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Archive for February, 2012

Bird feeders also feeding deer

Deer at backyard feeder in Oakland, CA. Photo by Susan Russell, Oakland, CA.
1deer at feeder susan russell oak

Dear readers:
In my daily newspaper column of Tuesday, Feb. 21 (“Bird feeder doubles as deer feeder”), Anne Watson of Pleasanton, Calif., had a letter describing how a buck deer was eating all of the bird seed out of a backyard feeder (

Here are a couple of responses to that column from other readers. I thought you’d get a kick out of the photos. Apparently “everybody” likes bird seed. (To the deer, you can add raccoons, foxes, squirrels and skunks!). /Gary

After reading your Tuesday column I just had to pass on this photo I took in our backyard in Montclair, Calif.  I, too, was wondering why the birdseed was disappearing so quickly, especially since the feeder is one of those “swirl-a-squirrel” type that keeps the squirrels from dining.  I never imagined it was deer until I caught this one with her hand in the cookie jar, so to speak.  Her friend is browsing in the background waiting her turn.  Animals are very resourceful.  Needless to say, I raised the feeder.  Hopefully there are are no giraffes roaming the Oakland Hills.
Susan Russell,Oakland, California
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Posted on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
Under: Bird Feeders, deer | 5 Comments »

America’s wild horses need our help

Pregnant mare and youngster chased by helicopter. Photo by Elyse Gardner, Humane Observer.
1wildhorses elyse gardner humane observer

Dear readers:
Please take a moment to read Jan’s passionate comments about what’s happening to some of the last remaining wild horses in this country. And when you are finished, please add your own voice to the growing voices of others who want to do something about it. Jan suggests what you can do to help at the end of her letter. Thanks for caring. /Gary

Dear Gary:
America’s wild horses and burros need our help.  They are being taken off the Western range by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in record numbers via terrifying, inhumane helicopter roundups.

All too often they are rounded up in extreme hot or cold temperatures with no compassion for the horses – and that includes old, young, or pregnant horses – it just does not matter. Beautiful, healthy horses are run for many, many miles, family bands are then split up and stockpiled in pens.  Not only is this inhumane, but extremely expensive – hundreds and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars pay for these roundups.

The BLM is using our hard earned tax money to remove America’s wild horses and burros from Western public land – our land – and most Americans are not even aware that this is happening. This is certainly not the way to spend our tax dollars, nor the way America’s wild horses and burros should be treated. They are entitled to, and deserve, humane treatment and the right to remain free in the West.
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Posted on Monday, February 27th, 2012
Under: Wild Horses | 7 Comments »

Artificial raptor perches installed on Mount Diablo used by hawks to hunt

Red-tailed hawk eating ground squirrel on artificial raptor perch on Mount Diablo. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
1raptor3 perch brian murphy wc

In case anyone asks, those artificial raptor perches we (the county) put up in  the open space areas on Mount Diablo DO work.

I got up to North Lime Ridge early for a work party so I could look around and saw a red-tailed hawk on one of the perches. I stopped and watched.
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Posted on Friday, February 24th, 2012
Under: Artificial Raptor Perches, Bats, Hawks, Red-tailed hawk | 2 Comments »

Feb. 28 is World Spay Day. Please spay/neuter your pets

1spay neuter


**** Scroll down to find special dogs & cats that need loving homes ****


Tuesday, Feb. 28, is World Spay Day.

The Nine Lives Foundation and Humanimal Connection are celebrating by having special spay/neuter pricing for CATS through Tuesday (Feb. 28). Spays are $35 and neuters are $25. All surgeries will be done at their No-Kill Shelter & Spay Neuter Clinic, 3016 Rolison Road, Redwood City. More details at

If your cats haven’t been spayed or neutered and you can’t make it to the Nine Lives Foundation clinic in Redwood City, please make an appointment with your own vet to have it done. Same with your dogs. Thanks for caring. /Gary

Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
Under: Cats, dogs, Spay/Neuter | No Comments »

These animals REALLY need your help

“Cece” needs a loving home! (Berkeley Animal Care Services)

Dear readers: These special animals REALLY need friends. Can you help? Thanks for caring. /Gary

Can you please help “Cece” find her forever home?
Cece is an affectionate, middle-aged pit bull type dog who is looking to finally have a place she can call home.

Cece arrived at Berkeley Animal Care Services in August, 2010, and stayed at the shelter for about eight months. This long stay actually did her quite a bit of good. She was dumped at the shelter, clearly having just been bred, and she was an untrained, unsocialized dog. Her time at the shelter gave her a chance to learn basic commands, attend training classes, and improve her behavior around other dogs.

Cece has a misaligned kneecap which will require surgery to fix, and she did not do well on the concrete floors at the shelter. She is now with Anydog Rescue, and BACS volunteers have raised the money for the surgery. However, she needs a foster or adoptive home before the surgery can take place, because her current situation is not ideal for her recuperation. She will be on pain medication as she recovers, will be restricted to short walks at first, and needs a home that can make sure to give her the attention she needs as she recovers.

Cece is about 5 or 6 years old. She would prefer to be the only dog in a house, but she would be OK with a well-matched mate (though she doesn’t do well with smaller dogs). Her energy level is average at best – she does not require a great deal of exercise. She currently lives in Vallejo.

*** For more info, contact: Marta Wolfe at Anydog Rescue. E-mail:, or 707-567-2560. More about Anydog Rescue at
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Posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Under: Cats, dogs | No Comments »

Calif. Animal Legislation: Will these new laws affect you?

Golden retriever (AKC)
golden ret.

If you like or dislike any of the following new proposed legislation, write your legislators and the governor and tell them how you feel about it … BEFORE they become laws. Contact information is at the bottom of this posting. /Gary


Next Legislative Meeting: Thurs, March 8, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Room 115, Capitol Building, Sacramento. Deadline for new bills is Feb 24. Many more animal bills, good and bad, will be introduced.

*** AB 610 by Assembly Member Jose Solorio re: Spay/Neuter License Plates. SUPPORT.
A pilot program lowering the number of pre-ordered spay/neuter license plates from the current 7,500 to 3,500 the first year. The second year requires 4,000 orders. Proceeds will fund spay/neuter programs.
Write: Senate Transportation Committee. Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Chair. Tell him the license plate program is a great way for the public to support badly needed and under-funded spay/neuter programs.
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Posted on Friday, February 17th, 2012
Under: Animal Laws, Animal protection legislation | 1 Comment »

Westminster Dog Show: Pekingese wins ‘Best in Show.’ Eh?

Malachy, a Pekingese, won Best in Show at Westminster. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Pekingese wins Best in Show at Westminster

Malachy, a Pekingese, won Best in Show at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, Tuesday night,  at Madison Square Garden in New York.

My wife and I watched part of the show on television, but we ran out of gas before it was time for Best in Show. I was rooting for the Doberman, a VERY classy dog, but never in a million years did I figure I would wake up this morning to find that a little ball of over-combed fluffy dog hair with two eyes and a fat tongue had won first prize in the “Super Bowl” of dog shows.

What about the Doberman, the Irish setter, Dachshunds, whippet, Norwegian elkhound, dalmatian, shepherds, sheepdog, pointers, boxer … and all the other hounds, toys, non-sporting, herding, and working dogs and terriers? You know, dogs that look like dogs?

Yeah, I know. That’s the way with any contest I guess. Somebody’s got to win. But a little ball of dog hair?

What do you think? /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
Under: Dog Show, Westminster | 16 Comments »

Oregon junco can be aggressive

Oregon junco, front view. Photo by Mike Gordon, Walnut Creek, CA
1junco mike gordon wc

Cute little junco on a ladder on my deck. They don’t seem to like eating from the hanging seed baskets, they prefer the ground.
Mike Gordon, Walnut Creek, California

Oregon juncos are definitely ground feeders, dining on grass seeds and seed spills on the ground under backyard bird feeders. They can be pretty aggressive. I watched one chase a towhee all around my backyard one morning. Wonder what the towhee said? /Gary

Oregon junco, rear view. Photo by Mike Gordon, Walnut Creek, CA
1junco2 mike gordon wc

Posted on Wednesday, February 15th, 2012
Under: Oregon junco | 1 Comment »

Slide show of this year’s Westminster Kennel Club’s 136th Dog Show

coy howl2

Slide Show: Westminster Kennel Club’s 136th Dog Show

Here a special treat. A Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and Dog Fashion slide show of this year’s 136th event!

Enjoy! These are cool! /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
Under: Dog Show, Westminster | No Comments »

State animal organizations oppose budget cuts aimed at animal shelters

“Please help me.”

Dear reader:
Killing pets to save money just doesn’t cut it. The state — Governor Jerry Brown — has to figure out a better way. Same with the California Animal Control Directors Association and the State Humane Association of California. I agree with the final paragraph in their statement below. They need to get together and “explore viable alternatives.”  What do you think? Please leave your thoughts under “Leave a Comment” below. Thanks for caring. /Gary


Governor’s Proposed Budget Cuts Would Have an Adverse Effect on California’s Stray and Abandoned Animals

Sacramento, CA –The California Animal Control Directors Association and the State Humane Association of California announced today (Feb. 13) that they oppose Governor Brown’s proposed repeal of the animal adoption mandate created by the 1998 enactment of the “Hayden Law.”

This mandate requires that animal shelters perform certain duties, including holding stray or abandoned animals for a minimum of four to six days rather than the 72 hours required by prior law and providing them with necessary and prompt veterinary care.  In return, the state is required to provide reimbursement for the increased costs incurred by shelters in the performance of those duties.

“Our organization supports the enhanced care afforded to animals through the passage of the Hayden Law,” stated Marcia Mayeda, President of the California Animal Control Directors Association. “There has been so much progress for animals in California’s shelters since this law became effective.  A repeal would be a huge step backwards.”
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Posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
Under: Animal Shelters, Animal welfare, Hayden Bill | 6 Comments »