Monday, August 31, 2009

TWO Rabies Information Items

[Two Rabies Information Items] Appalachian Ridge Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) Program – September 2009 – At-a-Glance AND Appalachian Ridge Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) Program – September 2009 – At-a-Glance

(Note: Both articles are current as of August/September 2009.)

Appalachian Ridge Oral Rabies Vaccination (ORV) Program – September 2009 – At-a-Glance


Rabies is a viral disease that affects animals and people and is still virtually 100 percent fatal. Raccoon-rabies variant (RRV) is of particular public health concern, because it can infect domestic animals and people. Ohio's effort to keep RRV from spreading throughout Ohio began in 1997. A new vaccine that could be eaten by wild animals was used to create a barrier of immunized raccoons along Ohio's borders with Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This strategy was very successful, and in subsequent years many other states, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia, also began programs. This multi-state oral rabies vaccination (ORV) effort is coordinated by the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS). Other cooperators involved in the Ohio effort include the Ohio departments of Health and Natural Resources (ODNR), The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Dynamic Aviation and local health departments (LHDs).

Baiting Area

ORV baits will be distributed in 16 northeast Ohio counties including Ashtabula, Columbiana, Geauga, Jefferson, Lake, Mahoning and Trumbull, and parts of Belmont, Carroll, Cuyahoga, Harrison, Monroe, Noble, Portage, Summit and Washington. The immune barrier runs along Ohio's border with Pennsylvania and West Virginia; from Lake Erie south to the Ohio River. The western edge is Interstate 77 in Cuyahoga County.

Start Date

Baiting is slated to begin September 6. Aerial baiting in rural areas should take 10 days, weather permitting. Vehicle and ground distribution of ORV baits in urban and suburban neighborhoods is expected to take about 18 days, from September 8 through September 25, but may be extended depending on weather conditions. The base of operations is Youngstown-Elser Metro Airport in North Lima, Ohio.

Bait Distribution

Baits are delivered at a density of about 75 baits per km or about one bait per 3.3 acres. Most of the baits will be delivered by specially-equipped, white Beechcraft King Air planes. They will fly over rural areas along north-south flight lines that are about 0.5 miles apart at an altitude of about 500 feet. An ODNR helicopter will also be distributing baits in targeted urban and suburban areas such as parks and preserves. Ground teams, consisting of LHD personnel, will be delivering vaccine-laden baits in urban and suburban areas, mostly by vehicle. In all, about 877,680 vaccine-laden baits will be distributed via airplane, helicopter and vehicle, covering about 4,761.3 square miles in Ohio.

Program Partners

Ohio Departments of Health [ODH] and Natural Resources [ODNR]; USDA-APHIS [U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service]; Wildlife Services Program; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC].

For more information, please visit the ODH or USDA-APHIS web sites at:


2008 Annual Summary: Ohio Raccoon-rabies and Oral Rabies Vaccination Program, 2008 - Ohio Oral Rabies Vaccination Program Update, 2008


Rabies is a viral disease that affects animals and people, and is almost always fatal. Since the mid-1970s, a rabies variant associated with raccoons has spread rapidly through the eastern United States and first threatened northeastern Ohio in 1997. This variant is of particular concern because it affects many other wild and domestic animals, especially cats. In 2003, Virginia reported the first human death due to raccoon-rabies variant (RRV). In newly infected areas, raccoon rabies results in a tenfold increase in human rabies exposures and treatments. For this reason, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) does not want this strain of rabies to become established in the state. In an effort to control the disease, ODH has been working with the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA APHIS WS) to conduct a program to distribute an oral rabies vaccine (ORV) to immunize wild raccoons along the Pennsylvania and West Virginia borders. This vaccine is delivered by airplanes and helicopters in rural areas and by local health department (LHD) vehicle-based ground teams in urban areas at an average rate of one vaccine-laden bait per 3.3 acres. Treatments have been conducted once or twice per year to create a 25-mile-wide immune barrier from Lake Erie to Monroe County. In 2004, there was a breach of the Ohio immune barrier. A raccoon with RRV was confirmed in Lake County, about seven miles west of the established barrier. All of Lake and Geauga counties, plus parts of Cuyahoga, Summit and Portage counties were subsequently added to the ORV treatment zone.

Although ORV has successfully suppressed infection in raccoons in the treated area and has controlled the spread of RRV through the rest of the state, the virus continues to persist in northeast Ohio. Since 2004, more than 95 percent of the RRV animal cases (117 out of 123) have been found within the outbreak/breach area of Cuyahoga, Geauga and Lake counties. In 2008, nine animals (five raccoons, three skunks and one coyote) were RRV positive, compared to 20 in 2007. Most positive animals were clustered in the western half of Lake County near Mentor; and in eastern Trumbull County near the Ohio/Pennsylvania state line (Figure 1).

Sixteen counties were involved in the three ORV operations in 2008. In May, vaccine-laden baits were distributed in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Portage and Summit counties. In September, this area was baited again, along with the ORV barrier area along the Ohio border (Figure 2). Additional baits were distributed in Monroe, Noble and Washington counties by USDA APHIS WS, in September, during an operation in Wayne National Forest. A total of 1,352,422 vaccine-laden ORV baits were distributed in Ohio in 2008 covering 10,010 square kilometers (3,865 square miles).

Although persistence of RRV in Lake County is a concern, the good news is there has not been a significant spread of the virus into areas outside this new breach/outbreak ORV zone.

Continued ORV treatments; plus aggressive surveillance will be required to keep the raccoon-rabies epizootic from spreading.

Through continued efforts, control of RRV will hopefully return to pre-breach/outbreak levels, when RRV decreased from 62 positive animals in 1997 to just two positive animals in 2003 (Table 1).

In addition to the ORV program, USDA APHIS WS conducted a large-scale Trap-Vaccinate-Release project between April and October 2008 in the western half of Lake County. Using a new systematic technique, the area was broken down into quads consisting of six one square kilometer (0.39 square miles) cells. The goal was to vaccinate 65 percent of the raccoon population residing within each cell. To accomplish this, raccoons were captured and each animal’s sex, relative age and overall health were determined. Healthy animals were vaccinated via injection, ear-tagged and released. All healthy non-target animals were released. Any animal that showed signs of odd behavior, sickness or had puncture wounds was tested for rabies. A total of 4,196 raccoons were vaccinated. Additionally, 138 raccoons and 77 skunks that showed signs of odd behavior, sickness or had puncture wounds were tested for rabies. One of the 77 skunk tested positive for RRV; while all 138 raccoons tested negative.

Zoonotic Disease Program, Bureau of Disease Investigation and Surveillance, Ohio Department of Health or 614-752-1029 or 888-722-4371

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Brave Dog Diaries: Police Dog Bosco & human partner recovering

Brave Dog Diaries: Police Dog Bosco & human partner recovering

Brave Dog Diaries: Bosco, Dutch Shepherd Police Dog, recovering from life-threatening gunshot wounds suffered in the line of duty (Bosco's human partner is also recovering from a gunshot wound.)

(Note: Bosco suffered his injuries on August 23rd, so his progress is nothing short of miraculous!)

February 3, 2010, Bosco Update! Bosco Brief (update on Bosco, the Dutch Shepherd Zanesville, Ohio, Canine Officer)

(Note: Bosco, a Dutch Shepherd Canine Officer in Zanesville, Ohio, was shot on Sunday, August 23, 2009, when Officer Mike Schiele attempted to arrest a Zanesville man on a misdemeanor warrant. Officer Schiele was shot in the leg and was treated and released from Grant Hospital. Bosco was shot through the neck and suffered multiple injuries, one of which caused temporary paralysis, which affected his front end most. This great dog and his owner. Visit to read all 15 updates and see other photos and videos. Keep your Kleenex handy; this is a story with courage in spades!)

February 3, 2010

Photo of Bosco taken on November 5, 2009:

Since the holidays, Bosco has been coming in approximately twice a week to the Veterinary Hospital for standard rehabilitation therapy.

He walks on the water treadmill and performs other exercises to reinforce his balance and coordination and to strengthen his right leg, which is still experiencing some weakness.

Overall, he is doing great, and he has a tremendous amount of energy that is evident as he pulls vigorously on his leash upon entering our doors.

Everyone is extremely pleased with how far he has come since his injury last year.


The Zanesville K-9 Unit is paid for entirely by donations. People wishing to contribute to Bosco's care can send donations to the Zanesville Police Department, K-9 Unit, 332 South Street, Zanesville, OH 43701.

October 13, 2009, Bosco Update: As seen in this video Bosco walks comfortably on the underwater treadmill as part of his physical therapy. As opposed to a "dry" or "land" treadmill, the water in the treadmill tank, a soothing 94 degrees, supports his entire weight; thus it is less stressful on his joints. The only challenge is that Bosco likes drinking the water as he walks! After the walking exercise is over, we turn on the water jets so he receives an invigorating massage.

October 9, 2009, Bosco Update: Today, Bosco completed his therapy for the week and headed home to relax. Tracy Marsh, certified canine rehabilitation technician, explained that he continues to gain strength and is only in rehabilitation three days per week. Check back on Tuesday, October 13 to watch video of Bosco in the water treadmill. Thank you for your continuing interest is Bosco's recovery. For more information about the Emergency and Critical Care service: that cared for Bosco when he arrived at the Veterinary Hospital in August, you can read the article: Team Approach to Emergency and Critical Care Saves Lives: Website where all updates are located:

October 1, 2009, Bosco Update! On Thursday, October 1st, Bosco and Officer Schiele made a live appearance on Channel 10 news. Bosco walked into the TV studio confidently and did not seem to be fazed by the camera. View the video of the interview. No doubt Bosco won over more hearts after his appearance on the program. His therapists continue to focus on increasing his strength and balance in his front legs, since he still stumbles, but he is showing improvement every day. In the past week, Bosco has been featured in the Zanesville Times Recorder, WBNS-TV, plus a live appearance on WBNS-TV with Officer Schiele, the Lantern on September 28 and October 1, and WCMH-TV.

September 28, 2009, Bosco Update! Initially paralyzed from the neck down, Bosco can now stand on his own and take a few steps. Media are invited to see Bosco during his rehabilitation session on Wednesday, September 30, 2009, at 10 AM at the Veterinary Hospital, 601 Vernon Tharp Street, Columbus, Ohio. Veterinarians and rehabilitation technicians will be available to answer questions. In fair weather, his session will take place outside, on the Coffey Road side of the hospital, which is located on the corner of Vernon Tharp and Coffey Road. In case of rain, media will be escorted to the Canine Rehabilitation room. More information: Melissa Weber 614-292-3752, cell 614-327-6024 or Kristine McComis 614-688-3517

September 24, 2009, Bosco Update! We are happy to report that Bosco can get up and stand on his own. He is also walking short distances with no assistance. As seen in this video he continues with his daily therapy which includes walking around cones and other obstacles, although sometimes he tries to cheat! After these exercises, he takes a well-deserved nap.

September 18th Bosco Update! Bosco went home to Zanesville Thursday night for a fundraiser and stayed the entire weekend with his family, which he truly enjoyed! He is back in the hospital this week [September 21-25] to continue with daily therapy, but will be allowed to go home on weekends. The main focus of his therapy is working on his balance. Although his front legs buckle now and then, he is making progress walking on a leash and harness.

September 17th Bosco Update! Dr. Amy Butler reported that Bosco has been a little lazy the past two days, until he started chasing a squirrel while outside on Wednesday! As seen in this video he is starting to move his front limbs fairly well. He just needs a bit of support when he walks, but he is placing the forelimbs and starting to bear even more weight while walking. He also wagged his tail for the very first time!

September 14th Update: Bosco is getting stronger every day. He can easily get himself to a sternal position from both sides. As you can see from this video -- (15 seconds; please turn up your volume) -- once he is lifted up, he has been able to stand on his own, as well. Bosco's attitude remains superb, and we continue to see some forelimb movement. He enjoys his therapy sessions outside in the beautiful fall weather. He also spends a lot of time in the canine rehabilitation room with his therapists and other dogs, so he never lacks for company or attention. Bosco's official police portrait is displayed at the hospital's front desk and generates many well-wishes from clients and visitors.

September 8th Update: "Bosco continues to make progress in his recovery. We are pleased to report that he has now been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit. He is able to prop himself up and is beginning to move his front limbs. His appetite and spirits remain very good. Bosco's daily rehabilitation therapy sessions clearly have made a positive impact. Bosco has been receiving many "get well" cards, and the entire patient care team appreciates the animal-loving public's interest and support during his stay here at the hospital."

Bosco Brief: Updated September 8, 2009 (
See Photos posted here: )

Bosco Brief: Updated September 3, 2009: Bosco continues his rehabilitation twice a day. His exercises include work on a large balancing ball. Tracy Marsh, RVT and Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner demonstrates that like many dogs, Bosco can be motivated by food treats. Bosco's movement is assisted by Amanda Waln, RVT. The following video shows Bosco working in the water treadmill in the canine rehabilitation unit located in the Veterinary Hospital.

Bosco Brief: Updated September 1, 2009: Written by Kristine McComis, Assistant to the Director or 614-688-3517 (Posted by Michelle Fehribach)

Dr. Amy Butler, Assistant Professor of Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care, reported that Bosco continues to improve and is very pleased with his progress. Bosco has more strength and has shown a little movement in his front legs. He is taking steps with his back legs and can stand with sling support. Bosco undergoes rehabilitation sessions three times a day and his exercises are focusing on improving his strength, balance and confidence. He can now go to the bathroom on his own. "He is ahead of where we thought he would be at this point," Dr. Butler said. It is possible that Bosco may be moved out of the ICU by the end of the week. It is anticipated he will be in the hospital several more weeks as he continues with his daily therapy.

August 29, 2009

By Julie Kay Smithson

Bosco is recovering from his injuries, slowly, but steadily.

To donate to help with the costs of his hospitalization and recovery:

Zanesville Police Department K-9 Unit

332 South Street

Zanesville, OH 43701

" ... as of today [Thursday, August 27] he's moving both of his back legs pretty well," said veterinarian Dr. Amy Butler. "He's starting to move his front legs and he's starting to bear more weight on them ... "

See articles below for more details, photos and video:

Bosco Brief: Wounded Police Dog continues slow recovery

Written by Kristine McComis, Assistant to the Director or 614-688-3517 (Posted by Michelle Fehribach)

The College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University

601 Vernon L. Tharp Street

Columbus, Ohio 43210


August 26, 2009 - Bosco, a Zanesville, Ohio police K-9, remains in The Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital's critical care unit as he recovers from two gunshot wounds. Bosco was shot on Sunday, August 23, when Officer Mike Schiele attempted to arrest a Zanesville man on a misdemeanor warrant. Officer Schiele was shot in the leg and was treated and released from Grant Hospital. Bosco was shot through the neck and suffered multiple injuries. He is currently paralyzed, although he does have some movement in his back legs. After several days of supportive and medical care with pain management, Bosco has shown some slight improvement.

He has eaten a little on his own and has started daily rehabilitation sessions in hopes of regaining more movement as his body starts healing from its wounds. Monitored 24 hours a day, Bosco is surrounded by compassionate and dedicated caregivers and has received an outpouring of support from the Zanesville and local police departments as well as the concerned public.

The Zanesville K-9 Unit is paid for entirely by donations.

People wishing to contribute to Bosco's care can send donations to the Zanesville Police Department, K-9 Fund, 332 South St. Zanesville, OH 43701.

Continue to check back for updates about Bosco's recovery.

August 28, 2009

Bosco is continuing with several rehabilitation therapy sessions a day and has made some progress. Today's session went very well, as Bosco, while supported by a sling, took six steps using his back legs. He has also urinated on his own. He is still unable to move his front legs but he looks much brighter, is eating well, and is more alert.

Bosco's story has been featured on several local television news stations and newspapers.
Watch the video posted on Channel 10 news.

Our thanks to everyone for their continued support and concern.
The Ohio State Veterinary Hospital is open 24 hours, seven days a week for
emergencies and critical care.

Copyright 2009, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.


Wounded Police Dog Shows Improvement

August 27, 2009

No author provided at originating website address / URL.


770 Twin Rivers Drive

Columbus, Ohio 43215

614-460-3700 or News Tips: 614-460-3950

Fax: 614-460-3950 and

Columbus, Ohio - Veterinarians said Thursday that Bosco, the police dog shot in the line of duty, is showing signs of improvement, but they said it is still too early to tell whether he will walk again.

Bosco has been receiving care at the Ohio State University Veterinary Hospital since the shooting Sunday night, 10TV's Maureen Kocot reported.

The 3-year-old Dutch shepherd's human partner, Zanesville police Office Mike Schiele, was attempting to serve a warrant when gunfire erupted.

Images Of Bosco

Schiele was hit in the leg while Bosco, who had been let loose to attack the gunman, was wounded in the neck.

Bosco's caregivers offered a grim outlook earlier this week, saying he appeared to be paralyzed, with no movement in his front legs and very limited movement in his hind legs.

On Thursday, there was better news regarding the dog's condition.

"On Monday, he could just barely move one of his legs, and as of today [Thursday, August 27] he's moving both of his back legs pretty well," said veterinarian Dr. Amy Butler. "He's starting to move his front legs and he's starting to bear more weight on them, so we're happy with his progress."

Veterinarians believe the dog's spinal cord is still bruised, and they stressed that it is still too early to predict whether or not Bosco will walk again.

Each day, three times a day, Bosco undergoes physical therapy for an hour-and-half. He also gets daily visits from Schiele.

Veterinarians said the dog's appetite is healthy. They even joked that he has been eating like a pig.

"Here we've been feeding him canned food and he loves it," Butler said. "And people are bringing him steak and salmon, all kinds of good treats. He's getting spoiled."

Veterinarians said the next three to six weeks will reveal if the dog will walk again.

Watch 10TV News and refresh for continuing coverage.

Previous Stories:

August 27, 2009:
$2M Bond For Officer, Police Dog Shooting Suspect
August 25, 2009:
Man Accused In Officer, Police Dog Shooting Returns To Zanesville
August 24, 2009:
Man Arrested In Officer, Police Dog Shooting
August 23, 2009:
Officer, Police Dog Shot During Struggle

Copyright 2009, WBNS-10-TV.


Contact reporter Maureen Kocot: or 614-460-3950


Contact tips2ussavethem webmaster: Website:

Monday, August 24, 2009

DOW officials give advice on keeping animals off property [wild animals]

DOW officials give advice on keeping animals off property [wild animals, that is]

"The kennel had high enough walls to keep the dog in, but its placement below a block ledge would have made it easy for a mountain lion to jump in, kill the dog and jump back out. ... Most predators hunt at night and are most active at dawn and dusk. People should keep that in mind when letting pets outside. ... Wild animals can carry diseases easily transmitted to house pets. That’s a concern."

(Note: Although this article is from Colorado, and the state agency is the Colorado Department of Wildlife, there is much helpful information.)

August 24, 2009

By Melinda Mawdsley, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel "The Daily Sentinel is the largest paper on the Western Slope - distributing in 11 counties in western Colorado and eastern Utah."

P.O. Box 668

Grand Junction, Colorado 81502


Fax: 970-241-6860

To submit a Letter to the Editor: (300-word limit)

Conflict between wild animals and humans may not be as big a problem in the Grand Valley as it is in neighboring, more mountainous communities, but problems still exist.

Some local confrontations draw attention, such as the June incident in which a Redlands dog was killed, presumably by a bobcat. Other issues, such as a bear rummaging through an Orchard Mesa neighborhood in July, don’t receive much publicity because they are handled quietly.

Regardless of the animal involved, or the seriousness of the confrontation, humans and wildlife have to coexist in western Colorado, said Randy Hampton, spokesman with the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Learning how to protect personal property is important because it keeps people and animals safe, Hampton added.

On August 12, Hampton and DOW district wildlife manager Elissa Knox showed up unannounced at four properties near Grand Junction to point out the things — good or bad — property owners were doing to prevent unwanted encounters with wildlife.

During visits to the four homes, Knox gave suggestions about how to best avoid visits from skunks and raccoons or potentially fatal brushes with a bear or mountain lion.

The tour began on I Road near a drainage area commonly referred to as Hunter Wash. The DOW has received complaints about coyotes in the rural area between Grand Junction and Fruita.

Hunter Wash and other drainage basins in the area are access paths for wildlife — prey and predator — to move from the high country into the Grand Valley, Knox said. Drainage areas provide drinking water and sheltering vegetation.

Consequently, Knox and Hampton wanted to tour a property off 20 1/2 Road because it was near Hunter Wash. Matt Krueger allowed Knox on the land.

Pet food for the dog was outside in a bowl near the garage.

“If they leave it out all night, raccoons and skunks will take advantage,” Knox said.

Pet food — and pets — attract wild animals. Smaller animals such as skunks or raccoons won’t necessarily attack a dog or cat.

On the other hand, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions — all of which live in the area — will.

Knox continued to walk around the property. A hummingbird feeder hung on wire under a patio overhang. Raccoons will climb on wires to get to bird feeders. And bears love to eat out of hummingbird feeders.

“It’s like candy for them,” Knox said.

A grill was below the hummingbird feeder. The grill was cleaned, and Krueger said the people who use the grill make sure they clean it because they know the smell attracts wildlife. But don’t forget to clean the drip pan, Knox advised.

Near the grill were live chickens. A wire fence kept the chickens inside, but it also will keep skunks, foxes and coyotes out.

“This is good fencing,” Knox said. “The mesh is small enough nothing can climb through. It’s strong with a good frame. The top is sharp, which is good.”

However, near the bottom was a hole with a heavy piece of lumber propped up against it, which would keep chickens in, but “if something is really determined to get in there, it will squeeze through,” Knox warned.

“I can walk out every night and smell a skunk,” Krueger said. “I hear the coyotes all the time over there.” He pointed toward Hunter Wash.

The property also had fruit trees, which “a family of raccoons will eat,” Knox said, and a large shed with horse feed. The feed is locked up in strong storage containers, Krueger said.

“This property is a good one (for potential wildlife encounters),” Knox said. “But it’s pretty well taken care of.”

The DOW tour moved from rural Fruita toward the Redlands, where the DOW has responded to animal calls of all sorts, Hampton said. The nearby Colorado River and Colorado National Monument are wildlife habitats.

Hampton and Knox stopped at Tony Miller’s house off South Rim Drive. Miller let Knox walk around the area, which overlooks the river.

His bird feeders were far from the house, and he typically does not feed birds in the summer. Both are good tips to follow if homeowners notice an increased wildlife presence, Knox said.

“I love wildlife, but I do everything to keep them wild,” Miller said.

He also had two fountains, which can attract thirsty animals, Knox said. Where thirsty animals such as deer roam, larger predators may follow, she added.

Knox and Hampton climbed back into the DOW Jeep and left the Redlands subdivision to tour another part of the Redlands that receives animal complaints: the Monument base.

“If you were a mountain lion and got to choose where you could live, this is the area you would choose,” Hampton said. The monument has a healthy deer population.

“Honestly, wherever you have a healthy deer population, there is the potential for a mountain lion presence,” Knox said.

Harry Hotimsky let Knox and Hampton walk around his property off Monument Road. Immediately, Hampton saw an open-top dog kennel placed below a ledge near the house.

“You don’t use that kennel, do you?” Hampton asked.

“Never,” Hotimsky answered back.

Chechu, a Labrador and Weimaraner mix, wasn’t a small dog, but it’s still prey trapped inside a kennel, Knox said.

The kennel had high enough walls to keep the dog in, but its placement below a block ledge would have made it easy for a mountain lion to jump in, kill the dog and jump back out. Mountain lions can jump 15 feet, Knox said.

Hotimsky said he hears coyotes “all the time” and frequently sees rabbits. When he first moved to the Monument area in 2001, he heard stories about homeowners losing cats or dogs.

Most predators hunt at night and are most active at dawn and dusk, Knox said. People should keep that in mind when letting pets outside, she added. Hampton heard a story years ago about how a coyote approached a home in the area and lured a dog away from a yard only to kill it with the help of other coyotes.

“It’s not only smart,” Hampton said. “It’s an adaptation. A rabbit will run from a coyote. A dog won’t.”

People who live in rural areas may be used to wildlife, and are well-versed about what they should or shouldn’t do to thwart encounters, but there are areas in the city where people might be surprised to learn wildlife and humans have made contact, and it didn’t always end well.

As recently as July 21, a bear was found rummaging through garbage off Edlun Road on Orchard Mesa near the Mesa County Fairgrounds. Because the Mesa County Fair was scheduled to start that week, the DOW had to locate the bear quickly to prevent a potential issue between the bear and 4-H animals at the fairgrounds, Hampton said.

Turns out, the bear in Orchard Mesa was the same bear found in early July inside the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. At that time, the DOW relocated the bear to the Uncompahgre Plateau.

“We pretty much put it in the middle of a berry patch,” Hampton said. “We want to give bears the opportunity to be bears.”

About one week later, the same bear, which had been tagged in Glenwood, was spotted in Gateway going through trash cans. It was never caught before it turned up in Grand Junction.

“It had become habituated to human sources of food,” Hampton said. “It had to be euthanized because it found human food over and over again.”

Don Sheffield, who lives near Edlun Road and has since 1977, said he didn’t see the bear in July, but he has seen a bear once. His property overlooks the Gunnison River. He let Knox and Hampton tour his property, which has a large garden. Animals have gotten into his grapevines and fruit trees, but it appeared as if the damage was done by birds, Knox said.

Electric fence will help keep skunks, raccoons and deer out of gardens, Knox said. Wrapping wire fencing around trunks of trees will help keep bucks from using the bark to rub the velvet off their antlers, she added.

Otherwise, she said, Sheffield seemed to have an understanding of how to live with wildlife.

“You are going to encounter people who are doing the right things,” Hampton said.

But Hampton said people don’t always do the right things when it comes to keeping wildlife away from their homes, and that can turn out badly for both animals and people.

Wild animals can carry diseases easily transmitted to house pets. That’s a concern. Wild animals will seek out human sources of food, which usually leads to euthanization of the animal, Hampton said.

But the DOW is not in the business of killing animals. It is in the business of managing wild game populations, he added.

“There is a need for people in Mesa County to understand that they live in wildlife habitat,” Hampton said.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife has a wealth of resources for homeowners wanting more information about what to do to better live with animals in western Colorado. Go to or stop by the DOW offices at 711 Independent Ave. for brochures and answers.

Copyright 2009, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Providing carefully researched information since 1999. Websites: and

Ohio Dept. of Health: Rabies Results Update: 1-15-2010

Rabies Results Update - January 15, 2010

(Note: For questions, contact Scott Odee at

Thus far in 2010, there has been one rabid bat that tested positive for rabies, in Preble County, Ohio.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

most emerging human diseases are “zoonotic” ... diseases can spread from people to animals, vice-versa

New Ouchless Plague Vaccine, Shipwrecks Wrecking Coral Reefs, White-Nose Syndrome in Bats, and More at the Wildlife Disease Association Conference

"... increased realization that most emerging human diseases are “zoonotic,” that is, diseases that can spread from people to other animals or vice-versa. ... until very recently, wildlife disease was not an important focus for the wildlife conservation community....Now, though, a new wave of social environmentalism and public concerns about emerging zoonotic diseases are placing increased pressure on wildlife agencies to address disease ‘crises’ involving wildlife."

(Note: This conference began on August 2nd and runs through August 7th, but was not sent to listserve members until the evening of August 3rd.)

August 3, 2009


USGS News Release August 3, 2009

Catherine Puckett (call during WDA conference) or 352-264-3532

Note to reporters and editors: The 58th annual meeting of the Wildlife Disease Association (WDA) will be August 2-7, 2009, in Blaine, Washington.

The theme is "Wildlife Health from Land to Sea: Impacts of a Changing World."

This release is based on USGS research being presented at the conference.

Also see a full press release on emerging diseases in fish at

Get Your Shots! Eating Ouchless Vaccines Protects Prairie Dogs in the Lab Against Plague:

A new oral vaccine against sylvatic plague is showing significant promise in the laboratory as a way to protect prairie dogs and may eventually protect endangered black-footed ferrets who now get the disease by eating infected prairie dogs, according to results by a USGS researcher at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center.

Sylvatic plague is an infectious bacterial disease usually transmitted from animal to animal by fleas. This exotic disease is usually deadly for black-footed ferrets and their primary prey, prairie dogs, resulting in local extinctions or regional population reductions. Along with other wild rodents, prairie dogs are also considered a significant reservoir of plague for other wildlife, domestic animals, and people in the western U.S. Prevention of plague in wild rodents by immunization could reduce outbreaks of the disease in animals, thereby reducing the risk for human exposure to the disease.

USGS scientists offered plague vaccine in food for voluntary consumption by 16 black-tailed prairie dogs. They also injected a plague vaccine into 12 other prairie dogs and then studied how much protection against plague the two kinds of vaccines offered. USGS researcher Dr. Tonie Rocke, the lead researcher of the project, found that the prairie dogs that “ate” their vaccine were better protected from the disease than the ones who were injected with a vaccine. These results, said Rocke, demonstrate that oral immunization of prairie dogs against plague provides significant protection from the disease, at least in the laboratory.

Black-footed ferrets, of course, are one of the rarest mammals in North America.

An oral vaccine, said Rocke, could be put into bait and delivered into the field without having to handle any animals, a process that is time-consuming, costly, and sometimes stressful for the animals. The same bacterium that affects ferrets, prairie dogs, and other rodents, is also responsible for human cases of plague. For more information, contact Dr. Tonie Rocke at or 608-270-2451

Shipwrecks Wrecking Coral Reefs? A Case Study at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge:
For the first time, researchers have definitively shown that shipwrecks and other man-made structures increase the potential for large invasions of unwanted species into coral reefs, even comparatively pristine ones. These unwanted species can completely overtake a reef and eliminate native corals, dramatically decreasing the diversity of marine organisms on the reef. Coral reefs can undergo fast changes in their dominant life forms, a phenomenon referred to as phase shift. Scientists have speculated on many possible causes of phase shift, but this study is the first one to clearly show that a rapid change in the dominant life forms on a coral reef is associated with man-made structures.

In September 2007, USGS researcher Dr. Thierry Work, Dr. Greta Aeby from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, and Dr. James Maragos from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service studied a 100-foot vessel that wrecked in 1991 on isolated Palmyra Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean. They found extremely high numbers of an invasive species related to anemones and corals, Rhodactis howesii, on and around the shipwreck site. The density of this species progressively decreased with distance from the ship, and it was rare or absent in other parts of the atoll. Likewise, the researchers confirmed high densities of R. howesii around several buoys installed on the atoll in 2001.

Even though phase shifts can have long-term negative effects for coral reefs, eliminating organisms responsible for phase shifts can be difficult, particularly if they cover a large area. The extensive R. howesii invasion and subsequent loss of coral reef habitat at Palmyra highlights the importance of rapid removal of shipwrecks on corals reefs to help prevent reefs from being overgrown by invasive species.

"Why this phenomenon is occurring remains a mystery," said Work, a scientist at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center's Honolulu Field Station. One possibility, he said, is that iron leaching from the ship and mooring buoy chains, accompanied with other environmental factors particular to Palmyra Atoll, are somehow promoting the growth of Rhodactis. For more information, contact Dr. Thierry Work at 808-72-9250 or

Society, Wildlife Disease and Wildlife Conservation: Oxymoron or Evolutionary Siblings?

Over the past 50 years, the field of wildlife disease as an issue for concern has exploded in significance, mostly because of the increased realization that most emerging human diseases are “zoonotic,” that is, diseases that can spread from people to other animals or vice-versa. USGS emeritus scientist Dr. Milt Friend, in an invited talk at the Wildlife Disease Association conference, will explore how and why the field of wildlife disease research has changed over the last 50 years.

One of the biggest differences, says Friend, is that until very recently, wildlife disease was not an important focus for the wildlife conservation community.

“Now, though, a new wave of social environmentalism and public concerns about emerging zoonotic diseases are placing increased pressure on wildlife agencies to address disease ‘crises’ involving wildlife,” Friend says.

He emphasizes, however, that emerging zoonotic diseases often result in double jeopardy for wildlife: not only do wildlife often suffer direct negative effects from a disease, they also endure indirect effects associated with actions taken to reduce human risks by suppressing wildlife populations.

In addition, says Friend, wildlife can also be jeopardized by actions taken if they happen to share diseases with domestic animals, even if those diseases do not pose a significant public health threat.

“Conversely, within the wildlife conservation community, the role of disease as a factor for species extinctions is receiving increased worldwide attention,” Friend noted. For more information, contact Dr. Milton Friend at 608-270-2488 or

Disease Risks When Moving Wildlife to New Areas: Endangered Laysan Duck Cautionary Tale:
Laysan ducks, one of the world's most endangered waterfowl, are native to only the Hawaiian archipelago. For 150 years, Laysan ducks were restricted to an estimated 4 square kilometers of land on Laysan Island in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. In 2004 and 2005, in an effort to rebuild thepopulation, biologists released 42 Laysan ducks on Midway Atoll, located one day's boat ride from Laysan. By 2007, a breeding population was well established on Midway, reaching 200 ducks. However, in August 2008, more than half of the Midway duck population (181 ducks) was lost to a disease epidemic lasting 30 days. Necropsies (the animal equivalent of autopsies) on dead birds revealed botulism type C as a cause of the die-off.

Disturbingly, said Work, 3 ducks were also infected with a worm suspected to be Echinuria uncinata; this worm has been responsible for mass die-offs of Laysan ducks on Laysan Island. Work notes that this worm was either moved to Midway during translocations of ducks from Laysan, despite preventive treatment of all founding birds, or it arrived with migratory waterfowl. Either way, says Work, this epizootic highlights the disease risk to birds restricted to small island populations and the challenges associated with managing newly translocated endangered species. Frequent population monitoring for early disease detection and comprehensive wetland monitoring and management will be needed to offset the potential effects of avian botulism and parasitism on endangered Laysan ducks, Work said. The bigger picture, though, is that disease risks need to be closely examined for translocations of all kinds, especially in light of translocations being proposed for dealing with habitat range changes that affect endangered species due to climate change. For more information, contact Dr. Thierry Work at 808-72-9250 or

Bat white-nose syndrome: An emerging fungal pathogen?

New research provides even more evidence that a previously undescribed, cold-loving fungus is associated with white-nose syndrome, a condition linked to the deaths of up to 1,000,000 cave-hibernating bats in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Since the winter of 2006-2007, bat populations plummeted from 80 to 97 percent at surveyed bat-hibernation caves, called hibernacula. USGS microbiologist Dr. David Blehert and his colleagues identified the fungus last year, and have followed up by trying to determine if the fungus may be responsible for the deaths or if it is simply a side effect of another underlying disease. The researchers found that 90 percent of all bats they examined from suspected WNS sites had a severe fungal skin infection that did not just occur on the skin, but below it as well. The growth temperature requirements of the fungus are consistent with the core temperatures of cave-hibernating bat species throughout temperate regions of the world. Given the hundreds of thousands of hibernating bats found throughout the WNS-affected region, as well as the potential for the spread of this disease to other parts of the United States and Canada, white-nose syndrome represents an unprecedented threat to bats of the northeastern United States and potentially beyond. For more information, contact Dr. David Blehert at 608-270-2466 or

Sick Fish May Get Sicker: Climate Change and Other Stresses Expected to Affect Entire Populations of Fish

See full press release on this subject
Entire populations of North American fish already are being affected by several emerging diseases, a problem that threatens to increase in the future with climate change and other stresses on aquatic ecosystems, according to a noted U.S. Geological Survey researcher giving an invited talk on this subject today at the Wildlife Disease Association conference in Blaine, Wash.

“A generation ago, we couldn’t have imaged the explosive growth in disease issues facing many of our wild fish populations,” said Dr. Jim Winton, a fish disease specialist at the USGS Western Fisheries Research Center.

“Most fish health research at that time was directed toward diseases of farmed fish.”

In contrast, said Winton, recent studies in natural aquatic systems have revealed that, in addition to being a cause of natural death, infectious and parasitic fish diseases can produce significantly greater mortality in altered habitats leading to population fluctuations, extinction of endangered fish, reduced overall health and increased susceptibility to predation. For more information, contact Dr. Jim Winton at or 206-526-6282 Ext. 328

Catherine Puckett, USGS Office of Communications or 352-264-3532; cell: 352-275-2639; Fax: 352-374-8080

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