National 01/13/12 Excerpt: Dr. Kristin Mansfield, a veterinarian with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, was quoted as saying that it is coyote mating season through March. She explained that coyotes will sometimes kill dogs in order to eliminate competition. She says she has found similar behavior in coyotes in California that would kill foxes by removing their heads and burying them elsewhere. Living in the country, we’re wary of wildlife anytime of the year and we don’t allow our small dogs to wander outside alone. Moran’s property, as reported in the press, is in a cul-de-sac and backs up to woods. What many suburbanites do not realize is that while wildlife are crowded out of their habitat, they have increasingly been returning to their once natural areas, which are now suburbs. This becomes dangerous for people, but especially for small dogs and cats. Statistics aren’t available to estimate how many domestic pets are killed by wild predators every year, but the increased frequency of reports in the news concerning coyote attacks on pets comes from every corner of the country, from the east to west coasts and every place in between. See http://www.petside.com/article/coyote-mating-season-owners-should-be-vigilant-pet-predators
Author’s Note: On Friday, January 13, 2011 news articles about coyotes attacking dogs were reported in Scottsdale, Arizona; Aliso Viejo, California; New Lenox, Illinois; and Kingston, Washington; Cambridge, Ontario, Canada; and Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
California 01/13/12 Berkeley, Alameda County: UC Berkeley police issued safety alerts this week following reports of a mountain lion seen at a campus housing complex Tuesday and of two mountain lions last month at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The alerts on Thursday and Wednesday, which can be found on the campus police Facebook page, reported an unverified sighting of a cougar just after 10 p.m. Tuesday on top of a dumpster at the Smyth-Fernwald apartment complex, which is located in the Berkeley hills near the top of Dwight Way northeast of the Clark Kerr campus. Last month, there was an unverified sighting of two mountain lions running along Lawrence Road toward Glaser Road at Berkeley lab, which lies in hilly terrain directly east of the main Cal campus, police said. See http://elcerrito.patch.com/articles/mountain-lion-sightings-prompt-police-alert
California 01/13/12 Taft, Kern County: The Midway School District near Taft is on alert after two mountain lion sightings within the past few weeks. “We’re taking it seriously. When kids are involved you have to take it seriously,” Midway Superintendent Greg Coker said. On Tuesday, about 6:30 a.m., a teacher went on campus to unlock all of the doors to the school. She said she saw the mountain lion walking on the sidewalk near the doors. That’s when she called the Department of Fish and Game. See http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/Mountain-lion-sighted-on-school-campus-near-Taft-137224953.html
California 01/14/12 Orange County: Nine months after a potentially fatal equine virus swept western states, the disease is back. Five new cases of Equine Herpes Myoencephalitis (EHM), also referred to as neurological Rhino, a mutated form of the Equine Herpes Virus 1 (EHV-1) were reported at a facility in California by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Last May, equestrian events throughout the western United States were cancelled due to an outbreak of the potentially lethal virus that began at an equestrian event at the Golden Spike Equestrian Center in Ogden, Utah, and spread rapidly to horses in California, Washington, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.
EHM attacks the horse’s neurological system and in some cases, the horse must be euthanized. The virus is easily spread and has a high morbidity and mortality rate. Signs of EHM in horses may include nasal discharge, in a coordination, hindquarter weakness, recumbency, lethargy, urine dribbling and diminished tail tone. According to the CDFA all of the cases have been confined to one unidentified facility in Orange County and are under quarantine. The property where the horses are located was described as a large multi-discipline facility by the CDFA, with no movement of any horses on or off the premises. See http://agourahills.patch.com/articles/deadly-horse-virus-erupts-again-in-california
Northern Europe 01/13/12 wired.com: by Kai Kupferschmidt for ScienceNow – Scientists in northern Europe are scrambling to learn more about a new virus that causes fetal malformations and stillbirths in cattle, sheep, and goats. For now, they don’t have a clue about the virus’s origins or why it’s suddenly causing an outbreak; in order to speed up the process, they want to share the virus and protocols for detecting it with anyone interested in studying the disease or developing diagnostic tools and vaccines.
The virus, provisionally named “Schmallenberg virus” after the German town from which the first positive samples came, was detected in November in dairy cows that had shown signs of infection with fever and a drastic reduction in milk production. Now it has also been detected in sheep and goats, and it has shown up at dozens of farms in neighboring Netherlands and in Belgium as well. According to the European Commission’s Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, cases have been detected on 20 farms in Germany, 52 in the Netherlands, and 14 in Belgium. Many more suspected cases are being investigated. “A lot of lambs are stillborn or have serious malformations,” Wim van der Poel of the Dutch Central Veterinary Institute in Lelystad says. “This is a serious threat to animal health in Europe.”
“We are taking this very, very seriously,” adds Thomas Mettenleiter, head of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute (FLI), the German federal animal health lab located on the island of Riems. The virus appears to be transmitted by midges (Culicoides spp.), and infections likely occurred in summer and autumn of last year, but fetuses that were exposed to the virus in the womb are only now being born. The first cases of lambs with congenital malformations such as hydrancephaly — where parts of the brain are replaced by sacs filled with fluid — and scoliosis (a curved spine) appeared before Christmas. “Now, in some herds 20 percent to 50 percent of lambs show such malformations,” Mettenleiter says. “And most of these animals are born dead.”
Scientists are bracing for many more cases to appear, especially in cattle, because bovine fetuses infected in summer 2011 would be expected to be born in February and March. – For complete article see http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/01/new-animal-virus/
New Jersey 01/13/12 Bernards, Somerset County: A local woman is receiving post-exposure prophylactic rabies treatment after two separate incidents involving one or more foxes on December 29. A fox bit a pedestrian and ran off in the first incident, and in the second a fox attacked and bit the wheels of a baby stroller and was later killed by a police officer. See http://baskingridge.patch.com/articles/two-fox-attacks-spur-treatment-numerous-phone-cal
Virginia 01/13/12 Blacksburg, Montgomery County: Health officials say the rabid skunk was killed by two dogs at the Blacksburg Dog Park on Tom’s Creek Road, last weekend. It’s the first confirmed rabies case in the New River health district this year. One of the dog’s owners reported the diseased animal; but health officials are still looking for the owner of the second dog, believed to be a black lab. See http://www.wdbj7.com/news/wdbj7-rabid-skunk-found-in-local-dog-park-20120113,0,3376851.story