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Archive for January, 2008

Injured rodeo animals need veterinary care

I just got the following letter from Eric Mills, coordinator of Action for Animals in Oakland. Eric is the ultimate fighter for the rights of animals and one of his particular concerns is to make sure rodeo animals get care when they are injured — which happens more frequently than a lot of people care to admit.

If you care about these animals and would like to help, read on:

Gary: I have in hand copies of the 2007 rodeo animal injury reports submitted to the State Veterinary Medical Board, as required by law. Are you ready? A grand total of two! No reports — zero — were submitted in 2006, and only one in 2005.

Rodeo injuries are commonplace. With about 250 rodeos held annually in California, there should be at least several dozen such reports every year. It’s clear that the “on call” veterinarian option allowed by current law isn’t working. Vets are not being summoned, and injured animals are suffering needlessly.

There’s an easy fix: State law should be amended so as to require an on-site veterinarian at every rodeo and charreada (Mexican-style rodeo).

Rodeos already require on-site paramedics and ambulances to care for injured cowboys, and rightly so. Animals deserve equal consideration. There’s good precedent. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) requires on-site vets at all of its rodeos, as do Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, the Hayward Rowell Ranch, the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Solano County Fair, and the California State Fair. So do all horse shows and thoroughbred race tracks.

Ask your state representatives to introduce and/or support the needed humane amendment. All legislators may be written c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.
Eric Mills, coordinator, Action for Animals, Oakland, Calif.

Thanks for caring, everyone! And thank YOU, Eric! /gary

Posted on Monday, January 7th, 2008
Under: Rodeo animals | 4 Comments »

Martinez beaver died overnight

Here’s a report I just received from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum:

Gary: The beaver that was brought to us on Thursday from downtown Martinez unfortunately died overnight. As of 6 p.m. Thursday night, his condition was extremely guarded and the prognosis looked poor. He was receiving antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication and fluids to attempt to stabilize his condition. It appears that he died in his sleep. A postmortem examination will be performed to try to determine the cause of this beaver’s illness. /Susan
Susan Heckly, Wildlife Rehabilitation Director, Lindsay Wildlife Museum

I suspect the beaver was fading fast when it got picked up on the bank of the creek by Animal Services on Thursday.  I’m sorry. /gary

Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2008
Under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Rescued Martinez beaver is sick — an update

Here’s an e-mail I received from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum on the condition of the immature male beaver that was rescued from the banks of Alhambra Creek in downtown Martinez Thursday afternoon and taken to the museum’s Wildlife Hospital for care:

January 3, 2008, 5:30 p.m.
At about 2 p.m. this afternoon, Contra Costa Animal Services brought an immature, male beaver from downtown Martinez to Lindsay Wildlife Museum.

This beaver had been reported to be exhibiting unusual behaviors including swimming in circles and bumping into things in the water. The beaver attempted to get out of the creek and was reportedly helped out by a bystander. The animal control officer who picked up the beaver noted that it did not attempt to get away, appeared weak and lethargic and could not stand.

Dr. Nancy Anderson, the museum’s veterinarian examined the beaver this afternoon including taking radiographs and blood samples. There were no obvious physical wounds or trauma. The beaver may have a kidney problem and has a mild infection. The exam also showed a nervous system disease that is most likely centered on the right side of the beaver’s brain. The animal is also blind.

The beaver is receiving antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication and fluids. Blood samples were sent to a diagnostic lab for additional tests. Those results should be back in the next two days.

The beaver’s prognosis is extremely guarded. Any wild animal that is this weak with a serious underlying disease has a slim chance of survival. However, the animal will continue to receive medical care and we hope that further diagnostic testing will help determine an effective treatment.
Sherrill Cook, Director, External Affairs, Lindsay Wildlife Museum

Here’s another pertinent e-mail from Heidi Perryman of the Martinez beaver people:

Gary: Lots of talk about the injured beaver in Martinez, just wanted to check in and let you know that we have always had one kit with a kind of “swimming limp,” which has suggested a neurological condition.

It’s possible that the stress of the night exacerbated this, and I let  the Lindsay Museum know while he was being examined. There is no reason a healthy beaver would have been out poking around that cage, and its doubtful that this caused his injury. Skip Lisle (Vermont beaver expert installing a water flow device in the beaver dam/Gary) feels sick about this, as do I, who have been worried about that little one since the beginning. …

Honestly the mood yesterday was so hopeful, and the City did everything as Skip recommended. Skip is very well respected by every beaver expert I’ve spoken too. Updates will be available as I get them on the Web page.
Thanks gary, Heidi

Dear readers:
I’ll keep you updated here as I hear anything new about the sick beaver. You can also monitor the Martinez beavers Web site above. They are posting a lot of up-to-date information on things that are going on with the beaver dam and the beavers. If you have any comments, or information to add about the beavers you can do so by clicking on “add a comment” below. Thanks. /gary

Posted on Friday, January 4th, 2008
Under: Beavers, Lindsay Wildlife Museum | No Comments »

Tigers & Primal Ranting, oh my!

Before I pass along the first reader-submitted Primal Rant of the new year, a short word on the tiger attack at the S.F. Zoo: And so the smear campaigning begins.

And now, back to our story:

Primal Rant: Don’t keep a cat if you’re going to neglect it!


Dear Gary: my Rant begins with a story:

There’s an unneutered tomcat missing from my neighborhood, a friend of mine I call Freeloader (because he’s been in the habit of coming around looking for a bite to eat, and trained me to feed him). His people live across the street, but he’s an outside kitty, and prefers my dog-free backyard for hanging out in.

Several nights ago, just before we were to leave on a short vacation, I saw Freeloader come up to the food dish 3-legged, not putting any weight on one front paw. He’d probably been fighting. I immediately sent my husband to fetch the owner, who came quickly. Then it got surreal. Freeloader has never been particularly affectionate, but always tolerates a few scratches from me. He wouldn’t come near his own human, though, and disappeared into the darkness. Owner shrugged, said he’s always like that, and he’d keep an eye out for the cat.

In the couple of days since we’ve been home, there’s been no sign of Freeloader. I took that for a good sign, assuming his people had caught him and got him treated at the vet. But no, come to chat them up, they saw him only once, in their own yard, in the last several days. He’s certainly not hanging around my yard. In fact, he’s simply disappeared. Another cat has moved in and taken over Freeloader’s prime sunning spot.

What on earth goes on in the minds of these people?! How can you keep a cat, and then neglect and/or distress it so that you have less of a relationship with it than your neighbors do? How can you KNOW your cat is injured, and just blow it off? My husband rightly reminds me that I can’t care for every cat in the world, but I feel guilty having gone on vacation and left poor Freeloader in the incompetent care of his people.

All you people out there who can see the owner’s point of view: Please Don’t Keep A Cat! It needs a better human owner than you.
Karen Locke, Santa Clara, Calif.

Dear readers:
From time to time I’ll print someone’s “Primal Rant” here for your enlightenment. You can respond to these Rants and add your own comments by clicking on “leave a comment” below. If you’re really riled up about something relating to animals or the environment, send me your Primal Rant about it in an e-mail (put Primal Rant in the subject field) or letter.

E-mail me at

Letters can be mailed to: Gary Bogue, Pet & Wildlife Columnist, Contra Costa Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099.

The Primal Rants printed here don’t necessarily reflect my own thoughts about a particular subject … but they might. Rants that are submitted may or may not be used. That’s up to me. At least you’ll feel much better after you write them. /gary

Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
Under: Primal Rant, tiger attack | 8 Comments »

Animals vs. the New Year


Senator Carole Migden and former Assemblyman Joe Nation have endorsed a letter asking U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein and U.S. Representative Lynn Woolsey to put a moratorium on deer killing at Point Reyes National Seashore until 2010. The National Park Service has hired a Connecticut-based group, White Buffalo, Inc., to kill non-native deer in the park. There are an estimated 950 European fallow deer and 250 Axis deer in the park. The NPS claims the non-native deer are competing with the native black-tailed deer. More at:

The issue of feral cats vs. wild birds is rearing its ugly head in Benicia. In an attempt to balance the needs of feral (wild) cats with a diverse and sensitive wild bird population, city officials and local animal advocates are crafting new regulations for undomesticated felines. The cat people want to set up trap-spay/neuter-release programs and feed cat colonies throughout Benicia. Local bird lovers say this conflicts with the protection of local wildlife because the cats will eat the birds. This cat fight isn’t going to end anytime soon, if ever. The full story:

Bay Area conservation groups are launching an interesting program in 2008 to reconnect residents with the natural resources and values of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) with the first-ever “GGNRA Endangered Species Big Year. The year-long event is aimed at connecting GGNRA visitors with the 33 endangered species found in the park, through individual exploration and guided expeditions, and to encourage participation in conservation action items that will prevent species from going extinct. You can find out more at

Speaking of the Martinez beavers — A special flow device is expected to be installed in the Martinez beaver dam this week, hopefully before the BIG rains that are expected this weekend. This device is supposed to control the water level behind the dam to keep Alhambra Creek from flooding. Let’s hope they get it installed before the rain … and let’s hope that it works. You can keep an eye on things at

This is just a tiny sampling of all the animal-related activities that will be going on in 2008 around the country and the world. You can find out more at the Web sites of some of the more active animal-protection organizations:

The Humane Society of the United States:

Defenders of Wildlife: http: //

National Wildlife Federation:

Center for Biological Diversity:


Just one New Year resolution:
Figure out a way to take my couch pillow back from the cats so I can watch TV. /gary

Posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008
Under: Animal Politics, Animal welfare, Beavers, Birds, Cats, deer, Endangered species | No Comments »