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Writing and Reporting by Jenna Duncan

Posts Tagged ‘animal story

Attleboro neighbors agog as bear hangs out in backyard tree

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Published June 21, 2011 in The Boston Globe, page B2

A young black bear was spotted several times in Attleboro last weekend, causing a scene when it clung to a tree in a residential area Sunday evening for about two hours.

The bear was in a tree behind a home on Lamb Street, onlookers said, where several police officers and a Capron Park Zoo official tried to control the animal as neighbors gathered to watch.

“There were easily over 100 people on the street, maybe 50 to 75 feet away from the bear,” said Bill Jones, who owns the house next door. “That in itself was very scary to me and my wife because” there were very young children in the crowd.

Around 9:30 p.m., Massachusetts Environmental Police were called to the area, spokesman Reginald Zimmerman said yesterday. The environmental police officers ordered the crowd to back away and had local police turn off their lights – and the bear left soon after through Jones’s yard.

“No more than five minutes after that happened, we could hear branches cracking and we could see the shadow of the bear coming down the tree,” Jones said. The bear then climbed over Jones’s fence and ran across the street into a wooded area.

The bear had been spotted several times over the weekend, Zimmerman said, but did not cause any problems. The appearance follows a string of black bear sightings over the past month in areas including Wayland, Framingham, and Weston, but this is not unusual, he said.

“Basically, what happens is around this time [of year] moms kick [the cubs] out of the dens, and they go out in search for food and wander until they can find their own territory,” Zimmerman said.


Written by jdunccc

June 21, 2011 at 10:17 am

Posted in The Boston Globe

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Couple holds on to hope — and their beloved horse

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Published on June 8, 2011 in The Boston Globe, page B3

As the weather in Brimfield worsened last Wednesday, Joann Kass and Steven Bush released their four horses from the barn behind their house, then took shelter in their cellar.

“Their instinct is better than ours when it comes for survival,” said Bush, 58. “All we were thinking of was don’t let anything happen to the horses.”

After the storm passed, one of the animals – Cajun, a 9-year-old Paint – was found severely injured.

But after lifesaving surgery Thursday evening at the Tufts Hospital for Large Animals, the horse is in stable condition and is expected to be discharged soon.

Cajun’s survival is a bright spot for a couple who lost their house, cars, and barn when the twisters pummeled the region.

When they were able to exit the cellar after the storm passed, the couple sized up the destruction, then immediately hunted for the horses.

Kass saw the herd leader, XXX Mouse, standing over Dakota and knew that Dakota had died. Soon they found the other two horses, Cajun and Dragonfly.

Dragonfly sustained some scratches, but Cajun was severely injured. Blood dripped down his rear right leg, where a stick still protruded.

Bush immediately began cutting through the fallen trees and debris blocking the driveway, and Kass called their veterinarian, Dr. Paula Orcutt.

“It was very sad that the horse was dead, but you had to take care of the one that was alive,” Bush said. “We didn’t give anything else much thought: The house can be rebuilt. We can buy cars again, and we can buy more hay. But with Cajun, that’s a living, breathing thing, and he can’t be replaced.”

Orcutt was able to reach Cajun at around 1 a.m. Thursday, remove the stick from his leg, and bandage him the best she could.

More than a dozen people gathered later that morning to finish clearing the driveway, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston took Cajun to the Tufts hospital, in North Grafton.

Thomas Jenei, clinical assistant professor of large-animal surgery, gave Cajun his initial evaluation. He said he found the lowest joint in the horse’s foot was damaged and filled with debris.

Bush said doctors gave Cajun a 50-50 chance of survival.

“They’ve lost so much they really wanted to do everything they could to get him through this, so he could return to being a happy, healthy member of their family again,” Jenei said.

The couple decided to go through with the two-hour surgery, but left before the operation.

“We both were in tears, because we didn’t know if we were going to lose another horse or not,” Bush said.

The next morning, the hospital called and reported Cajun was in stable condition after the surgery and seemed to be in good spirits. The couple was updated again Saturday and told that he was eating again.

Gradually, Cajun began putting weight on his leg again, and yesterday doctors said they expected he would be discharged in about a week.

While specialists continue to work with Cajun, Bush and Kass are planning to rebuild their home and trying to find temporary stables to bring their horses back on the property, where they are living in a trailer.

Orcutt waived her fee for the on-site care, and drug distributor JA Webster has committed to pay for the drugs used in Cajun’s care.

Written by jdunccc

June 8, 2011 at 10:12 am

Posted in The Boston Globe

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Dog missing from shelter is found after police get a tip

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Published May 26, 2011 in The Boston Globe, page B2

A 9-year-old Shih Tzu has been returned to the MSPCA-Angell facility after it was allegedly taken Sunday afternoon, officials said.

A staff member noticed the dog, Bella, was missing Sunday afternoon and reported her stolen to Boston police, spokesman Rob Halpin said in a statement.

A visitor who was at the facility in Jamaica Plain on Sunday called and reported having seen a woman with a dog fitting Bella’s description in her bag, said Amanda Kennedy, director of the center’s Animal Care and Adoption Center.

With the help of the tip and surveillance video, police were able to identify a suspect.

Boston and Malden police went to the woman’s house in Malden and found Bella. The investigation is ongoing, and no additional details have been released.

Kennedy said Bella was in stable condition when she was returned.

“We’re just so thrilled to have her back,” she said. “She seems happy to be back.”

Written by jdunccc

May 26, 2011 at 10:06 am

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Mass. lifts boating advisory on right whales

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Published on May 20, 2011 in The Boston Globe, page B2

At the beginning of each year, North Atlantic right whales travel near New England, but after appearing in record numbers this year near Cape Cod, they have all departed.

Because of their recent departure, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game has lifted the advisory for boaters to avoid the whales, a spokesman for the department said in a statement.

An aerial survey on April 25 documented 124 whales in Cape Cod Bay, a record high for the area, the statement said.

There are only approximately 450 of this breed of whale in existence.

A subsequent aerial survey, conducted May 13, showed the whales had left the area, but officials are warning boaters around the Cape to continue to watch for the animals.

“Though no whales were sighted in the bay, boaters should remain on the lookout for right whales as they may still be present on the backside of Cape Cod and in the Great South Channel,” the statement said.

Written by jdunccc

May 20, 2011 at 9:55 am

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Whales depart waters off Cape Cod

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Published May 19, 2011 in The Boston Globe MetroDesk Blog

At the beginning of each year, North Atlantic right whales travel to the coast of New England, but after appearing in record numbers this year near the tip of Cape Cod, they have all departed.

Because of their departure, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game has lifted the advisory warning boaters to avoid the whales, a department spokesman said in a statement.

On April 25, an aerial survey documented 124 whales in Cape Cod Bay, a record high for the area, the statement said. There are only approximately 450 in existence.

Another aerial survey conducted May 13 showed the whales had left the area, but officials are warning boaters around the Cape continue to watch for the animals.

“Though no whales were sighted in the bay, boaters should remain on the lookout for right whales as they may still be present” in area waters, the statement said.

Written by jdunccc

May 19, 2011 at 10:37 am

Great white shark checks in early off Martha’s Vineyard

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Published on May 7, 2011 in The Boston Globe, page B3

A great white shark was spotted yesterday off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard by a group of fishermen, officials said.

The shark, which was confirmed as a great white by a state specialist, was circling the carcass of a minke whale off Aquinnah on the western tip of the island, said Reginald Zimmerman, a spokesman for the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

Jeff Lynch of Chilmark, a commercial fisherman who sails out of Menemsha, said he was going mackerel fishing yesterday morning with two friends when they spotted the dead whale and then saw the great white swimming underneath it.

“The funny thing is I was going mackerel fishing to get shark bait,” he said.

Lynch said he motored out of Menemsha at about 6 a.m. and spotted the whale carcass and shark at 7 a.m., about 1 to 1 1/2 miles west of Aquinnah. He said they drifted near the site and observed the shark until 7:30 or 7:45 a.m.

“It was kind of following me around,” said Lynch. He said it came within 2 feet of his boat.

“I had a few `Jaws’ quotes going through my head,” he said. “I go shark fishing all the time. But to see something that size was absolutely incredible.”

He estimated the animal was 20 feet long and weighed 2,000 pounds.

Lynch said he took pictures of the shark and e-mailed them to shark specialist Greg Skomal, a biologist with the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries, who wanted to tag the large specimen but was not able to reach the site in time.

Will Farrissey of Oak Bluffs was on the boat with Lynch and said the shark was the largest he has seen.

“It was pretty amazing seeing it,” Farrissey. “It is definitely something I’ll remember my whole life.”

The fishermen approached the dead whale because US Coast Guard officials had asked them to take photos of it. When their boat approached, the shark swam below, Farrissey said.

“All we said was, `We don’t want to sink now,”‘ he said.

The encounter ended when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environmental police towed the whale carcass away and the shark disappeared, Lynch and Farrissey said.

“What I really want to stress is there’s no need for panic,” said Zimmerman, the state agency spokesman.

Zimmerman said there have been sharks spotted in the area in previous years because they follow seals for feeding.

Last year, eight sharks were tagged by the state, and five were tagged in 2009. Over last summer, beaches were closed because of the sightings in New Bedford, Chatham, and Westport.

Skomal said yesterday’s spotting was not unusual for the area, but that it is early in the season for shark sightings.

“It does seem to be a little bit early to me,” he said. “I didn’t expect to see these animals until later in the month or early next month.”

Skomal said it is difficult to try to predict why the shark came earlier this year, or what this may mean for the summer.

“Certainly the sighting of a single shark is not unusual,” he said. “We have to see how it plays out for the next month.”

While no official warning has been released, Zimmerman stressed that people should take caution in the water and avoid areas with seals.

-Martin Finucane contributed to this report.

Written by jdunccc

May 7, 2011 at 9:39 am

Posted in The Boston Globe

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Wild turkeys patrol city sidewalks Raising curiosity, causing gridlock

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Published on April 6,2011 in The Boston Globe, page B3

After hearing about it from customers for a week, Karen Henderson finally saw the legend yesterday, a live turkey on Commonwealth Avenue, near Washington Street in Brighton.

Up to four at a time have been spotted recently in the area, causing walkers to gawk and traffic to be gridlocked at times.

“This one is not shy,” said Henderson, 54, an employee at Melvin Pharmacy, where the turkey could be found most of this afternoon. “It’s pretty calm.”

This recent Brighton spotting marks the start of turkey mating season, expected to last through early May, said Marion Larson, a biologist for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Based on its picture, she identified the bird as a male.

“Sometimes hormones do strange things to birds,” Larson said. “We get calls about odd places they’re showing up or other odd behavior.”

According to Larson’s department, there are 18,000 to 20,000 wild turkeys in the state.

In these situations, officials can step in only if a wild animal is sick or injured, Larson said. If they are removed, the birds will probably return.

“It’s not always that easy,” she said. “These birds are going to return. They have wings.”

Henderson and others have been feeding the turkey bread to encourage it to stay out of the road. But feeding the bird, Larson warned, may encourage it to stay or return next year.

Police officers were unsuccessful in attempts to shoo it back to the sidewalk yesterday, but Larson approved of their methods. “Reminding them that you are in charge or at least are somewhat of a threat or unpredictable, that’s the way it needs to be,” she said.

Customers have told Henderson they have seen up to four together; and last year a group of three hung around the area around the same time of year. She is concerned about the turkey getting caught in traffic or not finding its way home.

“It’s very content,” she said. “I’m just hoping it finds its way back to where it belongs.”

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April 6, 2011 at 9:05 am

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