Archive for December, 2013


From WTOP:

Fairfax City wants to become the first community in Virginia to use surgical sterilization to control its deer population.

All that’s needed to go forward with the experiment is final approval from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and approval looks likely.

The man who will lead it, wildlife biologist Dr. Anthony DeNicola, has run similar programs in other parts of the country.

He estimates the City of Fairfax has between 50 to 75 deer within its 6 square miles, fewer than he initially expected.

Under the five-year program, the female deer will undergo surgery to remove their ovaries, with a goal of having all the does sterilized by the second year.

“The reason we target females in deer is they’re a polygamous species. Meaning one male will copulate or breed with multiple females,” DeNicola told city councilmembers this week.

He said the city’s density will actually help researchers get their job done.

“Your deer are used to seeing cars. You probably pull in your driveway, you see them, they ignore you. We take advantage of that.”

“When we come along … usually escorted by an (police) officer, they can’t differentiate our presence from anyone else’s or obviously our intention.”

DeNicola said when conducting sterilization programs in other cities, they’ve typically stayed on public roads and in parks.

“We’ll only engage deer if we see them on a front lawn, in a park area, some type of road frontage area,” he said.

Does will be shot with tranquilizer darts, carefully transported to a central location for surgery and given numbered ear tags before being released.

Some does will be fitted with something else.

“We’ll have 20 individuals that will have individual radio collars that are trackable.”

Nicola said in the past, he’s used six different trusted veterinarians to conduct the procedures.

“We feel comfortable that the animals are treated humanely, and that we can do this in a reasonably efficient manner.”

DeNicola said typically the cost of the sterilization program is about $1,000 per deer, but that can drop to $500 per deer if volunteer veterinarians are used.

This is going to cost the city of Fairfax money to “spay” the deer.

West Virginia’s urban areas have a somewhat more effective and cost efficient plan.

I just can’t believe that people would waste money on something like this. It doesn’t cost much to have an urban bow hunt!

$1,000 a deer.

Just please some AR fanatics.






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interesting dog

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The golden dog is an aidi


This dog is a Moroccan aidi, a livestock guardian dog.

The photo was taken by Franziska Könnecke, when visited there in September.

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From the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch:

A baby girl was killed by the family dogs yesterday morning while her father slept on the couch in their West Side condo, Columbus police said.

Mia Gibson, who would have turned 3 months old this week, was pronounced dead at Nationwide Children’s Hospital at 7:45 a.m., after she was taken there from her home at 1467 Lake Shore Dr. Apt. C, police records show.

Mia was on the couch with her father, who was asleep, when she apparently fell from the couch and the dogs caused injuries that led to her death, said Sgt. Steven Little, of the first-shift homicide squad.

Little said the dogs — both Shiba Inus — didn’t attack the baby, but rather appeared to be playing roughly with her.

Little said it appears as if the death was caused by the dogs, although the baby had no major trauma visible. She did have several small puncture wounds on her body, he said. The Franklin County coroner will conduct an autopsy to determine what caused Mia’s death.

“It looks like the dogs were probably playing with the baby, thinking she was a toy,” Little said.

The dogs have been taken by animal control, Little said. Shiba Inus are a Japanese hunting dog and range in size from 17 to 23 pounds.

Mia’s mother, Sabrena L. Gibson, 34, was in her bedroom when one of the dogs at the bedroom door woke her, Little said. She went into the living room and found her daughter injured. Mia’s father, Chris Kusumi, 33, told detectives he had slept through it all.

Little said detectives spoke to both parents and will not charge them. The case will be forwarded to the Franklin County prosecutor’s office to further decide whether there should be charges.

“It’s just an unfortunate situation, and it’s a sad situation for the family,” Little said.

I hate to burst anyone’s bubble here, but “playing roughly” sounds to me more like the shibas were engaged in predatory behavior toward the baby.

When dogs are hunting, they enjoy it so much that they do look like they are playing, but they are not.

Miley always looks like she is playing with the ducks, and then a duck winds up with a gash in it!

Shiba inus are primitive, dingo-like dogs from Japan– and there are maybe a half-dozen or more breeds that are very similar to them (which I cannot keep straight). Throughout Japan’s history, there have been times when the ancestors of these dogs lived a sort of feral existence.

They are sort of Japanese dingoes. 

And we all know what dingoes do to babies!

It’s not that all shiba inus would do such a thing. Indeed, dogs often don’t recognize babies as people, which leads to predation.

The last time this blog discussed this issue didn’t involve a primitive dog at all. It was a golden retriever cross in South Carolina.

Now, I had a dog babysitter when I was small*. It was a hunting dog– a beagle to be more specific– so I’m cautious about saying what a dog can’t or won’t do to a baby.

But it would be better to err or the side of caution.

You just don’t know.


*Now you know what is wrong with me!


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Dashing through the snow


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A nice little dog with a brain, a muzzle, and a good temperament:


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The technical name for this bird is the “dark-eyed junco,” but we always called them “snowbirds.”

They usually spend most of their time deep in the conifer woods, but when it snows, they come out  in the open and are regulars at just about every bird feeder.

I believe this is the same species Anne Murray wrote about:


My grandpa used to poach them as bait for his fox traps, and when he was a boy, they used to catch them in spruce trees at night, kill them and then roast them over an open fire. He claimed the birds tasted very well, but you had to catch a bunch of them to have a decent meal.


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