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Archive for February, 2012

Wood ducks return to Walnut Creek. Great photos!

Male wood duck in San Ramon Creek. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
1wood duck brian wc

My friend Brian Murphy is involved in a program putting up wood duck nest boxes on trees in backyards and natural areas  along downtown creeks in the Walnut Creek and San Ramon areas. Why? To attract wood ducks back to the areas where they once lived before we humans came in and developed them.

These incredibly beautiful ducks are a special treat for all bird watchers, by the way, as you can see from these photos. Thanks, Brian, for helping to return our city creeks to their natural state. That makes them very special.

Got this note this morning from Brian:
“Attached photos are from below Las Lomas (high school) parking lot in San Ramon Creek (in Walnut Creek). Very nice going from no wood duck photos forever to nice wood duck photos in our downtown creeks. /Brian”

Very nice, indeed, Brian. Way to go, my friend! /Gary

Female (l.) and male (r.) wood ducks in San Ramon Creek. Photo by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, CA
1wood duck2 brian wc

Posted on Monday, February 13th, 2012
Under: Ducks, Wood Ducks | 5 Comments »

Gov. Brown asked to not make homeless animals victims of budget crisis

Feral kitten (Bogue)

Please read the information below and then visit this site and tell Governor Jerry Brown what you think about his proposals:

Thanks for caring. /Gary

Humane Leaders Urge Calif. Governor to Spare Abandoned and Lost Pets

Groups Ask Brown Not to Make Homeless Animals Victims of Budget Crisis

SACRAMENTO — National and local humane organizations are calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to rescind his proposal to repeal a state requirement that municipal animal shelters hold stray dogs and cats for more than 72 hours before euthanizing them. In his budget proposal, the Governor has also called for eliminating the requirement for shelters to provide necessary and prompt veterinary care and would allow shelters to legally euthanize rabbits, reptiles and other animals immediately. These modest sheltering requirements – first enacted in 1998 as part of what is often referred to as the “Hayden Law” (named for the legislation’s author, former state senator Tom Hayden) – have been suspended for the past three years, but the Governor is now proposing wholesale repeal.
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Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2012
Under: Animal Shelters, Animal welfare, Cats, dogs, Hayden Bill | 1 Comment »

Japanese veterinarian to speak on Japan’s power plant disaster & animals

Japanese veterinarian, Dr. Shigeki Imamoto (JCCCNC)
1imamoto talk

I just received this News Release. Please give it a read. This could just as easily have happened here in the U.S. Think about it. /Gary

Animals Left behind in Fukushima Evacuation Zone

Japanese veterinarian to speak about his efforts to save them

SAN FRANCISCO – A Japanese veterinarian, who is in the United States to help raise awareness of the plight of livestock abandoned in the evacuation zone in Fukushima Prefecture in Japan, will be giving a Feb. 10 talk about the issue and his efforts to save the animals.

*** The talk by Dr. Shigeki Imamoto will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday (Feb. 10) at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter St., San Francisco, and is being sponsored by the JCCCNC and its Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund.

Imamoto, who runs the Shinjo Animal Hospital in Nara Prefecture, realized that there were many veterinarians who were fighting to save dogs and cats in Fukushima and considered livestock the forgotten victims. He began fighting for the lives of cows, pigs, horses and chickens and helping the region’s farmers. He became the chief medical advisor for the organization Farm of Hope, an organization which is trying to help farmers in the 20-kilometer “no go” radiation exclusion zone in Fukushima. The zone was declared a restricted area by the Japanese government on April 22, 2011, because of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Under: Japanese earthquake, Radiation & Pets | 1 Comment »

Coyote spotted visiting Pleasant Hill backyard at mid-day

Coyote in Pleasant Hill backyard. Photo by Tom Anderson, Pleasant Hill, CA.
1coyote tom anderson phill

On Super Bowl Sunday, my wife and kids were sitting with me around the kitchen, when what did I see out my window?  What looked to be a small, mangy coyote with sections of hair/fur missing.  We live in Pleasant Hill and abut next to Grayson Creek.  As can be seen in the pictures, there is a slope down to a large culvert, the water from which flows like a second creek perpendicular and into Grayson.

This creature found its way onto Linda Lane, where we live, before dashing back onto our lot.  Can you confirm, is this a coyote, what would it be doing mid-day in our neighborhood besides looking for small pets, and is there danger the animal could return?  Why was it missing chunks of its fur?  Sometimes we keep our small cocker spaniel tethered outside basking in the sun.  Should we be concerned or is this an unusual sighting that’s likely not to be repeated?
Tom & Nancy Anderson, Pleasant Hill, California
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Posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
Under: coyotes | 2 Comments »

Valentine’s Day tips from Pet Poison Helpline

1pet poison hotline

Dear reader:
With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought pet owners would like to check out the following information about some potential dangers to your pets. Please take a moment to read the following News Release I just received from the Pet Poison Hotline. The information may help to save your pet one of these days. /Gary

Valentine’s Day Tips from Pet Poison Helpline

Ideas for keeping pets safe from potential dangers

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with this holiday of love comes gifts, many of which include candies and flowers. The veterinarians at Pet Poison Helpline ( share some of the common culprits of pet poisonings related to these well-intentioned gifts.

“Unfortunately, some well-intentioned gifts of love can be toxic to your pets,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, and assistant director at Pet Poison Helpline. “Certain flowers, candy and sweeteners can be hazardous, so keeping those things out of their reach is one of the most loving things you can do for your pets this Valentine’s Day.”
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Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2012
Under: Pets, Pets & Poisons, Poison | 1 Comment »

Maddie’s Fund to open animal care & teaching facility in Pleasanton


Maddie’s Center Has a Home in Pleasanton, California

Maddie’s Fund, the family foundation of David and Cheryl Duffield, has just announced plans for a multimillion-dollar next generation animal care and teaching facility to be located in the Hacienda Business Park in Pleasanton, California.

The planned 90,000 square foot “Maddie’s Center” will include a pet adoption facility, conference center, teaching institute and rehabilitation wing. Maddie’s Center will pioneer new advances and train future animal welfare leaders in shelter medicine, nutrition, housing and technology adapted for animal care.

“Our focus will be on the hard-to-place dogs and cats and our model will be collaborative,” said Maddie’s Fund President, Rich Avanzino. “Maddie’s Center will be a testing ground for new marketing methods, protocols and remedies to make it easier and less costly to treat and place homeless pets who are sick, injured or poorly behaved. We’ll share what we learn with our neighbors and the entire animal welfare movement to help advance and sustain the nation’s no-kill achievements.”
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Posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Under: Maddie's Fund, No-Kill | 4 Comments »

Albino ground squirrel spotted in Livermore

Albino ground squirrel in Livermore, CA. Photo by Frank Jurik, Pleasanton, CA
1albino sq frank jurik pleasanton

Thought I’d send you a couple of pictures of a unusual albino ground squirrel that I have seen several times in Livermore’s Holdener Park.
Don’t know how rare these are but as a long-time bike rider and hiker in the Livermore Valley I have never seen one.  It took several attempts to get close enough to get these shots.  The area that he/she inhabits is home to a very large population of ground squirrels and also raptors.   It amazing that he has survived so long as he stands out so clearly in the brown grass compared to the others.  Must be a smart one.
Frank Jurik, Pleasanton, California

First albino ground squirrel I’ve seen. Interesting that it has such a large tail for a ground squirrel. Almost looks like a tree squirrel.  I suspect the birds of prey are a little confused and maybe frightened by that big white squirrel running around in the field and maybe a little cautious about trying to catch it. Unusual things like that sometimes cause predators to back off a little. At least the birds of prey. Not sure that would make any difference to a hungry coyote. Let’s hope the squirrel is also a smart one. /Gary

Posted on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012
Under: Albino, Ground squirrels | 1 Comment »