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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Cold Snap–Or At Least Colds–May Push Back Florida Invasives

Right Before He Froze...

Right Before He Froze…,courtesy of Kafe Soleil.

Florida’s cold snap could provide the big check on invasive species biologists have been wanting for decades. We could see less iguanas and pythons–and also fewer more beloved animals such as parrots. Even animals that didn’t die in the cold could die of a cold in coming weeks.

“I expect we’re going to have huge, huge mortality, maybe even in Miami itself,” says Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission invasive species expert Scott Hardin. “Those that didn’t die [from the cold] could easily die of a respiratory infection.”

The Everglades’ infamous python invaders were at least cold-stunned and perhaps hurt worse. Researchers found that 10 of 11 of the giant snakes they tracked weren’t moving, Hardin said. He added that he didn’t have word yet on the giant parrot colonies that live around the state, especially Miami.

Given the hurt the freezing temperatures caused Floridians, Hardin didn’t want to sound too gleeful. But he so clearly was. The non-natives can push out species that naturally belong, and they’ve been running amok for 30-40 years, the last time Florida saw weather this harsh.

A few of the more vulnerable native animals were also hurt by the wintry blast. Hundreds of sea turtles were rescued, but hundreds more found dead, according to Hardin. The state did get to tag and collect information on lots of endangered green turtles.

Florida got a record count of manatees (5,067) because they’re easier to see when they’re crowded around

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Iguanas Dropping, Manatees Gathering, Pythons Surviving in Florida’s Cold

Florida’s harsh cold spell is a bonanza for animal watchers, if not for the Florida animals themselves. Manatees are gathering around power plants and hot springs. Iguanas are dropping from trees in a kind of cold coma. Cold-stunned turtles are warming up in hotel rooms. Pythons are sunning themselves. And waterfowl are migrating down from other states, says Gary Morse, a spokesman for Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission. Manatees: The manatees are the ones wildlife officials are worried about. They’re native, endangered and hate the cold. Sea cows need water at least 68 degrees to survive. Last year at least 56 died of cold stress, the FWC says. This year they’d like people to give them a break and back off for a bit. “They are stressed from the cold and from not eating. We advise people not to approach them in these times,” Morse says. “Our mere presence as human beings can cause them to flee the very thing they need.” The FWC already pulled two frigid manatees from cold water and sent to a zoo and an aquarium to warm up.

Sea Turtles: Sea Turtles often turn up at the same hot spots that draw manatees. But if they don’t they become sluggish and eventually get cold-stunned and beach themselves. Rescuers are swooping in and taking them to the The Turtle Hospital on the Keys and the Georgia Sea Turtle Center have resorted to putting them up in hotel rooms and kiddie pools, respectively.


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