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Archive for the 'Animals' Category


Police retrieved a 4-foot adult caiman (South American alligator) from a flood control ditch near Irvington High School in Fremont on Wednesday.

This is the third alligator found in the Bay Area since June. There seem to be a LOT of pet alligators in the San Francisco Bay Area these days. Once they get to be about 4-feet-long, these feisty reptiles usually get dumped in local lakes, streams, ponds, Delta waters, and flood control ditches by their owners because they are too big to safely handle in the home.

If you come across one, keep your distance. They are VERY fast and have VERY sharp teeth.

This is just one of the many stories like this that can be found and read on the Times’ Pets & Animals page at

You’ll find:
** The latest pet and animal news from around the world gleaned from the Associated Press Wire Service.

** Great pet and animal photos and videos (you can also submit your own!).

** A list of my most recent Pets & Wildlife Blog items (click on and read).

** Stories about the Environment.

** A list of my most recent daily columns (click on and read).

** Pet and animal stories from the San Jose Mercury News.

Stories are automatically updated daily.

Enjoy! /Gary Bogue

Posted on Friday, August 31st, 2007
Under: Animals | No Comments »

Animals can express their opinions here

My cat, Tut, handed me this press release as I was leaving for work this morning: finally gives critters a voice
Ever wonder where fish stand on global warming? … whether crocodiles get upset when they are mistaken for alligators? … what the chicken who crossed the road was really thinking?

Animal-Internet presents the answers to these and other questions through “animatorials,” humorous, insightful editorials from the animal’s point of view.

Animal-Internet’s mission is to give all animals, both domestic and wild, a virtual soapbox to express their opinions. Visitors will find members of every species discussing world events, participating in polls, sharing photos, and leaving comments on the animatorial postings. There are only a few rules — no humans are allowed to join the community, members must refrain from eating one another and absolutely no use of the P-E-T word.

Although the membership is animals only, humans are encouraged to browse. New animatorials are posted each week. If readers rate a particular essay highly, it may earn “Featured” status and appear on Animal-Internet’s home page.

For more information, visit

You may also e-mail questions directly to the ferrets in Legal, the cows in Marketing, or the friendly dolphins in Support.

Posted on Friday, May 11th, 2007
Under: Animals | 1 Comment »

Noah’s Wish and Hurricane Katrina

If you were reading my daily columns during Hurricane Katrina, you may remember I wrote a lot about an organization called Noah’s Wish, whose staff and volunteers put in uncounted hours rescuing and caring for thousands of animal-victims of the hurricane. Many of you were kind enough to donate funds to Noah’s Wish to help them with their rescue activities.

I just received the following e-mail from Noah’s Wish. I thought it might interest you:

Dear Gary:
My name is Patricia Jones and I am the director of media for Noah’s Wish; we worked together during Hurricane Katrina.

As the one year anniversary of Katrina approaches, we are reminded that wrenching destruction is not the only legacy of the disaster, as owners continue to be reunited with their pets. One New Orleans resident, Tammy Huppin, was forced to relinquish her cats to Noah’s Wish after the storm destroyed her home. One of her cats — "Lucy" — was one of 22 orphans transported to a Lake Tahoe cat rescue facility. Several months later after Tammy had relocated to Austin, TX, she called Noah’s Wish to learn the fate of her cats. Two had been placed into loving new homes, but "Lucy" remained at the Lake Tahoe shelter. Noah’s Wish arranged to fly Tammy to Lake Tahoe, (today, Aug. 14! /Gary), where the joyful reunion will take place.

Much has changed over the past year since Noah’s Wish entered the hurricane-ravaged city of Slidell, LA, and rescued close to 2,000 of its animals. Prior to Katrina, the organization founded by Terri Crisp in 2002 was virtually unknown and struggling. It has since grown into a multi-million dollar organization with 14 staff members and offices in California, Oklahoma and New York City. On August 23, Terri will receive a Humanitarian of the Year award for her work during Katrina by the Sacramento SPCA.

As Noah’s Wish emerges as a leader in the field of animal rescue in disasters, its involvement in California disaster preparedness programs continues to grow. In June, the organization participated in a mock disaster drill with the Department of Homeland Security in Sacramento. In September, Terri will take part in the National Emergency Preparedness Conference alongside Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; she will be representing the Sacramento area.

Noah’s Wish is working to build relationships with communities around the country. The organization recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with St. Tammany’s Parish in Louisiana to manage its animal shelters needs in the event of a disaster. The organization’s greatest strength, without a doubt, comes from its volunteers, numbering approximately 1,500 strong. These volunteers all took part in a rigorous three-day training program designed to duplicate the experience — and attendant hardships — of a real-life disaster. Noah’s Wish breaks its training program into regions so that the entire country is covered and anyone who wants to participate in a training — and a disaster — might have the opportunity to do so.

As the one year anniversary of Katrina nears, I am hoping you might find the story of Noah’s Wish of interest to your readers. Please feel free to contact me at your convenience. (Patricia Jones Director of Media Relations, Noah’s Wish)

Organizations like Noah’s Wish help humans and animals to survive during times of great disaster. You can find out more about what they do by visiting their Web site at If you can help them in any way, please do so. You may just be helping yourself. Thanks.

Posted on Monday, August 14th, 2006
Under: Animals, Disasters | 5 Comments »

Animals and earthquakes

Did you feel the 3.7 earthquake at 1:41 p.m. on Tuesday (March 21, centered 6 miles southeast of Moraga, CA)? I sure did!

There was also a smaller 2.7 magnitude quake at 1:45 p.m., and a whole bunch of little ones at 1:56 p.m.

Even more important, did your pet(s) feel anything?

I’m always curious about how our dogs, cats, birds, snakes, goldfish, tortoises, and other animal companions react to earthquakes. Especially if you notice your pets doing anything unusual BEFORE the earthquake happens.

Does anyone think their animal companion "predicted" that quake?

For example, did anyone notice their cat standing in the living room, rocking back and forth and holding a big cardboard arrow pointed at the floor just before the quake? (Assuming it had never done that before!)

Just kidding (I think). I am serious, though, in wanting to find out how your pets reacted, if indeed they reacted at all. I suspect my dimwitted cat (please don’t take offense to that description, we still love him!), Newman, might have yawned, rolled over, and waited for Mother Nature to massage the other side of his 18-lb. body.

So let’s have a little survey.

I’d appreciate an e-mail to describing what your pets did before, during, and after the quakes. Let me know even if your pet didn’t do anything. I’ll pull it all together and we can take a look at the results here (and in my daily column).

Posted on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006
Under: Animals, Cats, dogs, Earthquakes, Pet birds, Pets | 3 Comments »

Preserving our vital open spaces

As many times over the years as I’ve tried to help the local land trusts raise funds to buy or manage and preserve new pieces of open space, I’m still always amazed at the immediate positive response I get from people and businesses throughout the local community. In 2002 I tried to raise $61,000 in 8 weeks to pay off the loan the Muir Heritage Land Trust used to purchase the 80-acre Gustin Ranch Open Space near Martinez, CA. Would you believe 1,225 donors sent in $75,838? That magnificent response really says something about how we all feel about preserving the fragile open spaces near our backyards!

So now we’re off and running to help the Land Trust deal with another vital piece of local open space, the 700-acre Fernandez Ranch property. This is an extraordinary stretch of West Contra Costa’s natural landscape, stretching from Alhambra Valley north to Highway 4, off Christie Road. You can see it when you drive from Martinez to Hercules along Highway 4, off to the left behind the Franklin Canyon Golf Course.

At the end of the first week, the Trust has received 33 donations for a total of $5,075! Not a bad start, really. That means just $44,925 to go. My goal is to reach this figure by April 9. Then the Land Trust will schedule a weekend gathering for all the donors on the Fernandez Ranch so we can celebrate and thank everyone for making it happen.

Buying and preserving our last remaining open spaces is the only way we can preserve and protect them from becoming parking lots or new housing developments. In the words of one of this week’s donors, we need to “help balance our existing community with publicly accessible open space."

I’m sure our myriad local wild creatures also appreciate that we’re making sure they will always have a place to live. It’s the neighborly thing to do.

Posted on Friday, February 24th, 2006
Under: Animals, Ecosystem, Open space, Wildlife | No Comments »


A couple of my readers regularly send me some great haiku they’ve been writing about our local environment. Mind if I share a couple with you? I thought not.

Nona Mock Wyman, Walnut Creek, CA:

like Winter’s snowflakes
almond blossoms gently drift
enchanting moment

The whole world responds
When the morning sun breaks through
Instantly, pure joy

Lura Osgood, Pleasant Hill, CA:

Thick banks of gray fog
Huddle against eastern hills,
Holding back the dawn.

Burgeoning berries,
Disappearing from branches:
Ravenous robins!

Posted on Thursday, February 23rd, 2006
Under: Animals, Seasons, Wildlife | No Comments »

Where are they taking the elk?

I received several e-mails in the last couple of days asking me, "What are they doing with the tule elk they captured last Monday (Feb. 13) and are taking away from the Concord Naval Weapons Station?"

The e-mail senders said they had watched TV news programs on the elk capture, and read staff writer Denis Cuff’s story in the Feb. 14 Contra Costa Times, and found no information on where they were taking the elk. "No one said anything as to where they are going," said one.

I don’t know about the TV news shows, but here are paragraphs 7 and 8 from Cuff’s front page story:

"State wildlife managers used the helicopter and 130 people on the ground to begin relocating the elk herd primarily to the Cache Creek National Area near Willows.

"The area will provide elk more space to roam, and get them out of the path of homes and offices envisioned for 5,170 acres on the southern part of the base."

That’s where they’re taking the elk.

Posted on Thursday, February 16th, 2006
Under: Animals, Tule elk, Wildlife | 2 Comments »

Alaska’s cruel wolf slaughter

Hi Gary: My wife and I both read and enjoy your column. Since you are an animal lover, like us, I want to request that you alert your readers about an extreme situation of animal cruelty currently going on in the State of Alaska.

It is the governor sanctioned slaughter of wolves from aircraft, in violation of the Federal Hunting Act. These blood-thirsty goons (no other description is appropriate), run these magnificent wolves down to exhaustion and then execute them at point black range.

This includes mother wolves being followed by frightened cubs … all of them. Wolves are magnificent animals with sophisticated pack structures, natural and beautiful predators that keep the natural ecosystem in check.

Please use the forum of your daily column to speak out against this. /Dick Augusta, Antioch, California

Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2006
Under: Alaska, Animals, death, wild predators, Wildlife, Wolves | No Comments »

Go suck an orange

If you read my daily newspaper column in Contra Costa Newspapers, you know my readers and I have been having a little discussion about the merits of oranges and orange peel, and of course the smell of same, for keeping cats and squirrels (and other animals?) out of your yard. I got several e-mails suggesting grated orange peel was a good cat repellent. A lady tried sprinkling some around her Christmas tree last December to keep her cat from messing with the tree, and it worked. After I put that in my column, I got 10-12 more e-mails from people who had tried the stuff and thought it worked very well.

Then I got an e-mail from Lisa Windflower from somewhere.

Gary: Regarding the hint to repel squirrels using citrus peel — this is what the squirrels in my yard think of that. ("This" was a photograph of a fox squirrel sitting in a tree eating an orange. Unfortunately I had trouble downloading the photo or you’d be looking at it here. I’ll try to get Lisa to send me another. /Gary)

What you don’t see (in the photo) is the pile of empty orange peels below the oak tree where they eat their oranges. The squirrels eat the oranges, leaving half the peel intact. The rats hollow out the entire peel. /Lisa

So much for squirrels being repelled by oranges and peels. At least, Lisa Windflower’s squirrels.There are always exceptions to everything. Especially when animals are concerned.

OK, I’m hiding under my desk, now. You can start responding to this (click on "comments" below).

Posted on Monday, February 6th, 2006
Under: Animals, Cats, fox squirrel, Pets, Wildlife | 2 Comments »

Speaking of listening to pets …

Scroll down a little bit and read my January 24 entry, "Listen to what your pets have to say." Our story continues.

When Lois and I brought out the wool comforter to help keep our cat, Tut, warm on these cold nights, we thought that would solve his problem of being too cold and I guess it did. Unfortunately, it also created a new problem: Wool Comforter Envy. Newman, our tuxedo Maine coon cat had it.

When I got the comforter for Tut, I didn’t stop for a second to worry about Newman. His mass of long, black hair keeps him from ever getting cold. Newman could sleep on a frozen lake and be happy. But he’s not sleeping on a frozen lake these days. He sleeps on the couch next to Tut, and he doesn’t have a wool comforter to sleep on.

I first discovered the problem when I came downstairs to go to work yesterday morning. Newman was sleeping on the wool comforter. Tut had been sitting outside our bedroom door, grumbling. When I got home from work last night, I could hear the thunder of galloping "hooves" as the cats chased each other around the house. Newman weighs 18-pounds and sounds like he’s wearing cement shoes when he walks. When he runs he sounds like a herd of bison.

Newman and Tut were standing nose-to-nose hissing at each other when I walked into the room. The wool comforter was on the floor next to them.

"Stop!" I said. Presto, no cats. Funny how that always works.

I picked up the comforter and put it back on the couch where Tut always sleeps. Then I went and got a red wool blanket out of the closet and stretched it on Newman’s pillow.

Now Newman has a bright red blanket and Tut doesn’t. Boy is he happy.

And the best part? Tut doesn’t care.

Posted on Wednesday, February 1st, 2006
Under: animal communication, Animals, Cats, Pets | 2 Comments »