Dolphin rescue in wake of hurricane Jeanne

Florida rescue teams responded today to a dolphin found distressed near sandbars north of Anclote Island. The dolphin had been seen swimming circles in the water, obviously stressed. "He has no visible external wounds," said Dr. Janine Cianciolo, Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff veterinarian. "Until we are able to obtain test results, we will not know what we are dealing with."

CMA will keep the dolphin for a 48-hour observation period during which he will be constantly monitored and evaluated. If he survives this initial 48-hour period, the dolphin will be reassessed for the possibility of rehabilitation.

Marine animals like their human counterparts experience stress and dislocation during hurricane events such as those we've seen this season. Several strandings have been observed in coastal areas over the past few days and area rescue facilities, already at full capacity, are strained to manage the need.

Officials at Clearwater Marine Aquarium advise that when people see a dolphin stranded, they should not push it into the water. They should, rather, call the Stranding Hotline and a team will respond. The Stranding Hotline numbers are 727-441-1790, extension 224 or 1-800-DIALFMP (Florida Marine Patrol).

Top of Page


Road Trip

This is the second weekly installment of a three part series about finding a new dog/co-worker for our family at the Animal Broadcast Network.

I'm writing this as Hurricane Jeanne thunders westward through Lake Wales just east of us about 50 miles. Wind and rain are already gusting 30 to 40 miles an hour and the TV weather guy tells us to expect power outages from a few hours to several days.

...we came upon Max from Marathon in the Florida Keys. Ivan was knocking at our back door. Nancy found a photo of a little guy named Max who had been rescued in, of all places Marathon, one of those stepping stone islands that make up Florida's famous archipelago the "Keys." We've been to Marathon several times, in fact we thought once of moving there. It's a neat place with beaches on the Atlantic and mangrove covered coral reefs dipping their toes in the Gulf of Mexico. The island, not as well known as its' sister to the south Key West, has an airport, a marine aquarium and until now we had not realized, an animal rescue called "Stand up for Animals."

We had been looking for an Affenpinscher, simply because one already lives with us and I suppose as with everyone else familiarity breeds resignation. Affens are hard working, alert and mischievous. They work endlessly to be in charge and although they look like dogs they are really small hairy monkeys with an attitude, see ...there's a new dog in town 18-9-04.

The photo Nan showed me was of a little black face hidden beneath loads of fly away hair, a slight trace of a grin curling one side of a half open mouth, but when we called for information it turned out that this guy was listed as a Scottish Terrier whose owner had died. We called Linda Owen founder of the shelter and after a short conversation she agreed to accept our application to adopt Max...Ivan was about to change our plans.

Friday September 10th Hurricane Ivan was turning north past Cuba; officials ordered the evacuation of the Keys. We spoke once again with Linda who planned to take her rescues to Broward County HSUS on the mainland. She promised to contact us later. So, with some considerable trepidation we wished her a safe trip and set about making our own preparations for Ivan.

Next Sunday, storms allowing, the final installment in our series, Looking for Max.
Top of Page


Week in review

Dogs May Sniff Out Bladder Cancer
  • UK Sept. 23, 2004 Dogs Exceptional Sense of Smell May Allows Dogs to Detect Bladder Cancer

    Court Rules a Horse Is Not a Vehicle

  • PITTSBURGH Sept. 23, 2004 The state Supreme Court ruled that Pennsylvania's drunken driving law can't be enforced against people on horseback, a decision that inspired the dissenting justice to wax poetic

    Cat Stevens Takes Legal Action over US Deportation
  • UK Sept. 24, 2004 Singer Cat Stevens today said he had instructed legal advisers to discover why he was not allowed entry into the United States

    New UN Talks Bid to Save Fish, Plants and Timber
  • Oslo Sept. 23, 2004 New UN Talks Bid to Save Fish, Plants and Timber

    A Step Beyond
  • Stockholm Sept. 8, 2004 Open season on Sweden's 'monster of the lake'

  • Top of Page


    Power Aquariums

    With the hurricane season still at full throttle naturalist Glenn Baker reminds us that preparations to protect your aquarium during a storm may just include a trip to the local bait shop.

    One tip I learned this hurricane season which I want to pass along involves fish in aquariums; to keep them alive, have an emergency backup filtration plan to protect your aquarium during an extended power outage. Many marine aquarium owners lost fish and coral during the storms before power could be restored. These creatures need oxygen provided through the aquarium aerator.

    While preparing for the storm, many aquarists didn't think about the fact that loss of power would put an end to their fishs' oxygen source. Luckily for me, I remembered our battery operated bait aerator on the bait bucket stored in the shed. Once we lost power I had to go out in the storm only to find that, because it had been used the previous weekend at Rodman Reservoir, the batteries were dead. Since we were running 50-watt light bulbs off of a 12 volt battery for lighting and not relying on flashlights, I took some "D" batteries out of the flashlight providing about 30 hours of aerator operation and that kept my fish alive.

    After the storm passed many folks told me they bought oxygen tablets which can supply a few hours of oxygen to the fish but they add up to a good chunk of change and fish stores were running out of them early on. O tabs are great to have on hand in your tackle box when bait aerator batteries die but don't depend on then for long-term power outages.

    Bait-Saver battery operated aerators found at bait and tackle shops and outdoor sections of stores like Wal-Mart and Kmart cost under $20 and should be kept on hand along with fresh batteries. A more expensive version can be found for larger tanks that operate on 12 V batteries, just under $50. However the battery-operated system was more then enough to handle my 29-gallon tank. The fish might not like all the bubbles at first but they'll stay alive.

    Don't expect to find these gems at Petsmart or Petco however, fish sensitivity to the forceful bubbling action caused by such devices can represent a danger to tiny fish and pet supply operators don't recommend them for aquariums. A fish lover might have to bite the bullet and visit a bait shop which carries these devices. They are also your best source for O tabs when you can't find them in aquarium shops.

    Glenn Baker is a contributing ABN photographer and naturalist who lives in Florida.

    Second Power Aquarium same as the first. Celebrate some special birthdays with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium during Pinellas Appreciation Days.
    Top of Page


    Gators' last place

    Twenty years ago residents of a small barrier island off the west coast of Florida named Sanibel chose to co-exist with one of nature's deadliest predators. Hanging in the balance, survival of the species and human territorial dominance.

    Sanibel Island on Florida's Sun Coast is a privileged community of affluent, mostly retired residents devoted to the good life and preservation of their place in the sun. They are remarkable for their communal determination to preserve the natural flora and fauna that attracts so many to Florida each year, a fauna that sustains, among other exotic biotic, the alligator. In 1985 Sanibel residents voted to end the wholesale eradication of Florida's alligators by licensed hunters and elected to become the only community in Florida that endeavored to tolerate and preserves America's single primal resident.

    In Florida, human communities have become increasingly conflicted with native animal species over land and resources. The Alligator known for it territoriality and seasonal aggressiveness has become not only the primary focus of resident's lore but a perennial attractor for tourism, Sanibel challenged that stereotype.

    Under Florida law any alligator over 4 foot in length which presents a threat to communities including those of home owners and businesses may be trapped and processed for its' meat and hide.

    The result of this community stand has erupted in a controversy over the last few years as human/alligator confrontations have increased. From June 2002 to May 2003, Sanibel police received 102 calls reporting nuisance alligators. For the same time during 2003-4 there were 163 calls, and then the inconceivable happened. On July 21st landscaper Janie Melsek was attacked and severely mauled by an 11 foot, 9 inch alligator, she died two days later.

    The consequent inquiry and public concern have resulted in an amendment to Sanibel resident's position regarding native species; alligators have killed 14 people in Florida in the last 33 years, Sanibel residents are lifting the prohibition regarding alligator tolerance. Rather than capturing threat alligators and removing them to sanctuary in nearby J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge the larger and perceived more aggressive alligators will be, going forward on Sanibel Island, culled by licensed hunters.
    Top of Page


    There's a new dog in town

    First in a three part series journaling the Animal Broadcast Network's search for the best damn news hound in the country.

    Having three dog staffers and two cats in charge of the office makes for a busy day by any standard but when you have to get a newsZine out on schedule, maintain the Animal Broadcast Network updates, and deal with what we nervously refer to around here as the hurricane express the last thing you want to contemplate is "a new dog in town" and yet that is precisely what happened at the home of ABN during the worst possible set of circumstances imaginable: three massive hurricanes in less than one month.

    Hurricanes Charley and Frances had already sliced from west and east across our narrow state in less than 10 days forcing us to lock down the paper and head for higher ground, staff included. But we were fortunate and unlike many, human and animal, suffered no real damage other than to our psyche.

    The following week began sunny, warm and humid, a typical Florida day. The company calendar revealed that this particular Monday after the storm was set aside for a trip to the veterinarian, part of the negotiated salary and benefits package provided by our employer. All three dogs are senior staffers and this is one of the perks, namely a day out of the office, now and then, an annual physical and a trip in the company car.

    8:30 AM and no waiting enter Dr. Kevin, nice guy, a little young but very professional, to administer the guy's annual exam. One hour thirty minutes later everyone leaves with a clean bill of health and a doggy treat, not bad for a morning out. One thing though - came up in consultation - what about the possibility of some new blood in the office, a young turk to kind of fire up the older suits and put some spark back into the publication?

    After a meeting of the board, with the publisher and editor it was decided to begin the hunt for a pup reporter with plenty of moxie but no real credentials. Now I don't know about you, but most of our experience with recruiting has been by word-of-mouth or, as in the case of the three senior staff, who were volunteers to the publishing game and came up through the school of hard knocks with enough savvy and determination to build the best damn news organization since CBS, the Cat Broadcast System. To go out on the net and actually research a potential hire didn't seem right, but that's the nature of the 21st century market place, who was I to say otherwise; put in the call to pet resources.

    Early on it was determined that what this network needed was a tough take-charge street reporter with less training than instinct and more chutzpah than good sense; the kind of guy that would volunteer to be the storm chaser for a weather channel, standing out there in the midst of 120 mile per hour winds, the rain beating sideways, barking out on-the-spot, live reports. One of the senior staff argued that we ought to hire an Affenpinscher, a breed well know for its' natural curiosity, well defined sense of superiority and self reliance, all of which a young fellow would need in the rough and tumble world of animal journalism. We suspect that it had something to do with the fact that Duncan(pictured), that's the senior staffer's name, is part Affen and probably looks to benefit from the prospect of a young cub to mold after his own image.

    The first inquiry was to Pet Finder a matching service web site with agents across the country and a nice virtual locator for acquirable rescue animal talent. The trick is matching the right candidate for the right position. All their profiles are exceptional for one characteristic or another but for specific job function. Often the candidate will be out of state or worse, on the other side of the country. We made a few inquiries and soon located several candidates all of whom had agents, or sponsors as they like to be called. A sponsor will field your initial inquiry on-line and provide a potential candidate's resume while at the same time checking the pedigree of the applicant. All this takes time and can be expensive in terms of transportation.

    The next call went more to the source. We decided to recruit our new go-getter directly from school, academia after all is the fount of inspiration and where could we be more likely to find a candidate than by going directly to Breeder University; get an education in selection and hiring at the same time. We might even find the perfect prospect for our network spot right at the Breeder. A few clicks later we found Nancy Holmes.

    Nancy is arguably the foremost expert on Affenpinschers in the country and a tireless proponent of "good fit" hiring. Her paper titled "How To Choose the Right Dog" is a wealth of information on selecting the proper animal for your family. She quickly extracted from our conversation that we were looking to rescue an unproven career rather than bet on a sure thing with custom credentials, after all this is a young network and budgets are tight as it is. Nancy directed us to Affen Rescue an organization that she had started some years ago and still assists, and we began again.

    Rescues are many and as diverse as the animal clients they represent. We talked with Sarah at Affenpinscher Rescue who seemed to know every rescued Affen in the country, these folks care a great deal about their rescues. She began the process of trying to match a guy to our particular circumstances: low man on the totem pole around the office, equally low pay, a long term contract and the dirtiest beat in Florida, the Gulf Coast - all that sand.

    Twenty four hours later we had two likely prospects a guy in Texas; great heart, young, with plenty of spirit and a fellow out of Georgia who seemed the perfect location but he was older and more experienced. It was suggested that we continue our search for some one closer and so we began again. Very quickly we came upon Max from Marathon in the Florida Keys. Ivan was knocking at our back door.

    continued next Sunday, Headline Ivan, Keys ordered to evacuate

    Top of Page


    Urban Coyote

    photo: Bruce Mitton, The Tucson Gardener

    From Maine to Florida and from California to the Atlantic seaboard Americans are increasingly coming face to face with one of nature's most determined and successful predators, the coyote. Once confined to the western territories by more powerful cousins like the grey and red wolf the coyote has spread its range to farm yards and suburban back yards throughout the United States.

    Often this first encounter with humans ends in misfortune for the most innocent, the family pet. Coyotes are opportunistic hunters and will prey on any food source in its range, small dogs and cats are no exception. The fact that human companion animals and small farm livestock are attractive to the coyote is in large part why farmers very early on determined that livestock needed to be confined and protected. The same holds true in towns and cities. Animal control laws require that domesticated pets be on a leash or confined under supervision to the property of their owner, not just for our protection but theirs as well. Dogs and cats allowed to roam freely will inevitably encounter other animals both domestic and wild, the results are often tragic.

    Animal control officials concede that trying to eliminate the coyote would be both expensive and ultimately futile. Left to their own devices coyotes will naturally fill the niche created when larger predators were driven out by human development. Coyotes prey on mice, rats and other small rodents which keeps their population under control and the impact on our environment is minimal compared to the dangerous use of poisons.

    Coyotes are wary of human contact and attacks on humans are very rare. Alternately, uncontrolled dogs attack and kill increasing numbers of children in the United State each year as people continue to ignore animal control laws.


    The coyote is one of the most successful land predators on Earth, behind the grey wolf. Its name comes from the Aztec word 'coyote' which means "barking dog". They have an incredible range in size and coloration. Coyotes from the north are larger (avg. 75 lb (34 kg)) than those farther south, such as Mexico (avg. 25 lb (11 kg)). Their color is generally a light grey with black ticking and pale under-parts. Coyotes that live in the mountains tend to be darker and desert coyotes tend to be more yellowish in color. They may have cinnamon markings on their face and sides of their body.*

    Coyotes range Canada, the contiguous 48 States and Mexico. They are found in a wide variety of habitats, from tundra to forest to scrubland to the outskirts of cities and suburban settings. They will thrive in an area just as long as there is a preybase.

    For a first hand story of coyotes in an urban garden read Fab Five in The Tucson Gardener.

    *Coyote data: The Canin Specialist Group
    Top of Page


    Vote to ban hunting with dogs

    Why is this fox jumping?

    ABN file photo

    The British Parliament today voted to ban the use of hunting dogs in the traditional Fox Hunt. Animal rights activists and the British public in large have long sought to banish the use of dogs for the hunt pointing to its inherent cruelty, saying the dogs were used to unfairly tire the agile fox allowing the hunters to more easily chase it to ground. Read the full story here.

    Live fox hunts are still organized and sanctioned in several states in the US including Virginia, Maryland, Georgia and The Carolinas. These hunts are legal during specified hunting seasons.

    Alternatively, there are "hunt clubs" that participate in so called "drag hunts" or "fox chases." Fox scent is distributed along a specified course, often over private property, and the hunters with their hounds follow the trail in a blaze of colorful and spirited competition designed more with exercise and fresh air in mind, and the fox gets a break in the process.

    Top of Page


    Disaster Relief...Preparing for Ivan

    ABN file photo

    As the third and perhaps most powerful of three hurricanes in less than one month sets its sights on Florida residents are making preparations for the storm.

    For many, coping with the approaching storm, means concern for their own safety as well as that of companion animals, livestock and animals in public trust such as those at aquariums, zoos and theme parks. Clearwater Marine Aquarium today announced that hurricane preparations are underway and the facility will be closed beginning this Monday, September 13th.

    In a related story the Florida Veterinary Medical Association, which is holding its annual conference in Orlando this weekend, announced preparations for emergency veterinary assistance to the state of Florida. State Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Thomas Holt says that Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams or VMATs are staged in Southern Pines North Carolina ready to deploy after Ivan to assist volunteer efforts to aid Florida's stricken animal population. Holt said, "In Charley, one of our counties had 13 practices, and there was only one in operation because of the power outages or actual damage to their buildings. Other practitioners were coming in and assisting in that practice. Teams of veterinarians volunteered to provide care at locations because there wasn't local care."

    Also today it was announced that Massachusetts' Tufts University has been named the recipient of a $50 million dollar grant to expand its School of Veterinary Medicine. The Grant is from the Cummings Foundation. "This gift will help fund needed capital improvements, provide matching funds in support of major research proposals, and greatly strengthen both the educational and clinical mission of the School." said Dr. Philip Kosch, Dean of Veterinary Medicine.
    Top of Page


    Moorhens protect from hurricane Frances

    Frances is about 45 miles east of us moving NNW at 9 miles an hour with winds gusting between 50 and 60 miles per hour. Our office at the Animal Broadcast Network overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. We have everything snugged away and expect to ride out the storm in relative safety – and so, it would seem, do our neighbors the moorhens.

    A few moments ago while watching the first outer band storms ride in from the NE a quick motion near the shoreline caught my attention. A mother moorhen was leading her 2 chicks home to shelter from the approaching storm. I watched this amazing site for only a second or two before common sense kicked in and I realized that my camera was inside. By the time I could fetch the blasted thing, it is always loaded, the mother and her chicks had traversed the 60 yards or so against the considerable wind and mom was shooing them into their shelter in a clump of reeds growing at the shoreline. She stopped and turned for a moment (insert) as if to check for any stragglers and disappeared into the tall sturdy stalks that bend with the wind but will not break.

    Now, I’ve seen them there before and I know that the reeds are their nest area as they constantly come and go while foraging along the shores of the inlet. That was not the amazing part of the event, nor even the evident caution and skill with which mom put her chicks out of harms way. I’ve grown use to the fact that moorhen parents are dedicated defenders of their brood.

    No, what proved an eye opener was the very existence of that patch of reeds. The property owner, who maintains an otherwise meticulous landscape, has deliberately allowed the reed clump, messy and somewhat disheveled as it is so that he can share this shore with a family of moorhens.

    If you're interested in learning more, visit Moorhen in the UK.
    Top of Page


    Puppy Mill Awareness Day 2004


    Puppy Mill Awareness Day convenes the month in Harrisburg, PA. The event is planned to draw attention to the terrible methods and practices of companion animal breeding employed by some unscrupulous individuals.

    The sponsors are bringing together animal rescue groups, animal rights activists, government and private sector interests. There will be related seminars on support of "rescues" and presentations on the subject of identifying and working to close puppy mills. Some notorious mills have been identified but the operations continue despite local ordinances designed to halt or at least limit their operations.

    Event organizers are hopeful that the event will generate attention to the cynicism of this industry and add to public awareness eventually bringing an end to the senseless cruelty and waste of life puppy mill breeders inflict.

    Chris DeRose, founder of Los Angeles-based Last Chance for Animals will speak at Puppy Mill Awareness Day, 2004 September 17th and 18th in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. On Friday, September 17th at the Comfort Inn in Harrisburg, the internationally recognized animal rights expert will address how investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty at puppy mills will help bring an end to the proliferation of puppy mills which is at the heart of a devastating statistic: for every puppy purchased at a retail store or through a breeder in the United States, 3 dogs are euthanized. DeRose will also speak on Saturday, September 18th, at Riverside Park at Kunkel Plaza. He will discuss this issue, which affects over 70 million American companion pet owners, alongside Ms. Claudine Wiklins, Esq. of Georgia Legal Professionals for Animals. Ms. Wiklins prosecuted the first successful animal cruelty charges in Atlanta. She lectured at the first world animal rights conference in 1996 and has been a frequent speaker to the 'laws for animals' movement.

    To make reservations for the Friday evening seminar, call 732-288-0108, 732-573-1946 or register online at www.awarenessday.org.

    DeRose, an internationally recognized humanitarian and the author of "In Your Face," will speak to the cruel methods used by breeders and the retail pet trade and provide information on what can be done to support the shelter and rescue industries.

    "It is extremely important for Americans to know what that the cute puppy in the pet shop has endured to be sold," said DeRose, "There are so many adoptable and wonderful pets at shelters and rescues throughout the country, that the purchase of a puppy is plain irresponsible. If someone wants a specific breed or a young dog, it's all available, especially with the help of the internet."

    Last Chance for Animals otherwise known as the "FBI of Animal Rights" has influenced some of the most significant issues that affect animals. Recent successes include a 50% cutback on the production of Premarin (Wyeth Ayerst's hormone replacement therapy), made from pregnant mares urine and an LCA investigation of the largest pet theft ring in the U.S. The results were so compelling that for the first time in history such a case landed on the desk of the US Attorney's office and prompted investigations by six federal agencies. It is currently pending indictment.
    Top of Page