Arizona officer kills Mountain Lion that refuses to leave residential/golf course neighborhood; Canada – British Columbian officer kills Mountain Lion that killed a deer and is thought to have confronted a jogger; Utah confirms Tularemia in dead Cats; Washington warns of Biotoxin in Shellfish; Coyotes take fourth pet in Altadena; West Nile Virus reports from CA, CT, & NV; Eastern Equine Encephalitis report from MA; and Rabies reports from NC, RI, & TX. Canada: Ontario schedules Rabies Vaccine Bait drop. Follow-Up Report: Seven Coyotes killed in California’s Laguna Woods area so far.

Mountain Lion. Courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Arizona 08/11/11 therepublic.com: State Game and Fish Department officers tracked down and killed a mountain lion that wandered across a Prescott golf course. Homeowners say they first saw the male cat Wednesday morning. The mountain lion wasn’t hurting anything, but residents were concerned about golfers and people out walking possibly crossing paths with the cat. The Prescott Daily Courier reports (http://bit.ly/nJR1sX) the cat ran up a tree and wildlife officers later darted it. After it was knocked out, officers removed the cat, took it out of town and killed it. A regional Game and Fish supervisor says protocol directed the decision to put the animal down because the agency does not remove and relocate lion.

Canada:

British Columbia 08/11/11 canada.com: by Julia Prinselaar – A male (mountain lion) cougar has been destroyed after a Ucluelet local found a deer carcass and notified authorities. Ron Clayton was taking his dog for a walk on the morning of August 9 near Terrace Beach when the dog detected something just off the road. “It was quite evident that there was a deer that had been mauled. It was ripped right open,” he said. Clayton notified municipal staff, who called Jeff Tyre, a BC Conservation Officer based out of Port Alberni. “From the kill we identified that a cougar had definitely fed on it. Generally cougars don’t go very far once they’ve fed, so it was worth calling the hounds in,” said Tyre. At around noon Tyre arrived with a houndsman and within 30 minutes the dogs had treed a young male cougar, weighing between 27 to 36 kilograms (60 to 80 lbs.) The cat was killed shortly after. “I destroyed it based on its location,” said Tyre. He said that he could not rule out whether or not this cougar was the same cat that confronted a jogger in the Port Albion area one week prior, but made the decision based on the proximity and timing of both incidents. “Had that encounter not occurred earlier I probably would have attempted to relocate it, but with that encounter in mind I’m not willing to take that chance,” he said. “Given its proximity it looks like its hunting territory is in Ucluelet. It’s on the far side of town; really it has no place to go.” Tyre added there are only a handful of cougars that cover the immediate area. The BC Conservation office advises the public to report wildlife sightings by dialing toll free 1-877-952-7277.

Utah 08/10/11 midutahradio.com: by Bruce Mehew – The Central Utah Public Health Department in Richfield has confirmed the death of two cats in Sanpete County was due to a bacterial disease known as tularemia. CUPHD Information Officer Mike Carter says the cats contracted the disease by eating an infected rabbit. Carter said tularemia is a disease found in animals, especially rabbits and can be transferred to humans, though no cases have been reported in humans. He said it’s usually spread by ticks, fleas and deerfly bites and can also be spread by mosquitoes.

Washington 08/11/11 wa.gov: News Release – State health officials warn that a type of biotoxin never before found in Washington shellfish has been detected in shellfish from the Sequim Bay area. The discovery led to a commercial and recreational harvest closure in Sequim Bay, and people are urged not to eat shellfish from that area until further notice due to the risk of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP). A recall was conducted for commercially sold products from the area dating back to August 1; all recalled product has been accounted for and is not currently on the market. This is the first time in Washington or the United States that DSP toxin has been found above acceptable food safety limits. Since this is new to the state, the Department of Health is sampling and testing shellfish areas throughout the state to learn more about it. New information will be shared as it is received. This biotoxin has been a problem in several European countries for some time and was recently found in British Columbia waters. The Department of Health Office of Shellfish and Water Protection has suspected the biotoxin may become a concern in Washington waters. The program is working with federal partners and the University of Washington on this emerging issue in order to protect public health. As environmental monitoring was underway, we learned of illnesses matching the description of DSP in a local family. Shellfish samples were tested at the federal Food and Drug Administration lab, which confirmed presence of the toxin. Unlike bacterial contamination, DSP is a toxin, so it is not killed by cooking. Eating shellfish contaminated with DSP may cause Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning, a foodborne illness. DSP can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and chills, very similar to gastrointestinal or stomach flu type symptoms. If you eat DSP-tainted shellfish, symptoms could begin within a few hours and last one to three days at the most. The Office of Shellfish and Water Protection (http://www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/default-sf.htm) provides updated information on shellfish safety, warnings, closures and restrictions for locations throughout the state (ww4.doh.wa.gov/scripts/esrimap.dll?name=bioview&Cmd=Map&Step=1).

California 08/08/11 msnbc.msn.com: by Scott Weber – A fourth dog was killed during a coyote attack in Altadena Sunday. Diane and Verne Williams’ dog Abby went out to the backyard early Sunday morning through a doggie door, according to their daughter, Bethany Williams. Around 6:30 a.m., she found the dog, a Bichon Frise, dead, with bite marks to its neck.  Williams, who also lives in the house located on the 2300 block of North Braeburn, said she was surprised the coyotes were able to attack since their entire backyard is enclosed in a five-foot high fence. Neighbors reported seeing coyotes wandering the area in packs late at night, according to Williams. She said this wasn’t the first time her parents encountered problems. “A year ago they had two dogs that got into a scrape with coyotes. Fortunately somebody saw them in the yard and got my father and chased them away before any damage was done,” Williams said. Altadena residents have been on edge since July, after a series of attacks killed three dogs in the 1100 block of Mendocino Street. As many as 13 coyote sightings were reported to the Sheriff’s Department at that time. Animal experts believe recent fires and hot weather may have forced them from nearby hills to go looking for food.

California 08/10/11 whittierdailynews.com: by Mike Sprague – Two dead birds and 16 mosquito samples in the Whittier area have been found to have the West Nile virus. In addition, two unnamed people in Los Angeles County have come down with the virus, said Truc Dever, director of community affairs for the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District. “We’re looking at an epidemic this year,” Dever said. “We can expect many more human cases.” The level of West Nile virus detected in mosquito samples and dead birds in Los Angeles County this July is the highest it’s been since the last epidemic year in 2008, said Susanne Kluh, director of scientific-technical services. In total, the district has reported 13 West Nile virus-positive dead birds and 31 positive mosquito samples countywide. Additionally, four chickens used to check for the disease tested positive for West Nile virus antibodies. Read more: West Nile virus found in dead birds, mosquitoes in Whittier – Whittier Daily News http://www.whittierdailynews.com/ci_18657854#ixzz1UllVrNWl

Connecticut 08/11/11 ct.gov: News Release – The State Mosquito Management Program today announced that mosquitoes trapped in Trumbull on August 1, 2011 tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These results represent the first positive mosquitoes identified in Trumbull by the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) this year.

Nevada 08/11/11 recordcourier.com: The Nevada Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease and Food Safety Laboratory has to date identified (West Nile Virus WNV) positive mosquito pools from Lyon County, Churchill County and Clark County. Additionally a clinically sick horse from Lyon County was confirmed positive for WNV infection.

Massachusetts 08/10/11 patch.com: by Patrick Maguire – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) announced that (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) EEE virus has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Easton.  In 2010, 3,558 mosquito samples were tested for EEE virus, and 65 positive samples were identified in Massachusetts.  Easton has had 5 EEE virus positive mosquito samples identified in 2011. EEE is a rare but serious illness spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under 15 years of age or over 50 years of age are at greatest risk for serious illness.

North Carolina 08/10/11carrborocitizen.com: A raccoon and a fox found in Chapel Hill recently tested positive for rabies at the State Laboratory of Public Health. The raccoon was submitted after a resident in the vicinity of Kingston and Butternut drives saw her dog circling a tree that the raccoon had climbed. The dog was currently vaccinated against rabies and received a booster shot within five days in accordance with state law. Unvaccinated animals must either be quarantined for six months or destroyed. The fox was submitted after a resident in the vicinity of Old Greensboro and Jones Ferry roads found it biting her dog on its leg. Animal Control removed the fox from the property, and the dog, which was currently vaccinated against rabies, received a booster shot immediately. Orange County has received seven positive rabies tests this year. If any possible exposure to a bat, raccoon or fox is suspected, call Animal Control at 245-2075 or call 911.

Rhode Island 08/10/11 wpri.com: A Coventry house cat has tested positive for rabies. The feline was located near Francis and Holden Streets. Animal control officers were called to the area after receiving a report that a cat attacked a dog and scratched a person. If you know a person or pet that also may have had contact with this animal, please call Coventry Animal Control 822-9106.

Texas 08/10/11 llanonews.com: While Llano County residents are diligently working to conserve water as this exceptional drought continues across Central Texas, another concern has state officials urging caution. Searching for water and food, a greater than average number of wild animals are approaching residential areas, according to reports. With this influx of wild animals, comes the increase of confirmed cases of rabies, with almost double the amount of confirmed rabies cases for the first six months of 2011 in Texas as there were for the same time frame in 2010. The Texas Department of State Health Services is asking that people take extra precautions to reduce the risk for contracting rabies. Vaccinating family pets is one step; avoiding animals that are wild or acting strangely is another. In Central Texas, TDSHS reported a total of 268 confirmed cases through June 30 as opposed to just 109 cases through June of 2010, skunks being the most infected. According to the TDSHS, “Bats and skunks are the most common animals found to have rabies in Texas. For more information go to http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/disease/rabies/

Canada:

Ontario 08/10/11 ontario.ca: News Release – Ontario will continue with one of the most successful rabies eradication programs in North America by distributing 366,000 baits containing rabies vaccine this summer.

The vaccine will control the spread of rabies in skunks and foxes and help continue to keep Ontario raccoons free of rabies. The baits will be distributed in the following areas:

  • Throughout southwestern Ontario.
  • In the Niagara region between Welland Canal and Niagara River, including Navy Island.
  • On Wolfe, Howe and Hill islands in St. Lawrence River as well as a small area on the mainland near Brockville.

The flavoured baits immunize most skunks, foxes and raccoons that eat them. Baits are small and khaki green, with a toll-free rabies hotline number stamped on them. If you see baits, please leave them undisturbed.

QUICK FACTS

  • Ontario raccoons have been free of rabies since September 2005.
  • 2010 marked the lowest number of rabies positive animals with ‘Ontario fox’ strain in the province since the disease became established in Ontario in 1958.
  • Last year there were only 39 cases of rabies diagnosed in Ontario. Of these cases, only 10 were found in wildlife.
  • Ontario has reduced the number of rabies cases in the province by more than 99 per cent since rabies control programs began 20 years ago.
  • Exposure to a bait is not harmful to people or pets. However, if a person or a pet comes in contact with the vaccine in the bait, contacting a doctor or veterinarian as a precaution is recommended.

Follow-Up Report:

California 08/11/11 latimes.com: The news comes days after an 82-year-old woman said a coyote snatched her small dog off its leash as she was stepping out of her patio for a morning walk. The dog, a parti poodle named Mocha, was killed, the woman’s daughter told the Orange County Register. Police and animal control officers stepped up their efforts to prevent such attacks after two incidents in which women were injured while trying to protect their dogs from coyotes. Extra traps were set for the wild animals, and the city hired a professional hunter to shoot any coyotes he saw. So far, seven coyotes have been removed from the area, said Jim Beres, a civilian supervisor for the Laguna Beach Police Department, which oversees animal services in Laguna Woods. Six of the animals were caught in traps and euthanized. One was shot and killed by the licensed hunter on Tuesday. Still, Beres said, authorities believe there is one more aggressive adult male coyote still prowling the area, and they hope to catch him. “After we find him, we’re going to reassess and see if the attacks stop, and if they do then we know we’ve gotten all of the problematic coyotes,” Beres said.

The goal isn’t to remove all of the coyotes from the area, Beres said. Instead, authorities want to make sure the overly aggressive animals — the ones who stalk the neighborhoods and attack pets in broad daylight — are gone. “You want them to have that fear of humans,” Beres said. “When they lose that, that’s not good.” It’s standard industry practice to euthanize captured coyotes rather than relocate them, Beres said. Otherwise, the animals would just continue the dangerous behavior somewhere else. “It just relocates the problem to another community,” Beres said. “They propagate so quickly — they’re not an endangered species by any means — and once they’ve learned to come in contact with humans, that doesn’t go away.” Beres said the trapping operations would continue until authorities were satisfied the problem was solved, but pointed out that coyotes are par for the course in Southern California. People can reduce the risk of having coyotes near their homes by not leaving food out for outdoor pets, making sure garbage cans are secured and keeping small pets indoors, but ultimately the wild animals are here for good. “Coyotes are endemic,” Beres said. “They’ve been here and will continue to be here.” (See August 11, 2011, post: Coyotes take another pet in California’s Laguna Woods)

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2 responses to “Arizona officer kills Mountain Lion that refuses to leave residential/golf course neighborhood; Canada – British Columbian officer kills Mountain Lion that killed a deer and is thought to have confronted a jogger; Utah confirms Tularemia in dead Cats; Washington warns of Biotoxin in Shellfish; Coyotes take fourth pet in Altadena; West Nile Virus reports from CA, CT, & NV; Eastern Equine Encephalitis report from MA; and Rabies reports from NC, RI, & TX. Canada: Ontario schedules Rabies Vaccine Bait drop. Follow-Up Report: Seven Coyotes killed in California’s Laguna Woods area so far.

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