Animal Life

Ever wonder who to call if you see an alligator in your yard? Or how to get your cat to stop scratching the sofa? Animal Life with Ana Zorrilla is here to help! A collaboration between WWNO and the Louisiana SPCA, Animal Life aims to inform everyone in the community about animal welfare issues in southeast Louisiana.

Join us Fridays at 10:38 a.m. and Saturday afternoons, during On The Media, as we explore everything from wild animal encounters to helpful tips for pet owners. Warning: program may contain cute content.

Interested in animal welfare or pet adoption in your community? Click here for a directory of animal welfare organizations across southeast Louisiana. For more information about pet adoption, spay/neuter, and other animal topics (especially in Orleans Parish) visit the Louisiana SPCA website.

Subscribe to the Animal Life as a podcast:

1. Open Itunes

2. Go to the File Menu, click on Subscribe to Podcast…

3. Enter this URL: itpc://

And that’s it! New episodes download automatically.



Animal Life
11:02 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Animal Life: Dog Obedience

Positive reinforcemnt is the most effective form of obedience training.
Gianna Stadelmyer/Shutterstock

All dogs are born cute. But most of them aren’t born obedient. Basic obedience training is easy and important. You don’t want your dog getting a bad reputation.

The key element of the most successful obedience training is positive reinforcement, not punishment. The idea is simple: every time your dog obeys a command during training, he gets a treat. This method is much more effective than yelling or swatting your dog with a newspaper.

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Animal Life
4:01 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Animal Life: Pocket Pets

Cezar the dwarf hamster, adopted in 2013.
Credit Jason Saul / WWNO

Animal shelters see a lot more than just dogs and cats. At the Louisiana SPCA we get hamsters, guinea pigs, hedgehogs, rabbits and a variety of birds. We call these types of animals “pocket pets.”

Pocket pets are a great option for people who love animals, but don’t have room for a cat or dog. They’re also a great way to teach kids about responsibly caring for a pet. 

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Animal Life
9:42 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Animal Life: Cat Vs. Couch

Some cats leave unwanted presents all around the house.
Mark Richardson

If there’s one thing in the world that can make you love your cat a little less, it’s a ruined couch. Some cats seem determined to pee everywhere in the house except their litter boxes. If this sounds familiar, here are a few tips.

First and foremost, make sure your cat is spayed or neutered. Cat mating rituals involve spraying and marking — definitely not something you want in your house. 

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Animal Life
2:52 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Animal Life: Taking Refuge At Animal Sanctuaries

Snowy egrets nest in "Bird City" on Avery Island
Mary Ehret


Life is stressful. Luckily, Louisiana is home to several animal sanctuaries where you yourself can go to take refuge. 

Take Avery Island — it’s more than just Tabasco! Each spring, thousands of Snowy Egrets nest in the island’s bird sanctuary. The egrets settle on piers in a pond nicknamed “Bird City.” 

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Animal Life
1:00 am
Sat January 3, 2015

Animal Life: Louisiana Black Bears

Black Bears are the official state mammal of Louisiana.
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

If you drive west on Highway 90 you might notice bear crossing signs. That’s right, bears.  

The large but gentle Louisiana Black Bear is our official state mammal. They were once common in the Lower Mississippi Valley and Atchafalaya Basin region, but habitat loss and over hunting have reduced the population to about 300. In 1992 they were listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. 

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Animal Life
7:00 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Animal Life: The Perils Of Pet Obesity

Obesity can cause serious health problems for pets.
Rachele Totaro

Lately, people have noticed that my dog Sparky seems to have gained some weight. Luckily, he’s not sensitive to the comments, but it has made me wonder if I need to add a few more minutes to our daily walk, or put less kibble in his bowl. 

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about 53 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. 

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Animal Life
7:00 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Animal Life: Animal Laws

Animal laws are different in every parish.
Barna Tanko


Did you know that every parish has different animal laws? Are you familiar with the animal laws in your parish?

For example: in Orleans Parish it’s against the law to have an intact pet — a pet that has not been spayed or neutered. If you decided not to spay or neuter your pet, you must obtain an intact permit. But this law does not apply to other parishes like Jefferson or Plaquemines.

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Animal Life
7:00 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Animal Life: How To Join The Kitten Krewe

Many animal shelters have kitten foster programs.

Looking for a krewe that’s active year round, service-oriented, and extremely cute? Consider joining the kitten krewe by becoming a kitten foster parent!

Kittens must be at least 2 pounds before they can be spayed or neutered and become available for adoption. Foster volunteers take the kittens home and care for them until they meet the weight requirement for surgery; usually 8 to 10 weeks. 

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Animal Life
7:00 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Animal Life: Dog Ghosts And Kitten Witches

Animal Halloween costumes can be fun, but make sure your pet is comfortable and safe.

Halloween is here! Some people spend weeks preparing their costume. Others spend weeks preparing their pet's costume. Dressing up your pet for Halloween is fun, but there a few important things to keep in mind.

First and foremost, wearing a costume should be something your pet enjoys. If it’s clear that your pet is uncomfortable or frightened while wearing his costume, take it off immediately. 

If your pet does enjoy wearing a costume, here are a few tips:

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Animal Life
7:00 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Animal Life: Solving The Mutt Mystery

Testing your dog's DNA can give you useful information about his behaviors.
Credit Annette Shaff /

Over 25 million people own mixed-breed dogs. Trying to determine the exact type of dog just from a glance can be challenging. But now there’s a way to tell for sure.  

Pet DNA testing is a great way to find out exactly what breeds make up your beloved pet. It’s a simple as a quick cheek swab. In fact, you might be shocked to find out your pet is something completely different than what you initially thought. 

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