(Oct. 5) — A 37-year-old Pennsylvania woman died Sunday after being mauled by her pet black bear, authorities said.
Kelly Ann Walz was attacked when she entered the bear’s cage to feed the 350-pound animal and clean its cage, according to Pennsylvania State Police. The bear lived in a 15-by-15-foot steel and concrete enclosure on Walz’s property in Ross Township.
The bear wasn’t the only unusual animal living on the property, an official with the State Game Commission told CNN affiliate WFMZ-TV. The homeowner had a permit to keep a Bengal tiger and an African lion, and the property routinely passed inspection and had no violations, he said.
A neighbor shot and killed the bear that attacked the owner, state police said.
An investigation continues.
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Exotics Not a Good Idea
I spent the last 20 years caring for wild and exotic animals at a rescue facility in CA. One of the problems with owning wild and exotics is that many people don’t do their homework and find out what a job they are really taking on. Like birds – they need a lot of company and live for a very long time. People think that if they get an animal when its young and give it a lot of love, that it will grow up to be a loving animal. Maybe it will, but it still has the strength it was born with and it’s animal instincts. It one thing if a housecat or a dog gets irritated with you and takes a swipe at you – but if it’s a big cat or a bear – that same swipe can take your head off! Just remember the incident with the chimp last year.
I’ve watched people take their kids into a petting zoo and when the goat yanks the feed away from the child and the child cries, they blame the goat. Why? The goat was doing what goats do.
I know several professional trainers that work with exotics. They know how to protect themselves when the animal gets impatient or out of sorts. Personally, I think California has the right idea. No one is allowed to own an exotic animal unless they have a license and a purpose for the license. Look at what happened in Florida where many people turned their large reptiles loose – disaster.
Posted: Just One More Pet
(Discussion taken from my AARP Blog Pet Group)
Can anyone help? My adorable 2 year old, 11 lb Havamalt has a bad habit. She is pee-pee pad trained and if I am not around to pickup when she poops, she cleans up herself! I have tried everything from changing her food to using the special powder in her food, the pills sold for this problem and nothing works. I would appreciate any suggestions.
1. Hi – I have a 14+ year old border terrier, Maggie, who I adopted when she was 12. One of her bad habits was eating her poop. I learned to clean up after her like a shot – and eventually good nutrition virtually solved the problem, together with cleaning up after her.
Like some of you said, I loved her anyway. One solution I have read about is that pineapple makes the feces taste bad to a dog (fed to the dog). Anyone have experience with this or the pills available for this problem? The individual writing in has a particular problem since defecation is allowed inside the house (not something I have ever done).
2. Yes, a frustrating habit and you have the best advice from other posters. One thing that I heard on television with Victoria Stillwell. Feed pineapple with the dogs food. Then of course pick up ASAP. Her claim was the dogs hate the smell in the stool and will not eat it. Good luck, Judith and Maddie.
3. I appreciate your response. Since my dog is pee pee pad trained I cannot let her sleep at night anywhere but her crate because of this habit. I also pick-up immediately when she goes outside but sometimes I think she deliberately does not go so she can practice her bad habit in the house when I am not looking. She is fast and good at it. I love her anyway!!!
4. My 4-year-old Lab does the same thing, and I have tried the powder and everything else… The fact is this… Dogs can smell every ingredient in anything…. that is if you have a pot of soup on the stove they can distinguish each ingredient in the soup by smell….sometimes all of their food does not digest, and they smell it in their feces, and yes will eat it if .. my vet told me this, and some eat it out of boredom.. and it is a very bad habit.. it is up to you to pick it up ASAP to keep him from eating it… It does not harm the Dog , its just disgusting more than anything… as soon as my Dog is done going, I am out there with a shovel…not a good place to be in the winter time
5. Although none of our 4 dogs (Chihuahuas and Chiweenies) do it now, I was amazed when our Chihuahua had puppies at the efficiency and thoroughness with which she cleaned up after her birth mess, the puppies themselves and then after the puppies eliminations. It is obviously a natural instinct.
Even though we live in the city, we live in an area backed up to a large open wilderness area where there are lots of wild animals: bunnies, squirrels, raccoons, possums, birds of all types, an occasional snake, lizards and coyotes. I understand that before we lived here there was even a wolf citing. And if we are not diligent all four of our pups will try and to eat the bunny droppings; obviously an attraction there…
Stool Eating (Coprophagy)
What are the causes and cures of stool eating?
Coprophagy (pronounced kä – präf’ – je) comes from the Greek copro which means feces and phagy which means eat. And that is what it is – eating feces. A habit of dogs we all find disgusting, but as we say, dogs will be dogs. Some dogs especially like feces fromherbivores like rabbits, deer, and horses. Others love to raid the cat’s litter box. Still others only eat dog feces if it is frozen.
Why do dogs eat feces?
A lot of theories have been suggested as to why dogs eat feces. Are they missing something in their diet? Generally not.
Dogs who eat their feces usually do not have a dietary deficiency. Some medical problems, however, can contribute to coprophagy including severe disorders of the pancreas (pancreatic insufficiency) or intestine, severe malnutrition from massive parasiticinfestations, or starvation. These cases are rare.
Some dogs, especially those in kennel situations, may eat feces because they are anxious or stressed. One researcher suggests that dogs who have been punished by their owners for defecating inappropriately start to think any defecation is wrong, so they try to eliminate the evidence.
Another theory is that coprophagy is a trait passed down through the ages. Dogs’ cousins, the wolves and coyotes, may often eat feces if food is in short supply. Feces from herbivores (animals that eat plants for food) contain many of the B vitamins. Some researchers suggest that wolves (and some dogs) may eat feces to replenish their vitamin supply.
In some instances, coprophagy may be a behavior learned from watching other animals. It may also become a habit in the course of play and puppies having to try out the taste of everything.
There is a stage of life in which coprophagy is common and expected. Can you think of what it is? Bitches and queens normally eat the feces of their offspring. This is presumed to occur in an attempt to hide the presence of the litter from predators.
Finally, some dogs may eat feces just because it tastes good (to them).
How do we prevent coprophagia from occurring?
The best way to prevent the problem is to keep yards and kennels free of feces.
Some owners find it successful to use something to make the feces taste horrible. Products such as For-bid (for cats or dogs) and Drs. Foster and Smith Dis-Taste (for dogs) are added to the food of the animal whose feces are being eaten (it could be the food of the dog with coprophagy if he eats his own stool; or the food of the cat, if the dog with coprophagy eats the cat’s feces). The product is digested by the animal, and results in giving the feces a very bad taste. Some people try putting Tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper (chili powder) on the feces (not the food!). Unfortunately, some dogs have acquired quite a taste for Tabasco. These methods work best if the behavior has just started. Once coprophagy has become a habit, it is very difficult to break.
Dogs should be on a leash when walking, so you have control over the dog in case a luscious pile of feces is found along the way. Sometimes, the only way to prevent coprophagy is to fit the dog with a wire muzzle. The dog will be able to sniff, pant, and do most things dogs do, but the dog will not be able to eat with the muzzle on. DO NOT LEAVE A MUZZLED DOG UNATTENDED.
Adding toys and other diversions to the environment may be helpful. We need to find something that is more fun for the dog than eating feces. A dog may find a Kong toy laced with peanut butter a better alternative. Also give the dog lots of exercise to help it ultimately relax.
In situations in which the behavior may be linked to stress, the cause of stress should be eliminated or at least reduced. In some instances of extreme anxiety, or if the behavior becomes obsessive-compulsive, medication may be necessary to try to break the cycle.
One researcher recommends checking the dog’s diet to make sure he is getting enough B vitamins and is not getting an excess of carbohydrates.
Some dogs will improve if they are fed more often, so you may want to increase the number of meals (but keep the total daily intake about the same).
There have been anecdotal reports that adding Prozyme to the diet may aid in eliminating this problem.
For dogs attracted to litter boxes, you may need to be quite creative. Using covered litter boxes and placing the opening towards a wall may help. Some people put the litter box up high. Others put the litter box in a closet and secure the closet door so that the opening is big enough for the cat but will not allow the dog to enter. Keep in mind that if we make the litter box too difficult to reach, the cat may not go to it either.
Above all, do not punish the dog for eating feces. This may reinforce the behavior. General work on obedience is sometimes helpful. If the dog knows what is expected of him and looks to you for cues, he may be less anxious and less likely to start or continue the behavior.
What are the health risks of coprophagy?
Many parasites can be transmitted through eating stool. Generally, herbivores have parasites specific to them; these parasites will not cause disease in carnivores. But dogs eating the feces of other dogs or cats can infect themselves repeatedly with parasites such as giardia, coccidia, and if the feces are around for 2-3 weeks or more, roundworms and whipworms. Such dogs should have regular fecal examinations and dewormings with the appropriate medications depending on the parasites found.
We are not sure why dogs eat their own feces or the feces of other animals. We do know that if a dog starts this behavior, the sooner we implement prevention measures, the better the chance of success.
Source: Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc, Veterinary Services Department
Posted: Just One More Pet
Stories about an orphanage are bound to yank at your heartstrings. The one 60 Minutes is going to tell you about is no exception — even though many alumni of the orphanage have gone on to lead full and happy lives.
All these orphans are from East Africa. They were all abandoned when they were very young, less than two years old — and they’re all elephants. As correspondent Bob Simon reports, this orphanage is in Kenya, near Nairobi. It has been around almost 30 years. It’s a large place. It would have to be.
It has just about everything you would want in an orphanage: dormitories — each orphan has a private room. There is a communal bath, a playground, and a dining area. There are as many as 14 orphans here at any one time and they stay a number of years before going back to the bush. The regimen at the orphanage is anything but Dickensian. Unlike Oliver Twist, when one of these orphans asks for more, that’s what he gets. More.
The principal, headmistress, head nurse and CEO of the orphanage is Dame Daphne Sheldrick. She founded the place and has been working with elephants for 50 years.
What is the most extraordinary thing she has learned about elephants?
“Their tremendous capacity for caring is I think perhaps the most amazing thing about them,” says Dame Daphne. “Even at a very, very young age. Their sort of forgiveness, unselfishness — they have all the best attributes of us humans and not very many of the bad.”
Just about the best people you’ve ever met are the gentle men who work here.
They are called keepers, and they have extraordinary jobs. There is one keeper per elephant; he spends 24 hours a day with his charge, seven days a week. A keeper feeds his elephant every three hours, day and night, just like mom would.
He keeps his elephant warm, not like mom would, but with a blanket. When it’s sleep time, the keeper beds down right next to his elephant. If he leaves, if ever so briefly, the baby wakes up and broadcasts his displeasure. The keepers are rotated now and then so that no elephant gets too terribly attached to any one of them.
At dawn, the elephants are taken from their dorms out to the bush. They hang out for a while and even play some games — soccer is a favorite. The elephants decide when it’s halftime by trotting off the field for a break.
The days are pretty much the same here. But on Fridays, the orphanage becomes a spa, when the keepers give the elephants a coconut oil massage.
“We can’t do exactly what the mother can do, but we do something close to that,” explains Edwin Lusichi, the head of the keepers.
Meeting an elephant for the first time requires a proper introduction, as Simon learned when he visited the orphanage. There is a protocol to meeting an elephant. He will offer up his trunk, and he expects you to blow in it. That way, he will remember your scent forever. You will never be strangers again.
The orphanage gets distress calls from all over Kenya — and from all over East Africa — that a baby elephant is on his own, often because his mother has been killed by a poacher. It is then a matter of great urgency: An orphaned elephant can only survive a few days without his mother.
The baby elephant is loaded onto a plane and flown back to Daphne Sheldrick’s orphanage outside Nairobi, where he’ll stay until he’s strong enough to go back into the bush.
Dame Daphne, who was just named a dame by Queen Elizabeth II, has been running the orphanage for almost 30 years. She was born and raised in Kenya and married David Sheldrick, Africa’s leading crusader against poaching.
When he died in 1977, she founded the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Back then, there were about 100,000 elephants in Kenya. Now there are about a quarter as many — largely due to poachers. Then, as now, the ivory from their tusks is a very valuable commodity. From the beginning, Daphne saw her mission as saving as many elephants as possible.
“It’s really lovely to see them now and then to think back how they were when they came in. It makes it all so worthwhile,” says Daphne.
But her mission hasn’t always gone smoothly. Twelve years ago, she was badly injured by a wild elephant and couldn’t walk for 15 months.
Asked if during those 15 months she ever thought that maybe she should do something else, Dame Daphne says, “Oh, no. I mean, I still had all the elephants. Never occurred to me at all. You know, you can’t just walk away from it.”