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Friday, March 27, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sure as a Northeast Ohio snow shower in April, the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center gets a couple of dozen calls each winter and early spring from concerned people who have seen bald squirrels.
There's no cause for alarm.
The fur loss is caused by a fungus or mites that spread easily from squirrel to squirrel in their winter dens. On frigid days, squirrels seek out the coziest dens and squish together. Most squirrels aren't harmed by the fungal infection, the mites or the fur loss. They will regrow fur in the coming weeks.
And dogs and cats aren't susceptible to the mites that affect squirrels, said Dave Wolf, the nature center's director of wildlife programs. Pets get the condition, known as mange, from two different kinds of mites.
State wildlife officials found increased evidence of bobcats living in Ohio's southeastern counties, where 65 sightings were confirmed last year. There were 51 verified sightings the year before. The bobcat was found throughout Ohio when settlers arrived, but towns and croplands pushed them out. By 1850, bobcats were gone from Ohio. They didn't begin to move back in until the 1960s. Since 1970, state biologists have verified 255 bobcat sightings in 31 counties, by studying photographs, paw prints, roadkills and reports of them being caught by fur trappers.
The Portage County Animal Protective League is struggling to keep its doors open. The nonprofit eliminated its executive director position and capped the number of cats it will take in at 40, dogs at 25. Donations are needed as kitten season approaches. In the hopes of shrinking the feline birthrate, the shelter will neuter male cats for $45 and females for $50 on April 2 and 3. Call 330-296-4022 to sign up.
The Geauga Humane Society is gearing up for kitten season by asking for donations of Purina cat food. Dry and canned food can be dropped off 24 hours a day at the shelter, 15463 Chillicothe Road (Ohio 306) in Russell Township. The nonprofit group, working with PetFix Northeast Ohio, is also trying to curb breeding by neutering pets for $10. Low-income families can sign up to have a pet neutered Saturday at PetFix's mobile veterinary clinic. Call 440-338-4819. The van will be parked outside the Tractor Supply Co. in Middlefield, where Amish families had 21 pets neutered last month. The van will travel to Amish farms across the county in the coming months.
The Humane Society of the United States filed a class action suit Monday against Petland and the Hunte Corp., which helps supply the national chain with puppies. The suit accuses the companies of "conspiring to sell unhealthy puppies to unsuspecting consumers," falsely advertising that the puppies are healthy and come from high-quality breeders. Consumers who say they bought sick, dying or genetically-malformed puppies joined HSUS attorneys in filing the suit in a federal court in Phoenix, Ariz., where one of the plaintiffs lives.
The Summit County health department is offering low-cost vaccinations to dogs and cats from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 2 at the Sagamore Hills Township garage, 11500 W. Valley View Road. No appointment needed. Prices start at $6 for a rabies shot. Get details by calling 330-926-5630.
Save Ohio Strays and the Petco at 1052 Williams Reserve Blvd. in Wadsworth are offering Easter-themed pet photos and a pet-friendly Easter egg hunt from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Framed photos are $7. The nonprofit group has rescued 1,100 pets in four years. Get details at saveohiostrays.org or 440-567-3585.
The Middleburg Heights Animal Foundation will raise money by offering $8 photographs of pets with the Easter bunny from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 4 at the VCA Midpark Animal Hospital, 6611 Smith Road in Middleburg Heights. The nonprofit group rescues pets scheduled for euthanasia from a dozen pounds across Northeast Ohio. Reach the group at mhaf.com.