(June 20, 2011: Alaska officials suspect animals at Wolf Country USA are illegal hybrids.)
California 03/13/12 boston.com: by Sue Manning – It’s been three months since a California animal rescue center retrieved 29 wolf-dogs from an Alaska tourist attraction that had fought the state over owning, breeding and selling the wolf-hybrids. Chains were so deeply embedded in the necks of two of the animals that they had to be surgically removed. Many developed limps because they’d never used the pads of their feet. Now the task of taming the wolf-dogs has been given to three U.S. military veterans who say they can relate to the stress of trying to transition to a normal life. The program is called “Warriors and Wolves.” “I get along with the wolves,” said one of the three, Stanley McDonald, a 10-year Navy vet who has been foreman of the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center in Frazier Park, about 75 miles northwest of Los Angeles, for 4 1/2 years. McDonald said he knows what it is like to be homeless, alone and lost. “They’ve been in a bad situation, which I’ve been in most of my life. Most of them are afraid, taken away from the only thing they knew,” he said. “A great number of people are coming back from a combat environment and that’s as stressful as can be. It’s difficult to transition from that to civilian life,” said William “Buzz” Varley, a Lockwood volunteer and retired Navy man who works for the California Department of Transportation.
The wolf-dogs are now thriving in small packs of two to six animals after joining 12 wolf-dogs already at the shelter, according to Lorin Lindner, who founded Lockwood with her husband, Navy veteran Matthew Simmons, in 2008. Lindner said the wolf-dogs, who normally travel up to 40 miles a day, had been tethered in Alaska. Once they had room to run at Lockwood, they went lame because their muscles were not acclimated to the exercise. “It’s taken three months, but we are just now noticing them running without limps,” Lindner said. The animals are fed high-priced, high-quality kibble made of buffalo, venison and game birds, in addition to five to 10 pounds of meat each day. As part of a landfill diversion program, markets in the area give the rescue group their expired meats “so we are not killing any additional animals to feed the wolf-dogs,” Lindner said. In Alaska, they had been fed raw moose meat to keep them looking good so tourists could get close enough to the animals to take their pictures for a $5 fee.
Before the wolf-dogs arrived, Lindner and Simmons were running the sanctuary on $10,700 a month. But with the new arrivals, that’s jumped to $15,500 a month, including salaries for the three veterans. To help pay the bills, Lindner and Simmons are inviting supporters of the sanctuary to volunteer, donate or sponsor a veteran or a wolf-dog or plant a fruit tree (it helps feed birds) in honor of a loved one. Lindner, Simmons, the vets and volunteers built enclosures for the animals on their 20-acre sanctuary. Standing 10 feet tall, the enclosures include dig guards that are buried 5 feet deep. Because some of the animals have bad hips and arthritis, Simmons is building soft-webbed trundle beds so they can sleep off the ground. They’ve put out a plea to firehouses since old fire hose makes the best webbing. Lindner’s veterinarian took the sickest wolf-dog (she has another hybrid) and four of the animals have gone to other rescues. Eight others will be placed with other sanctuaries if those centers can build the proper enclosures.
Besides the wolf-dogs, Lockwood has four rescued horses, 16 parrots, six peacocks and a duck. “We rescued 33 koi fish from a house that was in foreclosure. My husband made a 200,000-gallon pond and now we have thousands of fish,” Lindner said. Lindner and Simmons also built a parrot sanctuary at the Greater Los Angeles Veteran’s Administration Healthcare System complex, where Lindner worked as clinical director of New Directions, a program serving homeless veterans with drug or alcohol problems. McDonald, 48, is the wolf program’s biggest booster. He says he has been an alcoholic since he was 18. He spent 10 years in the Navy and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. “I wasn’t a mean or angry drunk,” he said. “I would just take everything we had to buy alcohol.” Lindner met McDonald at New Directions, before “Warriors and Wolves.” McDonald says he’s learned from the animals and knew if he could help them, he could help himself. “I made a wonderful change,” he said. Since working with the animals, he’s begun reconciling with his ex-wife and reconnected with a son, now 19, whom he’d lost touch with. His son didn’t trust him at first, McDonald said. “It took some work by both of us. It took a lot of forgiving,” said McDonald. “I’m back with my family doing things I love to do.”
Arkansas 03/12/12 Boone County: Authorities have reported at least seven confirmed cases of rabies so far this year. A public health official said statewide 20 skunks have tested positive for rabies so far this year compared to 35 all of last year. See http://www.carrollconews.com/story/1825059.html
California 03/12/12 Hollister, San Benito County: A dead bat found at the Methodist Preschool on Monterey Street tested positive for rabies. Officials said there was no human exposure. A rabid bat was also found outside a classroom at San Benito High School six months ago. See http://www.ksbw.com/news/central-california/hollister-gilroy/Rabid-bat-found-at-Hollister-preschool/-/5738758/9281204/-/3nrhg/-/
Maryland 03/12/12 Elkton, Cecil County: Health officials say they’ve seen as many rabies cases so far this year as in all of last year. Four cases involving a skunk and three raccoons have already been confirmed. See http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20120312/NEWS01/120312036
Virginia 03/12/12 Bristol: Police are urging residents to be certain pets have been vaccinated after a skunk found in the 1700 block of Lee Highway tested positive for rabies. See http://www.wcyb.com/news/30662419/detail.html
Wisconsin 03/12/12 Madison, Dane County: City and county officials are looking for a dog that bit a woman on Paso Roble Lane on Sunday, March 11. The dog is described as a German Shepherd-type dog, black with grey in color and medium sized. He bit the woman while she was walking on the sidewalk. The dog was being walked on a leash by a man of medium height and build, possibly in his late 40s or early 50s, wearing a baseball hat and jacket. If the animal is not found, the victim may be required to complete a series of painful and costly injections to prevent rabies. Officials said that anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police and fire dispatcher at 608-255-2345 and ask for the animal services officer. See http://www.channel3000.com/news/30661465/detail.html
Manitoba 03/13/12 cbc.ca: Escaped elk from Saskatchewan are being hunted from the air by Manitoba’s Conservation Department. Conservation officials are using plane and helicopter surveillance over western Manitoba to kill at least nine escaped farm elk from Saskatchewan that could spread chronic wasting disease (CWD) to Manitoba’s wild elk, Conservation Minister Gord Mackintosh said. The animals escaped from farms in Saskatchewan a year ago. Conservation spokesman Vince Crichton said crews are focused on areas near Swan River to root out the animals so they can be shot. “They’ve got the ear tags on them so it’s a matter of getting down close to look at individual animals and to herd the ones out that have the ear tag on them and, you know, put them down.”
CWD is a fatal disease affecting the central nervous system of deer and elk. In the early 1980s, it was detected in free-ranging elk in northeast Colorado and southeast Wyoming. It has since been found in farmed-elk herds in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and other jurisdictions. Many elk farms have had to destroy entire herds because of CWD. “Our diligence in monitoring and responding to the threat of chronic wasting disease has prevented it from spreading to Manitoba so far,” Mackintosh said. “We’ve seen the devastating effect the disease has had on wildlife in neighbouring jurisdictions and this latest action is essential to keep our elk healthy.” While CWD has become a serious problem in Saskatchewan and Alberta, no confirmed cases have been found in Manitoba. There is no evidence to show that CWD can affect humans but the World Health Organization recommends against consuming infected animals.