Delaware 10/30/11 delawareonline.com: by Esteban Parra – In Wilmington, it’s not uncommon for residents to be armed when they walk their dogs. Some carry large sticks. Others make sure to have flashlights. For Ken Swann, it’s bear spray — a substance similar to pepper spray that can shoot farther and is more potent. “I will not give up this park,” Swann said about Wilmington’s Canby Park, where he walks his red poodle, Gimli, and Hobbit, his bichon frise. “We kowtowed to them before. We’re not doing it again, and there are a whole lot of people out here that are refusing to give back the park.” Swann and the others say they carry their weapons not to protect themselves from muggers but from pit bulls whose numbers police say have increased in the city, the only municipality in the state with a law regulating how the breed is handled by owners while outdoors.
The increase in the number of pit bulls running freely also motivated police to more actively enforce the legislation that was enacted more than a decade ago. So far, police — who have teamed with animal control from the Delaware Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for 64 hours since Sept. 15 — have seized 39 pit bulls. Most of the seizures occurred because officers saw people walking dogs that were not muzzled or on a leash as required by the law.
The law was enacted in 2000 to curb problems that Wilmington residents were having with the breed, including dog fighting, dogs that needed to be shot after they threatened neighborhoods and children being attacked as they waited for school buses. In one case, it took 300 stitches to reattach a 4-year-old boy’s ear after a pit bull ripped it off. At that time, problems with pit bulls accounted for at least one-fourth of all animal complaints in Wilmington in the three years before the law was enacted — far more than for any other type of animal. SPCA officers — accompanied by Wilmington police officers — began searching for pit bulls throughout Wilmington and confiscating unregistered dogs anywhere they were found, including in yards and with their owners. Eleven pit bulls were seized in the first few hours of the law’s enforcement on July 25, 2000.
TOP FIVE DOG BITES IN DELAWARE BY BREED
The pit bull breed has the highest number of bites reported for the last four years, according to the Delaware Division of Public Health’s rabies program. The data include all bites reported to the division, not just bite cases in which rabies prophylaxis was provided.
Total dog bites 1,353
Pit bulls 235
German shepherds 113
Mixed breeds 65
Total dog bites 1,248
Pit bulls 216
German shepherds 86
Mixed breeds 65
Total dog bites 1,381
German shepherds 101
Jack Russell terriers 53
2011 (as of Thursday)
Total dog bites 1,174
German shepherds 101
Mixed breeds 47
Wyoming 10/31/11 go.com: A hunter who was attacked by a bear while hunting in Grand Teton National Park was in good condition on Monday. Park officials said Timothy Hix, 32, of Jackson, was expected to be released from St. John’s Medical Center later in the day. Hix told rangers that he surprised what he believed was a grizzly bear about five to 10 yards away south of Glacier View overlook on Sunday. He said the bear ran at him but he wasn’t able to grab his pepper spray, so he dropped to the ground, covered his head and remained still. “He reported that the bear bit him a couple times and might have swiped him,” park spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said Monday. Park officials said rangers believe the attack was a surprise encounter with a lone grizzly bear but noted that the investigation was still continuing. Grand Teton’s annual elk hunting program began Oct. 8. Hix hadn’t killed any elk before encountering the bear. The hunter responded appropriately to the attack, Anzelmo-Sarles said. “Sounds like he was doing everything right,” she said. “We want to commend him for doing the homework ahead of time.” Grizzlies killed two people in nearby Yellowstone National Park last summer. There have been six bear attacks in the history of Grand Teton National Park, but none have been fatal.
National 10/26/11 wisc.edu: News Release by David Tenenbaum – Scientists have proven that the fungus Geomyces destructans causes white-nose syndrome, a fast-spreading and highly lethal disease of bats. Research published in the journal Nature provides the first direct evidence that this fungus is responsible for a disease that is decimating bats in North America.
Research at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and other institutions, showed that 100 percent of healthy little brown bats exposed to G. destructans developed white-nose syndrome while hibernating in captivity.
White-nose syndrome is a skin infection that often begins around the muzzle, but the exact mechanism of mortality is unknown. “By identifying the causative agent of white-nose syndrome, this study provides information that is critical for developing management strategies to preserve vulnerable bat populations and the ecosystem services that they provide in the U.S. and Canada,” says study author David Blehert, a microbiologist at the Wildlife Health Center, and a honorary fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UW–Madison.
Insect-eating bats provide ecological services that are estimated to save the U.S. agricultural industry billions of dollars each year in insect-control expenses. (Bats also eat untold numbers of insects that carry West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Dengue and many other pathogens that pose a threat to animal, including human, life.) However, U.S. bat populations have been declining at an alarming rate since 2006, when white-nose syndrome first appeared in New York State. Since then, the fungus has spread southward and westward and has now been found in 16 states and four Canadian provinces.
Bat declines in the Northeast, the most severely affected region in the United States, have already exceeded 80 percent. G. destructans has reached Indiana and Ontario, Canada, and could shortly arrive in Wisconsin according to Jeffrey Lorch, a graduate student in the UW-Madison Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Center, who constributed to the study. Confirming G. destructans as the cause of white-nose syndrome could not only support research into various disease management strategies for bats, Lorch added, but also aid those trying to predict how fast and far it will spread. The results could further help explain why G. destructans is deadly to bats in North America, but not to bats in Europe. – For complete news release see http://www.news.wisc.edu/19956