A woman in Argentina took a kitten home after finding it near a settlement in Tucuman province and ended up with a big surprise.
When Florencia Lobo took the feline for a checkup a couple of months later, the vet told her this was no housecat, RTE News reports. (The cat and another kitten had been found near a deceased adult cat; the other kitten did not survive.)
“The vet didn’t know what it was but said it was not a normal cat and gave me the number of the [Horco Molle nature] reserve,” Lobo was quoted saying.
President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill making abusive behavior toward animals a federal felony, ABC News reports.
The bill, called the the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act, was previously passed by the House and the Senate.
CBS News has reported that the bipartisan legislation applies to offenses such as “crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling and other bodily injury” toward animals.
The bill was introduced in the House by Republican Vern Buchanan and Democrat Ted Deutch, both of Florida. The New York Times reports that the law makes certain acts of cruelty “punishable with fines and up to seven years in prison.”
Kitty Block, CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said the law “makes a statement about American values.”
A 59-year-old Texas woman was attacked and killed by feral hogs on Nov. 24. According to the New York Times, this is the fifth documented fatal wild hog attack in the country since 1825.
The victim, Christine Rollins, had just parked her car outside of the home of an older couple she worked for as a caretaker in rural Anahuac, Texas. According to the New York Times, she was just a few steps away from the front door when she was attacked in the early hours of the morning.
Hog attacks are rare, the article said. However if wild pigs feel trapped or are defending their offspring, they can become aggressive toward humans and other animals.
Sheriff Brian C. Hawthorne of Chambers County told the New York Times that the tragedy was one of the worst he had seen in his 35-year career. As developers build houses in rural areas of Texas, more wild hogs are coming into contact with people.
The wild pig population in Texas ranges between 3 to 5 million pigs. Experts say that’s a conservative estimate based on a very large and widely distributed wild pig herd that is increasing rapidly throughout the state’s diverse regions.
Dale Nolte, program manager for the USDA APHIS National Feral Swine Damage Management Program, told Farm Journal’s PORK earlier this year that when it comes to removing wild pigs, state wildlife agencies have jurisdiction. However, Nolte’s program provides resources and works with state agencies through wildlife service state directors to develop strategies for removing animals, generally accomplished by trapping or through their aerial program.
“In Texas, for example, the problems are huge,” he says. “We don’t have resources to assist everyone immediately. But state agencies and wildlife service state directors help us identify where to focus the available resources.”
If you are in areas where feral swine are rare, report sightings of pigs – dead or alive – so authorities can monitor and remove animals if possible.
It’s also important to be aware of human health risks from feral swine interaction, he adds. Feral swine can carry several zoonotic diseases such as hepatitis, leptospirosis, brucellosis, and more that can be passed on to people.
“People have suffered severe consequences because of encounters with feral pigs,” Nolte says. “It’s important to know there are risks.”
A turkey saved a driver from a speeding ticket in Livermore, California.
The Livermore Police Department posted body camera video of the incident on Twitter. A police officer pulled over a driver on Monday. He was trying to write a ticket when a turkey kept approaching him.
Officials believe 10 animals perished in a barn fire at the African Safari Wildlife Park near Port Clinton, Ohio.
Ottawa County dispatchers say they first got the call for the fire at 6:15 Thursday night.
According to a police officer with Danbury Township, 11 animals were believed to be in the barn at the time, including three bongos, three giraffe, three Red River hogs and a springbok. A zebra that was also in the barn escaped.
Although eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne illness, has existed for centuries, 2019 has been a particularly deadly year for the disease in the United States. As of November 12, 36 confirmed cases of EEE had been reported by eight states; 13 of these cases were fatal. In a new commentary in The New England Journal of Medicine, officials from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, describe the eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) that causes EEE, current research efforts to address EEE, and the need for a national strategy to address the growing threat of EEEV and other emerging and re-emerging viruses spread by mosquitoes and ticks (known as arboviruses).
There were 12 documented U.S.-based EEE epidemics between 1831 and 1959. The virus is spread between Culiseta melanura mosquitoes and various tree-perching birds found in forested wetlands. Occasionally, other mosquito species transmit the virus to people and other mammals. In people, EEEV takes roughly 3 to 10 days to cause symptoms. The virus initially causes fever, malaise, intense headache, muscle aches, nausea and vomiting; specific diagnostic testing may not reveal anything as EEEV is difficult to isolate from clinical samples, and testing for EEEV antibodies may be negative. Neurologic signs of EEE, which may appear within 5 days of infection, initially are nonspecific but rapidly progress. Most people (96%) infected with EEEV do not develop symptoms; however, of those who do, one-third or more die, and the others frequently suffer permanent and severe neurologic damage.
Although point-of-care diagnostics for EEE and many other mosquito-borne causes of encephalitis are not available, currently they would be of limited value in the absence of effective treatment, the authors write. So far, no antiviral drug has proven safe and effective against EEE, but many compounds are being assessed. Monoclonal antibodies have been found effective in an experimental animal model but only when given prior to infection. Patients with EEE are currently treated with supportive care, which often includes intensive care in a hospital and ventilator assistance. Patients with EEE are not infectious, and social support and counseling for both the patient and the family are vitally important given the seriousness of the disease, the authors write.
Several EEE vaccine candidates are in development but may have trouble reaching advanced development and licensure, according to the authors. EEE outbreaks are rare, brief and focal, and occur sporadically in unpredictable locations, making it difficult to identify an appropriate target population for vaccination. Efforts to develop mosquito-saliva vaccines that would be effective against multiple mosquito diseases, including EEE, are in early stages.
In the absence of effective EEE vaccines and treatments, state and local health departments can provide an early warning of imminent human infections by surveilling horses, birds and mosquitoes, but these efforts are threatened by insufficient funding, according to the authors. In recent years, the Americas have seen a growing number of emerging and re-emerging arboviruses, such as dengue, West Nile, chikungunya, Zika and Powassan. Although outbreaks of EEE disease thus far have been infrequent and focal, the spike in cases in 2019 and the looming presence of other, potentially deadly arboviruses in the United States and globally demand a national defense strategy for arboviruses and other vector-borne diseases, the authors write. Although the best way to address these viruses is not entirely clear, to "ignore them completely and do nothing would be irresponsible," say the authors.