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  • 02 Aug 2011
    A Southern California woman walking her leashed dog has been knocked to the ground by a coyote that snatched her pooch and ran away. California City Authorizes Firm To Shoot Coyotes LAGUNA WOODS, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California woman walking her leashed dog has been knocked to the ground by a coyote that snatched her pooch and ran away. Karen Sherif was on her usual Tuesday morning walk in Laguna Woods when she suddenly felt a tug on the leash and was knocked down. Her 12-year-old Yorkshire Terrier named Pooh was in the mouth of a coyote. The coyote took off, dragging the 64-year-old woman into the road by Pooh's leash. Sherif let go of the leash and neighbors rushed out of their homes to help. The woman's injuries aren't serious. Pooh's body was found about 100 feet away, her neck broken. Laguna Beach police Lt. Jason Kravetz tells the Los Angeles Times that authorities are looking for the coyote involved in Tuesday's attack. California City Authorizes Firm To Shoot Coyotes On the shady paths of this sprawling Southern California retirement community, neighbors have been told to carry sticks. TUSTIN, Calif. (AP) — On the shady paths of this sprawling Southern California retirement community, neighbors have been told to carry sticks. The menace is a group of emboldened coyotes who have attacked leashed pets, killing two dogs in the last week and dragging down pet owners who rushed to their rescue. On Thursday, the city of Laguna Woods voted to take matters into its own hands by authorizing professional exterminators or animal control experts who obtain permits to shoot the wild animals. Officials promptly issued a permit to one such firm, which is required to notify law enforcement within 10 minutes if any shots are fired, said Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Steve Doan. The city — a network of gated retirement communities shrouded in trees — already has tried other tactics to round up the pack of roughly seven animals who, unlike most coyotes, don't scatter at the sight of humans. Officials used pepper spray to disrupt trails and dens. Tranquilizer guns and traps were also utilized. But most of the coyotes have eluded capture. "We just have not been able to catch the other four and the incidents just seem to be escalating,'' City Manager Leslie Keane said. Coyotes are often a problem in the vast suburbs in Southern California where homes are built right up to creeks and foothills where the animals roam. But coyotes are perfectly content to live in urban environments where the food supply outstrips that of the wild _ garbage, tree fruit, pet food and pets offer ample grub, said Kevin Brennan, a wildlife biologist with California's Department of Fish and Game. Laguna Woods is unique because the city made up of retirees has a median age of 77 — which has local officials concerned that such a tussle could take a bigger toll. But confrontations between coyotes and suburbanites aren't new. Jurisdictions including Riverside and the county of San Bernardino also have hired private firms to trap or shoot the animals when preventative measures to keep them out have failed, Brennan said. "What happens is familiarity breeds contempt,'' he said, "The longer coyotes hang around people, they lose their fear and they start becoming more bold.'' "Basically you should never allow a coyote to feel comfortable around your home. You should always scare it off.'' In Laguna Woods, two women were injured in the last week when they were knocked over after coyotes pulled on leashes to maul their small pet dogs. City officials said they don't want to wait until someone gets attacked by a coyote to take action and state authorities only get involved when there an imminent threat to public safety. One of the challenges is many retirees have smaller pets who keep them company. In the absence of their now-grown children, the dogs and cats often become family and are attractive to coyotes. Lorraine Barr, 92, said she took her 7-pound Yorkshire Terrier named Pumpkin on a late-night walk last week and was watching out for coyotes, but was still stunned when one of them went for her dog and ran off with it. "My wrist was yanked so hard that I fell forward on my stomach, and I'm a heavy woman,'' Barr said. One of her neighbors later found the collar, bloody. The dog was not found. Barr called the loss of Pumpkin "exceptionally difficult emotionally.'' "We understood each other. She followed me around my small apartment, and after her naps the first thing she would do was get up and make sure how I was,'' Barr said. "It's the hardest thing I've ever experienced since the first person I loved ended the relationship 65 years ago.'' Another woman, Karen Sharif, suffered a black eye, a swollen cheek and a cut lip when a coyote snatched her dog Pooh in the middle of a midmorning walk. Sharif refused to let go of the leash, and she fell on her face before eventually having to let go. The coyote soon dropped the dead dog, and she got it back. "Dog owners know that when they buy a dog, they're going to face their pet dying in 10 years, 15 years, but they don't expect to see the vision of it in the mouth of a wild animal,'' Sharif said. "That's what's causing me sleepless nights.'' But some in the community don't want to see the animals shot. Organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and some Laguna Woods residents have said the city could review other options before reaching for a gun. That includes Barr, who despite losing her dog to coyotes said she doesn't want them dead. "Everyone I know is aghast, and I'm aghast, at the thought of killing the coyotes,'' she said. "They serve a purpose too. I would hope that they could be captured and re-released.'' Sharif agreed, saying "I am not blaming this coyote. It did a natural thing.'' But Sharif said she learned from city officials that the coyotes can be trapped but there is nowhere to take them. "In the short run you've got to kill them, I'm afraid,'' she said. Officials say the problem likely starts in communities where residents didn't take measures to keep coyotes away before they got aggressive. Local officials have found leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes left outside, leading them to believe residents were feeding the wild animals, Keane said. That would lure coyotes to retirees' homes instead of shooing them away. Mayor Bert Hack said most coyotes run off when they see people. He said he recently spotted one take off down the street with a cat in its mouth. "We have dealt with this — it waxes and it wanes,'' Hack said. "But when people get hurt, you tend to want to do something about it.''
    2454 Posted by admin
  • 13 Mar 2012
      Epidemic Alert: Feral Hogs Tearing Up New York Countryside     The pigs are invading New York! It may sound like the lamest monster movie tagline ever, but the feral hog pandemic that was previously localized to the South has made its way to the Empire State, and it spells destruction for state agriculture. The New York Times has reported that feral hogs have made their way into Champlain County, New York, and like their cousins down in Dixie, these porkers are causing huge problems. For example, Bob Rulf, an 82-year-old farmer, found his crops severely damaged, and thinking it was a deer problem, dispatched a few hunters to take care of it. What they found was even more of a nightmare. “They eat everything,” said wildlife biologist Ed Reed. “They’ll eat the understory in a forest and dig up plants by rooting the ground for insects and roots. They compete with wildlife for food. They’re the most destructive mammal out there.” Now, state wildlife officials are weighing their options in dispatching the hogs, from traps to sterilization, and even popping pigs from choppers. “There’s a real sense of urgency,” Reed told reporters. “Once the pigs get established, they are very difficult to eradicate completely.” Officials have tried using traps filled with all manners of pig bait — donuts, dried gelatin powder and dried corn, for example — but have found the pigs tend to crowd in a corner and will climb on one another to escape. Even circular traps have proved ineffective, catching only three pigs last year. The Times are reporting that New York’s usually strict hunting laws have been relaxed a bit for the porkers; the New York Department of Environmental Conservation is advising hunters to “shoot and keep feral swine at any time and in any number.” Sounds like open season for makin’ bacon to us.  
    2066 Posted by admin
  • 04 May 2012
    The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted to allow hunters to kill up to 52 wolves in the state this fall.   CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission voted Wednesday to allow hunters to kill up to 52 wolves in the state this fall even as Gov. Matt Mead said he remains hopeful that Congress will act to exempt the state's wolf management plan from legal challenges he expects from environmental groups.   Game commission approval is the latest in a predictable series of state actions since Mead reached a deal last summer with U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to end federal protections for wolves in the state. Mead said he hopes final federal approval of wolf delisting in the state by early fall.   The agreement would require Wyoming to maintain at least 10 breeding pairs of wolves and at least 100 individual animals outside of Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian Reservation. Wildlife managers say there are currently about 270 wolves in Wyoming outside of Yellowstone.   Under Wyoming's plan, the state would allow trophy hunting for wolves in a flexible zone around Yellowstone National Park, beginning in October. The hunting would last until 52 were killed or until the end of the year. Wolves in the rest of the state would be classified as predators that could be shot on sight year-round.   Mead said 90 percent of Wyoming's wolves live in the trophy hunting area. Although he said he's heard criticism that the limit of 52 wolves this year is too low, he said he believes it's appropriate.   “This was a complex deal that we reached and we don't want to break the deal,'' Mead said. “And we don't want to get down to that bare minimum, where disease, or an accident out on the freeway where five wolves are wiped out, and we go below those minimums.'' Mead said he's hopeful Congress will act to exempt the state's wolf management plan from any legal challenges from environmental groups. Congress earlier extended such protection to earlier wolf delisting actions in Idaho and Montana.   Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming, had pushed to exempt Wyoming's wolf plan from legal challenges last year but the provision was removed from an Interior Department spending bill. Christine S. D'Amico, spokeswoman for Lummis in Washington, said Wednesday that Lummis continues to explore all options for how to protect the state's wolf plan. Many ranchers and hunters in Wyoming believe the state's wolf population has grown unacceptably high since wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone in the mid-1990s. The state has fought for years to try to get state control of the animals, repeatedly and unsuccessfully suing the federal government. The federal government accepted a similar delisting agreement from Wyoming in 2007 only to repudiate it as soon as a federal judge criticized it in response to a legal challenge from environmental groups.   Mead said he's heard environmental groups are intent on suing to try to block Wyoming's new wolf plan.—“Anything we have done on wolves, or that other states have done on wolves, is just a hot-button for litigation,'' Mead said. “But I would ask all those groups, number one, recognize that we're approaching this very conservatively, that we worked hard over a year on this plan, that I think it is scientifically sound. “It has been signed off on by the Secretary of Interior,'' Mead said of the plan. “It has been repeatedly signed off on by the director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. So it's not just something that we came up with as just good for Wyoming. It's an agreement by a lot of parties that worked on this.''   Jenny Harbine is a lawyer with Earthjustice in Bozeman, Mont. The group has mounted legal challenges to wolf delisting efforts before. Harbine said Wednesday it's too early to say whether her group or its clients will challenge Wyoming's wolf plan until the plan receives final federal approval this fall. “I'll just say that the (U.S.) Fish and Wildlife Service should only delist wolves in Wyoming if the agency feels like doing so would comply with the Endangered Species Act and has a sound scientific basis at this time,'' Harbine said. “If delisting rule in Wyoming is legal, then there's no reason to seek indemnification from Congress for such a rule.''
    1708 Posted by admin
  • 24 Sep 2011
    It has all the makings of a horror movie — a 300-pound beast with oversized teeth running amok in forests and fields, eating everything it can. FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) — It has all the makings of a horror movie — a 300-pound beast with oversized teeth running amok in forests and fields, eating everything it can. Instead, it is a real-life scenario that is becoming more common in the Tennessee Valley and across the nation as the feral hog population expands. Feral hogs, descendants of farm animals that escaped or were purposely set free, are wreaking havoc on farm crops and pastures and destroying wildlife habitat throughout the nation. Wildlife officials estimate the nation's feral hog population at more than 4 million, and estimates show they cause more than $1.5 billion in damage each year in the United States. Feral hogs are not just a problem for rural areas. In 2010, hunters were called in to help remove feral hogs that invaded the Florence sportsplex on the western edge of the city. Traps also were used in the effort to remove hogs from the sportsplex. Todd Nix, community services director for the city of Florence, said the wild hogs learned to avoid the area after hunters and traps were used in the effort to remove them. Nix said hog tracks can still be found at the edge of the sportsplex property at Alabama 20 and Gunwaleford Road, but the swine have learned if they come into the open they may be shot or trapped. "We have eliminated the problem, but we have not eliminated the hogs,'' Nix said. "That was not our goal. We knew we would never get rid of all the hogs, but we wanted to train them to stay away from the fields at the sportsplex.'' Hunting and trapping are the two most popular methods used to slow the feral hog population explosion. Biologists admit hunters cannot eradicate the wild hog population, but hunting helps keep the animals under control. There is no closed season or bag limit for feral hogs in Alabama. Permits are available allowing landowners and farmers who are being overrun by feral hogs to hunt them at night. Officials at Bankhead National Forest are asking hunters to join a feral hog hunt that runs through Sept. 18. Barry Baird, biologist at the Black Warrior Wildlife Management Area in Bankhead Forest, said he hopes hunters will take advantage of the upcoming hunt and help reduce the feral hog population there. "They are real nuisance,'' he said. "The more hunters can remove from the forest, the better.'' In Tennessee, lawmakers have removed game animal status for wild hogs, reclassifying them as a nuisance and liberalizing harvest limits. "Feral hogs are a huge problem,'' said Allison Cochran, biologist at Bankhead National Forest. "They are a nuisance animal that causes extensive damage to the land and native plants, and they compete with native wildlife like deer and turkey for habitat. Feral hogs are the number one enemy for native wildlife and plants.'' Chris Jaworowski, a wildlife biologist for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, said there are few things wild hogs won't eat. "A hog is an opportunistic omnivore,'' Jaworowski said. "Pretty much anything they can get in their mouth, they are going to eat.'' A feral hog's diet includes acorns and other food eaten by native wildlife. "A hog going through the forest where there has been an acorn drop is just like a vacuum cleaner,'' Jaworowski said. "They will pick the forest floor clean of acorns that could have provided food for native species.'' Feral hogs will eat wild turkey eggs and those of other ground-nesting birds, Cochran said. They also eat birds, frogs, deer fawns and other animals they are able to catch. In addition, feral swine can destroy endangered plants by rooting and wallowing. Erosion caused when the hogs root up the soil can lead to silt in nearby streams and harm rare fish and other animals that live there, Cochran said. Jaworowski said feral hogs were once limited to southern Alabama. In recent years, the animals have spread throughout the state, though. "We now have feral hogs in pretty much every county in the state,'' he said. "It's not just a problem in Alabama. It's a national problem. Since 1982, feral hogs have spread from nine states to 45.'' The earliest feral swine in Alabama were escaped hogs that European explorers brought to America almost 500 years ago. Jaworowski said more recently, well-meaning hunters played a major role in the proliferation of wild hogs. He said hunters hoping to create hog-hunting opportunities close to home would catch the animals in one area and move them to another. Also, farmers who no longer can afford to feed their hogs have released them throughout the state. Once the animals are released, their population typically increases rapidly and the animals spread to adjoining property. Department of Conservation biologists said it's impossible to estimate the number of wild hogs in Alabama because the population is expanding so fast and the animals are most active late at night and rarely seen by anyone trying to count them. Ron Eakes, a supervising biologist at the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources office in Tanner, said it's undeniable that the state's feral hog population is increasing rapidly. The typical feral sow has two litters of four to 14 piglets each year. He said two pairs of wild hogs and their offspring can produce 16,000 piglets in three years. "They reproduce incredibly fast,'' he said. "With no predators, it doesn't take long for a population of feral hogs to reach problem levels once they move into an area.'' The hogs generally live six to eight years. Jaworowski said a single adult feral hog can cause $2,000 in damage to farm crops in a year. Alabama farmers reported they caused more than $90 million in damage to their crops in 2010. That doesn't include the amount of money being spent in an effort to eliminate them. "Wild hogs are a huge problem for agriculture,'' said Eric Schavey, a regional agent for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. "They will walk through a field knocking down corn stalks and eating the corn. They will root in wheat fields and soybean fields, causing lots of damage.'' Florence farmer Randall Vaden has had wild hogs damage his fields along Gunwaleford Road. "They can really ruin a cornfield,'' Vaden said. "I've seen them go row by row digging up the seed when a field is first planted in the spring and then come back and push down the stalks to eat the ears in the summer.'' Jaworowski said hunters who released swine likely did not realize the problems the animals would cause. "They didn't know the hogs were going to take food from the deer and wild turkey and destroy the turkey and quail nests,'' he said. "They didn't realize the hogs they released on their 200-acre hunting lease were going to leave that property and cause problems over a large area. A hunter who lets a hog go can cause problems for farmers 10 miles or more from where the animal is released.'' It is illegal to release swine into the wild in Alabama and Tennessee or to transport live feral hogs. Dwight Cooley, manager of Wheeler Wildlife Refuge in Decatur and Key Cave Wildlife Refuge in Florence, said crops planted at both refuges have been damaged by feral hogs. Grain crops are grown to provide food for wildlife. At Key Cave, a portion of the property is rented to a farmer who grows cash crops such as corn and soybeans. "The feral hogs can cause major damage by rooting up the corn and soybean fields,'' Cooley said. "Where they have dug up the ground, it looks like the war movies where mortars have hit and left big craters in the ground. Feral hogs can do a tremendous amount of crop damage.'' Jade Keeton said wild hogs frequently damage food plots for wildlife on land in western Lauderdale County where he and his family hunt. Despite the damage, wild swine have redeeming qualities. "They are really good to eat,'' Keeton said. "I mean really, really good to eat.'' In Tennessee, landowners are being urged to kill every feral hog on their property. Feral swine in Tennessee are no longer protected by hunting laws. Doug Markham, a spokesman for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, said the state's wild hog population has risen dramatically in recent years, prompting lawmakers to declare open season on the animals. Permits are available to allow wild hogs to be shot at night in Tennessee and to be lured into shooting range by spreading corn or other bait on the ground. "We no longer refer to harvesting wild hogs as hunting,'' Markham said. "We are calling it eradication. We know we will never be able to eradicate them, but hopefully we can slow them down.''
    1518 Posted by admin
Our Right To Bare Arms 4,488 views May 15, 2012
Court affirms illegal immigrants can't have guns

Court affirms illegal immigrants can't have guns


A federal appeals court has rejected an illegal immigrant's claim that the Second Amendment guarantees him the right to bear firearms.

DENVER (AP) —A federal appeals court has rejected an illegal immigrant's claim that the Second Amendment guarantees him the right to bear firearms.

Emmanuel Huitron-Guizar of Gillette, Wyo., had argued that illegal aliens are guaranteed certain other rights by the U.S. Constitution, such as the right to due process. The Second Amendment provides that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,'' and Huitron-Guizar argued he was part of “the people.''

But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled that Huitron-Guizar fell under the Gun Control Act of 1968, which forbids gun possession by nine classes of individuals, including illegal aliens. It conceded there is some argument about the meaning of “the people'' and U.S. citizens _ but found that Congress had lawfully exercised its power to distinguish between citizens and non-citizens.

“That Congress saw fit to exclude illegal aliens from carrying guns may indicate its belief, entitled to our respect, that such aliens, as a class, possess no such constitutional right,'' the court said.

Huitron-Guizar, 24, was born in Mexico, brought to Wyoming at the age of 3, and never obtained U.S. citizenship. In March 2011, officers served a search warrant at his home and found a rifle, a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun and a semi-automatic pistol.

He entered a conditional guilty plea to being an illegal alien in possession of firearms transported or shipped in interstate commerce. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison and is to be deported thereafter.

Huitron-Guizar's attorney, Ronald Pretty, said Tuesday he believed such cases involving constitutional definitions of “people'' as opposed to “citizens'' could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The circuit court of appeals did find the Constitution did not clearly define U.S. citizenship.

“We know, for instance, that the founders' notion of citizenship was less rigid than ours, largely tied to the franchise, which itself was often based on little more than a brief period of residence and being a male with some capital,'' the panel noted.



Appeals Court Ruling: