Large gator at Polk Nature Discovery Center captures media attention

In Polk County, Florida, an enormous gator has garnered thousands of views and more than 12,000 shares on social media  as he slowly crossed the path of shocked tourists. Of course, it’s not unusual for Florida residents to see alligators wandering freely along swamps, golf courses and occasionally tracking into residential neighborhoods, but just the size of this one has captured the attention of anyone ever doubting these  reptiles could grow to this enormous size.Giant gator

Polk’s Nature Discovery Center’s  purpose as part  of the Environmental Lands Program is to acquire, preserve, protect, manage, and restore endangered and environmentally sensitive lands, water resources and important wildlife habitat.  The area is used for outdoor recreational purposes provided that such uses will not disturb or degrade the environmental quality for which the site was acquired. Polk’s Nature Discovery Center is situated at Polk County’s Circle B Bar Reserve. The facilities at Circle B Bar Reserve were opened November 2008 and act as an information station for its visitors free of charge.

On the organization’s Facebook page, the gator referred to as Mr. Humpback was spotted on the Marsh Rabbit Run trail. Some of the reactions from the video viewers included:

Thomas G. LunsfordAt first , i thought this was photoshopped. That thing is ginormous!!
Like · 6 · 13 hrs
Kim Joiner
Kim JoinerNo photoshop. He was the biggest gator I have seen out there. I have been going out there for years too.”
Then again, what if one wasn’t prepared for a sight like this. This is what another visitor had to say:
Jamie MurdochThat big boy crossed in front of me last spring!! My heart stopped in my chest for a moment because I wasn’t expecting it and was so close, but boy what an amazing experience that was!!!”
(Photos and video via Polk’s Nature Discovery Center, Kimberly Campbell Wyatt, Sean Buckley and Kim Joiner)

Just in case you doubt the gator’s existence, here’s the short video shot by visitor Kim Joiner:

Python adopts maternal love towards 4 orphaned puppies

In Vadodara, India, rescuers were shocked when they rescued four orphaned puppies that had fallen into a well cuddled up and sleeping next to a six-foot long rock python. The snake, which routinely preys on small animals as rodents, birds and frogs seemed to have bonded with the six-week old puppies rescuers explained.

According to the Times of India, animal activist Neha Patel arrived in the village on Saturday and were told the puppies were trapped in a 70-foot deep well. One of the volunteers climbed into the well using a rope to lower him down and spotted the rare sight.

“The puppies had slipped inside the wall from a narrow passage and were trapped inside for the last four days. The python, who was in the well, could have easily preyed on them, but it rather cozied up to the pups. It was an unusual behavior by the python,” stated Patel.

Fortunately the puppies were all pulled out, and later the snake was rescued. Rock pythons are not poisonous but can injure large animals and humans with their nasty bites. Needless to say, rescuers were amazed by the relationship – it was as if the reptile had been protecting the puppies.

(Photo of snake screenshot via Times of India.)

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Sheriff rescues cat pinned at top of closed garage door

In Donaldsonville, Louisiana, a sheriff’s deputy rescued a cat pinned with the top half of his body in a closed garage door. The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office posted the photo of the cat named Bella to their Facebook page drawing gasps from readers and concerned

Be not afraid however, because retired Deputy Mike Scott immediately responded to the situation.

“A cat had been stuck between a garage door of a residence and the wall. Never in all my years (34) was I prepared to encounter what I saw upon my arrival,” Deputy Scott posted on Facebook.

Fortunately Deputy Scott has a lot of help from neighbors and friends.

“The neighbors were very helpful as we cautiously removed the upper frame molding that allowed some space for us to remove the cat. With a joint effort with neighbors we were able to remove the cat alive.”

Not long after the amazing rescue, Bella’s owner returned home. He had been buying lumber to repair damage from the recent floods and suspected the cat had been asleep on the garage floor when he left. Miraculously Bella escaped unscathed. How many lives do you think Bella gave up for that situation?

Deputy Mike Scott worked 34 years for the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and retired as a captain over uniform patrol in 2011. After two years of retirement he returned as a part time officer.

“It’s a privilege to be on the streets with these much younger criminal justice professionals,” said Deputy Scott. “I like to be able to assist with taking calls like such so that the younger deputies can stay available for criminal complaints and investigations.”

We’re always glad to honor a few good men Deputy Scott. Thank you for your service.

Photos of cat pinned in garage dog courtesy of Facebook page Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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Game wardens shoot family’s pet deer in the head while they watched

In Ulysses, Kansas, three local game wardens entered the private home of the Mcgaughey family on December 19 and shot a pet deer in the head four times in front of her caretakers. To the family, the doe, dubbed Faline, was tame but free and had followed them home almost two years ago when she was less than a

According to the Wichita Eagle, wildlife authorities contend a socialized wild animal can harm people and spread disease to other animals. Mark Rankin, a law enforcement officer for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism stated his officers had acted appropriately and in the interest of public safety. The family, however doesn’t agree and are devastated by the loss of the pet deer and the heartless way she was killed.

“The deer was unlawfully possessed, and there is no permit available to hold a wild-caught deer as a pet in the state of Kansas,” said Rankin.

Faline wasn’t in any way a wild animal that had ever been kept against her will. According to Taryn Mcgaughey, the daughter of the family who fostered the deer, Faline had followed her mom, Kim, home to their six acre farm. Kim and Faline instantly bonded – no matter how strange that may have sounded, but the doe came and went at will, and Kim was assured by a local game warden that as long as the doe was not confined, all was legal and acceptable. As Kim and Faline became even more emotionally connected, Kim would knit collars on the doe so hunters wouldn’t kill her, and the gentle animal would often play with her young

“She was house trained. She would come into the house behind me, sleep on the floor while I watched TV,” Kim told the commission on Thursday at a public meeting in the city of Emporia.

And all was well until Faline went missing in December and the family posted on Facebook asking for help to find the doe. That afternoon the game wardens arrived at Kim Mcgaughey’s workplace  and issued her a ticket for keeping a wild animal. Immediately Kim called three zoos to help place the deer, but before anyone could respond the wardens came to her home, petted Faline on top of her head and repeatedly shot her dead.

Local wildlife organizations have questioned why Faline had to be killed; stating experiences like this can help raise wildlife awareness and the chances of the doe spreading disease were very low. Meanwhile, the family insisted Faline could have been relocated to a wildlife sanctuary, and the gentle deer who thought she was a dog and who would knock her head on the family’s home and bleat to come in, is dead after one of the ranger’s who shot her stated when Kim asked if he was going to shoot the doe in the head stated:

“Yeah, I am…. it’s the most humane way to shut her down – to solve the problem.”

Rest in peace Faline. Photos of pet deer courtesy of Taryn Mcgaughey.

What do you think?

Video here:




Baby camel running loose winds up to be a llama

A camel and a llama are both members of the  Camelidae family, but interestingly enough are very easy to tell apart. Camels have one of two humps on their backs. Such was the news from Oconee County Georgia Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday afternoon as reports began to fly in about a camel on the loose. Sheriff officers, convinced it had been a slow day as to President Elect Trump’s tweets and rising developments, perhaps there was more time for the media to scramble around for news? According to the organization’s Facebook page, the initial report of an errant camel began in the afternoon:oconee-county-georgia-sheriffs-office-2

“Around 4:00PM, dispatch notified me that someone had reported ‘a baby camel running loose in Epps Bridge Road. Our deputies are not trained in South American camelid identification, but they quickly determined that the animal in question was actually a llama.”

And within moments, the brave officers were able to corral the animal although a bag of carrots helped indeed. The llama’s owner was found, and soon the family arrived with a van to take him home.

“We do not know at this time whether it just wanted to go for a stroll or if it was concerned about the weather forecast this weekend and was attempting to buy bread and milk,” the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook, “but I asked and it refused to answer questions. Perhaps this is because I don’t speak Spanish nor any of the native Peruvian languages.”

Actually, Chief Deputy Lee Weems, it is never a slow day for animal rescue, cruelty or neglect, but it’s always a pleasure to find compassionate and kind officers dedicated to helping all citizens – whether human or animals. The rescue community sends you their best for being heroes to those who cannot speak.

(Photos of llama courtesy of  Oconee County Georgia Sheriff’s Office.)

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Dog gets hind leg stuck in airport escalator

In Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, sheriff officers and firemen came to the aid of a small dog who got its hind leg caught in an escalator on New Year’s Eve. The three-year-old dog was flying back to New York with his family when it walked onto the escalator, and its paw got caught.

According to Abc10News, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles stated the owners tried to free the small terrier, but the dog bit both of them. Sheriff deputies tried to free him, but didn’t have the right equipment to help, and called the fire department. The pup was not seriously hurt. The dog’s owners refused medical treatment.

And here’s one more reason to keep a dog safely in their airline approved carriers while in the airport. And how about another suggestion – take the stairs or the elevator? Use common sense and save your dog the pain the little pooch must have endured.

(Photo of dog gets hind leg stuck screenshot of AbcNews)

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South Korea airport shoots and kills passenger’s dog

In Seoul, South Korea, a passenger’s small dog was shot and killed by airport staff on Monday after the pooch escaped from his kennel while being boarded. The dog belonged to a Thai Airways passenger and ran onto the runway.thai-airways-dog-killed-dog-cover

According to the Bangkok Post, killing the dog was part of protocol since he could have endangered lives of aircraft and passengers. In a follow-up report about the tragic end for the little dog, an unnamed airport official stated:

“It seemed that airline workers didn’t properly close the dog’s cage, allowing it to escape just before being boarded. Our staff first ran after the dog trying to capture it, but they couldn’t. The dog had to be shot to prevent it from causing a serious safety accident.”

Thai Airways International has apologized to the dog’s owner. The incident involved one of three dogs that belonged to two passengers who had been boarding Flight TG657 from Seoul to Bangkok on Monday. The dogs had been in three separate cages, and they were reported to have been securely locked with yellow tape to ensure the kennels were not opened from the outside. It is unknown how the dog escaped.

The airport has three standard procedures used to deal with these emergencies. In the THAI statement:

“The first one was to try and catch the escaped pet with a net, the second is to shoot it with an air gun, and the last one is to shoot it with a real bullet.”

The owner of the dead dog  has been identified as Mukda Som. On her Facebook page, she said she is grieving the death of her dog, and the airline has offered her less than 10,000 baht ($278.) in compensation for the dog’s death. Rest in peace Lion.
(Photo of South Korea dog shot via Facebook page of Mukda Som)




Florida woman allowed to keep ‘Rambo’ pet alligator

In Lakeland, Florida, the owner of a pet alligator named “Rambo” will be allowed to stay in his home. After a year-long battle with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Mary Thorn reached an agreement allowing her to keep her 6-foot-long pet reptile at home.

According to FoxNews, Rambo, who has earned celebrity status in his hometown has been with Thorn for more than 11 years. The 125-pound gator was about to be evicted since state rules require a captured gator of his size to live on at least 2.5 acres of land. The state has however since dropped its case, except there will be certain rules and regulations Rambo and his mom must forever abide. The alligator is no longer allowed to be shown off in public.

‘He did Toys for Tots. He did Children and Family Services events,” stated Mary.

Rambo, who is house trained and often dressed up in costumes, has been a teaching resource for kids for years across the Tampa Bay area. Children have approached him and touched him safely – not anything they could do in the wild and be safe. Nevertheless, Mary is thrilled. Now that all her children are grown, she is just thankful she gets to spend Christmas with her favorite pal.

(Photo of pet alligator via YouTube)


Judge rules dogs can not be treated as children in custody fight

In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a Canadian judge ruled that dogs cannot be treated as children during a recent custody fight and must be viewed as property. According to the Guardian, the ruling came during a divorce case where a woman asked for custody of the couple’s dogs as if they were children.

The judge told the couple in what has been called a “scathing decision” that dogs are property, and the distinction clearly shows that children are not purchased from breeders.  Justice Richard Danyliuk rebuked the couple for using the court system to settle a custody fight over their two dogs.

“A dog is a dog. At law it is property, a domesticated animal that is owned. At law it enjoys no familial rights,” the judge wrote in his decision.

The couple, who had no children, were divorcing after 16 years of marriage, but couldn’t agree where two of their three dogs would live. Initially the husband had been seeking custody of one of the dogs, but had asked a judge to intervene with the living arrangements of the other two dogs – aged 9 and 2. Judge Danyliuk did acknowledge that dogs differ from other property as there are protections against cruelty or neglect,  but he wouldn’t entertain the idea of applying child custody rules to animals.

“…we don’t breed our children with other humans to ensure good bloodlines, nor do we charge for such services. When our children act improperly, even seriously and violently so, we generally do not muzzle them or even put them to death for repeated transgressions,” the judge stated.

For now, the two dogs, named Kenya and Willow will continue to live with the wife’s family until the judge decides as to a fair and equitable property split. Judge Danyliuk did tell the couple how he thought this having been brought to the court was a waste of resources in light of people forced to wait months in child custody cases, but warned them if they can’t come to a mutual decision, he could order the dogs sold and the proceeds split.

No doubt people view their dogs as integral parts of their lives and many people do perceive their pets as their children. What do you think of the judge’s decision?

(Photos of two dogs in custody fight via Facebook)

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City councilman voted out, but library cat he tried to oust stays

In White Settlement, Texas, the library cat gets to stay and stretch his paws whenever he wants at the White Settlement Public Library where he has lived for more than six years. And as if “karma” can really deliver a kitty punch, who is to say when City Councilman Elzie Clements wanted the friendly, gray and white kitty named Browser gone, the politician was defeated from office in a landslide victory in November.library-cat

According to CbsNews, back in June, the council voted 2-1 to give Browser 30 days to vacate; Clements had been outspoken as to the cat getting evicted. Brought in as a rescue kitten to live in the library and squash the rodent problem, Browser was the perfect fit. Although the library had previously been using an exterminator, personnel didn’t want the poisons on the books nor did they want young children who  put their fingers in the eyes and their mouths, to handle the books if they contained any poison residue.

And all was well for years, until an angry city employee went on a hate campaign against Browser when her puppy was not allowed to accompany her to work inside of city hall. That’s when the fur began to fly. Mayor Ron White defended Browser, accusing city council members of hating cats. The mayor was so adamant about Browser remaining in his home, he threatened to take the issue to voters if the council didn’t reconsider. Browser even signed up for his own Facebook page asking the world to help him keep his home.

When social media picked up the plight of the adorable kitty, needless to say at an emergency meeting where Browser was the only item on the agenda, council members voted unanimously to reverse their earlier decision. Repercussions could be heard from Maine to Missouri and even overseas as far away as Germany and Malaysia.

Elzie Clements, Browser’s biggest foe, stated he had a few complaints about Browser from people who were surprised a cat was living at the library. Browser’s job title now reads “Library Cat for Life.” Mayor Ron White is satisfied with his furry employee, and says he has received messages about the cat from around the world with many people offering to adopt him. It would seem however that Browser is happy with his job.

Ah, the world of politics…

(Photos of library cat courtesy of White Settlement Public Library)

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