USDA Kills Another 4 million animals, including 477 dogs and 1,991 feral cats


You know how Americans are appalled every time there’s a story out of China or Iraq about the government thugs primitively rounding up dogs and shooting them? Well, we do that, too. On purpose. Federal agents are out there killing dogs, more than one a day. They shot 157 dogs to death. And it’s not just in the yahoo states out west, either. (Although Texas and Arizona are the top states of dog-killing.) The USDA somehow insinuated itself into dog situations in 32 states. They went out and shot two dogs in Ohio and 30 in California. And it wasn’t because they feared they were rabid, either. They only tested 14 dogs for rabies.

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Seeing Magpies, Beaver and a Singing Eagle in Aspen


I’m in Aspen while my husband moderates a panel on the Rooftop Comedy Festival so I went to check out the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. I thought I had arrived just in time to go on one of  their summer beaver lodge walks. But I’m just a bit early. They do them all summer, two nights a week. The center is closed after 5 otherwise, so you can’t do the walk on your own. I’m curious whether a beaver lodge in front of the Aspen Art Museum is still active.

The lodge itself is on the bank and not very obvious, one of the workers, Olivia told us. They’ve put fencing and chicken wire around trees all over their property to protect them from the beavers. And they still have to undo complicated and well-constructed beaver-made waterworks, she says. But it’s amazing to have such an important species right there–the center is walkable from downtown Aspen.

The center itself has two non-releaseable birds,  a great-horned owl and a golden eagle, who sang for us.

Outside the center I was lucky enough to see a great horned owl, mobbed by sparrows, chase after them.  I saw a bat and a couple ground squirrels. Swifts are all around town.  Everything is bear-proof here. People talk about bears like they are a thing of the past–at least in town. Elk are seen out of town on route 82, but that’s considered more of a driving hazard than an animal

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Plenty of Destruction from Beaver, But Is It Pointless?

I got to see my first wild beaver in the U.S. last month outside Columbus. My family was in town for a sad occasion, the tragic hospitalization and ultimately funeral of my sister, Ellen Grubbs, who died of the flu and asthma. We spent a lot of time at the Best Western in Pickerington, waiting for good news that never came. My mountain man big brother Tom, who would get up and dawn and hike, first saw a beaver in the creek between the hotel and the Tucker Nature Preserve.

We had nothing to do but worry, so suddenly we all wanted to go see the beaver. Tom described the area as having bike paths and joggers, so I pictured it being a little too manicured. Far from it. Ellen would have thought it hysterical if she had seen us scrambling up a brush covered ledge. We kept trying to see the beaver–though not trying hard enough to get up at dawn, when you really need to be there.

For the first week all we got to see was the beaver work–huge trees knocked over and gnawed. Amazing destruction. But I’d point out in the beaver’s defense, it was nothing compared to the lots cleared of trees nearby for, say, our new favorite hotel, the Target or just to look more attractive for a store. And the beaver has a way of keeping the forest fresh. Lots of animals can move into the new marshes they make. Moose–not

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Beaver Near UN

Fox News reported yesterday that NYPD pulled a beaver out of the East River near the UN during a security search for the pope’s visit. I wonder if this is Jose from near the Bronx zoo? How many beavers could there be within range of the UN? If it’s not Jose, that means New York City got its second beaver in 100 years.

Where to See Wildlife Around NYC

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