A trainer and rescuer of birds who once worked for the National Aquarium in Baltimore is being sought for questioning in connection with the deaths of 40 animals found in her Columbia townhouse, about half of which may have been abandoned while still alive.
Howard County animal control officers found 19 dead animals inside a freezer at the home, including birds, rabbits, a guinea pig and a hermit crab, according to the Baltimore Sun. Twenty one more dead birds, cats, rabbits and a snake were inside cages or loose in the home with no food or water. Four animals were found alive.
Howard County police on Wednesday left a letter at the home of Beth Lindenau, on the 9600 block of Lambeth Court, requesting she come in for an interview.
National Aquarium officials confirmed that Lindenau worked there from December 2004 until November 2009.
A police spokesperson said charges likely won’t be filed at least until after they have results of lab reports that show how and when the animals died.
Officers entered the house Monday after a property manager reported odors coming from the home. The electricity and heat had been turned off, and while food was left for some animals, those in cages had no access to it.
Several neighbors at the Lambeth Court townhouse said they had suspected that animals were inside the house and not being looked after, but officials with the county’s health department said they never received any complaints at that address.
Police said they are investigating whether she was involved with a nonprofit animal rescue group. A trailer belonging to the Bailey Foundation, a Columbia-based bird rescue organization was in the driveway.
WJLA reports that Lindenau is executive director of the organization.
According to the Bailey Foundation website, it was established in 2004, and has taken in dozens of birds, from finches to macaws, in hopes of finding them adoptive homes.
“Many of these birds will need care for up to 80 years or more,” the website says. “…Space is running out for the care of large birds like macaws and cockatoos. We will need to expand our available space soon. Our long-term goals are to purchase land on which large aviaries can be built to house the various species of birds as well as serve as an educational center. In our current location this is not possible…
“It is our goal to always have a place for one more bird in need.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 20th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal control, animals, bailey foundation, baltimore, beth lindenau, bird, birds, cats, columbia, dead, freezer, howard county, national aquarium, police, rabbitis, rescue, rescuer, snake, townhouse
“Absolutely not, no I did not,” Nico Dauphine said after taking the stand in her own defense Wednesday in Superior Court, WJLA reported.
Dauphine is a postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo.
Prosecutors have presented evidence of her disdain for free-roaming cats, as well as a surveillance tape that they said showed her walking up to a planter where food was kept, reaching into her purse, then reaching into the cat food and leaving.
Dauphine argued in court that she was trying to get rid of the food because it attracted rats: “I went over to the planter, took out the food, put it in a plastic bag and threw it out,” she said.
Prosecutors have entered as evidence a number of quotes and articles in which Dauphine describes cats as an invasive species that should be euthanized. One online lecture by Dauphine is entitled “Apocalypse Meow – Free Ranging Cats and the Destruction of American Wildlife.”
Both sides presented closing arguments in the animal cruelty trial Wednesday and Judge Truman Morrison is scheduled to give his verdict Monday afternoon.
Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization, says attempts to poison free-roaming cats — not uncommon across the country — often pose a threat to pets and wildlife..
“There are no ‘safe poisons’ and there is no ‘safe way’ to poison,” said Dr. Frank McMillan, director of well-being studies at Best Friends Animal Society.
Says Laura Nirenberg, Best Friends’ legislative analyst for cat initiatives.”The sad truth is that not only is poisoning an indiscriminate and inhumane method of controlling animal populations, it is unnecessary, especially when growing evidence from communities across the country shows that trap-neuter-return, commonly known as TNR, is the most efficient and cost-effective method.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruelty, antifreeze, best friends, birds, cats, dc, feeding, feral, feral cats, free roaming, health, migratory bird center, national zoo, neuter, nico dauphine, poison, poisoning, prey, rat poison, return, safety, smithsonian, tnr, trap, trial, washington, wildlife
Over at Arbor Acres, the retirement community where my mother lives, there’s a population explosion looming.
Our duck friends, whose importation we told you about last summer, have produced a second generation, and several mama ducks are now poised atop their eggs.
Arbor Acres has always had ducks and geese — sometimes too many, sometimes not enough. They stay along a pond and an azalea-lined canal that feeds the pond. The geese come and go, but most of the ducks seem to like it enough to make it home.
The ducks serve as conversation pieces, and much more. They give residents something to watch that’s far more interesting than television, let them stay in touch with nature, and take part in the excitement of a new cycle of life starting up. When the baby ducks start showing up at Arbor Acres, all other news takes a back seat.
(I am of the opinion that every center for the elderly, a group I am in hopes of joining one day, should get massive and regular doses of two things — young people and animals, and that bringing them together greatly benefits all three. )
Last year, when the numbers dwindled and most of the newborns were being gobbled up by predators — a turtle who lives in the pond is the top suspect — one resident took steps to re-establish a flock.
He bought 16 of various breeds, cared for them at home and released them when they were old enough to get by on their own. The new ducks were all named after residents — one of them after my mother, Jo Woestendiek, whose room overlooks the canal.
For a week now, Jo Woestendiek, the duck, has been laying atop her eggs in a nest she made with pine needles — just outside the window of Jo Woestendiek, the human, who leans over her couch and cranes her neck in hopes of getting a glimpse of them.
The births are always followed by a period of concern for the residents — walking on eggshells would be one way to put it — as they wait to see how many of the eggs, then ducklings, are going to survive the turtle, coyote, fox and heron that see them as breakfast.
One summer a few years ago, my mother — apparently not the first to do so – took a group of newborns in, secretly keeping them in a cardboard box in her room. (Ace, during a visit, was fascinated by them, slowly approaching and giving each a delicate sniff.)
This year, a good batch of eggs has shown up around campus and, depending on how many escape the predators, the duck population could triple, with a strong contingent of what my mother has already taken to calling — even before they hatch — the Woestenducks.
There aren’t too many things in the world cuter than baby ducks, and how they steadfastly follow their mother, on land and water, no matter how much she zigs and zags.
As I watched them Sunday, mother duck swam across the canal, her babies following closely. When the mother duck climbed up a series of rocks and into the pine needles under a bush, the baby ducks struggled, falling over each other, off the rocks, then fighting to get up again, almost reaching the top only to tumble back down.
I wanted to lend a hand, especially to the last one trying to make it up — clearly the klutz of the bunch. He’d slap a webbed foot on a wet rock, only to have it slide off as he somersaulted back into the water.
I kept thinking his mother should get up and help him.
Then I realized, by not going to his aid, she was.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 23rd, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, arbor acres, assisted living, babies, baby ducks, birds, birth, communities, cycles, dogs, duck, ducklings, ducks, eggs, elderly, explosion, geese, hatched, independence, instititutions, jo woestendiek, motherhood, mothers, nature, nursing homes, pets, photography, population, retirement homes, survival, wildlife
Lees-McRae College, located in the mountains of North Carolina, has designated its first pet-friendly dormitory, allowing students who live there to bring along their dogs, cats, birds, fish, ferrets, and hamsters.
With the opening of the Spring 2011 semester, Bentley Residence Hall went co-species.
“I am so excited that Lees-McRae College has joined the ranks of pet friendly colleges and universities. We love our pets and we recognize that students who are pet owners are generally responsible and caring individuals,” said Barry M. Buxton, president of the Presbyterian college. “We want to encourage pet adoption and awareness that all of God’s creatures are sacred.”
Students living in Bentley Hall are now allowed to bring their pets from home to school with them to live in their rooms. Under the new policy, qualifying students can have fish, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, birds, ferrets, cats and dogs under 40 pounds. (We’d argue dogs over 40 pounds are sacred, too.)
Previously, students were only allowed to have fish in residence hall rooms.
Under the new pet friendly policy, faculty and staff are also encouraged to bring their pets to campus.
“It is great to be able to have my two dogs for companionship while I am studying and doing homework in my room,” said student Lauren Lampley, owner of Shih Tzus Heidi and Buckley. “This responsibility also forces me to manage my time well enough to take care of them and make sure I make time to spend with them.”
The approved pets for the inaugural pet friendly program include a Boston Terrier, a small Labrador retriever, two Shih Tzus, a pomeranian/Chihuahua mix, a miniature dachshund, a Maine coon mix, a Siamese mix, a leopard gecko, a Dutch rabbit, two ferrets and two birds.
The new policy represents the latest in a trend toward colleges welcoming pets, noted Joshua Fried, director of Petside.com: “We know how much the companionship of a pet can benefit a college student, particularly in the form of stress-relief and as a remedy for homesickness.”
“Now I have two alarms,” one student joked. “When I ignore my alarm clock, my dog licks my face and my nose until I get up. She really cares about my education.”
Lees-McRae College, a four-year, co-educational liberal arts college, is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina in the town of Banner Elk.
(Photo courtesy of Lees-McCrae College)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: allowed, allows, animals, banner elk, bentley hall, birds, campus, cats, colleges, dog, dog friendly, dogs, dormitory, education, ferrets, gecko, guniea pigs, hamsters, lees-mcrae college, life, new, pet friendly, pets north carolina, policy, rabbit, stress, students, universities
I got intrigued with a pair of seagulls again – this time two that I was sharing a parking lot with in the town of Bar Harbor, Maine.
I pulled in to see if I could fire up the old Internet and catch up on some blogging while sitting in the car.
The brown gull drew my attention first, with a sing-song tweet-TWEET-tweet that proved far more reliable than my Internet connection. It reliably emitted the call every four seconds as it searched the ground around my car for food.
Finding none, the brown gull kept tweet-TWEET-tweeting as it walked right up to the other other gull.
I don’t know if the other gull was a relative, suitor, friend, parental unit, or maybe – considering they didn’t look anything alike — a surrogate parent. But the brown gull clearly wanted something from it.
The grey and white gull would turn its head when the brown gull got too close. But the brown gull was a pushy creature – it just kept getting into the white and grey gull’s face, saying “tweet-TWEET-tweet” the whole time.
Once the grey and white gull got tired of retreating and turning away, the brown gull used its beak to pry open the other gull’s mouth, then conducted a very thorough search inside of it, pausing only to say “tweet-TWEET-tweet.”
After listening to 30 minutes of tweet-TWEET-tweeting, I finally broke up one of Ace’s treats and threw the pieces their way, buying me enough silence to get my work done. There was only one thing I had intended to do that — despite, or maybe because of the constant reminder — I forgot to do:
(To see a synopsis of Ace’s travels so far, click here.)
(To see all of “Travels with Ace,” click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek October 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bar harbor, behavior, birds, dog's country, dogscountry, gulls, maine, pets, photography, road trip, seagulls, travel, travels with ace, wildife
I was enjoying a cup of clam chowder — yes, another one — and Ace was laying at my feet, halfway under the bench, when I decided he was picture-worthy and took out my camera.
Sure, they are scavengers, but I like watching them — whether it be soaring regally through the sky or picking through trash like hungry hobos.
The seagulls around Provincetown have pretty good pickings, but — kind of like the humans outnumber the parking spaces — gulls far outnumber the posts in the water, which seem to be the perching spot of choice.
I’d only taken a couple of photos when a fellow gull looked down from above and, apparently either wanting the spot, or feeling he was American’s next top gull model, swooped down and bumped the first off the post.
After I finished the chowder, and Ace cleaned the cup, gull No. 1 — apparently wanting his perch back — swooped down and knocked No. 2 off.
Then he sat there a few more minutes, looking proud as an eagle.
When some fishermen on a boat were cutting bait, he vacated the post for a closer look, hovering in the air and being pushed backwards by the wind.
He’d flap his wings to get closer, hover, float backwards, and flap his wings again.
Then, seeing no handouts, he went back to his post.
Seagulls kind of have it all figured out. I was forking over money at every turn in Provincetown.
Seagulls? They pay for nothing. They scavenge scraps, sleep wherever they want, squawk whenever they feel like it, and park for free. I salute them.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, beach, birds, cape cod, dock, dog's country, dogscountry, gulls, massachusetts, nature, ocean, photography, pier, provincetown, sea, seagulls, travels with ace, water, wildlife
What I’ve liked most about being a liveaboard are the visitors — be they friends or fowl.
There’s a family of ducks that pops by regularly.
Egrets? I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. Just one actually, who, while making croaky-clicky noises from somewhere in that long and winding throat, landed softly on the edge of my boat, then took off the second I started fumbling for my camera.
And then there was this guy (top) – you tell me what he is — who didn’t seem to mind being photographed at all. Perhaps he’s an egret, too, though he was much smaller than the giant croaking one.
They were all welcome on the ark, with the exception of members of the rodent and snake families who I’m happy to report we saw none of at all — for which I thank the feral cats.
In our week living aboard a friend’s 30-foot sailboat in Baltimore, we’ve had a few human visitors, too, and I’ve enjoyed sharing what’s not really mine — the river, the boat, the sunsets … pretty much everything I offered except for Ace’s company, my beer and my now empty box of Cheeze-Its.
While offering little, I received much and thanks go out to the friends we’ve tried, tested, sought favors from and shacked up with. Maybe it is home, after all.
I think I’m actually moved — and it wasn’t just the bobbing of the boat. My return visit and the kindness Ace and I were shown by the friends, former Baltimore Sun colleagues, new liveaboard acquaintances and the occasional sea bird has meant a lot.
Once again, it’s hard to leave. The urge to nest is growing stronger. I’m wondering, how can I go back to a lonely Motel 6 after all this? Do I have another three months on the road in me? Does Ace?
I guess we’ll see. Because it’s time to go — gotta fly.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, animals, baltimore, birds, boat, dog's country, dogs, egrets, friends, life, liveaboard, liveaboards, marina, ohmidog!, pets, road trip, sailboat, thanks, travel, travels with ace, visitors
“How the Pelican Got Its Beak”
At its creation
Pelican must’ve told God,
“Put it on my bill.”
(Highway Haiku is a regular feature of “Dog’s Country,” the continuing tale of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America. To read the latest installments, click here. To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, beach, birds, coast, dog's country, dogscountry, haiku, highway, highway haiku, north carolina, ohmidog!, pelican, pelicans, poetry, road trip, shore, wildlife
Police in Walsrode, Germany, say they have trained a vulture named Sherlock to lead them to cadavers.
By placing a GPS device on his leg, they can track him and respond — I’d hope before he’s eaten too much of the evidence.
“If it works, it could save time because the birds can cover much more area than sniffer dogs or humans,” officer Rainer Herrmann told the Daily Mail.
The turkey vulture, a natural scavenger, feeds almost exclusively on carrion, finding its meals through keen vision and a sense of smell that allows it to detect the gasses produced during the decay of dead animals from as high as 3,000 feet in the air.
“‘It was a colleague of mine who got the idea from watching a nature programme,” Herrmann said. ”
Sherlock can even find remains in woodland or in thick undergrowth. Unlike sniffer dogs, who need regular breaks, Sherlock doesn’t seem to get tired and can cover a far larger area.
Sherlock is being trained at Walsrode, the largest bird park in the world with 650 different species.
Trainers hope to assemble a squadron of crimefighting vultures, but — given that the vultures aren’t native to the area, would have to be raised from chicks to be tame, and require lots of training — it will be a while before they are called to duty.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, birds, buzzards, cadaver, cadaver dogs, dead bodies, decay, finding, germany, gps, K-9, k9, locating, news, ohmidog!, pets, police, police dogs, rainer herrmann, scavenger, scent, sherlock, tracking, turkey vultures, vultures, walsrode
Baton Rouge Zoo officials think a pack of wild dogs may be responsible for the Sunday night deaths of 17 flamingos, more than a third of the zoo’s flock.
Despite having 24-hour security, the zoo didn’t discover the deaths until staff arrived for work Monday morning, Phil Frost, zoo director, told The Advocate.
Zoo officials don’t know how the dogs got into the zoo, or through an additional fence and into the flamingo enclosure, but they said canine paw prints were detected.
Besides the 17 flamingos killed, one more bird was injured in the attack and was being treated at the zoo’s hospital, said Mary Wood, the zoo’s marketing director.
The remaining 30 members of the flock who survived were back on display Monday. Zoo officials aren’t sure how they managed to survive the attack.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 3rd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attacked, baton rouge, birds, dogs, enclosure, fence, feral, flamingo, flamingos, killed, news, pack, phil frost, wild, zoo