A West Nile Virus report from California; Coyote reports from Connecticut, and South Carolina; a new law will regulate deer heads and meat coming into North Carolina from Maryland because of Chronic Wasting Disease; Rabies reports from North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and West Virginia; and a Leptospirosis report from Washington.

American Crow. Photo by Jack Wolf of Albany, California. Wikipedia Commons. The West Nile Virus strain circulating in North America is particularly deadly to crows.

California 02/26/11 mydesert.com: by Keith Matheny – A mosquito found near North Shore is the first in California to test positive for the West Nile virus this year, the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District announced Friday.  The mosquito sample was taken from a trap near the Salton Sea, district officials said. District staff will intensify mosquito surveillance and eradicate mosquito larvae in this area to reduce the number of adult mosquitoes.  (For complete article go to http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011102260319 )

Connecticut 02/25/11 newstimes.com: Fairfield – Police say a pet dog was attacked and killed by coyotes Wednesday night in the north end of town.  Lt. Jim Perez said the incident occurred about midnight after the dog’s owner, who was not identified, let her pet out in the backyard to relieve itself. The little Pomeranian was immediately set upon by two coyotes, and was quickly killed.  “The owner chased the coyotes away with a broomstick, and they ran away,” Perez said. “But I would not recommend that anyone confront coyotes.”  He recommended that residents call police if they see coyotes behaving in a threatening manner.  “We can send a couple of officers out there in a hurry,” he said.  Perez said this is the first time he is aware of a pet being attacked and killed by a coyote in Fairfield.   Coyotes, which have a range that extends throughout Mexico, Canada and the United States, frequently attack pet dogs and cats, as well as mice, squirrels and the occasional sickly deer. Attacks on humans are unusual, but not unheard of.  Perez said the dog owner didn’t report the incident until Thursday afternoon. She lives on upper Black Rock Turnpike, not far from the Hi-Ho Motel, police said.  “A lot of people have trouble distinguishing a coyote from a dog, but whenever you see an animal acting in threatening manner, immediately call the police,” Perez said. “Even domestic dogs will attack you, especially if they’re in packs,” he said. “Get back in your home and call police.”  He said when walking your dog at night, take along a flashlight to shine in the eyes of an approaching coyote. “This will at least buy you a little time,” he said.  The Pomeranian, whose name was Pudding, police said, probably weighed about 5 pounds. Coyotes weigh between 15 and 45 pounds. Coyotes, or Canis latrans, usually live in groups, called “routs,” of several individuals. But they usually hunt in pairs, as was the case here.   “Bottom line — this was the loss of a cherished member of the family, and it’s tragic,” Perez said.

North Carolina 02/28/11 beachcarolina.com: Raleigh – The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission is alerting citizens that a white-tailed deer in Maryland has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). As a result, North Carolina taxidermists can no longer accept full heads for mounts from Maryland and must inform wildlife officers if they receive one.  In addition, anyone bringing a deer from Maryland or the other states and Canadian provinces where CWD has been detected must follow North Carolina processing and packaging regulations <http://www.ncwildlife.org/Hunting/documents/15ANCAC10B_0124.pdf>.
States where CWD has been detected include Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Illinois, Utah, West Virginia, Virginia, North Dakota, Missouri, New York, Kansas, Michigan and, now, Maryland. It has also been detected in Canada’s Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces.  The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission tested about 1,400 free-ranging white-tailed deer for CWD in 2009, and no CWD was found.  For more information on Chronic Wasting Disease, including safety tips, visit www.cwd-info.org. For more information on the CWD case in Maryland, visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources website. (Also see reported posted on this blog February 17, 2011.)

North Carolina 02/25/11 wncsentinel.net: by Frank Bradley – It wasn’t a cat fight or a gathering of people snarling and growling at one another like dogs. In fact, the whole issue was dealt with quite civilly at Monday’s county commissioner’s meeting. Still, the most emotional discussion on the agenda was what to do about stray animals running loose, a problem that seems to be getting out of hand.  Barbara Vicknair, representing the Valley River Humane Society (VRHS), and a former county commissioner herself said, “Animal Control is a very serious problem in Cherokee County. Rabies has been on the rise in the last few years, and due to the economy, more and more people are abandoning their animals by setting them out on the roadways and at dumpsters.  “This is creating an unsafe environment as animals become diseased, run in packs and become a nuisance and a safety issue for communities. It is also inhumane for the abandoned animals to be run over, die from starvation or become vicious while foraging for food and water,” she said. (For complete article go to  http://wncsentinel.net/2011/02/25/dogs-running-loose-across-cherokee-county/ )

Ohio 02/25/11 starbeacon.com: by Carl E. Feather – The Ashtabula County Health Department is monitoring an outbreak of rabies in a raccoon population on a farm in Pierpont Township.  Health Commissioner Ray Saporito said Thursday that the Ohio Department of Health has confirmed that two raccoons submitted to the state’s laboratory for testing were rabid. Saporito said four more raccoons trapped at the location will be sent to the state for testing.  The first sample was sent Feb. 16, and confirmation was received two days later. The second sample was submitted Monday and confirmed rabid on Wednesday. Both came from a barn on Route 167.  (For complete article go to http://starbeacon.com/local/x1348435888/Two-Pierpont-raccoons-have-rabies )

Oregon 02/27/11 bendbulletin.com: Medford – A draft report that looks at ways to combat a rabies outbreak among animals in the Cave Junction area says getting vaccines to the gray fox population and vaccinating pets are the area’s best options.  The Medford Mail Tribune reported seven foxes, one domestic goat and one coyote have died of rabies in the Cave Junction area since the outbreak began about one year ago.  All the animals suffered from the same strain of rabies, and biologists suspect gray foxes are eating dead or dying rabid bats.

South Carolina 02/27/11 heraldonline.com: by Bo Petersen – The howling erupts at dusk, an eerie noise that isn’t strange anymore in the Lowcountry woods.  “Shortly before dark and right after dark, the coyotes crank up and call back and forth from pack to pack. It’s amazing how many you hear out there,” said Jeff Hunt, of Cypress Creek in Hampton County.  The slinking marauder of the West has slipped deep into South Carolina. The first one to show up in generations was spotted in Oconee County in 1978. Two years later, one was spotted in Berkeley County. In 1986, the second one to be found in the Lowcountry turned up in Williamsburg County.  Now, they are everywhere. They have established themselves as a nuisance rivaling the beaver. They have become one of the alpha predators in the state, ravaging young deer, wild turkeys, rabbits and nearly anything else they can take a bite out of. They are a scourge for hunting plantations, fruit growers and pet owners alike.  Wildlife officers worry they are about to become a bigger menace. They are moving into the suburbs, where they are problematic to hunt and too dangerous to trap with domestic pets and children around.  “When you’ve got to make your living going out and catching stuff, everything is potentially a meal,” said Jay Butfiloski, S.C. Department of Natural Resources furbearer project supervisor.  Coyotes occasionally do attack people, particularly rabid coyotes. The lone attack reported in the state so far was in 2009, on a 9-year-old girl in the Upstate waiting for a school bus. That coyote had rabies; the girl recovered from bites.  The three-month trapping season for coyotes ends Monday. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources expects 25,000 or more of the critters will be taken. Most will be trapped in the Upstate, but 600 or 700 will be trapped in the three counties around Charleston, and about that many in Colleton County alone.  Hunters calling for turkey look up to see coyotes peering at them, and then quickly vanishing. People hear them out their bedroom windows and have spotted them on the street around Summerville. Trapping in Mount Pleasant that began after pet dogs were attacked at Patriots Point last spring has taken 14 coyotes. There are more.

Washington 02/27/11 westseattleblog.com: Peg Prideaux of West Seattle lost her dog this month to what she describes as a rat-borne disease – and says a neighbor’s dog died of the same thing just weeks earlier, so, she says, “I’m on a mission to warn others.”  She says the dogs had never had contact with each other, but both died of what was believed to be leptospirosis. Peg explained in a note to WSB, “Dogs usually contract the disease by coming in contact with rat urine, which can be found in still water such as a backyard rain puddle. In both cases the dogs threw up; then appeared to recover; then later became ill a second time. One of the dogs had killed a rat; the other dog is believed to have come in contact with rat urine in the yard. This disease can fool you. It first appears as a simple, 24-hour ‘doggie flu,’ after which the dog appears to be normal and well while the disease works in the background. Then the dog becomes ill a second time — in my dog’s case, about a week later. At that point he went from seemingly healthy to irrecoverable in just over a day.”  Her dog was euthanized ten days ago. “I’m on a mission to warn others, because when two healthy dogs die within 10 weeks of each other from the same rat-borne illness, it’s a cause for concern in the neighborhood. Also, leptospirosis is said to increase in spring, which is right around the corner.” Just this morning, she says, a dead rat turned up in the same area, near 38th and Graham found by neighbors out walking their dogs.  She suggests pet owners “within a several-block radius of 37th and Juneau to see a veterinarian immediately if their dogs vomit a meal,” and make sure you point out that two nearby dogs have died of leptospirosis. “Earliest possible detection is essential to saving your pet. Please don’t hesitate about taking your dog in.”   She says leptospirosis can also affect humans and adds that there’s a vaccine against some strains – ask your vet about it. There’s more information about leptospirosis on the Centers for Disease Control website; here’s the page about pets, and here’s the page about humans.

West Virginia 02/27/11 times-news.com: Keyser – A raccoon from the Pine Swamp area of Keyser recently tested positive for rabies, according to the Mineral County Health Department.  Health officials caution the public to stay away from animals that act strangely or aggressively. Questions can be directed to 304-788-1321.


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