Part of the Bay Area News Group

Archive for September, 2007

This Should Make You Very Angry

Ever wondered why, even though endangered California condors are dying in droves from lead poisoning, that hunters have NOT been banned from using lead shot in the supposedly protected areas where only 70 of these precious birds still live in our state?

Did you know that one Fish and Game Commissioner, Judd Hanna, just got “kicked” off the Commission by Gov. Schwarzenegger because he was in favor of banning lead shot in the condor refuge?

Hint: Think special interest groups, like the National Rifle Association.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, will be happy to take you on a very smelly and politically enlightening trip through his own blog on the subject if you click on:

After reading that, do you really think the Gov. is going to sign AB 821, a bill sitting on his desk that would ban hunters from using lead shot in areas populated by endangered condors? What a stupid, stupid mess. Poor condors, dying from something they don’t even understand. Sadly, neither do I.
/Gary Bogue

Posted on Friday, September 14th, 2007
Under: Animal protection legislation | No Comments »


Phil Frank, 64, a very special Bay Area cartoonist and creator of his Farley comic strip in the S.F. Chronicle, died Wednesday night after a long illness.

Phil will be missed by:

all the bears at the Fog City Dumpster,

Orwell T. Catt and too many other feral cats to list them all here,

Bruce D. Raven,

all the animals that lived in Asphalt State Park,

and especially a reporter and former ranger named Farley,

along with many, many others, including me and Lois and our cats, Tut and Newman. /Gary

Posted on Friday, September 14th, 2007
Under: Animal Cartoons | 1 Comment »


Could man’s best friends help you improve your memory, lose weight and stave off depression when you enter your senior years?

According to a national Purina Senior PetLover survey* of 514 pet-owning Americans, ages 60 and older:

** 66 percent said their pet keeps their mind active and their memory sharp.

** Almost half of those surveyed (45 percent) said that after adopting a pet they started spending more time doing physical activities like walking and 26 percent of the women said they lost weight.

** 84 percent of those surveyed stated owning a pet makes them feel happier.

“Research showing the physical benefits of pet ownership for seniors, which includes lower systolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels (American Journal of Cardiology, 1995), has been well-documented over the years. However, seniors also benefit emotionally from pet ownership, which might not be as easily seen on the outside, but can greatly impact their quality of life and enable them to feel their best,” says Steve Cohn, DVM, a Purina Pets For Seniors veterinarian.

A Healthy Dose of Pets Gets Seniors UP and GOING
Although constant companionship is the best aspect of owning a dog or cat according to 88 percent, seniors also see other benefits of pet ownership that include a positive outlook on life and a renewed interest in being active. In fact, 69 percent of senior pet owners said their pet makes them look forward to each new day and that’s the same positive attitude that contributes to a more active lifestyle.

Pet ownership provides a powerful incentive for seniors to get moving because they know it’s good for their health, and it’s another way to interact with their pet. For example, seniors acknowledge their pet is their companion, but 55 percent of those surveyed said they also see their pet as their playmate, and so the simple act of playing leads to more vibrant seniors.

Even more, 71 percent of the women said their pet keeps them energized, which is a great reason for people of all ages to consider adopting a pet.

*The survey interviewed 514 adults, ages 60 and over, living in the United States during a two-week period in late July 2007. Phone interviews were conducted via Opinion Research Corporation, a pioneer in marketing research. The results have a margin of error of +/- 5% at the 95% confidence level for comparable data between the populations of pet owners and non-pet owners.

Dear Readers & Dogs & Cats:
A press release from Purina Pet Care with the above survey information arrived in my morning mail. We all have our personal reasons for living with our pets or humans. That’s why I thought this little survey might interest you. If you have anything to add, please go to “Comments” below and type away.
— Gary Bogue

Posted on Thursday, September 13th, 2007
Under: Pets | 1 Comment »


Walloping Web was the work of thousands of Texas spiders.
Last week you may have read or watched on TV about the gigantic spider web that was discovered in Texas, and just figured, ha, ha, another phony story about things always being bigger in Texas. Well, I’ve got news for you.

In this case, it’s true. And it’s not only one gigantic Texas spider web … it’s actually thousands of spider webs all carefully sewn together into a massive web of astronomical proportions that stretches hundreds of yards in a ghostly canopy covering trees and everything.

Not only that, together, these thousands of spiders have carefully coordinated their actions to build and rebuild this monstrous web THREE TIMES after the elements have destroyed it. “Carefully coordinated.” Think about it.

Entomologists say it may have taken months for all those spiders to weave such a ponderous web. An entomologist at Texas A&M reportedly found at least 12 spider families responsible for the web — including funnel web weavers, sac spiders, orb weavers (your favorite garden spiders that spin those big, beautiful round webs), mesh web weavers, wolf spiders, pirate spiders, jumping spiders, and low-jawed orb weavers. (Information from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

And this is the REAL scary part of this when you think about it. Thousands of spiders working together as never before to spin the mother web of all webs … so they could catch more (and bigger?) prey. Check this out:

What’s next?

** Thousands of earwigs cramming themselves inside your morning Times so they can give you a BIG surprise when you pick your newspaper up off your driveway and open it in your kitchen?

** Great clouds of gigantic mosquitoes darkening the skies above your backyard, waiting to suck you dry when you go out after work to mow your lawn?

** Huge armies of snails banding together to slime the ground in all directions and send you slipping and sliding across your yard into a huge butterfly-net-shaped spider web hanging down from your back fence?

Why is this happening?

Pollution? Pesticides? Global warming?

Does anyone have Al Gore’s telephone number?

Posted on Wednesday, September 12th, 2007
Under: Uncategorized | No Comments »


Hey Gary:
With all this negative news on poison toys from China, Eric and I are wondering about dog toys from China. No one has said anything about them.

Dogs not only stick the toys in the mouths … they end up chewing on and swallowing pieces of the toys, etc.

Has anyone tested dog toys from China? (Paula & Eric, Pleasanton, CA)

Paulette & Eric:
I’ve searched the Internet and checked with all my sources and have found nothing about testing or recalling pet toys from China. Has anyone reading this found anything on this subject? If so, please let us know what you know by discussing it under “Comments” below.

In the meantime, here are some good sources to keep an eye on for updates on pet and human food and other product recalls:

** U.S. Food & Drug Administration Recalls, Market Withdrawals, and Safety Alerts:
** American Society for the Precention of Cruelty to Animals Pet Food Recall Resource Center:
** American Veterinary Medical Association’s Pet Food Recall Resources:

Thanks for bring this to our attention! /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, September 11th, 2007
Under: Pets & Poisons | No Comments »


Occasionally I get a press release that defies belief. Tell me what you think about this one:

Dear Friend:
You’ve seen her Donald Trump dog wig on The Today Show, entertaining dog hair-models on the Letterman Show, and her array of puppy hairpieces in the New York Daily News! Now Hollywood legendary wigmaker Ruth Regina will rock your readers with her new, authentic line of canine coiffeur Wiggles at the Las Vegas SuperZoo Show! (What happens in Vegas should STAY in Vegas! /Gary)

Tuesday, September 18 to Thursday, September 20, Wiggles Booth #3122 … SuperZoo, Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, NV.

Come see the all-new Limited Edition Hollywood Collection of dog wigs! Wiggles will truly be the Best in Show,

To set up an interview with Ruth Regina in the show or for press materials and jpegs, please feel free to contact us!

David Montalvo, Account Executive, JB Cumberland PR, New York

Pretty wiggy if you ask me. /Gary

Posted on Monday, September 10th, 2007
Under: dogs | No Comments »


It’s feeding time once again at the San Francisco Zoo’s Lion House.
The next thing you hear will be the sound of sharp teeth ripping flesh.

The zoo’s Lion House, one of its most popular programs, has been closed since last year when a female trainer’s arm was badly injured after a tiger grabbed her. Since then, zoo management has made structural changes to the cages in the Lion House and retrained the lion keepers to help protect them.

The S.F. Zoo’s Lion House feeding show reopens today. Lion feeding shows are held at 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

In a wire story I read, one mother of a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old said she would definitely bring her kids back to see the lion feeding show.

Hey, doesn’t everybody wants their kids to see those huge carnivores ripping and snarling and gulping down those big dripping chunks of bloody horse meat? It’s something warm and special they can share with their preschool classes.

Posted on Friday, September 7th, 2007
Under: Zoos | 1 Comment »


Biologists trying to save an endangered trout used the wrong fish
(These are excerpts from a story by Associated Press writer Judith Kohler)
DENVER — A 20-year government effort to restore the population of an endangered native trout in Colorado has made little progress because biologists have been stocking some of the waterways with the wrong fish, a new study says. (OOPS!)

The recovery effort by Colorado and federal biologists was thought to be close to its goal of 20 self-sustaining populations of at least 500 fish each. Bruce Rosenlund of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Denver said federal and state agencies working on restoration believed the fish were found in 142 miles of waterways … Researchers, though, said that based on genetic test results, the greenback cutthroat trout’s range is only … 11 miles of streams. (OOPS!)

The study said the results imply that the effort has “failed to improve the species’ status.” (YA THINK?)

In 1998, officials projected it would cost $634,000 to bring the greenback to recovery … it wasn’t clear how much of that has been spent to stock the rivers with the wrong fish.

The best part of this? It only took them 20 years to figure all this out.

Oh, well, at least they were stocking the rivers and streams with real fish … uh … weren’t they?

Posted on Thursday, September 6th, 2007
Under: Fish | No Comments »


A Pocket Guide to Poop Identity
by Matt Pagett, published by Ten Speed Press, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707;

I’ve received some pretty strange things in the mail over the years — smashed flat bugs with a note asking me to identify them … a very angry wasp in a film canister that chased me all around the newsroom … a 3-foot boa constrictor — but a book entitled, “What Shat That?” … a “guide to matching feces with their species” from my friend Zac Nelson at Ten Speed really takes the cake.

Gee thanks, Zac. I really own you for this. Do you mind if I send you a few samples for you to identify with the help of your new book?

Tidbits about the book:
“Pocket-sized, informative, and entertaining, this fascinating little $12.95 paperback brings excitement to excrement with 112 jam-packed pages of poo in all its smelly splendor. Each of the 50 entries in the book (mammals, birds, lizards, fish) includes the animal with a map and information on everything from its scientific name to its habitat and diet. There are also full-color photos and illustrations of the you-know-what for easy identification, descriptions and commentary, as well as a ‘Mess Factor’ rating (lions are the nastiest, scoring 5 out of 5, while the modest termite gets a 1).”

If you spend a lot of time hiking and have always wondered “What left THAT?” in the middle of the trail — this handy little guide will help you find out.

It’s a classic scat sampler, chock full of “more than you ever wanted to know but were too grossed out to ask.”

Now you don’t have to ask. You can just read about it.

Posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2007
Under: Animal Books | 3 Comments »


It’s OK to care. That’s what life is all about

I’m starting a special fundraiser to help the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek.

Every year the museum and its caring staff and volunteers helps myriad injured and orphaned wild creatures that are brought to them by residents in the community who find them. Last year they treated nearly 6,000 animals. Through their special programs people can learn about wildlife and how to preserve it. Each year they serve nearly 100,000 people through classes, field trips, and programs for elementary school teachers and children.

Even with more than 300 dedicated volunteers, the cost of medication, food, housing and medical care for the wild animals alone adds up to hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. The museum has struggled for years to maintain high quality programs and services while keeping fees affordable for families and schools. Their annual budget is met only with the help of generous contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations.

This year the City of Walnut Creek has added to their annual support of the museum by generously awarding an additional $150,000. However, in order to receive $100,000 of those funds, the City has challenged them to match that amount with new or increased donations from the community.

They need our help to do that.

The museum has a special place in my heart. I wouldn’t be writing these columns today if I hadn’t had the opportunity to spend 12 years as curator of the museum back in the 1970s. It changed the direction of a young man’s life and I’ve never looked back once.

The Lindsay Wildlife Museum also occupies a unique place in our neighborhood and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. There’s no other place like it in the world. This wonderful organization has given so much to the community and especially to you and me and our children, and the myriad wild creatures that live around us.

Let’s return that special favor and raise these funds to help give long life to that extraordinary place

** Please send your tax-deductible donations to: Lindsay Wildlife Museum — Gary’s Fundraiser, 1931 First Ave., Walnut Creek, CA 94597-2540.

Thanks for doing that!

You can learn more about the Lindsay Wildlife Museum at

Posted on Tuesday, September 4th, 2007
Under: Wildlife | No Comments »