Two days after saying he would play in the London Olympics despite a serious eye injury, San Antonio Spurs star guard Tony Parker recants that prediction and says not playing is very much a possibility.Parker was caught in the middle of the now-infamous fight involving singer Chris Brown and members of hip-hop star Drake’s entourage.Parker’s cornea was scratched in the fight, and he had surgery to remove a shard that had ”penetrated 99 percent” of his left eye.”I almost lost my eye,” Parker said in an interview posted on his website Sunday.He did not join the rest of France’s team Wednesday and will see a specialist in New York when he is cleared to take long-haul flights after July 5.”I’m seeing a specialist in New York with the hope of being given the all clear to play in the Olympic Games,” Parker said. ”Spurs are very worried.”Anything can happen, including me being out of the Olympics. The decision doesn’t belong to me anymore. It’s in the hands of the doctor and San Antonio.”Parker said he has been having hallucinations and been unable to leave his hotel room for eight days because of the risk of infection. He also has to apply five different products into his eye every two hours.”Fear sets in,” Parker said of being told he would have to undergo surgery. ”An eye is so fragile. … I couldn’t believe it. But that’s life. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”I didn’t have luck, but I came out well from my misfortune. It could have been worse. The rest of my career is not in question. I just have to wait for the injury to heal itself.”Chris Brown, his girlfriend and his bodyguard were among eight injured during the fight inside the W.i.P club in SoHo on June 15. Police say members of Drake’s entourage stopped Brown as he was leaving. The fight escalated and bottles were thrown.Parker is suing the New York City club for $20 million.
Alabama rolled over the Notre Dame Monday night, 42-14, to easily claim its second straight national championship and third in four years and reinforce its position as the top program in the nation.From beginning to end, the Crimson Tide dominated and sent the resounding message that the SEC reigns above all conferences. To wit: ‘Bama’s title is the seventh straight for the SEC.Led by quarterback AJ McCarron and running back Eddie Lacy, the Tide alternately bruised and picked apart the Irish defense, making star linebacker Manti Te’o, a Heisman Trophy finalist, and his cohorts look like Alabama roadkill.“They just did what Alabama does,” Te’o said after the game.Notre Dame was undefeated and No. 1 in the country coming into the game, but it had not faced a team like Alabama. The Crimson Tide used a lethal combination of power and finesse to overwhelmed the Irish on both sides of the ball. Lacy ran right through the Irish defense on a 20-yard touchdown in the game’s opening minutes, capping an 82-yard drive, which was the longest given up on the season by the Irish.It was a harbinger of dominance to come.McCarron led his team down the field on their second possession for 61 yards, climaxed by a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael Williams, who was standing in the back of the end zone unattended. The Tide went up 14-0, and they were just beginning to roll.Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon put the Tide up 21-0 on the first play of the second quarter on a 1-yard run. The Crimson Tide got to that point on the strength two long McCarron completions: one to receiver Kevin Norwood for 25 yards and the second to freshman extraordinaire Amari Cooper for a 27-yard gain.Once Yeldon scored, all Irish hopes of winning their first national championship since 1988 vanished into the warm Miami night air. Irish fans were hushed and their players were in awe.”We’ve got to get physically stronger, continue close the gap there,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ”Just overall, we need to see what it looks like. Our guys clearly know what it looks like now – a championship football team. That’s back-to-back national champions. That’s what it looks like. That’s what you measure yourself against there. It’s pretty clear across the board what we have to do.”Already up 28-0 at halftime, the Crimson Tide opened the third quarter with the similar control, making it 35-0 on a 34-yard hook up from McCarron to Cooper. If it was not already over, it was then.And so, Tide coach Nick Saban sits atop the college coaching mountain with four national championships, three at Alabama.“We’ve had a lot of really great football players who’ve worked really hard,” Saban said. “Because we’ve had a great team, we’ve been able to have a significant amount of success.”Kelly took the hard lesson from the defeat: His team still has a ways to go.“We made incredible strides to get to this point,” he said. “Now it’s pretty clear what we’ve got to do to get over the top.”Lacy finished with 140 yards on 20 carries and was voted the game’s offensive MVP. McCarron, who was last year’s MVP, threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns on 20 of 28 passing.The stoic Saban said: “Whether I look it or not, I’m happy as hell.”But he said he gets back to work in two days. No extended rest for champions.
Same song, different verse.The San Antonio Spurs — after defeating the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night — are one win away from a title. The score wasn’t close, 107-86 — the second game in a row that San Antonio dismantled Miami. But in Game 3, it was the Spurs’ offense overwhelming the Heat’s defense with a cascading set of inside-outside and side-to-side actions. In Game 4, the Spurs’ offense continued to perform at a high level, but it also tightened the screws defensively.The Heat scored at a rate of 99.1 points per 100 possessions in Game 4, more than 13 points lower than Miami’s playoff average. The Spurs controlled the middle of the floor, a factor that manifested in several ways.According to the NBA’s SportVU Player Tracking Box Score, San Antonio had an enormous rebounding advantage, not just in actual rebounds — 44 to 27 — but also in rebound chances (defined as any time a player is within 3.5 feetof a rebound), 68 to 46. The Spurs were consistently the aggressor around the basket.That aggressiveness also showed in Game 4’s shot-contesting stats. The Heat were 15 of 34 (44 percent) on shots in the paint. Coming into the game, the Heat had made 64 percent of their shots in the paint, by far the best mark of any team in the playoffs. The Heat — athletic and loaded with finishers — can score in the paint even when a defender is there to challenge a shot. But the Spurs have gotten more aggressive, and it is bothering the Heat in traffic.Miami’s Shooting WoesSan Antonio contested a slightly lower percentage of Miami’s shots in Game 4, but the Spurs were extremely effective, especially around the basket. The Heat couldn’t get shots to fall.The Heat have turned the ball over on 18.7 percent of their possessions in the finals, well above the 15.8 percent they had averaged in the regular season. Many of the steals the Spurs are generating have come close to the basket, stripping the ball from a shooter as he heads for the rim. On San Antonio, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard have been particularly active in this regard, combining for 15 steals and seven blocks in the finals so far.The Spurs have strung together two of the best performances of the playoffs — one offensive and one defensive. It will take massive changes from Miami to push this series toward a competitive finish.
1Mike Trout28.61Mike Trout37.9 PLAYERWAR 5Alex Rodriguez22.95Ken Griffey Jr.30.1 5Al Kaline8.95Al Kaline15.4 3Ty Cobb9.53Ty Cobb15.7 2Ty Cobb46.7 As a result — and in concert with MLB labor mechanisms that force young stars to either play for peanuts through their arbitration years or lock themselves into long, below-market extensions (as Trout did in 2014, re-signing with the Angels through 2020) — Trout has produced a ton of surplus value for the Angels, relative to what he’s been paid. According to FanGraphs.com, Trout’s production would have been worth about $357 million on the open market since his MLB debut, a span over which he was paid only about $24 million.That’s why speculation that the Yankees are loading up for a Trout trade breaks down upon examination. At a glance, why not ship Trout away from a rebuilding team where his WAR is being wasted (aside, of course, from Angels fans who like to watch him play) to a huge market that has the prospects for a blockbuster deal? The answer: It would take a monster package of young talent to justify trading away a player who so outperforms his contract and probably will continue to do so for the next several years.If we apply Tom Tango’s simple WAR projection system with an average future value of $8.6 million per win,3Starting with a rough cost-estimate of $8 million per WAR next season, with 5 percent annual growth until 2020. the final four seasons of Trout’s contract figure to see him generate 32.5 WAR, for a market value of $282 million,4Including the yearly minimum salary of about $500,000. and be paid $122 million. So it probably won’t be until Trout’s next contract that the cost-benefit tradeoff of having him around begins to make a trade realistic for either the Angels or the team they’re negotiating with.At that point, the math gets a little silly. Even in the first year of his next deal, Trout’s WAR projects to be worth so much on the open market (roughly $75 million) that he’d need a truly paradigm-shifting contract — one that would basically double the highest annual salary of anybody in the game right now — to not be underpaid. With superstar free-agent deals, the question often isn’t whether they’ll be paid more than they’re worth, but by how much. Trout, however, is so good that it might be hard for him to earn fair market value even in his big post-prime payday.For now, that means Trout is probably stuck carrying the Angels. In the past, that would have also meant his chances of contending for the MVP were slim, despite his incredible individual numbers. But perhaps Trout’s win Thursday also signals a change in the way voting will be conducted going forward. The MVP electorate has been skewing more progressive for a while, in terms of its willingness to use sabermetric tools, and there’s nothing more open-minded than giving the MVP to the leader of a 74-88 team.But maybe it was also about Trout’s own particular greatness. No player has ever been so good at such a young age; it was likely that future generations would have looked at his repeated MVP snubs and wondered what the hell the voters were thinking to deny him the AL’s top individual award, over and over. WAR Through Age 22WAR Through Age 23 4Bryce Harper8.94Ken Griffey Jr.15.5 1Mike Trout48.5 3Ted Williams23.63Ted Williams34.2 a 3Mickey Mantle40.9 4Alex Rodriguez38.0 4Mel Ott23.54Mel Ott31.4 WAR Through Age 24 2Ty Cobb25.52Ty Cobb36.0 a PLAYERWAR 5Ken Griffey Jr.37.0 WAR Through Age 20WAR Through Age 21 2Mel Ott11.42Mel Ott17.9 Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is widely acknowledged to be the best player in baseball and has been for quite some time. But for all his gifts, awards recognition has been hard for Trout to come by. Although Trout has led the American League in wins above replacement (WAR) for each of the past five seasons,1Ever since he first became a full-time player in 2012. he had only won MVP honors once going into Thursday night’s award announcement — and victory there was far from assured.Unlike in the past, though, when Trout’s horrid teammates were held against him in favor of some lesser player on a winning team, the voters broke with tradition and went for the player with stellar individual numbers. In winning the MVP, Trout became just the sixth player from a losing team to take home the hardware. It was a victory for the new ways of player evaluation and a more modern take on what the “valuable” part of MVP really means.But even if Trout hadn’t won the award, he could have taken the same solace he could last year: MVP or not, but he’s still tracking to be the G.O.A.T.Through every single age in which he played a full season,2Not including his age-19 season in 2011, when he logged only 40 games after a July call-up. Trout has been the all-time career leader in Baseball-Reference.com’s WAR for position players. It was true through age 20, age 21, age 22, age 23 and — after posting 10.6 WAR in 2016, a performance that basically matched his previous single-season peak — age 24. No player has ever started his career on this kind of tear — not Ruth, not Cobb, not Mantle, nobody. Mike Trout is (still!) the G.O.A.T. at any age Most career WAR through each age since 1901, among position players.Source: Baseball-Reference.com 1Mike Trout11.41Mike Trout20.7
If averaging 20 points per game is the traditional benchmark of the NBA star, scoring 30 a night vaults a player into another category entirely. Not including this year’s early hopefuls — Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder — it’s been done 65 times in all of NBA and ABA history, most often by the Michael Jordans and Wilt Chamberlains of the world. Joining that rarified club, or even coming within striking distance of it, is a big deal.Before he had an off night against the Sixers on Monday, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan was positioned to join that group. And given how much freedom to shoot he’s been granted in the Raptors’ offense, he’ll probably flirt with the 30-PPG barrier again before the season is over. Considering that DeRozan set a career high in scoring last season with 23.5 points a game, his sustained run at the 30-point level has been a revelation. In the NBA, players don’t just wake up with an extra 6 or 7 points per game in their pockets.DeRozan’s improvement is especially rare for a player who already scores a lot: Among all the players in NBA history who improved on their existing career high in scoring by at least 5 PPG in a season, DeRozan currently has the 18th-highest scoring average. It’s a leap nearly identical to the one Steph Curry made last season.DeRozan has continued a long trend of dragging his efficiency up to match his perpetually high usage — despite the additional workload this season, he’s up to 80th in true shooting percentage among qualified scorers1For the purposes of this story, a player qualified for the league leaderboard if he played 12.2 minutes per scheduled team game, which works out to about 1,000 minutes in a normal 82-game season. this year, which is a career high for him. Part of that is DeRozan benefitting from the Raptors’ faster pace this season — they’re averaging 2.1 more possessions per game this year than last — even if that’s not always coach Dwane Casey’s preferred way to play. And in the half-court, he’s developed a near-mastery of the two-man game with teammate Jonas Valanciunas, with both players ranking among the league’s most efficient in the pick-and-roll. DeRozan’s probably sinking his deep 2s (a longtime staple of his game, much to statheads’ chagrin) at an unsustainably high rate, but he’s also hitting far fewer of his 3s than he did last year, so that should balance out.But DeRozan may also have maxed out just how much impact a player of his particular style can have. Among the 86 cases since the merger where an NBA player scored at least 28 points per game in a season — including six players so far this year — DeRozan is tied for the eighth-lowest Box Plus/Minus. As a group, those players averaged an offensive BPM of +6.1; DeRozan’s is only +3.8. And although the Raptors have the second-best offensive efficiency in the NBA this season, their offense scores only 0.4 more points per 100 possessions when DeRozan is in the game than when he’s on the bench.Obviously, some of that is the residue of a relatively deep team being able to press that advantage against other teams’ reserves. But to use DeRozan’s most common floor-mates as comparison points, the Raptors’ offense loses 5.9 points per 100 possessions when Kyle Lowry exits the game and 6.6 points per 100 possessions when Patrick Patterson leaves the court. And then there’s his porous defense: His defensive BPM ranks 17th-worst among that group of 28-point scorers, and Toronto opponents are scoring 4.2 more points per 100 possessions with him on the floor than off.In other words, the metrics say DeRozan’s overall impact on the game isn’t anywhere near as valuable as his raw scoring would suggest.Perhaps none of this should come as a surprise. When I analyzed NBA players and sorted them into archetypes for a story in October, I found that DeRozan belongs to a class of player I dubbed “one-dimensional scorers” — players characterized by very high usage rates, good numbers in shooting efficiency and assists, and almost zero contributions on the boards or on defense. That kind of player is custom-built to put points on the board, and DeRozan is scoring the 10th-most points per game of anybody in that classification since the merger. But like DeRozan, they also lack in other areas of the game, and it almost always makes them less valuable than we’d expect based on their scoring averages alone.For instance, using all qualified players since the merger, I ran a regression that used each player’s points-per-game average in a given season to predict his Box Plus/Minus (to measure his overall performance, regardless of how he generated his value), then separated the results out by player archetype. The archetype that underperformed its predicted BPM the most (by far) was DeRozan’s group, the one-dimensional scorers, a trend that can be seen clearly when we graph them in comparison with all other archetypes: It’s not impossible for a one-dimensional scorer to have an outsized impact on the game, even relative to his scoring average. Curry, for instance, is suffering a down season to begin 2016-17 — causing him to slip into the same archetypal category as DeRozan (quelle horreur!) — but he’s still been a better player, according to BPM, than his 26.6-PPG would suggest. And DeRozan himself isn’t far from the apex of what a one-dimensional scorer can be. He currently ranks 94th in BPM out of the 1,162 qualified player-seasons that fit into the archetype since 1976-77.It’s also possible that the traditional statistical outlook on “pure” scorers misses some of the complexities of team dynamics. In the same way that the Warriors can cram more skill sets onto the floor by adding Kevin Durant — the rare superstar who also functions as a floor-spacing sharpshooter — perhaps scorers who can carry an inordinate burden without leaking efficiency allow teams to stuff the rest of the roster with more diversely talented players. But even if that’s the case, it hasn’t turned up in the stats yet, despite a lot of people looking for a way to pin down that dynamic (or something like it) over the years.The debate over the value of one-dimensional scorers is far from settled even in today’s age of advanced analytics, and there’s plenty of evidence that it’s difficult to replace what a top scorer brings to his team. But the numbers also suggest that certain playing styles tend to produce less value than others. It will be interesting to see if that holds true even when the performance is as prolific as DeRozan’s has been early this season.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
WESTERN CONFERENCE1. Los Angeles LakersThe defending world champions added Ron Artest into the starting lineup, and center Andrew Bynum will return soon from an Achilles injury. But the Lakers have been sluggish closing out the season, and Kobe Bryant has been banged up for most of the season. With many potentially dangerous roadblocks, it will be tough for Los Angeles to reach the NBA Finals for the third straight year. They still have the best chance to do so.2. Dallas MavericksDallas was one of the best teams in the NBA after acquiring guard Caron Butler and center Brendan Haywood from Washington. Even though the Mavs have Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki as the cornerstones of their team, they ended up with the San Antonio Spurs in the first round, a team nobody wants to play in the playoffs. If they get out of the first round, Dallas has a shot at the NBA Finals.3. Phoenix SunsThis Phoenix team is very different from the one from five years ago, but it is still all about the high-tempo offense of Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire, a superstar duo. But their flash has not yielded great playoff success, as the Suns have given up the most points of any playoff team. If Nash and Stoudemire stay hot, the Suns can make a lot of noise in the later rounds out West.4. Denver NuggetsCarmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups remain one of the best duos out West, and Denver’s forwards are excellent rebounders. But they have struggled as coach George Karl has undergone treatment for throat cancer, and the Nuggets’ road record is one of the worst among playoff teams. With Karl most likely out for the first round, Denver will need to dig deep against Utah. If they do, they can get a rematch with the Lakers.5. Utah JazzA team stacked with big men, the sky is the limit for the Jazz. With the leadership and playmaking abilities of point guard Deron Williams, the Jazz have big men and 3-point shooters. What they lack is a pure shooter who can hit the mid-range jump shot on a regular basis when Williams gets in trouble and cannot dish it off to one of his big men.6. Portland Trail BlazersA young team on the rise, the Blazers have nothing to lose and everything to gain from this experience. Unfortunately, they will be without All-star and leader Brandon Roy in the first series due to a torn meniscus in his right knee that needs surgery. An injury plagued season, first losing Greg Oden and now Roy, they hope to upset the Phoenix Suns in the first round.7. San Antonio SpursExperience, experience, experience. That’s what the Spurs have, but maybe too much experience. With the great Tim Duncan, age might hinder the Spurs’ run if he cannot carry the team on his back like he did in his wonder years. This is where they hope superstar sixth man Manu Ginobili can keep up his hot streak and lead the team to another title. With the off-season acquisition of Richard Jefferson and the solid point guard play of Tony Parker, the Spurs are still a team to reckon with in the playoffs.8. Oklahoma City ThunderThough it’s the Thunder’s first playoff appearance since moving to OKC, scoring champion Kevin Durant hopes to not make it a short tenure. Even though they are young and hungry, they lack size and 3-point shooters. To top it off, they are matched up with last year’s NBA Champion Lakers in the first round. But gaining experience and seeing how far they can make it will only better the young squad for future seasons to come.-Tim Bielik and Michael WillisEASTERN CONFERENCE1. Cleveland CavaliersLeBron James. Enough said. Aside from showcasing arguably the best player in the league, the Cavs are second in 3-point percentage and third in overall field goal percentage, making them one of the most potent offenses in all of basketball. While there don’t seem to be many soft spots in Cleveland’s game, center Shaquille O’Neal has not seen action since suffering a thumb injury in late February, which could cause a weakened post presence. Finishing four games better than the defending champion Lakers, it is hard to not have Cleveland as a favorite to win the east if not the whole thing.2. Orlando Magic The Magic have one of the best big men in the game in Dwight Howard, who proved to be too much for anyone else in the east to handle last postseason, including Cleveland, and could provide Orlando with a slight edge in the east once again. Orlando has been inconsistent at times this season. Both Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis have struggled at points, which could spell disaster in crunch time. If Carter and Lewis can find their shooter’s touch and Howard maintains his dominating presence in the post, the Magic could give the Cavs a run for their money come conference finals time.3. Atlanta HawksIn his first year in Atlanta, sharp shooter Jamal Crawford has been a huge boost off the bench for the Hawks, providing what could be just the spark they need to get over the hump in the east. Mustering just one playoff series victory in the last 10 years, the Hawks lack the postseason experience that the other top tier teams will benefit from. Atlanta has come a long way in the last 3 years, but they will have to come much further, much quicker if they want to get past Orlando and Cleveland.4. Boston CelticsThe nod for most experienced team in the east would have to go to the Celtics whose starting five that won the NBA title in ’08 remains intact. Boston struggled down the stretch, posting a 3-7 record over their last ten games, and age remains a factor with the ‘Big 3′ all approaching their mid 30’s. The Celtics shined in ’08 but, despite the starting line-up remaining the same, their lack of youth is a big challenge in challenging for the Eastern Conference title. 5. Miami HeatOn a hot streak, winning 12 of its last 13 games, and guard Dwayne Wade has the ability to take over a game. Not much talent behind Wade, especially in the front court. Miami was 0-3 against Boston in the regular season. Although the Heat has the best chance at an upset in the East going against the aging Celtics, Miami’s weak front court will not be able to handle Boston’s big men. 6. Milwaukee BucksMidseason acquisition John Salmons has averaged 19.9 points per game since joining the Bucks, and point guard Brandon Jennings is a contender for Rookie of the Year. Milwaukee lost its best player, forward Andrew Bogut, to injury near the end of the season. Can others step up?With Bogut, the Bucks could have made a deep run in the playoffs. Without him, they will be lucky to win two games against Atlanta. 7. Charlotte BobcatsBobcats are very good defensively, allowing the fewest points in the NBA at 93.8 per game. Guard Stephen Jackson can score from anywhere. Charlotte has also scored the fewest points of any team at 95.3 per game. The Bobcats have no answer for Orlando’s Dwight Howard in the post, especially if Tyson Chandler’s recent injuries linger. Charlotte’s defense will keep them in games, but the team lacks the inside presence to win more than a few games against the Magic. 8. Chicago BullsDerrick Rose is an explosive point guard and averaged 17 points and 9.3 assists against Cleveland this season. The Bulls allowed more points than they scored this season. They simply don’t have the talent to give the Cavs much of a problem. Although the Bulls split the season series against Cleveland, the most recent victory came with LeBron James on the sideline. James will not be resting during the playoffs. -Travis Kozek and Matt Skrajner
A Lorain County jail official has confirmed via telephone to The Lantern that Ohio State redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Tracy Sprinkle has been arrested and charged with rioting, failure to disperse, possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.Sprinkle is scheduled to appear in court on Monday, according to a jail official.According to a Lorain County jail official, Sprinkle’s drug charges were not for possession of heroin.Sprinkle, who has yet to see the field in his time in Columbus, was a 2012 Associated Press first team All-Ohio selection out of Elyria High School. He enrolled early at OSU, joining the team in January of 2013.During his senior year of high school, Sprinkle recorded 103 tackles, including 19 sacks and 30 total tackles for loss. He was also the first defensive player since former OSU linebacker Matt Wilhelm to win the Lorain County Golden Helmet award, which goes to the best player in the county. Wilhelm won the award in 1999.As of Saturday evening, an OSU spokesperson had not confirmed the report of an arrest or suspension to The Lantern.It was first reported by Eleven Warriors that Sprinkle had been arrested and suspended from the team.
The ideal is to prevent the need for “healthy euthanasiaVets – and anyone who cares about animals – would prefer that healthy animals were never euthanased. When releasing the statistics, the BVA made the point that “healthy euthanasia” for behavioural reasons could be minimised by wider appreciation of the importance of adequate socialisation of animals at an early age. Young animals should be introduced to a variety of people, animals and everyday household sights and sounds in their first few weeks and months of age, beginning at the place where they are born. Many veterinary practices – and dog training centres- now offer puppy socialisation classes to help with this, but the steady stream of poorly socialised puppies from illegal puppy farmers is a serious problem. A new campaign, launched today, stresses the need to choose puppies carefully to avoid buying a puppy farmed dog. As Sean Wensley, the President of the BVA, points out: “Euthanasing an animal who could have been a loving pet is the hidden, tragic cost of poor socialisation.”Euthanasia can be the least worst option for some animalsVets are not obliged to euthanase healthy animals when asked to do so, but most feel ethically obliged to help the owner deal with what is often a pressing problem. And the sad truth is that for some animals, for a variety of reasons, euthanasia may be the least worst option. A cat at the vetsCredit:Alamy Shocking figures released by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) from their “Voice of the Veterinary Profession” survey show that 98 per cent of vets have been asked to euthanase healthy pets, with 53 per cent saying that this is not a rare occurrence. And in nearly every case (98 per cent), “bad behaviour” on the part of the pet was the reason for the euthanasia request. Other reasons cited for “healthy euthanasia” (vets could choose more than one reason given by owners in the BVA survey) included the poor health of the owner (48 per cent), owners moving to accommodation that is unsuitable for their pet (39 per cent), and legal enforcement reasons (32 per cent).As a vet in practice, I’m not surprised by these figures: one of the most challenging aspects of my job is the consultation when an owner asks me to euthanase a healthy pet, and it does happen regularly.Vets try every other option before considering euthanasiaLike most vets, I do my utmost to avoid carrying out euthanasia in such cases, including referral to a behaviourist for help with resolving behavioural issues, as well as offering to rehome the animal on behalf of the owner. Sometimes this is successful, but there are other occasions where, after due investigations, discussions and reflections, it does seem that the best option for the animal, as well as for the owners, is gentle, painless euthanasia. Human safety has to come first with aggressive dogsThere are some types of aggression that are almost impossible to treat, and the risk of injuries to humans needs to be taken into account. It would be irresponsible to rehome a dog in the knowledge that there was a high risk that somebody would be bitten in the future. Some dogs also have deeply ingrained, violent aggression to other animals, which again can make them impossible to rehome. The risk of other animals being savaged to death needs to be considered when searching for a good answer for such animals.Other problem behaviours can be difficult for owners to tolerateOther problem behaviours vets see that can lead to the call for euthanasia include persistent barking and howling, destructive chewing and inappropriate toileting. Such cases are easier to rehome, with the help of animal rescue groups, but they still can present a serious challenge. What if a home isn’t available, and an owner has just “had enough”? Challenging behaviours like this can impact seriously on the psychological welfare of owners, and while vets do their best to be advocates for the animals, the mental health of beleaguered owners does have to be considered. Such cases are not easy, and a “real life” solution is not always the answer that anyone would like.Some situations present real ethical dilemmasThere are many other challenging occasions for vets: for example, if an elderly person dies, and they request in their will that their healthy pets are to be euthanased. There are no fixed rules for such situations, and each vet has to derive the best possible answer according to their own conscience, often after extensive discussions with colleagues. A vet examines a dogCredit:Gabriel Blaj / Alamy Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Marie Stopesclinics have suspended surgical abortions using anaesthetic or sedation for under-age girls and vulnerable women after following an unannounced inspection by Care Quality Commission inspectors who found patients could be at risk.The CQC said that the 250 women a week who were booked in for terminations would be sent elsewhere to ‘make sure they were protected from potential harm’.It follows an unannounced inspection at Marie Stopes International’s corporate headquarters in England last month and its call centre last Friday. Professor Edward Baker, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said: “Given the nature of the concerns we identified on our inspections, it is right that Marie Stopes International has suspended a number of its services.“At all times, our priority is to ensure that patients get safe, high-quality and compassionate care. We believe that the action taken is appropriate to address our concerns.“We will continue to monitor these services very closely and we will not hesitate to take further action, if needed.“We will report fully and publicly on our inspection findings as soon as our regulatory process has concluded and we are able to do so.”The CQC has been inspecting all independent providers of stand-alone termination of pregnancy services as part of a wider inspection programme of independent healthcare services in England.Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS England’s National Medical Director, said: “This will be an anxious time for those women affected and we are taking immediate action to ensure everybody involved has access to the appropriate confidential advice and services.“The restrictions from Marie Stopes International will take effect immediately. Patients who have been booked in already for procedures that have now been restricted are being contacted so they receive their care at an alternative provider. “CQC will report on its findings fully once it publishes its inspection reports of the services provided by Marie Stopes International and its corporate headquarters in the autumn.”The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) has been asked by NHS England to treat patients requesting any surgical procedures to be done under conscious sedation or general anaesthesia, anyone under 18 years of age or with other safeguarding concerns and women booked into their Norwich clinic.BPAS Chief Ann Furedi said: “BPAS is working with NHS England and the Care Quality Commission, at their request, to ensure that the impact of this situation on women seeking abortion is minimal. “Our staff and clinics are doing everything possible to prevent delays in treatment at this time. We are maximising our capacity and working hard so no woman is unable to get an abortion if she needs one. Women need not worry – if you are pregnant and need high quality abortion care you will be able to access services.”Simon Cooke, Chief Executive, Marie Stopes International, said: “Marie Stopes UK has agreed with the CQC to voluntarily suspend some of its termination of pregnancy services. This is to allow Marie Stopes UK to resolve areas of concern in its training and governance procedures. We are working urgently with the CQC on these areas and intend to regain full assurance within a few days.“Alongside this, our immediate priority is to make sure that women booked into one of our affected services are rebooked swiftly into alternative local services and we are working closely with NHS England to ensure that this happens.”We’d like to reassure people that our other services remain unaffected. Each year 70,000 women are treated within our centres, and our clinical outcomes continue to outperform the national average.” Bruce Keogh said Marie Stopes International would not be allowed to open new clinics until the concerns had been dealt with The CQC said it could not be sure that staff had adequate levels of training and competence to administer sedatives and general anaesthetic. It also said it had immediate concerns about issues of consent.Marie Stopes International said it had immediately suspended abortions for under 18s and vulnerable groups of women, as well as anyone undergoing a general anaesthetic or conscious sedation. All surgical terminations have been suspended in its Norwich Centre.The Government has also informed Marie Stopes International that Ministers will not give approval for further clinics to offer termination services until the CQC are satisfied that their concerns have been fully addressed. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Given the nature of the concerns we identified on our inspections, it is right that Marie Stopes International has suspended a number of its servicesProfessor Edward Baker, CQC