Tag Archives: Feral Cats

Bobcat with Rabies attacks man in Florida; Beaver believed to have Rabies attacks three people in Pennsylvania; Feral Cats in metro Detroit, Michigan, thought to number 657,000; a Coyote report from California; a public meeting being held in Minnesota to discuss Gray Wolf de-listing; and Rabies reports from South Carolina, and Virginia.

Bobcat. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Florida 05/31/11 ecbpublishing.com: by Fran Hunt – The Jefferson County Health Department (JCHD) issued a Rabies Alert in Jefferson County last week, which will remain in effect for the next 60 days, after a local man was attacked. The JCHD Environmental Health was notified of a possible rabid bobcat in the Lloyd area.  On the evening of May 18 the victim reported an attack by a bobcat.  The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson County Animal Control acquired the bobcat for testing. On May 20, the bobcat tested (FRA) positive (rabies) with (MAb) still pending. The victim began PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) treatment after presenting to the Emergency Department. JCHD Administrator Kim Barnhill, has issued a rabies alert for Jefferson County. (For complete article go to http://ecbpublishing.com/?p=590  .)

Pennsylvania 06/02/11 myfoxphilly.com: Pennsylvania Game Commission officials say a rabid beaver was killed in Philadelphia on Thursday near the Roosevelt Boulevard, and the public should be alert to other rabid rodents. It is the second incident of a rabid beaver in the Philadelphia since April. The beaver attacked a couple and a small child in separate incidents, and a Fairmount Park ranger captured the beaver about 500 yards from where it bit the child. Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Jerry Czech said the beaver attacked three individuals over the past two days, June 1 and 2, in the Pennypack Creek area between Bustleton Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia. The beaver was killed and taken to the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center, Kennett Square, Chester County, to be tested for rabies.

Michigan 06/01/11 freep.com: by Megha Satyanarayana – On a nondescript block in east Ferndale slammed with foreclosures and vacancies, a new breed of squatters is slowly taking over. A colony of dozens of homeless cats are living, breeding and dying among the houses on this street. At one house, the smell of urine fills the air along the foundation. By one estimate, there are about 657,000 feral cats in metro Detroit — that’s 16 cats for every seat at Comerica Park. The cat population strains animal control and animal welfare groups, which say they have limited money and space. Free-roaming cats often harbor illnesses that spread between cats and sometimes, to humans, said Dr. Steve Halstead, state veterinarian. Just one example: Pregnant women are advised against cleaning litter boxes for fear of the parasite that causes fetus- endangering toxoplasmosis; gardening in cat-trafficked yards carries a similar risk. Southfield has agreed to be the pilot community for a $100,000 county program to catch, sterilize and release feral cats and a Warren animal welfare group is teaching people how to literally herd cats. “You can’t just adopt your way out of the situation,” said Amber Sitko, president of All About Animals Rescue in Warren. More animal welfare groups are promoting trap-neuter-release programs as a surefire way to decrease the population of feral or free-roaming cats in the Detroit area, but wildlife groups say the programs don’t alleviate all of the problems. By one calculation cited by the Petsmart Charities, there are approximately 657,000 homeless cats in the area. The Humane Society of the United States estimates the nation’s free-roaming cat population at 50 million, while another study published by Best Friends Animal Society estimates 87 million feral cats nationwide — 22 cats for every square mile of land and water in the U.S. (For complete article go to http://www.freep.com/article/20110601/NEWS05/106010376/Feral-cat-population-metro-Detroit-overwhelms-animal-welfare-groups-residents .)

California 06/02/11 msn.com: by Claire Webb – Animal services is trying to trap an aggressive coyote that is believed to have killed a small dog and injured a woman last week in the Laguna Woods Village retirement community. Four box traps have been set out in areas with heavy brush to catch a coyote that has killed one dog and at least five cats in the area in the last week, said Joy Falk, senior animal services officer with the Laguna Beach Police Department’s Animal Services, which serves Laguna Woods. Falk said cat food is placed inside the box trap and when an animal steps on a pressure-sensitive pedal, the trap door closes. Falk would not say where the traps have been placed to avoid people tampering with them. Traps have been set out after an elderly woman was walking her small, mixed-breed dog on a leash around 10 a.m. on Saturday on Avenida Majorca and a coyote began attacking the dog, Falk said. Falk said the woman tried to wrestle the dog away and was bitten in the scuffle — it was unclear if the bite was from the coyote or the dog. The dog was taken to a local veterinarian and later died. The woman had to undergo a series of shots for rabies treatment and is in stable condition, Falk said. (For complete article go to http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/43258339/ns/local_news-orange_county_ca/

Minnesota 06/02/11 wisbusiness.com:  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host a public information meeting about its recent proposal to remove Endangered Species Act protection for the gray wolf in the western Great Lakes region, including Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. The meeting will take place on June 14, 2011, from 6 pm to 8 pm at Davies Theater in Davies Hall at Itasca Community College, 1851 East Highway 169, in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  Members of the public will have the opportunity to view a presentation, receive information and ask questions about the Service’s proposal.(For complete article go to http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=238214  )

South Carolina 06/02/11 thesunnews.com: by Steve Jones – An Horry County man is undergoing treatment after being bitten and scratched by a stray cat that tested positive for rabies, according to a news release from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control. The man was attacked by the animal in the Colonial Charters subdivision in Longs, the release said. The animal was the second confirmed positive for rabies in Horry County this year. In 2010, seven rabid animals were confirmed in Horry County. There were 106 confirmed cases of rabid animals statewide in 2010. So far this year, there have been 38 confirmed cases, the release said.

Virginia 06/02/11 richlands-news-press.com: The Mount Rogers Health District is issuing a second rabies alert following three additional positive rabies cases in Carroll County within the last two weeks of May, bringing the total this year to five.  On May 23, a fox found dead in the north end of the town of Hillsville was determined to be positive for rabies.  On May 24, the health department was notified of a dog fighting with a raccoon in the Cana area which was also positive.  On May 31, the health department received two additional reports concerning a fox and a raccoon, both of which were determined to be positive for rabies.  The fox was found in the same area in Hillsville as the fox found on May 23.  In all instances, domestic dogs and/or cats were exposed to these rabid animals. If anyone has questions about rabies protection or possible exposures they may contact the Carroll County Health department at (276) 730-3180. For more information on rabies, log onto the Virginia Department of Health’s Rabies Control and Prevention Web site at http://www.vdh.state.va.us/epi/rabiesf.htm.

California girl survives Rabies; Montana reports first case of Jamestown Canyon Virus; Rabies reports from Arizona, Maine, and Pennsylvania; and West Nile Virus reports from California, and Georgia. Canada: British Columbia’s mysterious Bowen Island Wolf killed; and Nova Scotia reports 2,643 Coyote pelts harvested under bounty program.

California 05/26/11 northcoastjournal.com: Precious Reynolds, 8, of Willow Creek, has become one of the few who have survived a rabies diagnosis.  Complaining of a stomachache, the girl’s grandfather took her to a local clinic where she was initially diagnosed with the flu and sent home.  Soon, she complained of neck and back pain and on April 30 she was taken to a local hospital where tests were performed but, once again, it was assumed she had the flu and was again sent home.  Later that day she was barely moving and couldn’t talk. The following morning, Precious was flown to the U.C. Davis Medical Center where, almost a week later, doctors determined she had rabies.  Using a method developed in 2004 called the Milwaukee protocol, which saved a Wisconsin teenager who survived rabies, U.C. Davis doctors medically induced a coma to protect Precious’ brain while her body fought the rabies virus. It was a struggle, her doctors say, but Precious Reynolds is now the seventh known human rabies survivor in the world. Though still hospitalized, she is finally out of intensive care and is expected to be discharged from the hospital soon. Precious never mentioned being bitten by an animal, but she was seen playing with feral cats near her school. (For complete article go to http://www.northcoastjournal.com/news/2011/05/26/rabies-survivor/2/

Montana report of Human Jamestown Canyon Virus infection (JCV) in 2009, 05/27/11 CDC-MMWR: Reported by Dr. Jennifer Lowell, Communicable Disease Epidemiology Program  — JCV is a mosquito-borne zoonotic pathogen that is distributed throughout temperate North America, where it circulates primarily between deer and various mosquito species. Despite its wide geographic range, only 15 human JCV infections have been reported in the U.S. since 2004, when JCV became a reportable condition, and those have originated predominantly from the Midwestern and northeastern states.  On May 26, 2009, a previously healthy male aged 51 years with no travel history outside of Montana became ill with fever, severe acute frontal headache, dizziness, left-sided numbness, and tingling.  He went to a local ER, was treated for hypertension, and was sent home.  On June 2, the patient visited his primary-care physician complaining of fever, persistent headache, muscle pain, and weakness. A number of tests consistent with suspected stroke or arboviral infection were ordered but were inconclusive.  The patient was referred to and visited a neurologist on July 6.

When the patient visited his physician on June 2, and during subsequent interviews conducted by the local health department and Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, the patient reported recent exposure to mosquitoes while working outdoors.  A serum sample collected on June 2 tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) but additional testing suggested the WNV antibodies were from a past infection.  The sample was also sent to the CDC where it tested positive for JCV indicating that JCV is present in Montana and that a risk for human infection exists.

Currently, testing for JCV is available only at CDC on request. As more information about the distribution and frequency of JCV infections and disease is known, testing might be expanded to include regional or state laboratories. Initial diagnostic tests in this case included testing for several arboviral diseases. However, the lack of a readily available diagnostic test specific to JCV delayed the diagnosis and led the clinician to consider noninfectious causes of illness. This case underscores the importance of Montana clinicians considering JCV infection in patients with a febrile neurologic illness when an arboviral infection is suspected and WNV testing is inconclusive. This first reported human case of JCV in Montana suggests that the geographic distribution of human JCV infection is wider than previously recognized, and that increased JCV surveillance is needed to determine whether mosquito-borne arboviruses other than West Nile virus (WNV) pose a substantial risk to humans in the region.  [Source: CDC-MMWR May 27, 2011 / 60(20);652-655] (For published report go to http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6020a3.htm?s_cid=mm6020a3_e&source=govdelivery

Arizona 05/25/11 yumasun.com: by Sarah Womer – Animal Control officials said Wednesday that they are searching for a dog that bit a Yuma teen. A small Dachshund mix dog bit a 16-year-old boy on his left calf at 3:40 p.m. on Monday, May 23, at an apartment complex located at the 700 block of 1st Avenue. The victim said the particular dog had been seen multiple times around the complex and was often fed by residents in the surrounding area.“We ask the community to report all stray dogs immediately,” said Animal Control Sgt. Aaron Acton. “We want to get stray dogs off the streets before they become bite dogs. But now that this dog has bitten someone, it is important that we verify the dog’s rabies vaccination status so we can determine whether the victim needs to undergo treatment for rabies exposure.” To report any information on the whereabouts of these dogs, call Animal Control at (928) 782-1621, Ext. 106.

California 05/26/11 pe.com: by Janet Zimmerman – A pool of mosquitoes sampled from Chino near Archibald Avenue and Riverside Drive tested positive for the presence of West Nile virus, the first indication of the disease in San Bernardino County this year, officials said. Ecologists with the West Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District collected the sample on May 16, and it was confirmed positive by the Center for Vector-Borne Diseases at UC Davis on Wednesday. “Residents need to be especially cautious with the long weekend approaching. People are beginning to spend more time later into the evening outdoors, and this puts them at risk for mosquito bites and mosquito-transmitted disease,” said Dr. Min-Lee Cheng, manager of the vector control district.

Georgia 05/26/11 effinghamherald.net: Georgia’s first case of West Nile Virus has been confirmed in a horse in Southeast Georgia. The Georgia Department of Community Health, Division of Public Health recommends that Georgians protect themselves from mosquitoes and remove any standing water from their property. “While this is a non-human case, we recognize that the mosquito and tick season is starting earlier than in previous years,” said Dr. Anil T. Mangla, program director of Infectious Disease and Immunization and acting state epidemiologist for DCH.

Maine 05/13/11 Maine Public Health Update: This update provides information on animals confirmed to have rabies through the first quarter of 2100 (Jan 1 – Mar 31) including 6 raccoons, 1 skunk, and 1 sheep.  For a breakdown by county and town see report at http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/attach.php?id=244396&an=1

Pennsylvania 05/26/11 yorkdispatch.com: by Elizabeth Evans – The York City Health Bureau has confirmed one positive case of rabies and is attempting to test two other suspect animals, a health official said Thursday. The bureau is warning Fireside-area residents to be alert for sick animals after a feral kitten a woman had been feeding tested positive for rabies. Once an animal tests positive for rabies, it must be euthanized, said Terri Fitzgerald, a registered nurse with the city health bureau. The York City animal officer has been notified of two additional feral kittens and will be on the lookout for them, she said. The kitten is believed to have been infected with rabies after it was bitten by a rabid raccoon several weeks ago. The raccoon was never captured or tested, and is believed to be dead, according to a city news release. York County tested 259 animals for rabies last year. Of those, 20, or about 7.7 percent of the tested population, tested positive. The county ranked third in the number of positive animals in 2010, following only Cumberland and Westmoreland counties, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Excluding the Fireside-area kitten, York County has reported nine positive rabies cases – one cat and eight raccoons – so far this year.


British Columbia 05/26/11 nationalpost.com: by Tristin Hopper – An unidentified B.C. trapper, armed with a rifle and a special permit to use it, killed the Bowen Island wolf-dog Thursday morning. The 90-pound animal had eluded capture, killing dozens of cats, dogs, geese, and leaving the B.C. island’s forests strewn with deer carcasses since arriving last December. The trapper, hired by the Bowen Island municipality, arrived on the island at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, and was taken to a farm where the animal had killed sheep earlier in the week. Betting that the dog would return to the farm, the trapper took up a concealed position nearby. When the hybrid indeed returned at 6:30 a.m. local time, the trapper felled him with a single shot to the head. Residents in a nearby house did not even hear the crack of the rifle, said Mr. Buchanan. The animal’s body was removed from the island by the trapper and will be incinerated. (For complete article go to http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/05/26/trapper-kills-bowen-island-wolf-dog/

Nova Scotia 05/25/11 cbc.ca: Trappers in Nova Scotia harvested 2,643 coyote pelts — nearly 1,000 more than the last year — under a bounty program to target aggressive animals. The 366 trappers were paid $20 per pelt, for a total of $52,860, the Department of Natural Resources announced Wednesday. The bounty program ran during the regular trapping season, from October to April. In order to get paid, licensed trappers had to show their pelts were properly shipped to markets. Eldon Graham, who lives near Stewiacke, said he trapped 79 coyotes this year — his best year ever. But he said he had to work harder and longer to get the animals. “It’s hard going out there. I’m telling you, they’re hard to get,” Graham told CBC News. “You’ve got to use every trick in the book.” Graham said he got about $33 a pelt from the fur market. The extra money from the province helped pay his expenses. (For complete article go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2011/05/25/ns-coyote-pelts.html?ref=rss

British Columbians say mysterious killer may be part Timber Wolf; Maine scientist reviews how to minimize risk of Hantavirus; New Mexican horse trainer/performer dies of Hantavirus in Utah; Feral Cat may be source of California human Rabies case; Coyote reports from Arizona, and Colorado; and Rabies reports from California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York (2), North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

Canis lupus occidentalis with radio collar. Also known as Alaskan or Canadian Timber Wolf. Courtesy U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.


British Columbia 05/22/11 ctv.ca: Residents of a small community in British Columbia have a mysterious killer in their midst and are taking steps to protect their pets, farm animals and small children.  An animal thought to be part timber wolf has been stalking Bowen Island, just off the coast of Vancouver, for about six months — preying mainly on dogs and cats.  “Anyone who has family, has pets, and anyone who has seen it, seen the way it looks at you, knows that it’s dangerous to have around,” said island resident Stacey Powers.  Her husband John recently caught the animal on video, and saw it snatch a gosling out of a nearby pond. The animal has “shown no fear of coming up close to the house,” he said, “and obviously you don’t want to have a concern that he’s there and all of a sudden the kids are in his range.” The family is keeping its pets indoors and young children nearby. A local veterinarian believes it is part dog, part wolf and that it may have been abandoned after being brought to the island.  “They are a mixed-up species. They are part domestic with the instincts of a wolf,” said Dr. Alastair Wescott. “They don’t react normally and so people can’t manage them, and so dumping them is a common thing to do.”  It is thought to be a young male weighing about 90 pounds.  Missing pet signs are posted all over the island. The animal has killed at least three dogs, more than a dozen cats and two sheep. Many deer carcasses have also been found.  The municipality has set up a hotline, bought a tranquilizer gun, and enlisted both Westcott and a professional trapper to find the animal.  Once caught, it is expected to be euthanized. Rescue organizations have been contacted, but the animal’s behaviour has been so vicious they say there’s no chance of rehabilitation.

Dr. Anne Lichtenwalner

National05/19/11 umaine.edu: by Anne Lichtenwalner, DVM PhD, Universityof Maine Animal Health Laboratory – Now that a human case of hantavirus respiratory syndrome has been diagnosed in Maine, it’s a good idea to review how to minimize any risk to humans due to this disease. It simply boils down to keeping rodents out of your house, barn or camp. If you are going into a camp or other building (shed, garage, etc.) that may have rodents living in or around it, wear a mask. Open the door and let it air out for 30 minutes before you go in. Then, spray things down with a dilute bleach solution, then mop or sponge all surfaces to remove the solution. Avoid breathing the dust: don’t sweep or vacuum! This is what can carry hantavirus into your respiratory system, which is associated with the dangerous form of hantavirus in humans. See the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Zoonotic – Hantavirus (Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome)for details about cleaning areas where you think mice have been. If you think there are rodents in your home, you can use traps, bait or other methods to reduce them (a highly motivated cat works very well, too!). Usually you will know — by a musty smell, the small dark pellet-like droppings or characteristic gnaw-marks in food packaging/walls — that rodents are resident in your home or barn. You’ll almost never see them — if you do, the problem is likely greater than you would think. (For complete article go to http://umaine.edu/veterinarylab/2011/05/19/hantavirus-reducing-the-risk/ )

Deer mouse

Utah 05/21/11 barrelhorseworld.com: by Mark Thompson – Hantavirus caused the death of cutting trainer and ranch cowboy Kenny Paul, 35, Estancia, N.M., May 7 in Ogden, Utah, five days after he guided a horse to a tie for third place in the Western Nationals’ Open division.  Family members and Paul’s employer and business partner, Cyle Sharp, confirmed the results of an autopsy done by the Utah Department of Health.  Payton Paul, 10, daughter of the late Kenny Paul and his wife, Shauna, also lost a horse that she competed with at the Western Nationals due to the EHV-1 virus. “We buried her daddy Saturday [May 7] and then we buried her show horse Monday night [May 9],” Sharp said. “Payton will continue to cut. We’ll figure something out.” A primary reason in publicly releasing Kenny Paul’s cause of death, Sharp said, was so that everyone knows it was not related to the equine herpesvirus. The virus also known as EHV-1 cannot be transmitted from horses to humans, health officials stated. Several horses that competed at the Western Nationals were diagnosed with the EHV-1 virus.

California 05/21/11 times-standard.com: by Jessica Cejnar – Feral unvaccinated cats may be behind a rabies infection that sent a Willow Creek resident to the hospital two weeks ago, according to local health officials. But health officials also say that they may never know how exactly the victim contracted the disease.  The victim is currently in stable condition at UC Davis Medical Center and is improving, according to the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services. The patient’s family and medical personnel who came into contact with her are being vaccinated against the disease. Officials also vaccinated two other individuals who were at risk from animal bites.  Even though feral cats may be the primary source of the disease, county health officer Ann Lindsay said officials are investigating other wild and domestic animals for signs of rabies as well.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the case was a rabies infection on May 6. It is thought to be the first-ever confirmed case of human rabies in Humboldt County, according to health officials.  Bats and gray foxes are the usual carriers of rabies in Humboldt County, said Dave Lancaster, a wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. According to county public health, which tests animals for rabies, about five gray foxes and one bat tested positive for rabies last year in Humboldt County. In 2009 more than 35 gray foxes in the county tested positive for rabies. Almost 40 skunks also tested positive for rabies in 2009. (For complete article go to http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_18111085 )

Arizona 05/20/11 azfamily.com: by Carina Sonn – Coyote attacks in the west Valley have spiked, sending at least six dogs to the vet in the last 10 days. Sun City West Animal Hospital says they have seen everything from puncture wounds to life-threatening injuries. Arizona Game and Fish says the spring is coyote season, when the animals look for food in the cool morning hours for themselves and their new pups but they admit, the numbers are unusually high. Ardy Geyer’s poodle mix, Lacy, was attacked by two coyotes early Thursday morning after she let the dog out.  Geyer, who lives near 128th Avenue and Beardsley says she left Lacy for just a minute before she heard two coyotes, who had jumped over her four-foot fence to attack the dog.  “I just heard her cry and yelp and thought ‘Oh my God.’ It was quiet, you wouldn’t know [the coyotes] were there. It was almost eerie.” Lacy suffered a large puncture wound, and hernia but she will survive. Beth Barnard’s dog was also attacked in the early morning hours. Louis, also a poodle mix, was bitten by a single coyote Tuesday morning at her home in Sun City.  “I walked back into the house and heard him fighting like I’ve never heard him fighting before.” Barnard says her dog fought the coyote back, which she says was about three feet tall and full grown. Louis suffered two puncture wounds. Arizona Game and Fish says pet owners should try and keep their dogs on a leash when they’re outside. If you see a coyote, make yourself as big as you can, make a lot of noise and scare it away so the animal knows it’s not welcome. The department adds that homeowners should never feed the coyotes or leave trash out. If your pet is ever bitten by a coyote, Veterinarian Joshua Winston advises you bring it in to get checked out and worries that even if the bite doesn’t look bad there could be underlying issues like infection.

California 05/19/11 tahoedailytribune.com: El Dorado County Animal Services is searching for the owner of a dog that bit a 32-year-old South Lake Tahoe man as he was attempting to come to the dog’s aid about 8:45 a.m. May 11. The biting dog is described as a very large Mastiff-type dog with mostly white fur and gray patches, wearing a green collar with tags. The dog was running loose on Tahoe Keys Boulevard near Texas Avenue in South Lake Tahoe when the man stopped his car to see if he could help the dog. As the man reached down to look at the dog’s collar and tags, the dog bit the man and then ran away. The dog’s owner did not appear to be anywhere in sight. Animal Services would like to speak to the owner of the dog to verify that the dog is current on its rabies vaccinations so that the man does not have to go through post-exposure rabies treatments. Since the bite occurred, Animal Services has been canvassing the area, knocking on doors, speaking to neighbors, and following up on leads, but has thus far been unable to locate the dog. Anyone with information is asked to con­tact Animal Services at 530-573-7925.

Colorado 05/21/11 aspentimes.com: by Andre Salvail – A coyote reportedly attacked a woman’s Labradoodle on the Smuggler Mountain Trail near Aspen sometime Friday morning, then dragged it to an area where other coyotes ate the pet in front of its owner. The woman, whose name was not released, was not physically harmed in the incident, which was confirmed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. The unleashed dog was walking ahead of her when the attack occurred, said DOW Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will. “It’s just a real unfortunate situation,” Will said. “You have to feel for the pet owner. Wild critters are unpredictable and despite any precautions someone might take, these types of incidents can still occur.” He said calls to his Glenwood Springs office involving nuisance coyotes in the Roaring Fork Valley have increased in recent years, but are still relatively few. In fact, his office is fielding many more calls this spring involving problems with bears, including an incident earlier this week in a west Aspen home near Red Butte Drive, in which a bear broke down a door in its quest for food.  The bear was captured and put down because it was a repeat offender, Will said. It was the first time this year a local bear has had to be euthanized, he said. As for the Smuggler Mountain coyote issue, Will said his staff and field officers will evaluate the incident before deciding whether any action should be taken. “It was probably an isolated incident,” he said.                         (For complete article go to http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20110521/NEWS/110529962/1077&ParentProfile=1058 )

Connecticut 05/20/11 acorn-online.com: by Macklin Reid – Three pet dogs are under state-mandated quarantine after a dead raccoon they’d been sniffing was found to have rabies. “The state tested it. It came back positive,” said Animal Control Officer David Coles. “All three dogs were put on 45-day quarantines — that’s a state requirement,” Officer Coles said. The raccoon is the first animal found in Ridgefield to test positive for rabies since 2008, when there were three — two raccoons and a bat. Last year there were 112 cases of rabies confirmed in animals across Connecticut.

Florida 05/19/11 suwanneedemocrat.com: by Jeff Waters – The rabies alert that went into effect on April 4 after a rabid raccoon was found in western Suwannee County has been extended after another rabid raccoon was found Tuesday within the same area, health department officials say. The alert issued April 4 would have ended after 60 days if another incident wasn’t discovered. However, the Suwannee County Health Department confirmed through laboratory testing on May 17 that another rabid raccoon was discovered in the area of 76th Street and 185th Road. “Therefore the alert will be extended until” July 16, SCHD Administrator Pam Blackmon said in a press release. “Again, all citizens are asked to maintain a heightened awareness that rabies is active in this county.” Residents in the area of 76th Street (Mitchell Road) and 185th Road (Falmouth Road) are advised to avoid contact with free roaming domestic or any wild animals and not to leave pet food outside and secure outside garbage in covered containers to avoid attracting wild animals. Also, contact your veterinarian to make sure your pets have current rabies vaccination and don’t feed any stray or wild animals. Local law enforcement has been advised by the health department to assist in the enforcement of making sure all dogs, cats and captive wild animals are confined to the owner’s premises.

Georgia 05/20/11 patch.com: by Jessie Gable – Health officials confirm that a raccoon that recently attacked a dog in Ball Ground has rabies. On May 3, the raccoon attacked a dog on Hightower Trail in Ball Ground, according to a release from the health department. There was no human contact and the dog was up-to-date on its shots. Only a 45-day home quarantine was required.

New Jersey 05/20/11northjersey.com: by Maxim Almenas – Edgewater health officials recently found four raccoons that tested positive for rabies. The finding comes just months after a Shadyside resident was attacked at the doorstep of his apartment last December.  The recent rabid raccoon confirmations were made in several areas throughout the Borough including the Edgewater Ferry Terminal. For further information, go to bergenhealth.org or 201-634-2600.

New York 05/20/11 pressrepublican.com: by Joe LoTemplio – A rabid fox has been found in Keeseville, spurring officials to warn residents to take precautions. “Essex County Public Health Department reminds all residents to avoid contact with stray or wild animals and cats and dogs that are unknown to you,” a news release said. The fox was found on Dugway Road, and tests confirmed that it was rabid. It is the first confirmed case of rabies in a wild animal in Essex County this year. For more information call the Health Department at 873-3500.

New York 05/19/11 uticaod.com: A Mohawk man is undergoing rabies treatment protocol after being bitten by a bat, Herkimer County health officials said. The man put his hand under a pillow in some loose bedding when he felt the pain of a bite and then found a bat in the pillow, officials said. He washed the wound with soap and water and then sought medical attention. He carefully double-bagged the bat, and it was sent to the New York State Wadsworth Laboratory, where rabies was confirmed on May 16, officials said.

North Carolina 05/20/11 thetimesnews.com: The Alamance County Health Department said Friday that the state has confirmed a fifth case of rabies for 2011. This is the second case reported within the past week. According to a Health Department press release, a 3-year-old basset hound attacked a skunk that had entered a fenced enclosure Tuesday evening in the 1700 block of Whitney Burche Trail in the Pleasant Grove community. The dog’s owner shot and killed the skunk during the confrontation.  The dog’s owner took the skunk to Alamance County Animal Control on Wednesday where it was subsequently sent off to the state laboratory for testing. The Health Department and Animal Control were notified Thursday evening that the skunk tested positive for rabies.

Pennsylvania 05/18/11 wtae.com: The Pennsylvania Department of Health has confirmed that a cat in Lawrence County has tested positive for rabies.  The Health Department said the cat was found on Sunset Valley Road in Neshannock Township on May 12.  Anyone who thinks they may have been bitten or exposed to saliva, fluids or tissue from the cat should call the Lawrence County State Health Center at 724-656-3088.

Rhode Island 05/19/11 turnto10.com: by Kate Davis – (T)here have been several reports of foxes infected with rabies. Some have approached people’s homes, and even attacked their pets. “There were several incidents involving people. One in particular, an elderly man let his small dog outside, heard scratching at the door expecting the dog to come into the house and it was actually the fox with the dog in its mouth,” said Dr. Scott Marshall, Rhode Island state veterinarian. Marshall said that wasn’t the only incident. A fox that attacked a dog in Westerly was killed by a homeowner. The animal later tested positive for rabies.

Idaho authorizes killing of Wolf pack near Elk City; Texas legislature approves aerial hunting bill targeting Feral Hogs and Coyotes; California’s Orange County reports Crow found dead of West Nile Virus; and Rabies reports from North Carolina, and Texas. Travel Warnings for Australia.

Elk. Wikimedia Commons.

Idaho 05/18/11 reuters.com: by Laura Zuckerman – The state of Idaho has authorized sheriff’s deputies in a tiny mountain town to kill wolves blamed for preying on pets and elk, a spokesman for the state fish and game department said on Tuesday. The move marks the second of two wolf kills sanctioned by Idaho less than two weeks after federal protections were lifted from most wolves in the Northern Rockies and states, including Idaho and Montana, resumed management of the animals. For the first time since wolves were reintroduced to the region in the mid-1990s, the state is permitting sheriff’s deputies to kill a pack of about seven wolves near Elk City, a community of 200 residents in north central Idaho. Wildlife officials say the wolves are in close proximity to people and appear to have no fear of human communities. “We want wolves to be wild, not hanging around town,” said Mike Keckler, Idaho Fish and Game spokesman.

Although a newly passed law in Idaho declared wolves a “disaster emergency” akin to a flood or a wildfire, Fish and Game needed no additional authority to enlist the aid of local law enforcement. The agency has permitted outfitters to kill problem predators, just as it has licensed ranchers to shoot wolves or mountain lions attacking livestock. For the first time in the history of the Endangered Species Act, wolves in the Northern Rockies in April were removed from the endangered species list by Congressional action rather than scientific review. Federal safeguards were officially lifted from the estimated 1,200 wolves in Idaho and Montana on May 5, the same day Idaho began selling permits for wolf hunts. The two states are seeking to kill hundreds of wolves, mostly through licensed hunting. Montana last week set its quota at 220 out of 550 wolves and Idaho is considering the same quota for its 700 wolves.

The region’s ranchers and hunters have taken aim at wolves for preying on livestock and elk. Wildlife advocates said it would be open season on wolves when federal oversight ended. Idaho last week launched an aerial attack on wolves in a hunting zone where they are accused of reducing elk herds. Gunners killed five wolves before the helicopter was grounded because of costs and because of difficulty targeting radio-collared wolves under the cover of trees. The state has recruited outfitters to kill another 55 wolves in the area.

Texas 05/17/11 dallasnews.com: by Erin Mulvaney – Helicopter hog hunt measure goes to Perry The House gave final approval Tuesday to a measure that would allow ranchers to rent out seats on helicopters used to hunt feral hogs and coyotes on their property. The House accepted Senate changes to the bill on a 141-1 vote. The measure now heads to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature. The Senate added an amendment that gave more authority to Texas Parks and Wildlife to prevent those deemed unsuitable as gunners to shoot the animals, said the bill’s author, Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville. Miller has said the feral hog and coyote populations in Texas are large and destructive. An estimated 1.5 million feral hogs have caused about $400 million in damage to crops, property and fences per year.

California 05/18/11 ocregister.com: by Pat Brennan – West Nile virus season is here — again — with the first crow reported dead from the disease and mosquito-killing programs in full operation. The virus, transmitted by mosquitoes, can have fatal effects on birds, with crows among the most susceptible. The Orange County Vector Control District, which tracks animal diseases that can spread to humans, reports that the first crow of the season to test positive was found in Cypress last month. The presence of the virus in the bird’s body was confirmed May 4. Orange County had one, non-fatal human case of West Nile virus last year. Statewide, there were 111, with six deaths. There have been no reported human cases of West Nile in California so far this year. Report dead birds or neglected pools by calling 714-971-2421 or 949-654-2421.

North Carolina 05/18/11 digtriad.com: by Nick Needham – The North Carolina State Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh has confirmed Alamance County’s fourth rabies case for the year in a fox. On Sunday, a resident of Coachlight Trail in Burlington was out walking his dog at about approximately 8:30 a.m., when a fox wandered down the street, came into the driveway, and attacked the family dog. The dog’s owner kicked the fox and was bitten on the leg.  About a half hour before the incident on Coachlight Trail, less than a half mile away, a resident on Garden Road saw a fox attempting to attack her dogs. After yelling at the fox, it proceeded to chase her. Before she could escape into her residence, the fox bit her on the leg and ran away. Burlington Police and animal control officers responded to the area. After searching the area, the fox was located and killed. The health department and animal control were notified on Tuesday that the fox tested positive for rabies. Both victims were treated at Alamance Regional Medical Center and are undergoing post-exposure treatment. The dog that was attacked was current on its rabies vaccinations and has received a booster shot.

Texas 05/17/11 boernestar.com: The county’s third case of rabies this spring was confirmed May 9 when a Waring area homeowner’s dogs killed a skunk that came into the yard, according to the Kendall County Sheriff’s Department. Chief Deputy Matt King said a resident of Waring-Welfare Road reported his two dogs had killed a skunk that wandered into the yard. Animal Control officers took the remains to the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, which later confirmed the skunk tested positive for rabies. While the homeowner’s dogs had rabies vaccinations, they were quarantined in accordance with state law, King said. This is the third confirmed case of rabies in Kendall County this year, King said. The second case of the season, reported in late April, was also a skunk, also killed by dogs. The first case was reported in March when a feral cat attacked a homeowner and his dog. In all three cases, the dogs involved were up-to-date on their vaccinations, King said. According to Texas Department of State Health Services, there were 31 cases of rabies in Kendall County last year.

Travel Warnings:

Australia 05/18/11 watoday.com.au: by Lucy Rickard – A deadly mosquito-borne virus that has no cure and no vaccination has claimed the lives of two Australians. Both the Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE) and the closely-related Kunjin viruses cause a serious inflammation of the brain, and have already hospitalised six West Australians. The Health Department is continuing to investigate reports that more people have been infected. Department entomologist Sue Harrington said while there was no suggestion the MVE virus would reach Perth, the fact it had already hit the Wheatbelt and mid-west regions was of a concern. “It seems to have activated independently this season,” she said. “There has been an extension of that area, so a large proportion of West Australia is now affected by MVE.”

The death of a man in the north-west of the state last month, and a South Australian man two weeks ago led the Department to issue another stern warning about the virus. “It causes inflammation of the brain,” she said. “People have suffered paralysis and brain damage of varying degrees. Every case is very significant because about one-quarter of all cases die, and of those that survive they’re left with severe nerve damage that can result in paralysis.” There is not yet a cure for the virus, nor a vaccine to prevent infection, said Ms Harrington “Often people in the north just accept that mosquitoes are a fact of life,” she said. “A lot of people might have been bitten and have developed the antibodies. Every year we have activity in the region. It’s still the same disease, with the same drastic symptoms.”

The rare and potentially fatal viruses have been detected in the Kimberley, Pilbara, Gascoyne, Goldfields, Midwest and central Wheatbelt regions of WA, which indicated the virus was likely to be widespread. Ms Harrington warned as there is no cure doctors were only able to treat the symptoms of the virus, so people living and travelling outside the metropolitan area should take measures to avoid mosquito bites, including the application of mosquito repellants and choosing to wear long-sleeved clothing. In addition to MVE and Kunjin viruses, Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses are still causing dramas across the south of the state with more infections reported to the Department. The latter two viruses cause similar symptoms including painful joints, aching muscles, lethargy, fever, headaches and skin rashes, and can last from days to months. The symptoms of Kunjin and MVE are similar. While the latter is more severe, both cause fever, drowsiness, stiff neck, nausea and dizziness. Young children can experience drowsiness, floppiness, irritability, poor feeding or general distress. In severe cases, victims can experience delirium or lapse into a coma.

Coyotes return to Rye, New York, where children were attacked last year; a Rabid Fox enters an Alabama home through a pet door; and more Rabies reports from California, Georgia, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia (2), and West Virginia.

Coyote. Photo by Christopher Bruno. Wikimedia Commons.

New York 05/12/11 patch.com: by Nik Bonopartis – Two coyote sightings were reported to the Rye Brook Police Department over the past week. The first was reported on May 6 at 7:18 a.m., when a resident on Sleepy Hollow Road reported seeing one of the animals. A patrolman responded and checked the area, but the coyote was gone by the time he arrived, according to police. A second sighting was reported on Monday, when a caller reported spotting a coyote on Country Ridge Road. Like the earlier case, an officer searched the area, but the elusive animal was gone. The sightings are the first reported since January of this year, when Port Chester police warned of coyote sightings and fresh tracks in a one-mile stretch between Tower Hill Drive and Chestnut Street. In those cases, residents reported sightings in wooded areas and told police they’d caught the animals feeding from their garbage cans. At the time, Port Chester police issued a warning to residents, asking them to be more alert and to secure trash areas to discourage coyotes from getting close to homes and apartment buildings. In addition to the Chestnut Hill Apartments, the area includes Lyon Park. On Thursday, Port Chester police said they’d received several dog-related complaints over the past month, but Lt. James Ladeairous said there had been no coyote sightings reported in Port Chester. In Rye Brook, police confirmed some of the sightings in recent weeks may have been foxes or dogs – which can often be confused for coyotes, especially at a distance – but Lt. Eugene Matthews said some of the sightings were legitimate. The coyotes “all appear to be healthy animals,” Matthews said. That’s a concern because of one of several high-profile incidents last year, including a September case where police shot a coyote that had rabies and was feeding on one of her own pups. Police believe that animal may have been responsible for two earlier attacks on young children in the area. In addition, Rye police shot and killed a coyote in November, and authorities from several police departments have worked closely with wildlife control companies and trappers after last year’s coyote attacks caused panic in several Rye, Rye Brook and Port Chester neighborhoods.

Alabama 05/13/11 dailyhome.com: by Elsie Hodnett – Authorities have confirmed that a fox killed in Lincoln last week had rabies. “We received confirmation Wednesday that the fox killed in Lincoln the first week of May was positive for rabies,” said Dr. Larry Chasteen, St. Clair County rabies officer. Chasteen said the fox chased a dog into a residence on Eureka Road, following it through the pet door. “A fight ensued in the house between the fox and the dog, and the dog was bitten,” he said. Chasteen said the fox was killed and brought to Logan Martin Vet Clinic in Pell City, where Chasteen is a veterinarian. Samples were shipped to the state laboratory for testing.

California 05/12/11 mymotherlode.com: by Tina Falco – The Calaveras County Health Department has issued recommendations to prevent rabies exposure. This action comes in response to a bat found last week in the Valley Springs area testing positive for the rabies virus. Additional information about rabies is available at www.calaveraspublichealth.com

Georgia 05/12/11 augusta.com: The McDuffie County Health Department has received confirmation of a rabid raccoon found in McDuffie County.  A Marshall Church Road resident killed the raccoon on his property May 4 when the animal tried to attack his dog. The McDuffie County Health Department submitted the raccoon to the Georgia Public Health Lab for rabies testing. Positive rabies notification was received on May 6.

Minnesota 05/13/11 mankatofreepress.com: Mankato police are asking for the public’s help in finding a dog that might have bit a toddler in Sibley Park Thursday around 6:30 p.m. The dog knocked over a two-and-a-half-year-old child, who received facial and dental injuries. It’s not clear if the injuries were sustained because of falling or a dog bite. The dog, which looks like a black lab, and its owner, described as a white male in his mid to late 20s with dark hair and no facial hair, left the scene as a parent tended to the child. The child was examined at the hospital and has begun preventative treatment for rabies. Anyone with information about the dog or its owner or any witnesses are asked to call the Mankato police impound office at 507-387-8590.

Montana 05/14/11 bozemandailychronicle.com: The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office is looking for information on a dog that bit a woman’s leg on the Drinking Horse Trail on Fish Hatchery Road north of Bozeman Thursday. The dog, a large Malamute, St. Bernard, German Shepherd mix was accompanying two unknown people around 3 p.m. on the trail. Gallatin County Animal Control Officer Pat Hess said she needs to verify the dog’s rabies vaccinations. She will not pursue other charges, she added in a written statement Friday. Anyone with information about the dog is asked to call Hess at 582-2116.

Pennsylvania 05/14/11 timesonline.com: by Megan J. Miller – Beaver County’s second confirmed case of rabies for 2011 was recorded in April when a rabid dog bit its owner in a New Sewickley Township residence, according to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Health and Diagnostic Services. The dog was euthanized, and the owner was treated with post-exposure rabies vaccinations. The county averaged 4.4 confirmed rabies cases per year in the five years from 2006-2010, according to state health department statistics. That’s notably higher than Lawrence County’s 1.8-case per year average, but lower than Butler County’s 8.8-case average, and much lower than Allegheny County’s-20.6 case average. Some of the difference can be attributed to the availability of animal habitat and to the size of the counties’ populations — where there are more people, there’s a greater chance that someone will encounter an animal with rabies. But state officials say Beaver and Lawrence counties’ low numbers are due in large part to a decade-long war the federal government has waged against the westward spread of rabies into Ohio. In that war, Pennsylvania’s westernmost counties are on the front lines. Each year, around September, an airplane flies back and forth over a narrow band of western Pennsylvania, dropping doses of (oral) rabies vaccine over wooded areas and other raccoon habitat. (For complete article go to http://www.timesonline.com/news/local_news/funding-woes-in-pa-fight-against-rabies/article_c1f0508e-546f-53fe-bd45-9ed65f35db27.html )

Rhode Island 05/13/11 boston.com: A stray cat that bit two Providence city workers has tested positive for rabies — and it may not be alone.  State health officials said Friday that the rabid feline is part of a Providence cat colony whose numbers may run as high as 40 strays. They say it’s unclear whether the rest of the colony has rabies, but that they are treating the rest of the animals as potentially infected. A sanitation worker was bitten Wednesday by the cat. It also bit the animal control officer who arrived on the scene to capture the stray.Both are receiving treatment for rabies exposure.

Virginia 05/13/11 washingtonpost.com: A health official in Suffolk says a fox that bit two children was rabid. Western Tidewater Health District environmental health manager Jay Duell says the fox tested positive for rabies. The fox was killed by a dog a day after biting the children last weekend. Duell tells media outlets that the 7-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy are undergoing rabies treatments, while the dog is under quarantine and had already received rabies shots.

Virginia 05/12/11 patch.com: by Lisa K. Brown – Animal Control officers responded to a home in the 4000 block of Braxton Road in Chantilly on Monday, May 2 for a report of three dogs that attacked and killed a skunk on Saturday, April 30. The skunk was sent to the health department and returned positive for rabies. The three dogs, a chow/terrier mix, a Sheltie mix and a Bernese Mountain Dog, were given booster shots and quarantined for 45 days.

West Virginia 05/12/11 wboy.com: Morgantown – A raccoon that was collected by the Monongalia County Health Department on May 11, in the Cheat Lake area, has tested positive for rabies, health officials announced Thursday. The raccoon was found in the Rockley Road/Horton Lane area and attacked two dogs, officials said. The raccoon was killed and sent off for testing. While the dogs were exposed to the disease, there is no confirmation that any humans were exposed. Health officials are asking anyone who may have been exposed or who has pets that may have been exposed, to call the health department at 304-598-5131. In April, a raccoon in Preston County also tested positive for rabies

A virus kills thousands of Black Crappies in Wisconsin; California reports a case of human Rabies; Department of Interior says feds are watching Gray Wolf populations; Virginia county to allow hunting Coyotes and Groundhogs with hi-powered rifles; and Rabies reports from South Carolina, and Virginia.

Black Crappie. Courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Wisconsin 05/06/11 wausaudailyherald.com: by Jeff Starck – Thousands of black crappies on Lake DuBay and the Stevens Point Flowage are dead of a virus and wildlife officials are trying to figure out why the disease is affecting just one species. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologists and fisheries technicians learned of the fish kill April 25 and determined that the cause appears to be a virus primarily affecting 3-year-old black crappies. “(If it was a widespread problem) other fish would be dying,” DNR fisheries biologist Tom Meronek said. “This is just limited to crappies. We’ve seen cases on other bodies of water (in Wisconsin). This might be a similar virus.” The symptoms are not consistent with viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, a virus that has sickened or killed large numbers of fish in the Great Lakes, according to the DNR. Wisconsin has mandated in recent years that all water must be drained from boats to prevent the spread of VHS and other viruses and diseases.

Black Crappie

Live fish were taken from both bodies of water for testing, Meronek said. It will be several weeks before the DNR Fish Health Lab in Madison has results. The sickened fish aren’t likely to bite anglers’ hooks, Meronek said. They likely will have lesions or look sick, and he doesn’t advise eating them. In Lake DuBay, the kill has been widespread and has covered many areas of the water with concentrations of dead fish, particularly along Seagull Drive in the town of Knowlton and extending south. In the Stevens Point Flowage, fish were reported dying Sunday. The fish kill there also is widespread and affects crappie in the 3- to 4-year-old range.

Biologists also are trying to determine why some of the fish have a fungus on their dorsal fins. Du Bay Property Owners Association Kevin Coleman was not aware of the fish kill when asked Thursday by a reporter. Coleman said he saw a number of dead fish last weekend during a fishing tournament, but the fish were small and he did not think the fish were crappies. “I didn’t think much of it at the time,” Coleman said. Coleman said he already had plans to meet next week with association board members and plans to discuss the fish kill with them.

California 05/07/11 contracostatimes.com: by Allison Edrington – Local public health officials were informed Friday that a Willow Creek resident has tested positive for rabies and was sent to a Sacramento-area hospital. According to a Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported the infection. Rabies is caused by a virus that is transmitted through the saliva and neural tissue of infected animals, and state and local officials are contacting people who may have been exposed and encouraging people to seek treatment. Further information on the patient was unavailable.

Upper Midwest 05/06/11 missoulian.com: by Rob Chaney – Thursday’s announcement that gray wolves are back under state management in Montana and Idaho also included a warning: The federal government is watching. “We will continue monitoring gray wolves to ensure those populations remain robust,” Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes said during a news conference call. “We will continue to follow the Endangered Species Act in Montana and Idaho.” That was welcome news to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Agency spokesman Ron Aasheim said the department’s wolf management program was closely linked to support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The vast majority of our money has been federal money,” Aasheim said. “That’s paid for management, staff and wolf specialists in the field. We know we have money through September. Now we’re working to secure money for the future.” Between 2000 and 2009, FWP has spent $2.3 million in federal contract dollars for wolf programs. It also paid $110,000 a year to the federal Wildlife Services agency to kill wolves suspected in livestock depredations. And in 2009, the one year it got to offer a public wolf hunt, FWP took in $325,935 in wolf license revenue. All that money went into the agency’s general license fund. The federal government has been responsible for wolf populations since 1974, when the animal was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In 1995 and ’96, FWS transplanted small groups of Canadian wolves in and around Yellowstone National Park. Today, there are roughly 1,700 wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, plus a few dozen in parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. (For complete report go to http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_c8dc56bc-785b-11e0-8bf1-001cc4c002e0.html )

Virginia 05/06/11 nbc29.com: Louisa County Supervisors are trying to tackle a growing problem affecting farmers there. The coyote population is getting out of control. Coyotes are classified as a nuisance animal by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. County supervisors voted this week to allow farmers to use high powered rifles to shoot them down. The unanimous vote to amend the hunting ordinance allows people to use rifles larger than point 22 caliber to shoot coyotes and groundhogs outside the general deer firearms season. Supervisors say it’s in the county’s best interest to control them, but one wildlife expert says coyotes have been a problem for years and will continue to be, despite this law change. Ed Clark, of the Wildlife


Center of Virginia said, “So they’re here. There’s nothing we’re going to be able to do about it. We are not going to get rid of them, so people that fantasize about shooting them all, they’re just pretty well deluding themselves.” According to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, coyotes pose a threat to sheep and other livestock, as well as to smaller animals including dogs and cats.

South Carolina 05/06/11 counton2.com: by Rebecca Ryan – The Charleston Animal Society confirmed two cases of rabiesthis week.  So far in South Carolina, DHEC reports there have been 28 cases with a third of them in the

Gray fox

Tri-county region. Officials at DHEC say raccoons, fox, skunks, and bats are the most common carriers. Coyotes are also known carriers.

Virginia 05/06/11 wavy.com: A fox found on Western Branch Boulevard in Chesapeake was killed after it tested positive for rabies. A visitor traveling through the area was exposed to the fox and is currently receiving rabies treatment, according to the Chesapeake Health Department. This is the 81st confirmed case of rabies in Chesapeake since 1988 – three cats, two bats, 59 raccoons, and 16 foxes. If you have a wild animal on your property, contact the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries at (804) 829-6580.

Pennsylvania township disputes care and feeding of Stray Cats; Jim (Wingnut) Williams publishes opinions of The Wild Professional’s editor-in-chief concerning Stray Cats and TNR programs; Rabies reports from Florida, and North Carolina (2); and Coyote reports from Georgia, and Rhode Island.

Feral Cats by Scott Granneman. Wikipedia Commons.

Pennsylvania 03/21/11 go.com: by Katherine Scott – There’s a dispute going on in Radnor Township over the care and feeding of stray cats. The township wants to make it illegal.  The idea is to amend the language of an existing ordinance that already covers dogs and to extend it to cats that roam free.  The township Board of Health says this measure protects the health and safety of both humans and animals, but critics worry it’s a cruel and ineffective way to control the feral cat population.

Joe and Kathy Siciliano of Rosemont care for a colony of five feral cats. They all had been trapped from the wild, neutered, vaccinated, and released back into the neighborhood.  The Sicilianos provide food and shelter as the cats come and go.  “We care for them, watch out for them, we monitor them so we know that they’re healthy, and they’re well cared for cats,” Joe said.

What this family believes is the most humane way to control their community’s cat population might soon be illegal with an amended ordinance on the table for Radnor Township banning free-roaming cats.  It’s a measure supported whole-heartedly by the Sicilianos’ neighbor at the township’s Public Health Subcommittee meeting.  “My entire front garden was covered in cat feces, I was unable to weed without coming into contact with cat feces, my front yard smelled of cat feces and cat urine,” Rosement resident Laura Martin said at the meeting.

Committee members explain that, in general, animals at large can pose health risks.  But doctors attending the meeting said cats, specifically, can be exposed to animals, like bats and raccoons, as they roam outside at night that could increase their risk of rabies.  The ordinance states that feeding animals constitutes ownership, which means that cats would need to stay on the homeowner’s property.  The Sicilianos worry what this measure would mean for stray cats, but also pets that might go lost without a collar.  “We won’t necessarily go around the township rounding up cats that are at large, but, if and when a cat is found to be a nuisance and is, in fact, causing a direct problem, that we certainly have a recourse to address that issue, presently we have no recourse,” John Fisher, President of the Board of Commissioners, said.

Fisher told Action News that euthanization is a last resort and, more likely, the cats would be released back into the wild, though maybe not in the populated neighborhood they came from. Owners would have time to claim their lost animal.  Action News is told there will be other opportunities for public comment, likely in the next month.

National 03/22/11 startribune.com: by Jim Williams – Understanding that I’m about to annoy and probably anger some of you, the following information about cats is important reading for anyone interested in birds. It was sent to me by Lisa Moore, editor in chief of The Wildlife Professional.

Cats are not native to North America. They’re actually an invasive species, brought here by settlers from Europe long, long ago. It takes native wildlife many generations to adapt to non-native intruders. And even if birds had adapted to cats, the number of cats in North America is overwhelming when you consider the conflict. Birds – and other native wildlife species – don’t have a chance. The solution is to keep cats indoors, and to stop releasing unwanted cats to fend for themselves. Here is what Ms. Moore has to say:

Anyone who has ever owned an outdoor cat knows that cats kill wildlife. It’s in their nature. Whether hungry or not they’ll stalk and pounce, killing their prey and, often, depositing the corpses on doorsteps like hard-won trophies. Pet owners may throw away the victims with a twinge of guilt, then convince themselves that one little cat can’t possibly make a difference in the balance of nature. It’s time to think again.

“Allowing free-ranging pet and feral cats to roam outside, breed unchecked, kill native wildlife, and spread disease is a crime against nature,” says Michael Hutchins, Executive Director/CEO of The Wildlife Society (TWS). As North America’s largest scientific organization for professionals in wildlife management and conservation, TWS is taking a strong stand in favor of keeping pet cats indoors and removing feral cats from the environment to protect wildlife from cat predation.

As part of this effort, the Spring 2011 issue of the Society’s magazine, The Wildlife Professional, has just released a package of articles titled “In Focus: The Impacts of Free-Roaming Cats.” These articles explore the widespread negative impacts of outdoor, stray, and feral cats on wildlife, habitats, and human and animal health.


•  By some estimates, outdoor cats in the U.S. kill more than one million birds every day on average.  Some studies put the death toll as high as one billion birds per year.    Other studies show that cats kill about twice as many rodents, reptiles, and other small animals.

•  The number of free-roaming cats is on the rise, now between 117 and 157 million in the U.S. While cat numbers are rising, nearly one-third of the more than 800 species of birds in the U.S. are endangered, threatened, or in significant decline.

•   Cats can spread rabies, toxoplasmosis, typhus, plague, and numerous other viral and parasitic disease s to other wildlife and humans. By 2008, the number of rabies cases in cats was approximately four times the number of cases in dogs.

*   Now the most abundant carnivore in North America, domestic cats are not even native to this continent, instead descending from wild cats native to the Middle East. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature labels domestic cats as one of the “world’s worst” invasive species, predators that can devastate native wildlife populations, particularly on islands and in fragmented urban habitats. 

Trap-Neuter-Release is NOT the Answer

Growing numbers of cities and towns across the nation are adopting trap-neuter-release (TNR) programs to manage overabundant populations of stray, feral, and abandoned cats. In outdoor TNR “colonies,” cats receive food, water, and shelter. Many are trapped, sterilized, vaccinated, and returned to the colony, where they’re free to prey on wildlife at will. Proponents of TNR claim that this approach will eventually reduce the numbers of unclaimed outdoor cats, but research shows otherwise. TNR colonies often become dumping grounds for unwanted pets, and because it’s impossible to sterilize and vaccinate all feral cats in an area, populations may remain stable or rise. In turn these colonies attract other wildlife, such as raccoons and skunks, expanding the threat of disease transmission and human-wildlife conflict.

Since the science is clear about the harm associated with outdoor cats, why do people let cats roam free? The answer lies in human hearts. Much-beloved as pets, cats intrigue, amuse, and captivate, winning champions who go to great lengths (and expense) to advocate on cats’ behalf. Wildlife conservationists who oppose TNR often find themselves unable to budge passionate cat advocates, who lobby persuasively for TNR and against any kind of ordinance to curtail outdoor cat populations. Lawmakers will often go along with the cat advocates, as was the case last year when commissioners in Athens, Georgia, adopted a TNR program against the advice of a host of wildlife conservationists and veterinarians.  

Ironically, as the battle over TNR festers, millions of taxpayer dollars each year go toward government efforts to protect endangered species and migratory birds—many of which fall prey to outdoor cats. Both the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act make it a crime to “take” protected species, so isn’t it also a crime to allow cats free reign to feast?

Wildlife suffer from outdoor cats, but so do the cats themselves. “Cats left outdoors have short life spans and often experience cruel and painful deaths from collisions with vehicles, coyote predation, and disease,” says TWS’ Hutchins. “Misdirected compassion and support of ineffective TNR management by cat advocacy groups is actually resulting in vastly more animal suffering, rather than less. It is high time that our society addresses this significant and growing environmental, human health, and animal welfare problem.”

To help educate policymakers and the public about this issue, TWS has created five Fact Sheets about stray, feral, and outdoor cats. Perhaps by understanding the impacts of outdoor cats, people on all sides of the issue will begin to develop solutions that not only benefit cats, but also the native wildlife we hope to conserve.  Contact: Lisa Moore, Editor-in-Chief, The Wildlife Professional, lmoore@wildlife.org

Florida 03/22/11 ocala.com: The Marion County Health Department has issued a rabies alert for a location in the area of Northeast 70th Street, Northeast 35th Street and N. US Hwy. 441. A raccoon tested positive in that area on March 16. A prior alert to a positive test on a raccoon has been issued Jan. 31.

Georgia 03/23/11 rr.com: Authorities say a coyote wandered onto a runway in Atlanta, delaying flights for a few minutes at the world’s busiest airport until ground crews chased the animal away.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the flights were briefly delayed Tuesday afternoon at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.  Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the coyote was spotted on the south side of the airport around 3:30 p.m.  She said an airport vehicle chased the animal into a ravine, and flights resumed after about five minutes.  The airport is ranked the world’s busiest by the industry group Airports Council International.

North Carolina 03/23/11 carrborocitizen.com: A raccoon found in Chapel Hill tested positive for rabies on Tuesday at the State Laboratory of Public Health.  The raccoon was submitted after a resident in the vicinity of Estes Drive Extension and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard saw her dog lunge at it in a ditch.  The dog was currently vaccinated against rabies and will receive a booster shot within five days in accordance with state law. By contrast, unvaccinated animals must be either quarantined for six months or destroyed.  This is the fourth positive rabies test that Orange County has received this year. If any possible exposure to a bat, raccoon or fox is suspected, call Animal Control at 245-2075 or call 911.

North Carolina 03/22/11 nbc17.com: State health officials are warning some residents in Cumberland County of a suspected case of rabies reported in the Haymount area.  A bat was picked up on March 19 by Animal Control inside a home in the 200 block of Stedman Street. The bat was sent to the State Lab for testing, but those results were inconclusive.  Residents in the vicinity should remain alert for sick or abnormal acting wildlife.  Officials say this is the fourth case of rabies reported in Cumberland County since January 1.

Rhode Island 03/23/11 ajc.com: Aggressive coyotes have gotten so bad in one Rhode Island town that it’s hiring a coyote hunter.  Middletown Police Chief Anthony Pesare said Wednesday that in the past year, coyotes have killed pets, gone onto decks and made people afraid to leave their homes. Most recently, a coyote jumped over a 4-foot fence to attack a dog. Pesare says the town has tried to manage the coyote population, including educating people not to leave out food. But he says now it’s time to start going after the aggressive animals.  Pesare says an experienced coyote hunter has volunteered, and he hopes he’ll start April 5, the day after a town council hearing to approve a zoning change allowing the hunt. The Newport Daily News first reported the proposal.

Maine forester asks hunters to respect private property; Winners of Pennsylvania’s Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s Coyote Hunt must now take polygraph test; a Feral Cats report from Arizona; Rabies reports from Arkansas, Florida, New Jersey, and North Carolina; and a Coyote report from Ohio. Travel Warnings for Bangladesh, Paraguay, and St Martin / St Maarten.

Maine 03/21/11 bangordailynews.com: by Gordon Mott – There have been quantum changes in public hunting on private land. When hunting season once arrived, the woods and fields belonged to sportsmen and women for a few weeks except for a break on Sunday. Hounds were out in seasons for bear, bobcat and raccoon. And then there was peace. Today, changed Maine statutes allow some hunters to be out all day, all year long except Sunday, and all night for eight and a half months of the year. Coyote and raccoon hunters equipped with digital sighting and viewing devices hunt at night behind camps and residences on unposted land, their only limit to discharge firearms more than 300 feet from buildings or residences.

Fields with livestock are swept with lights. Firearms disturb the night near farms and camps without people being notified. Hound packs unlimited in size pursue coyote on unposted private land through farms, front yards and woodlots all year round.  Bait is placed on private land all year without hunters asking any permission, using standards that ensure it will be hidden from landowners. In season, bear bait can be hidden by these same standards without asking permission or paying the landowner a fee for a bait station. Motion detecting cameras are placed without notification to the private owner.  An average 12 hunters per Maine municipality are licensed to hunt at night and the number is growing, according to data from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

These are intrusive and troublesome departures from traditional public activities on private land.  Maine private property owners form the foundation of the wildlife economy. Private properties provide almost all the land and protect the brooks and streams where nature produces all Maine wildlife and fish. They then provide the majority of the places where the public hunts and experiences living creatures.  Outfitters, lodges, local businesses, Maine Guides all receive revenues from free access to private land they don’t own. The economic value of wildlife recreation in Maine totaled more than $1.5 billion in 2006. Hunting, trapping, fishing and wildlife watching are larger in value than all skiing, whitewater rafting, snowmobiling, windjammer cruises, or other recreational attractions combined. Wildlife-generated revenues surpass the economic value of Maine’s commercial fishing industry, according to the 2006 study.

The landowners who donate the very foundation of this economy are barred from participating in it. Maine landowners are guilty of a crime if they charge for access to their lands to take game. Only those few landowners who enter into leases for exclusive access to lands for fishing or hunting by groups who bar the public receive revenues in the wildlife economy. And now landowners are burdened with more costs to manage these new uses on their lands — after carrying the costs of taxes and ownership and giving up timber revenue to preserve wildlife habitat for the public.

We all lament that access to private land is diminishing. Requests for public signs to post land increased 50 percent last year, according to Bob Duplessie, the former landowner relations manager for the Department of Conservation.  Many landowners who traditionally opened private properties to the public would continue to do so if only landowner permission were required to manage these new kinds of public use. Instead, they bear extra costs for signage, gates, road trenches and rock barriers to protect their properties. When the difficult decision is made to post land to manage these uses, it is usually posted against all access and everybody loses.

Two bills to help address these private property rights issues will be presented for public hearing in Augusta at 1 p.m. on March 21 before the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee.

LD 559 will require written permission to be obtained from landowners to place bait of any kind on private land. It would also have hunters actually ask for permission to hunt at night on private land and to pursue bear, bobcat or coyote with hounds. No change in permission is required for any other traditional hunting activities. Another provision of the bill is that a special purple paint can be used in place of signs for managing access to property.

LD 223 is an important complementary bill that requires written permission for recreational activities and trapping on farmland.

Unlikely, but it would be quite wonderful if those supporting these new year-round, night-and-day uses of private land are willing to support extending courtesy to the landowners who provide them the opportunity for recreation. It will be an important win for all if we see a reduction of posted land as a result of mutual courtesy.  Gordon Mott is a professional forester. He lives in Lakeville.

Pennsylvania 03/21/11 centredaily.com: by Mark Nale – (Excerpt) “With a combined purse of almost $35,000, the largest coyote hunt in the eastern United States is not immune to potential cheats. How to cheat is no secret: Weight could be added to a coyote. Coyotes could be shot weeks in advance and frozen until the contest. Pen-raised coyotes could be fattened and then entered. Coyotes could be shot out-of-state and brought in. Ten guys could hunt in the tournament, with only one or two actually paying the registration fee — any coyote then shot by any hunter in the group could be entered by a person who is registered. Of course, all of these things and more are against the rules. Enforcing the rules is another matter.  With all of this as background, a different atmosphere surrounded the final weigh-in at the 20th annual Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s Coyote Hunt when it was held in late February. It was caused by the addition of a polygraph test— the first ever for a coyote hunt in Pennsylvania.” (For complete article go to http://www.centredaily.com/2011/03/20/2593931/keeping-it-real.html )

Arizona 03/20/11 wmicentral.com: by Mike Leiby – Pinetop-Lakeside Animal Control Officer Randy Hemmings says there is a serious feral cat problem in town.  Hemmings said he understands that residents feed homeless cats out of the goodness of their hearts, but doing so has consequences.  Those consequences are multi-fold. Hemmings said not only will feral cats frequent the homes of people who feed them, they will leave unwanted proof of their visitations, including urine and feces.  The urine cats spray when marking their territory is unpleasantly aromatic, stains fabrics and once the scent penetrates fabric, wood or concrete, is all but impossible to eradicate.  Their feces is no less offensive.  Hemmings said feral cats will start colonies. Once they do so, it is nearly an entrenched problem.  He says cats breed prolifically, almost exponentially. At worst cats can get pregnant, nurse a litter of between 1 and 12 kittens three to five times a year.  That equals anywhere between 3-60 kittens in one year from a single female cat. A more realistic average is four kittens per litter over 10 years with 29 litters producing 116 kittens.

Hemmings said feral cats kill wildlife including birds, squirrels, raccoons and even skunks.  “They hunt for food, they are predators and there is nothing wrong with that. It is their nature.”  He said some days he gets only one or two calls to set cage traps. Other days he is setting the humane traps, collecting the contents and transporting the captured animals to holding facilities from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. non-stop.  He has no choice but to hold a feral cat for three days. Once the holding period is up it is euthanized.  Skunks, raccoons and other wildlife caught in the traps are a different story. Hemmings said he has no obligation to do so, but on his own time he takes the skunks, raccoons and other wildlife deep into the forest and releases them back into the wild.  One of the reasons he cannot do the same with feral cats is because they commonly carry diseases and conditions like feline leukemia.

Even though no evidence suggests humans can contract feline leukemia from cats, it is recommended that pregnant women, people with suppressed immune systems, the very young, and the very old avoid contact with infected cats.  A bird that merely gets a flesh wound from a cat will likely die anyway from infection caused by the cat’s saliva.  Humans who are scratched, clawed or bitten can likewise have the wounds become infected and need medical treatment. Then there is the possibility of rabies.  “We don’t have a rabies issue up here right now, but wild animals, including feral cats, can carry the disease.”  Transporting feral cats is no slight task according to Hemmings.  “I had one who got loose and then went into the window. I grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and the whole time he was squirming and trying to claw, scratch and bite me.  “That one was so wild it had to be put down. There was nothing else we could do with it.”  Hemmings said unfortunately that is often the case with feral cats. They are typically so used to living as wild animals they cannot be completely tamed.  Even if a person is successful in domesticating a feral cat, Hemmings said it is almost certain there will be instances of wild behavior. Hemmings said if there was one thing he would advise people to do, it would be to spay and neuter their pets.  He said that he was told by Pet Allies staffers that they spayed and neutered 1,501 White Mountain pets in their first year of operation.  Humane Society of the White Mountains Director Deena Pace said Hemmings is on-the-money with his advice.  She said she would prefer not to have to euthanize the cats, but it is a matter of economics. She said severe declines in donations and funding has forced the Humane Society of the White Mountains to reduce staff to nine full-time employees and one part-timer.

Arkansas 03/20/11 4029tv.com: The Arkansas Department of Health confirmed Sunday that a second skunk has tested positive for rabies in Greenwood, Ark.  Greenwood police said they were called about a skunk on Raymond Wells Drive Tuesday. The caller said that the skunk looked sick and had difficulty walking.  The skunk was put down and sent off to the Arkansas Health Department for testing.  “Our concern is high with two cases of rabies in one week. I cannot stress enough that pet owners get their cats, dogs and horses vaccinated. The vaccination not only protects your pets, but protects you as the owner and your family. Pet owners can walk into any local veterinary office and get the vaccination for an average of $15 to $32. One other point I would like to stress is there is no test for rabies that doesn’t involve putting your pet down. If you love your pet, see the vet. If anyone observes any animal acting strange, do not approach the animal, immediately contact your police department or the sheriff’s office,” said Lt. Will Dawson.  This is the third rabies case in Sebastian County in three days time.

Florida 03/21/11 palmbeachpost.com: by Alexandra Seltzer – After a raccoon was found in Palm Beach Country Estates testing positive for the deadly disease rabies, Animal Care and Control is warning residents to be on the lookout for any aggressive wildlife.  The owner of three Dalmatians brought the dead raccoon to Animal Care and Control after it was found with the dogs Friday.  “The Dalmatians ultimately killed the raccoon,” said Tim O’Connor, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County Department of Health.  The Florida State Laboratory, in Lantana, confirmed that the raccoon was rabid.  The Dalmatians’ rabies shots were up-to-date, but to be safe the dogs will be home quarantined for the next 45 days, O’Connor said.  If attacked or bitten by a rabid animal, contact the nearest hospital or the health department at (561) 671-4184.  Animals exhibiting signs of sickness and aggressive behavior should be reported to Animal Care and Control at (561) 233-1200.

New Jersey 03/21/11 patch.com: Wayne police said they killed a potentially rabid fox Sunday afternoon. Officer Robert Fernandez responded to a Foxboro Road residence on a report that a sick fox, which was described as “mangy,” was lying near a back fence on the property, possibly suffering from rabies, said Capt. James Clarke.   Based on the animal’s physical appearance, Fernandez killed the animal with two rounds of Double-O buckshot from a 12-gague shotgun. The fox was placed in a garbage bag and taken to the Wayne Animal Shelter, where it was disposed of Sunday.  Police warned residents in the area on Feb. 23 of a potentially rabid fox that reportedly attacked children that afternoon.

North Carolina 03/21/11 nbc17.com: Health officials have issued a rabies notice for residents near the Knollwood subdivision in Apex.  A case of rabies was confirmed Monday in a raccoon found near the intersection of Oak Street and Maple Avenue. The raccoon interacted with a currently-vaccinated dog.  “We don’t want to alarm residents in the vicinity of the Knollwood subdivision, but they should be aware of this case and of the potential for exposure to themselves, family members and their pets,” said Michael Williams, Animal Control director for Wake County.  Anyone who sees an animal acting in an unusual manner is urged to call Wake County Animal Control at (919)212-7387.

Ohio 03/20/11 hudsonhubtimes.com: by Dorothy Markulis – When Bradford Way resident Joan Hudson heard her little papillon dog barking in the back yard, she was surprised to see two coyotes there chasing her dog.  Hudson said when her husband ran outside, the coyotes stopped chasing the dog.  “The coyotes stopped dead in their tracks.,” Hudson said. “It was still pretty scary.”  Hudson said she called police, but the coyotes were gone when officers arrived.  “With so many people in Hudson having invisible fencing I think they ought to be warned that the coyotes are out there. The invisible fencing keeps their dogs in the yard, but it doesn’t keep coyotes out,” she said.  Hudson said this wasn’t the first time she’s seen the coyotes but it wasn’t until after she saw a television news report about them that she realized that’s what they were.  “They looked like small German shepherds,” she said.  A spokesperson for the Hudson Police Department said there have been only a few calls about coyotes.  Jeff Westerfield, wildlife biologist for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s northeast Ohio district, said every community in this area has coyotes.  “They are much more common than people think,” Westerfield said. “They are nocturnal animals so many times people are not aware they are in their neighborhoods.”  Westerfield said coyotes going after dogs is not the norm. He said cats are the more likely victims.  Westerfield said his department has no definite numbers on coyote sightings since they are so common and cause minimal problems.  “In Ohio’s history there has been just one report of a coyote biting someone,” Westerfield said.  He said subsequent testing of that animal, which was shot, showed that the coyote had rabies.

Travel Warnings:

Bangladesh 03/21/11 cathnewsindia.com: Catholic health workers have

Fruit bat.

launched a battle against an outbreak of encephalitis spread by the deadly Nipah virus, which is threatening people in the diocese of Rajshahi in northwestern Bangladesh.  In a bid to contain the disease, the episcopal and diocesan commissions for healthcare held a joint workshop for around 64 nurses and medical volunteers to explain the crisis.  Encephalitis is acute inflammation of the brain, usually stemming from a viral infection and caused when the body’s immune system attacks brain tissue by mistake. Symptoms include headache, fever, confusion, drowsiness, and fatigue. More advanced and serious symptoms include seizures or convulsions, hallucinations, memory problems, and even a coma. One major cause of the disease in Bangladesh is the Nipah virus whose natural host is fruit bats of the pteropus genus. Humans can be infected by drinking raw date sap and fruit bitten by the bats or birds.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO) half the reported cases of the Nipah virus in humans in Bangladesh between 2001, when the disease first appeared in the country, and 2008 were human-to-human transmissions. The disease is at its most acute from December until May when people usually collect palm date sap.  Up to February of this year there were a total of 176 human cases of Nipah viral infections. Of that number 130 (74%) died.  The virus first appeared in Malaysia in 1999.-946-6739

Paraguay 03/19/11 plenglish.com: Paraguay reported today that dengue is spreading, with 8,000 cases of acute fever syndrome registered and 850 confirmed, 547 more than last week.  According to the latest report from the Health Ministry’s General Health Security Service reported in its last repost that the rate of incidence went from 19,086 cases to 28,019 for every 100,000 inhabitants.  The worst situation was in Alto Parana, 327 km west of Asuncion, with a 44.03 percent, and the Metropolitan Area, with 41.  The most affected areas are Asuncion and seven municipalities of the Central department: Fernando de la Mora, Luque, Lambaré, Ñemby, San Lorenzo, Villa Elisa and Mariano Roque Alonso.  Although the late Health Ministry Report did not mention deaths, nine deaths were reported last week and five others were being investigated.

 St. Mart / St. Maarten 03/21/11 thedailyherald.com: Ten confirmed cases of dengue fever were recorded for the month of February, the Collective Preventive Services (CPS) section of the Ministry of Public Health reported over the weekend.  CPS said three of the infected persons resided on the French side of the island.  CPS also reported four confirmed cases for the month of January, one of which was fatal.

Dr. Numi Mitchell, leader of Narragansett Bay Coyote Study, to speak on Coyote Management Practices at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, Middletown, Rhode Island, March 24; and Rabies reports from Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin. Canada: A Rabies report, and a Coyote report from Ontario.

Coyote. Photo by Sally King. Courtesy National Park Service.

Rhode Island 03/09/11 patch.com: by Angela Lemire – Aquidnick Island – Local and state authorities have taken the first steps in executing a multi-faceted approach to reducing the coyote population on Aquidneck Island.  Part of that plan will include a short-term approach—culling the problem coyotes that pose a greater threat to humans immediately in the more residential areas, through humane traps and euthanizing the wild animals, officials have agreed. The long-term part of the plan will involve passive coyote management practices that focus on educating the public, enforcing existing laws that prohibit wildlife feeding, possibly increasing fines for feeding wildlife, disposing of dead farm animals, livestock and wild animal carcasses rapidly, and more.  “Ultimately, the end result of all of this is that we want as little interaction between coyotes and humans as possible, but to start with, we’ll have to address the troublemaker coyotes,” State Sen. Lou DiPalma said.

On Monday morning, Sen. DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Little Compton, Tiverton) and state Rep. Deborah Ruggiero (D-Dist. 74, Jamestown, Middletown) pulled together a meeting of Aquidneck Island’s three police chiefs, state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) officials and local wildlife experts from the Potter League for Animals, Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge and the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study to reach a consensus on how to proceed and set the first stages of coyote management in motion.  “I wanted to make sure we were addressing both the short-term solutions to the problem and the long-term solutions,” DiPalma said in a later interview. “For some people, we’re going to be moving too fast and for others we’re going to be moving too slow. But we think this is the best way to proceed at this point.”

Dr. Numi Mitchell is leading the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study and, for the

Dr. Mitchell in 2008 talking about her team's study of coyote packs on Aquidneck Island.

last few years, has been tracking coyote packs on Aquidneck Island through the use of special collars and global-positioning satellite (GPS) technology. She’s in agreement that the problematic coyotes are those that live in the more residential neighborhoods. They have grown unafraid of people because they have been “subsidized by people who feed them,” she said.  At Monday’s meeting, Mitchell spoke to the difficulties of trapping coyotes and offered humane solutions for trapping and euthanizing the problem coyotes. She does not advocate for attempting to eliminate all of Aquidneck Island’s coyotes, but rather for instituting best management practices for coexistence.  “The coyotes that humans don’t run into, that people don’t see, are not the ones that should be taken out,” she said. “They’re doing what coyotes should do. They are naturally afraid of people and they stay away on their own, and they are naturally fed.”  Those “good coyotes” that tend to live away from people also help to keep the island’s rodent and pest population down, as well as keep other predators away, she added.

Humans feeding the “bad coyotes” have also brought about the surge in the coyote population, Mitchell said, explaining that larger litters of up to seven pups have been seen among the more well-fed coyotes in the residential areas. Coyotes feeding off the land “naturally” tend to only have two pups. Without an abundant food supply, coyotes do not reproduce in such large numbers, or not at all, she said. Often they don’t carry their pups to term.  “What we need to do is reduce the food supply now,” she said. “If they are stressed, if they cannot find food, we know they will die off or even swim off the island if they have to.”  Aside from telling people to stop feeding the coyotes, another way to reduce the food supply is to round up the carcasses of dead deer, other wild animals and livestock before the coyotes get the chance to feed on them.

Rhode Island: Aquidneck Island in dark green.

Officials at Monday’s meeting discussed expanding the state’s pilot “Safe Cycle” program, in which such carcasses can be quickly and safely disposed using a BioLiquidator machine that rapidly composts the carcasses into liquid fertilizer that can be used on non-organic farm crops. Currently, the only BioLiquidator machine is located at Chase Farms in Portsmouth. 

Last week, Mitchell and her team recovered and composted 23 deer from all over Rhode Island in one day’s run. Of those, about 10 were found partially consumed by coyotes, she said.  “This is hundreds of pounds of meat that we can take out of their food supply, while preventing the spread of disease and other problems these carcasses can pose,” Mitchell said.  The possible expansion of the Safe Cycle program will be discussed at a meeting with DEM officials in mid-March, she said.  In the meantime, DiPalma said DEM and the Aquidneck Island communities would begin stepping up their own public outreach campaigns in hopes of further cutting off the coyotes “subsidized” food supplies:

  • The DEM will start reminding police departments in all 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island that licensed hunters may hunt coyotes 365 days per year, pursuant to the state’s rules and regulations.
  • The Town of Middletown website was updated on Tuesday morning with a downloadable coyote management brochure with recommendations for the public. The three island communities might also consider sending out letters to be included with tax bills, DiPalma said.
  • Residents are discouraged from feeding any wildlife—including feral cats.
  • Pet owners are discouraged from leaving pet food outside.
  • Residents are strongly encouraged to put their garbage out in the mornings, instead of the night before their scheduled curbside pickups. “If they absolutely have to put it out the night before, they should take steps to secure it so coyotes can’t get into it,” DiPalma said.

In the state General Assembly, some measures might require changes to some state laws related to trapping and/or hunting coyotes, as well as the structure for fines, DiPalma noted.  “We talked about possibly a graduated fine system for feeding wild animals,” he said. “If the first fine is $100, then after that it might go up to $250 or then $500.”  On March 24, Dr. Mitchell will give a presentation on coyote management practices at the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown. The event is open to the public. Check the Patch calendar for updated information as it becomes available.

Minnesota 03/09/11 millelacscountytimes.com: by Lesley Toth – The Minnesota Board of Animal Health released its annual rabies report two weeks ago, and the results show a steady decline in the number of verified cases throughout the state. At 59 verified cases, there were 10 fewer cases found in 2010 than there were the year before. Rabies is a viral disease that affects the nervous system. It is typically spread to humans and animals through bites from infected animals.  Milaca veterinary doctor Sarah Jacobsen says people should be aware of the risks of rabies. Specialists and veterinary doctors like Mille Lacs Veterinary Clinic Dr. Sarah Jacobsen say that could be due to growing public awareness and a willingness for pet owners to have their animals vaccinated against the disease.  “I’ve definitely had animals that I suspected had rabies and we send those out for testing,” Jacobsen said.  She said most times people bring in stray cats they believe are rabid and the clinic sends those to the University of Minnesota for analysis.  “Unfortunately, there is no live test for rabies because the brain needs to be sampled,” Jacobsen said. “But we can euthanize the animals humanely.”  Area residents are also becoming more aware that bats carry the disease and have brought those into the clinic as well.  “That happens here with more frequency,” she said.  Bats are second only to skunks in terms of species with high rates of verified rabies cases.  “A lot of people don’t vaccinate indoor cats, but if you get a bat in the house, they could certainly spread the disease,” Jacobsen said. “Even if your animal is not outside, it’s not completely risk-free from getting rabies.”  In recent years, most human cases of rabies in the U.S. have been due to bat bites that were not recognized or reported. Bats are a special problem because their tiny teeth marks are difficult to see and the bite may not be noticed.  Jacobsen said the signs to look for in animals suspected of having the disease include:

•Dizziness or difficulty walking.



•Excessive salivation and problems swallowing.

 The clinic recommends that dogs and cats receive their first rabies vaccine at the age of 12 to 16 weeks. Ferrets and horses are also recommended to receive the vaccines, but guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils are generally not considered to be at risk for rabies infections.  “There are vaccines available for post-exposure as well,” Jacobsen said. But acting quickly when a person or pet is bitten by a wild animal is key.  “The most important thing is being timely,” she added. “If somebody has a suspicion that an animal has rabies, immediately call the veterinary clinic and keep the animal isolated.”  While human cases of rabies continue to be rare and domestic animal cases are on the decline, Jacobsen said it’s still important for people to be aware of the risks.  “For any animal, any person — it’s almost always 100 percent fatal,” she said.

New York 03/09/11 ny1.com: New Yorkers are being reminded to vaccinate their pets against rabies after a woman and her dog were bitten by a raccoon in Central Park.  A woman says she was walking by the tennis courts near 95th Street Monday night when the raccoon ran up to her dog, then bit her and the dog.  She went home and called 311 before going to the hospital and then taking her dog to the vet. This isn’t the first time raccoons have made contact with people in the park.  In December, the Health Department set out to trap and vaccinate raccoons against rabies.  Health officials say only one raccoon has tested positive for rabies in 2011.   Anyone who is bitten or scratched by an animal should report it to 311 and seek immediate medical attention.

Wisconsin 03/09/11 wsaw.com: The Marathon County Health Department needs your help locating a stray dog that bit a woman last week.  The incident happened March 5 around 2:30 p.m. near the intersection of Maryel Drive and Balsam Street in Stratford. The dog is described as a black lab mix with a medium-length coat.  It weighs around 65 lbs. and was not wearing a collar.  If you see the dog, or know who the dog belongs to you are asked to contact the Marathon County Health Department at (715) 261-1908 to verify the dog’s vaccination status.  The information is necessary to prevent the woman from going through a series of rabies shots.


Ontario 03/09/11 northumberlandnews.com: A Port Hope girl is scheduled to begin a series of rabies shots this week after she was bitten by a dog.  According to the Port Hope Police Services, the girl was walking to school on Friday, March 4 when she was attacked by a dog near Dorset Street and John Street in Port Hope.  The dog is described as a very skinny larger breed with blond fur. The dog was covered in dirt at the time of the incident and wore no collar, say police.  Anyone with information about the dog or its owner is asked to contact Port Hope Police Service at 905-885-8123.

Ontario 03/09/11 owensoundsuntimes.com: by Don Crosby – The provincial government is finally taking the coyote problem seriously, Blue Mountain deputy-mayor Duncan McKinlay said following the recent Association of Rural Municipalities of Ontario annual conference in Toronto.  “We heard that from a speech by the minister of natural resources to the whole group. ‘I know you’ve got this problem. I get it’,” said McKinlay during an interview from his home near Ravenna.

“If the government is listening that’s good. That means we’ve finally got something going,” said Bruce Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch during an interview while he is vacationing in the Dominican Republic.  Murdoch

Ontario MPP Bill Murdoch

presented a petition in the legislature calling for a bounty of some sort to encourage the control of coyotes. He recommended hunters be compensated $200 but said he would accept anything that encourages controlling coyotes.  “I’m just concerned that a person will get hurt because they are so plentiful and there’s not much food for them. It stands to reason they are going to get hungry and get more aggressive,” Murdoch said.  He’s hopeful for more support from urban MPPs whose constituents may be coming in contact with the wily predators.  “Some of them I understand are losing some of their dogs now in the Humber River Valley that runs through Toronto. If that happens then for sure they will get excited,” Murdoch said.  He supports a recommendation by Linda Jeffrey, the Minister of Natural Resources, who is widely reported to have said during the ROMA conference that contests be organized throughout the province to see who could kill the most coyotes.  “If that’s her way of doing it that’s fine. . . I guess it’s like any other contest like a fishing derby. They would give a prize for the most coyotes killed in a day or the biggest one,” said Murdoch.  Murdoch says the aim of any program is not eradication, just to control the growth in the number of predators to a manageable level.

Blue Mountain Deputy-Mayor Duncan McKinlay

The Grey County delegation presented agricultural and rural affairs minister Carol Mitchell with a brief on the coyote problem.  McKinlay said he challenged them to come up with some ideas for pilot projects to be undertaken jointly by the ministries of natural resources and the ministry of agriculture food and rural affairs.  McKinlay encouraged people to comment and offer suggestions to a proposed government strategy on limiting the conflict with wildlife and humans. The proposed strategy is posted on the provincial government’s environmental bill of rights (EBR) web site.  McKinlay is wary of Jeffrey’s suggestion whether said serious or tongue in cheek about encouraging competitions and contests.  “I think it’s an idea that could only cause friction among people who are concerned about balanced ecosystems and healthy environments and healthy wildlife populations and other members of society,” he said.  “I listened to many ministers say many things and they were all articulate and well spoken. It comes as a great surprise to me that a minister would say that unless it was part of a longer sentence.”

McKinlay, who is a beef producer, noted that eradication as a long-term solution hasn’t worked anywhere in North America.  “There have been places where it has worked but with quite an effort and only for a short period of years . . .There are a lot of hunting options that don’t work here,” said McKinlay who sees hunting coyotes as a way of keeping the pressure on them to avoid places where they could be endanger of being injured or killed.  “They’re not stupid. If there is a risk they are going to stay further away . . . I’ve never lost a calf touch wood,” McKinlay said.

Coyote reports from California, and West Virginia; a Dengue Fever report from Florida; a Feral Cats report from Florida; a Chronic Wasting Disease report from Iowa; Rabies reports from New Jersey, North Carolina (2), and Texas; a Coyote report from Ontario, Canada; and an updated Travel Warning for Bali, Indonesia.

Donkey. Photo by Fedecorner. Wikipedia Commons.

California 03/02/11 dailydemocrat.com: by Geoff Johnson – There are a lot of ways to stop a Yolo County coyote.   A rancher might start with a sturdy fence. He could electrify it. Or he could add “propane guns,” loud, gas-powered noisemakers designed to scare off wildlife.   Jim Yeager’s tried everything from leaving late-night talk radio blasting in the pasture to counting sheep all night. After five decades of ranching, he’s learned that given enough time, a coyote will learn to get around all these things.   So he’s found some of the best help grass can buy — Jennifer the donkey and Socks the llama — to guard his sheep on the outskirts of West Davis.   “All I know is we don’t lose sheep to coyotes and dogs anymore,” Yeager said. ( For complete article go to  http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_17518329 )

Florida 03/02/11 palmbeachpost.com: by Danielle A. Alvarez – Officials on Wednesday confirmed the second case of locally acquired dengue fever, according to information from the Miami-Dade Health Department.  The second person to get the viral disease was not identified but has fully recovered, according to officials.  The first locally acquired case of dengue fever in Miami-Dade County in more than 50 years was found in November.  Dengue fever is not spread person to person. The disease is transmitted by a type of mosquito common to the Southeastern U.S. and the tropics.  To find out more information on dengue fever, repellants suitable for small children and how to eliminate mosquito breeding sites, visit http://www.cdc.gov/dengue  or http://www.dadehealth.org  .

Florida 02/26/11 news-journalonline.com: by Will Hobson – An estimated 80,000 feral cats occupy colonies and roam through Volusia County, a furry problem which the county’s Animal Control Advisory Board says cost county residents $2.8 million from 2008 to 2010.  The board recently finished a study of how to reduce Volusia’s free-roaming cat populace, and decided to follow in the paw prints of its peers in Jacksonville and Orange County. The board will pick a nonprofit organization, or form one, to coordinate a countywide effort to trap, neuter and return feral cats back into the wild. The practice, often referred to as TNR, is disputed by some who question its effectiveness and say it does little to prevent harm to birds and other creatures killed by the cats. Both sides admit, however, that there probably is no panacea to the feral cat problem.  The animal control board concluded TNR is the way to go after completing a study that Animal Control Director Becky Wilson presented to the County Council at its last meeting. Wilson called the 80,000-cat estimate “conservative.” The study estimated the cost of the feral cat problem based on data from Halifax Humane Society’s and Southeast Volusia Humane Society’s shelters.  The two shelters, which contract with the county and most Volusia cities for animal intake and care, took in 32,974 cats between 2008 and 2010, and charged municipalities and citizens $87 per cat. The shelters euthanized 27,438 cats over that time period, or 83 percent of their intake.  ( For complete article go to  http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/local/east-volusia/2011/02/26/feral-cats-cost-volusia-residents-28-million-study-says.html )

Iowa 03/02/11 topix.com: State officials are standing by a decision to kill a small herd of elk in northeast Iowa to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease to other livestock diseases to deer.  The Department of Natural Resources believes the elk escaped from captivity and pose too great a threat, despite a growing number of fans.   Dale Garner is the department’s wildlife bureau chief. The Gazette in Cedar Rapids says he told a crowd of about 100 people at a meeting in Waukon (waw-KAHN’) on Tuesday that officials are required to eradicate free-roaming elk. Garner says if the owner can’t be found, an elk will be killed.  In the past three weeks, officials have killed three elk. At least two others are along the Yellow River in Allamakee (AL’-uh-muh-KEE’) County.

New Jersey 03/01/11 shorenewstoday.com: A rabid raccoon found in Northfield is the fourth confirmed case of animal rabies in Atlantic County this year, according to the Atlantic County Division of Public Health. All were raccoons.  In the Northfield case, a Herzel Avenue resident reported that a raccoon that appeared sickly had wandered out of the woods onto his property during the day Feb. 18. An animal control office captured the raccoon, and it died a short time later. The raccoon was sent to the state lab for testing, where it was confirmed positive for rabies on Feb. 23.  According to a news release from the Division of Public Health, there were no known human exposures.  Two of the four rabid raccoons were collected in Egg Harbor Township, and one was from Pleasantville.  Atlantic County health officials said rabies is most common in raccoons and bats, but has also been found in foxes, skunks, cats, groundhogs and other wildlife in New Jersey.

North Carolina 03/01/11 wchl360.com: For the third time this year, a raccoon in Orange County has tested positive for rabies.  A local resident noticed her dog barking at something under the deck and then realized that her dog had cornered a raccoon.  Animal control was called and picked up the raccoon to test it.  The test came back positive, and since the dog’s rabies vaccine had lapsed, state law says that the dog must either be quarantined for six months or euthanized since it was exposed to rabies.  No decision has been made yet.  There were 11 positive rabies tests in the county last year.

North Carolina 03/01/11 rrdailyherald.com: by Della Rose – Interim Police Chief Adam Bondarek  of the Roanoke Rapids Police Department issued a rabies warning Tuesday, one he said he hopes Roanoke Rapids residents will heed.  Bondarek said residents should be leery of any animal, wild or tame in the city and particularly in the 100 block of Madison Street – they could have been exposed to rabies.  “Don’t touch or mess with it!” he said. “This happened in an area in town with small children and a lot of foot traffic. I want the public to be aware city wide – and especially in that area, be aware of their surroundings. Avoid strange animals domestic or wild.”  Bondarek said animal control was called to a house on Madison Street, Feb. 25 in response to a cat biting another animal. The cat was subsequently captured.  Bondarek said the officer transported the cat to the Halifax County Animal Shelter for quarantine, but when the he was removing it from its cage, the cat bit him on the thumb.  The cat was sent to state labs for testing and on March 1, reports confirmed the cat had rabies. Bondarek said this is the first time in several years rabies has been reported in Roanoke Rapids.  Bondarek said nine other animals, dogs and ferrets, have been removed from the residence and are in quarantine at present in the Halifax County facility. While at the facility the animals will be monitored for symptoms.  Bondarek said the animal’s owners have been referred to the proper authorities.  The animal control officer is being treated. The incident is still under investigation.

Texas 03/01/11 kten.com: Since the first part of February, the Gainesville Police Department’s Animal Control Division has been receiving numerous calls about skunks. It seems as though there is an increase in the population of skunks in our area this year, including southern Oklahoma. The reason for the increased visibility of the skunks is that it is now their mating season. With more skunks and a high level of skunk activity there becomes an increased threat of pet and human contact with a rabid animal. We are making citizens aware that it’s time to check your rabies vaccination status on your pets and livestock. The Gainesville Police Department has had one confirmed case of rabies in a striped skunk inside the city limits of Gainesville this year. The case was confirmed by the Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory in Austin. The skunk was sent for testing after it walked into an apartment through an open door and sprayed the tenant and chased his dog. The skunk was removed from the apartment by the Gainesville Police Department’s Animal Control Division and submitted for testing.

West Virginia 03/01/11 dailymail.com: by Sarah Plummer – Coyotes are becoming more and more prevalent across the state. And while West Virginians are no strangers to wildlife in various forms, seeing coyotes within city limits may prove a shock to residents who are unfamiliar with the animal’s habits.  Many residents who live in Raleigh Heights, near the Piney Creek Gorge, are becoming familiar with the yips and howls of coyotes each night.  One resident, Richard Culicerto, said that the coyote presence is worse this year than ever before and has really picked up in the last month.  “I have seen coyotes in my yard three or four times, and at night we do hear them yelp; it sounds like five or six of them,” he said.  Culicerto owns two cats and said they have been very skittish about going outside.  Several other residents in Raleigh Heights have reported seeing coyotes in their yards.  Colin Carpenter, wildlife biologist with the Beckley Office of the Division of Natural Resources, explained that hearing and seeing coyotes is comparatively new for people in our area.  “They are a relatively recent addition to West Virginia fauna. The coyotes we have come from Ohio and Kentucky. They are a westward species that are coming from the west,” he said.  “I think people are not used to them because they have only become a part of the landscape in the last 20 years,” he offered.


Ontario 03/02/11 ottawacitizen.com: by Lee Greenberg – Ontario’s minister of natural resources, Linda Jeffrey, will not say whether two Ottawa-area coyote-hunting competitions are illegal.  Jeffrey told The Citizen she “absolutely” disapproved of the competitions, but added: “I don’t direct what the enforcement officers do.”  “Enforcement have regulations they follow,” she said in an interview. “I don’t get involved in public safety issues. They make the determination.”  Those officers have so far stayed away from the contests in Arnprior and Osgoode, which are offering prizes like shotguns, digital cameras and other hunting gear to people who kill the highest number of coyotes.  The two Eastern Ontario contests have kicked up considerable controversy since they began.  Opponents of the contests call them illegal, cruel and unnecessary.  They are also cloaked in uncertainty.  The competitions appear to violate Section 11 of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, which states “a person shall not hunt for hire, gain or the expectation of gain.”  When asked repeatedly whether the Ottawa area culls violated the act, the minister could not answer.  “I can’t tell you about every contest,” she said Tuesday.  Jeffrey said hunting and fishing contests are “part of our culture” in the province, but added said she objects to culls and bounties.  “We haven’t found them to work in the past,” she said.  The ministry says culls are ineffective at reducing coyote populations because the animals compensate by producing more offspring.  (For complete article go to  http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/Ontario+cabinet+minister+disapproves+Ottawa+area+coyote+competitions/4366180/story.html )

Travel Warnings:

Indonesia 03/02/11 cdc.gov: Bali – In December 2008, the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture notified the World Organization for Animal Health about a rabies outbreak in dogs on the island of Bali, Indonesia. As of February 2011, over 100 deaths caused by rabies have been reported in Bali. Human and animal rabies cases have been confirmed near popular tourist destinations on the southern tip of Bali and throughout the island.  CDC advises travelers to the entire island of Bali to take precautions against rabies.  To read CDC recommendations for travelers to any area of Bali go to  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/outbreak-notice/rabies-bali-indonesia2008.aspx .