA.com.

Saturday, July 18, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn. holds an informational meeting for potential High School Student Volunteers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the zoo's Witherbee Auditorium.  Students entering grades nine, 10 or 11 in the fall are eligible to participate in this program, which includes a 10-week training course.  High School Student Volunteers must commit to 60 hours of volunteer work per year for two years.  Applicants are required to attend the July 18 meeting, which includes a presentation, group activities and interviews.  Reservations are not required for the meeting, but interested students should contact the zoo's Docent Chair at (323) 644-4702 or e-mail docents@lazoo.org.

Saturday, July 18, spcaLA invites potential "foster parents" to learn about its fostering program from 10 a.m. to noon at its South Bay Pet Adoption Center, at 12910 Yukon Ave., Hawthorne.  "Foster parents" are needed to care for puppies and kittens that are too young to be adopted, as well as older dogs and cats with special needs.  More information at spcaLA.com.  (The L.A. Department of Animal Services offers a similar program for underage puppies and kittens; more information on that program is available at the department's website.)

Upcoming:

Saturday, July 25, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Assn. holds an informational meeting for potential volunteer docents from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the zoo's Witherbee Auditorium.  Docents serve as volunteer teachers at the zoo and must complete a training program offered by the zoo each fall in conjunction with UCLA Extension.  Docents must be 18 or older and able to commit to 100 hours of volunteer work per year for a minimum of two years.  Reservations are not required for the July 25 meeting; for more information, contact the zoo's Docent Chair at (323) 644-4702 or e-mail docents@lazoo.org. 

Tuesday, July 28, dogs ("of all faiths!") and their humans (presumably, also of all faiths) will mingle at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple Street in downtown L.A., from 6 to 9 p.m.  Human attendees must be downtown residents; dogs must be on a leash and behave well with people and other dogs.  For more information and to RSVP, go to DowntownLA.com.  

Wednesday, August 5, animal trainer Jennifer McCarthy offers a free seminar on coexisting with wildlife from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Healthy Spot L.A., 1110 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica.  Topics include protecting pets from coyotes and mountain lions and understanding why Southern California coyote and mountain lion sightings are on the rise.  The seminar also includes a Q&A session.  More information at McCarthy's website.

Wednesday, August 26, Dr. Chugey Sepulveda offers a lecture on the shortfin mako and common thresher sharks at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach from 7 to 9 p.m.  The lecture will focus on the biology, ecology and recent movement studies of these two shark species.  Sepulveda is laboratory director of the Pfleger Institute of Environmental Research (PIER). Cost is $8, $4 for aquarium members and free for students with valid student ID.  Reservations aren't required, but are encouraged as the lecture may sell out.  Students wishing to utilize their free entry must make an advance reservation by calling (562) 590-3100.  More information at Aquarium of the Pacific's website.

Ongoing:

It's "Shark Summer" at the Aquarium of the Pacific, and to celebrate, the aquarium is extending its hours and offering visitors a discount on Sunday evenings.  Sundays from now until Sept. 6, admission fees will be reduced to $11.95 beginning at 5 p.m., and visitors can hang out with the sharks (as well as the aquarium's other sea life) until 10 p.m.  More information on Shark Summer events at Aquarium of the Pacific's website.

In Theaters:

"Food, Inc." is the new documentary from producer-director Robert Kenner.  It examines the way food gets from the farm to the plate and, critic Gary Goldstein writes, "after [its] disturbing glimpses inside the meat industry, along with its blunt indictment of fast food giants, you'll think twice before eating just about anything nonorganic."  Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calls it "an essential, indelible documentary that is scarier than anything in the last five Saw horror shows."  Check Zap2It for theaters and showtimes.

"Earth" is the first foray into filmmaking by Disney's new documentary unit, Disneynature.  Orlando Sentinel film critic Roger Moore says it's "a grab bag of beautiful nature footage, a bit all over the place in subject," but hey -- we'd take a grab bag over a lot of the other movies playing nowadays. Bonus for parents: It's G-rated. Check Zap2It for theaters and showtimes

The latest from animation studio Pixar is "Up," which Times film critic Kenneth Turan says is "not only good, it's one of Pixar's best."  Although the story centers around the character of 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) and the young stowaway who comes along for the ride when he attempts to float his house to South America with thousands of helium balloons, there are several great plot elements for animal lovers.  One centers on a chocolate-loving exotic bird; our favorite involves, as Turan puts it, "a pack of dogs equipped with high-tech collars that turn their classically canine thoughts into words."  The end result is priceless (but requires a minimum of four handkerchiefs).  Check Zap2It for theaters and showtimes.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: A dog is scanned for a microchip, which holds information that could help reunite a lost animal with its owner.  SpcaLA offers a low-cost microchip and vaccine clinic Saturday, July 18.  Credit: Los Angeles Times

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