Police shoot, kill Cougar in Redwood City, California, neighborhood; Massachusetts biologist notes only three reported Coyote attacks on people in state since 1950; Coyote reports from Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts (2), and Minnesota; and Rabies reports from Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina (2), Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

Mountain Lion. Courtesy National Park Service.

California 03/29/11 cbslocal.com: by Betsy Gebhart – Authorities shot and killed a mountain lion that they cornered in a backyard after it wandered into a Redwood City neighborhood Tuesday morning. The cat was first spotted about 8:15 a.m. near Alameda de las Pulgas and Whipple Avenue. Police set up a perimeter and trapped the animal in the backyard of a home near Whipple Avenue and Woodsworth Avenue, about a block from Sequoia Hospital, Redwood City spokesman Malcolm Smith said. The mountain lion was shot sometime around 11:30 a.m. California Department of Fish and Game Lt. Todd Ajari said the department prefers to tranquilize wild animals if the location is conducive to it and officials can get a clear shot. In Tuesday’s case, officials were forced to kill the mountain lion because it was cornered in a residential area, he said.

California mountain lion range in red.

Cherie and Wally Oliver, who live at 2515 Whipple Ave., where the cat was trapped, said the animal was in a tree in their backyard. Cherie Oliver said there is a hot tub about 20 feet from the tree. “I’ll think twice in the hot tub at night when I hear rustling in the leaves,” she said. Oliver, who was home sick from work Tuesday, said she agrees with decision to shoot the mountain lion. “They couldn’t chance him being wounded and running off terrorizing the neighborhood,” she said.

Scott Delucchi, a spokesman for the Peninsula Humane Society, said police initially contacted the PHS to see if it had tranquilizing equipment. He said the PHS told police that the agency doesn’t typically deal with mountain lion incidents. Residents were alerted about the mountain lion’s presence through an automated phone call. Dozens of neighbors gathered near the home to watch the commotion late Tuesday morning. As word spread through the crowd about the mountain lion’s fate, there were gasps and some exclaimed, “They shot it?” Camille Torres, who lives nearby, said she thinks it was smart to kill the mountain lion because it was in a residential area near a park and a hospital. “If something happened, we’d all be saying, ‘How come you didn’t do anything?’” she said. “I’m all for saving the animal, but you never know what can happen.”

Her friend and neighbor, Barbara Britschgi, disagreed, saying she was very upset the mountain lion was killed. “They should still be able to put it in a cage for God’s sake,” she said. “There was more danger because of traffic that was going past than from the mountain lion.” After the cat was shot, Fish and Game agents loaded it into the back of a truck parked in the driveway of the home and eventually drove away. No injuries to humans were reported.

Massachusetts 03/29/11 newburyportnews.com: by Dave Rogers – Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife information and education biologist Marion Larson said that since the 1950s, when Eastern coyotes began appearing in Massachusetts backyards, there have been only three reported attacks on people. In two of the cases, the coyotes were rabid, while the third animal was likely raised by a person. The last attack was reported in 2004.  “The numbers speak for themselves,” Larson said. The frequency of coyote attacks on humans is but one of the many misconceptions that tend to stick with coyotes, at least in the minds of an unknowing public, Larson added. Coyotes have been on the minds of many who live on Plum Island, after an Annapolis Way couple, Paul and Laura Daubitz, last week reported their cat possibly had been attacked and killed by one. In the days that followed, additional residents have reported seeing them, including one person who took a photo of two racing across the marsh area of Plum Island. The Newbury Police Department’s animal control officer has been investigating the sightings, as well.

Eastern coyotes resemble a medium-sized dog in size and shape, but have denser fur and pointy ears. Females typically weigh between 33 and 40 pounds, while males range between 34 and 47 pounds. They typically stick around an area of 6 to 10 miles and can make a wide range of sounds that mask their numbers.  Part of the reason coyotes tend to stick close to humans is the availability of food. Coyotes aren’t adverse to eating bird seed or suet and will often rummage through garbage cans. Larson said getting rid of bird feeders and making sure garbage is placed outside in animal-secure containers the morning of scheduled trash pickup, are good ways of keeping coyotes away.  “You’ve got an all-you-can-eat buffet for coyotes,” Larson said. Of course, coyotes will also dine on pets if possible, so her advice is to keep cats and other small animals inside. If you let a pet outside, stay outside with it. “The coyote realizes a person is out there,” Larson said. “Coyotes are generally afraid of people and avoid them.” Following that logic, people can easily scare coyotes off if they see them. Larson said that by banging on pans, yelling like a banshee, throwing things at them and squirting them with water will often do the trick. “This is all coyote language that says, ‘This is my territory, stay away from it,'” Larson said.

Larson said another popular misconception is that humans have encroached on the coyote’s natural habitat, when it’s really the other way around. Eastern coyotes living in Massachusetts used to stay in mostly rural areas in the central part of the state. But as people moved away from the coastline and into the suburbs, the coyotes realized they wouldn’t have to work as hard for food, so much like skunks, raccoons and foxes, they began sticking around, Larson said.  “They’re getting used to living with us: food, complacency, a nice place to hang out. People are nervous, but the good news is that they’re (coyotes) wild animals, and they’re afraid of people,” Larson said. Larson said officials looking to trap coyotes and relocate them should think twice. Not only is it against the law to live-trap animals and move them, but it’s also just transferring the problem to another community, she said. Also, coyotes don’t tend to do well if moved, as they have difficulty adapting to new surroundings and are often harassed and stressed to death.

More than eight days after last seeing their cat, Sammie, Laura and Paul Daubitz said they are still looking for her. The Daubitzes said they recently received a small bit of hopeful news when a Northern Boulevard resident called them saying she had seen a cat that looked like Sammie while she was jogging. “I haven’t given up,” Laura Daubitz said.

Arizona 03/29/11 myfoxphoenix.com: Phoenix – A coyote was hit by a car and injured near 68th Street and Bell Road, but the bigger story was the traffic situation. The animal was found on the side of the road near a bus stop. The injured coyote stopped traffic trying to get across the road, until an officer could rescue it. A rescue crew from the Southwest Wildlife Center was able to capture the animal in a cage without a tranquilizer. She suffered multiple broken bones as well as internal injuries. Unfortunately, the coyote didn’t make it. Neighbors say it’s not unusual to see coyotes in the area.

Arizona 03/28/11 necn.com: Pinal County health officials have issued a rabies advisory after finding a third rabid skunk in the past six weeks. The warning comes after officials found a rabid skunk in Oracle last week. The other two skunks were found in Kearney and Mammoth.

California 03/29/11 cbslocal.com: A homeowner reported seeing a large coyote with the family cat in its mouth in San Anselmo Tuesday morning, police said. The sighting was reported at 8:45 a.m. in the area of Madera Avenue and Sequoia Drive, Cpl. Julie Gorwood said. The homeowner tried to scare away the coyote by clapping loudly, Gorwood said. Police responded and also spotted the animal, and informed the California Department of Fish and Game and the Marin Humane Society about the sighting, Gorwood said. Police were told to try to get the coyote to leave the area by making loud noises, and it did eventually wander away. The family cat has not been found. Officers distributed some pamphlets in the immediate neighborhood about preventing conflicts with coyotes. Police are reminding residents that it is illegal to feed deer, and that deer attract coyotes. Residents also are advised not to allow pets outside at dawn, dusk and at night when coyotes are most active, and to bring pet food inside to avoid attracting raccoons, opossums and other potential coyote prey, Gorwood said. Coyotes tend to stay away from humans, Gorwood said. Residents should not run if they encounter a coyote, but should face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving their arms, throwing rocks or other objects and fighting back if attacked, Gorwood said.

Florida 03/28/11 nbc-2.com: by Alex Boyer – Cape Coral – A small family dog is lucky to be alive after being attacked by a coyote. The miniature Yorkshire terrier was playing in the front lawn when the coyote came out of nowhere. That attack happened Sunday morning in a rural Cape Coral neighborhood located near the intersection of Gulfstream West and Burnt Store Road. Sarah Housek said she is relieved her miniature yorkie, named Titus, survived. She says the nine-year old dog was nearly mauled to death by that coyote. “He screamed and the coyote kind of got scared and my mom got out there and scared him away,” said Housek. Titus had just come up to the front door to be let back inside when the coyote attacked. The coyote bit Titus on the back and in a matter of seconds, the little dog had been critically injured.  The family rushed Titus to a Fort Myers animal hospital and Housek says the dog was on the operating table for more than two hours.  Luckily, vets were able to save the family pet. And Monday, Titus spent the day recovering at the family business.

Illinois 03/29/11 suntimes.com: Chicago – Residents of the North Side Budlong Woods neighborhood are probably used to the sound of the sirens of ambulances heading to Swedish Covenant Hospital, but recently there has been an accompaniment to those sirens which has startled some. According to an alert on Ald. Patrick O’Connor’s (40th) website, many residents of the Budlong Woods area, which is approximately at Foster and California, have reported multiple sightings of coyotes. Additionally, residents have reported what sounds like a chorus of coyotes howling in response to ambulance sirens at nearby Swedish Covenant Hospital, the alderman’s website said. Coyotes had all but vanished from the Chicago area by the end of the 19th century, before making a comeback in recent years.

Kansas 03/29/11 kake.com: On March 24th, 2011, a skunk from Saline County tested positive for rabies at the Kansas State University Rabies Laboratory in Manhattan. The skunk was submitted by the Salina Animal Shelter, after it was killed by dogs in Salina.   This is the first case of rabies in Saline County and the fourth case in Kansas in 2011. This year’s positives include four skunks. In 2010 there were 58 animals testing positive in Kansas. The animals testing positive in 2010 included 39 skunks, five cats, three dogs, five cattle, and six bats.  If you have additional questions, please contact the Salina Animal Shelter at 826-6535, the Salina-Saline County Health Department at 826-6602, or the K-State Rabies Laboratory at 785-532-4483. More information on rabies can be found at: www.vet.ksu.edu/rabies, www.cdc.gov and www.worldrabiesday.org  .

Massachusetts 03/28/11 wickedlocal.com: by Mike Gaffney – Saugus – A couple out for a leisurely walk by the salt marsh stumbled upon the remains of a decapitated coyote Friday. According to police reports, a man and woman were taking their pooch for a stroll around dusk when they spotted a decapitated animal in the sand dunes at the end of Bristow Street. Canine Control Officer Harold Young said officers located the deceased animal, which at first appeared to be a tri-colored Shepard missing its head and tail. The officer arriving on the scene speculated that someone removed the animal’s head at a different location and disposed of the body in the sand dunes. No head was found in the area. Young contacted the Animal Rescue League to launch an investigation into the incident. Officers brought the coyote’s remains to the pound so the body could be inspected. On Monday afternoon Young learned that the animal in question was in fact a coyote, clearing up any confusion that a dog might have been killed. Hunters frequently remove an animal’s head to mount on walls as trophies, Young said, which could explain the discovery. Young told the Advertiser the coyote suffered broken ribs, which led him to believe it might have been hit by a vehicle and then wandered into the marsh. “At that point someone could have come across the coyote and decapitated it,” Young said, noting it’s difficult to determine what happened for sure. “The cut was surgical. Whoever did it knew what they were doing.” State Environmental Police are investigating the headless coyote. Young said charges could be levied if the person or persons responsible are tracked down for the way the animal’s body was treated.

Minnesota 03/29/11 patch.com: by Michael Rose – It was 12 days ago when, not more than 20 feet from his Cedar Lake Road home, Jerry Stamm saw something that still has him losing sleep at night. His 16-year-old Maltese, Cici, was going for a quick run outside the condominium. As Stamm watched from a living room window, two coyotes came flying out from a thicket of trees and viciously attacked the dog. Stamm bolted outside and chased away the coyotes, but Cici was already badly injured. The playful, friendly Maltese was put down two days later. This attack highlights one of the risks of what the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources calls an “increasing” coyote population in the Twin Cities. While the state hasn’t documented a human attack, a number of coyote attacks on pets—like that witnessed by Stamm—have been reported in the past few years. “To see your dog get attacked within 20 feet of your dwelling is a horror story,” Stamm said. That’s why the DNR, along with local entities such as the city of St. Louis Park, are trying to raise awareness about coyotes. “We’re trying to educate people,” said Jim Vaughan, St. Louis Park’s environmental coordinator. The city currently has a web page dedicated to dealing with coyotes, with information coming from the DNR. Recommendations include securing garbage containers, supervising pets when they’re outside and harassing coyotes when they’re around. Preventing coyotes from becoming comfortable in a residential setting is key, said Dan Stark, a wolf specialist with the DNR. “They’re fairly adaptable,” he said. “They become more accustomed to humans over time.” But even if people make an effort to scare coyotes off, there is no guarantee they’ll leave the Twin Cities. As development pushes outward, Stark said, more natural coyote habitat gets swallowed up. Also, an urban area has a number of readily available food sources for coyotes, ranging from small animals to garbage—a recipe for coyotes staying put. There have been at least half a dozen coyote sightings this year across St. Louis Park, Vaughan said. “They’re literally all over town,” he said. The city is exploring the feasibility of coyote traps. However, setting them up “might be impossible,” Vaughan said, because it would be hard to find spots in St. Louis Park to bait traps that wouldn’t also attract pets and other small animals. There is also some risk in baiting coyotes closer to residential areas. If traps were to be set, now would be the time, as the coyote gestation period will soon be underway. Without traps, look for an increased number of coyotes in St. Louis Park in coming months. That heightens the urgency behind the message from the city and DNR, as well as Stamm. “I don’t want (other pet owners) to go through what I did,” he said. “It was just horrible.”

North Carolina 03/29/11 wdnweb.com: by Mike Voss – The discovery of a rabid fox in Beaufort County underscores the importance of a series of upcoming rabies clinics, said Sandy Woolard, the county’s chief animal-control officer. The rabid fox, which was acting strange, was found at 519 Slatestone Road, Washington, on Wednesday, according to Woolard. After it was captured and euthanized, Beaufort County Animal Control sent the fox’s body off for testing. It tested positive for rabies. Woolard said it’s not known if the fox came into contact with any domesticated animals. Until this latest incident, the last known case of rabies in the county was last year, Woolard said.

North Carolina 03/28/11 thetimesnews.com: A raccoon that was attacked by a dog being walked by its owner was rabid, according to a positive rabies result from the N.C. Rabies Laboratory. The raccoon was submitted because of the exposure it had with a dog in Chapel Hill. A resident was walking her dog on her property in the vicinity of Estes Drive Ext. and N.C. 86 Sunday when it suddenly dove into ditch after a raccoon. The dog owner was able to get her pet to release the raccoon and then called 911 to be connected with the Orange County Animal Control officer on duty. Animal Control responded and removed the raccoon so that it could be tested for rabies. This is the fourth positive rabies result for Orange County in 2011, and all four cases have involved raccoons.

Pennsylvania 03/29/11 mcall.com: by Manuel Gamiz Jr. – Allentown city officials are reminding residents about vaccinating their pets after the discovery of a rabid skunk that bit someone this weekend. City officials said the skunk was spotted Saturday in the 2000 block of E. Columbia Street. The skunk was behaving oddly, bit the resident who wasn’t identified and was ultimately shot and killed by Allentown police. The skunk was taken to a state health lab and tested positive for having rabies.

South Carolina 03/29/11 wtoc.com: Beaufort County residents are being put on a rabies alert after a man on Daufuskie Island was bitten by a rabid raccoon. The man was bitten on a golf course in the Haig Point community. Rabies can be fatal is not treated. The victim is currently undergoing treatment and under the care of a physician. This is the second confirmed rabid animal in Beaufort County this year and DHEC is advising everyone to stay away from wild animals and have pets vaccinated.

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