<![CDATA[NBC 6 South Florida - ]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcmiami.com/feature/all-about-animals http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+6+LOGO+GOOGLE.png NBC 6 South Florida http://www.nbcmiami.com en-us Sun, 01 May 2016 19:17:21 -0400 Sun, 01 May 2016 19:17:21 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Vic]]> Sun, 01 May 2016 11:04:59 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week1.jpg

Our pet of the week is Vic. Vic is two years old and is looking for his forever home.

Lisa Mendheim with Broward Animal Care stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Vic. She said Vic is very smart and loving, and friendly.

Vic is delightful and would make a great family pet.

If you're interested in Vic or other animals up for adoption, contact Broward Animal Care at (954) 359-1313.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Abused Dog Shows Signs of Improvements at Hollywood Vet]]> Fri, 29 Apr 2016 09:55:55 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/042916+tucker.jpg

Tucker, a German Shepherd who arrived at a Hollywood veterinary hospital severely emaciated and badly abused last week, is showing signs of improvement on his road to recovery.

New photos of Tucker show that the sores on his skin are healing and that overall, he's coming along very well.

Veterinarians with VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital are working to determine the best way to treat deep wounds to Tucker's hips.

Miami-Dade Animals Services contacted Shepherd Help and Rescue Effort (SHARE) ealy last week after an owner surrender of the starving, sick dog.

Officials called for an immediate rescue and SHARE picked Tucker up the next day. Miami-Dade Police informed SHARE that Tucker's case will be pursued as a felony animal cruelty case.

Tucker came to the hospital suffering from inflammation in all four paws, skin that was cracked and bleeding, peridontal disease and two large open wounds on his hips, both of which are infected and will require intense wound care.

Tucker is now on antibiotics, they've dressed his wounds and he's responding well. He's in good spirits, although his injuries were some of the worst these volunteers have ever seen.

Despite his injuries, Tucker is said to have a sweet, calm demeanor which is noticed by everyone around him.

"Everyone we ran into at [VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital] always comments on what a great, loving spirit he has considering what he has been through," says Cindy Newton, a volunteer with SHARE. "He's such a great dog."

Vets are keeping Tucker for intensive treatment and observation, and they're hopeful he'll make a full recovery and soon be available for adoption.

An online fundraiser has been established on YouCaring.com to help cover the cost of Tucker's medical care.

As of Friday, the site had raised more than $9,500.

Photo Credit: SHARE]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - April 27, 2016]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 19:57:02 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/173*120/Bailey+A1776039.jpg Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets - April 27, 2016]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 27 Apr 2016 11:32:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/rsz_nbc6_jori.jpg Meet the animals in need of forever homes at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[Rescued Sea Turtles Released Into Ocean]]> Mon, 25 Apr 2016 19:13:50 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/WTVJ_000000023269817_1200x675_673510979511.jpg Miami Seaquarium workers release sea turtles rescued near Cape Cod into the waters of South Florida.]]> <![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 20 Apr 2016 20:56:26 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+new_Darla.jpg Check out the animals in need of a good home at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 20:02:32 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Tito+A1770651.jpg Check out the furry friends available for adoption through Miami-Dade County Animal Services.]]> <![CDATA[Virginia Zoo Elephants Arrive at Zoo Miami to Retire]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 18:46:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/041816+elephants+moving+to+miami.jpg

Zoo Miami received two new additions Tuesday. "Cita" and "Lisa" are African elephants that arrived from the Virginia Zoo as part of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums recommendation.

The recommendation is in line with an upcoming requirement by the AZA that accredited institutions exhibiting elephants maintain them in herds of three or more to support the complex and psychological health of the animals.

"We're very excited to be part of this partnership with Zoo Miami, delivering 18,000 pounds of African elephants to them," said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo.

Lisa is 42, was born in the wild, and arrived at the Virginia Zoo in 1976. Cita is almost 48 and arrived at the Virginia Zoo from the Indianapolis Zoo in 2005.

Following a quarantine period, they will be joining Zoo Miami's resident African females, Peggy and Mabel, both of whom are 40.

"It was a long drive, but it's pretty exciting to be here and see our girls meet our new friends," Bockheim said.

All of these females are beyond their reproductive ages and therefore will not be part of any breeding program.

Zoo Miami is the only zoo in the continental United States that is located in a sub-tropical climate where the elephants can remain outdoors year-round while enjoying the exhibits that have gone through recent renovations.

South Florida, with its mild climate and abundant sunshine, offers the ideal retirement location for these elephants, zoo officials said.

"Elephants are very sensitive to cold, especially as they get older. So having these large exhibits that we have at Zoo Miami, having these elephants come down here to live out their lives, is really best for everybody involved," said Ron Magill, Communications Director of Zoo Miami.

"They need more social opportunities, social choice to live with more elephants and their friends. As they age they need an environment that's a little bit warmer, the substrate softer to walk on just like humans," Bockheim said.

The elephants will be officially presented to the public on May 20, 2016.

Photo Credit: Zoo Miami]]>
<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Salsa]]> Sun, 17 Apr 2016 11:24:25 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week+salsa.jpg

Our pet of the week is Salsa, a two-year-old Pitbull mix, who is looking for her forever home.

Lisa Mendheim with Broward Animal Care stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Salsa. She said Salsa is very smart and loyal, and friendly.

Salsa is delightful and would make a great family pet.

If you're interested in Salsa or other animals up for adoption, contact Broward Animal Care at (954) 359-1313.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Thu, 14 Apr 2016 17:04:36 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/ZeusHSBC.jpg Check out the pets available for adoption at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[Miramar K-9 Officers Receive New Bulletproof Vests]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 18:59:03 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/041316+k9+miramar+vests.jpg

Miramar Police dogs were treated with some new protective gear Wednesday. The K-9 officers are putting their best paw forward with a whole new wardrobe: bulletproof vests.

"It's important that we protect them because they don't know when they're going into danger, they just know they're going to work and doing what they're trained to do and if it's a dangerous situation, the dog should be protected just as much as any human should," said Sgt. Anthony Pacetti with Miramar Police.

Six dogs with the Miramar Police Department K-9 Unit got the safety gear, thanks to Protect the Paws, a K-9 Cause.

"The canines are a huge commitment to our community. They are vital for crime prevention and we just can't do it without them," said Kathleen Holmes and Ruthie Cusick with Protect the Paws.

The nonprofit raises funds to donate bulletproof vests to South Florida canine units. Since 2011, they've produced over 60 custom-fit vests for more than 16 local police departments.

"They're our officers as well and they deserve the same protection," Holmes and Cusick said.

It's protection needed for their risky job. Many of the canines deal with narcotics and explosive detection, finding missing persons and more.

Their handlers say these dogs are like family to them and they're extremely grateful to see them wearing this life-saving protection.

"They're our loved ones. I treat him just like I would my children, my sons. He will lay down his life for me and I would do the same for him," said Troy Montgomery with Miramar Police.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Tue, 12 Apr 2016 19:38:46 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Tito+A1767628.JPG Check out the animals available for adoption through Miami-Dade County Animal Services.]]> <![CDATA[Dog Rescued After Swimming From Coral Gables to Biscayne Bay]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 23:46:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/041116+dog+rescued.jpg

A South Florida dog went on quite the journey Monday. Somehow, the brave pup traveled from Coral Gables, all the way to Biscayne Bay.

On the deck of a Miami Fire Rescue boat, nestled against the leg of a firefighter, the dog was shivering, covered with a blue blanket and exhausted after being rescued.

Her owners met at a Bayside dock for a reunion that was almost a miracle.

"Baby dog. Yay, come here. Why did you leave me honey?" the dog's owner said during the reunion.

As soon as the black Labrador made it safely on land, the 14-year-old dog was as happy as a puppy.

"Fergie, fergie. What are you doing here? Why'd you leave me? Why'd you leave me baby? Aww, baby are you okay?" her owner said.

Fergie was found in Biscayne Bay in Edgewater. She swam there from the water near the Gables. That's an average of nine miles.

"She was in the water swimming. It was in between Pace Park and Picnic Island," the owner explained.

Heading toward an island, MFR said someone living in a condo called 911 saying they notice the four-legged, aging animal in the middle of the bay.

"Immediately Miami Fire Rescue was dispatched out there," said Lt. Ignatius Carroll with MFR.

Two people who also saw the dog, jumped in the water to try and help.

"Miami Police arrived and we started getting the two people who were attempting to rescue the dog, started waving for assistance because obviously trying to get out there to the dog, they were also tired and had to be picked up and taken back to shore," Lt. Carroll explained.

Fergie loves to swim, but usually with the family. Monday she apparently had a bad case of separation anxiety.

"They had just left the house from about two hours ago and they didn't realize that the dog was able to get out of the house and jumped into the water thinking it was going to find its owners out there," Lt. Carroll said.

MFR said as soon as Fergie saw their rescue boat, she started swimming directly towards them.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[I Found These Kittens …What Should I Do?]]> Wed, 13 Apr 2016 12:20:34 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/160*120/Dr.+Kpkee+and+Kitten.jpg

by Dr. Ian Kupkee

As the days grow longer and the temperatures rise, South Florida’s free-roaming cats have just one thing on their minds.  This is when our clinic starts fielding frantic phone calls and emails that begin along the lines of,  “So I found these kittens...what do I do?”

Before you take on the project of hand-rearing a litter of kittens, it’s wise to discuss some of the things you shouldn’t do.  The first decision you will need to make is whether or not you need to intervene at all.  So before I get to the list of do’s, let’s go over some of the don’ts.

Don’t assume the kittens have been abandoned by their mother

When we find a mewling, helpless litter on our property or in a public place, the urge to jump in and save them can be very powerful.  However, it’s important to note that like their wild counterparts, free-roaming cats must forage and hunt for their food.  As a matter of necessity, mother cats must leave their kittens alone for several hours at a time.  If you come across a litter, and mom is nowhere is sight, observe the litter from a safe distance for about three hours.  Since we are all busy, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of some friends, and do this in shifts.  If the mother cat returns, leave the family in peace - for now.  You’ll want to check in on them periodically to ensure nothing happens to mom, but if there is a mother cat in the picture, it is wise to let her nurse them until they are weaned.  This usually happens at about eight weeks of age.

Don’t intervene without a plan

Kittens generally do not begin eating solid food until they are about six to seven weeks old.  Until then, they must be bottle fed every three to four hours.  And without putting too fine a point on it, the other end of each kitten must be cared for as well! A cotton ball moistened with warm water must be gently rubbed over each kitty’s “nether region” to activate the process of eliminating waste.  Mama cats do this with their tongues, so it could be worse...but joking aside, hand-raising kittens is a lot of work.  While it is not nearly as rigorous as caring for a newborn baby, some of the same rules apply. A strict feeding schedule must be followed, including throughout the night. Plans may have to change, schedules rearranged, and “baby-sitters” must be found if your plans are set in stone.

Don’t assume “Somebody” will take them off your hands

In the magical land of money trees and lollipop forests, there lives an elusive creature of myth named “Somebody”.  If you scoop up an abandoned litter thinking Somebody will take care of them, you may be in for a rude awakening.  Shelters may be full, rescues may be maxed out, and while veterinarians are usually happy to help, our hospitals can be dangerous places for neonatal kittens.  The same holds true for animal shelters. Both see sickness and disease on a daily basis, and the immune systems of bottle-feeding kittens are practically non-existent.  Unless the facility has an isolation ward, and is staffed around the clock, they will probably not admit your foundling litter.  While this may seem counterintuitive, the best place for a litter of neonatal kittens is anyplace but a shelter or a veterinary facility.  By all means, hit them up for advice, resources and discounted care, but don’t be surprised by “no bottle babies” policies.  As my wife is fond of saying, “A synonym for Somebody is You.”

Don’t drop them off somewhere in the middle of the night!

Forget about the fact that it’s inexcusably selfish and inconsiderate.  It’s also horribly inhumane!  If you’re thinking of  leaving the litter on the big-hearted cat lady’s porch, that nice big property in horse country, the parking lot of your local animal shelter, or the doorstep of your kindly neighborhood veterinarian, know this - the kittens you “saved” are likely to be dead by the time they are found.  Between dehydration, hypothermia, hypoglycemia, and predation by wildlife, these little souls don’t stand a chance.  Because this is an act of animal cruelty, it is also illegal.  Most veterinary hospitals - including  ours - are tricked out with more hidden cameras than Fort Knox. If you think we won’t turn the tapes over to the police, think again. You are not doing the right thing for these animals. You are killing them.

Don’t skimp on formula

The only formula I personally recommend is Kitten Milk Replacer or KMR. The powdered version is a better value, and will give you greater flexibility if you need to experiment with consistencies. The cheap brands are cheap for a reason.  As your kittens begin the weaning process, you will begin to thicken it with solid foods.  So don’t be alarmed by the rate at which your litter initially consumes formula.  In a pinch (as defined by, nothing is open except the grocery store), you can use pasteurized goat’s milk, mixed with an equal part of water. NEVER use cow’s milk, or any grain or nut based milk product. Get them onto formula as soon as you can to optimize their chances of survival.

Now for the do's!

Do be patient

Your kittens are confused and scared.  The bottle isn’t the same as Mommy. The milk probably tastes different.  They may refuse the bottle at first, or have difficulty latching on.  This usually doesn’t last. Hunger is a powerful motivator, and kittens are remarkably resilient.  That being said, if any of your charges seem listless, pale or cold, they need to see a veterinarian. You can check for dehydration by gently pulling the skin away from the body, then letting it go.  If it snaps back immediately, your kitty is hydrated. If the skin leaves a “tent”, this too is a sign that it’s time to see the vet.

Do be creative

Just like human babies, each litter of kittens is different.  You may have to thicken or thin the formula.  The nursing sets sold at pet stores come with nipples of varying shapes and sizes.  There’s a reason for this! If your kitties won’t latch on, try a different one until you find the sweet spot.  If they demand to be fed more than every four hours, try thickening the formula.  Make sure enough formula is getting through the nipple, and cut a larger hole in the tip if necessary.

Do keep them warm

Warmth is essential to helping these wee ones survive.  Keep them away from air conditioning vents, and make sure they always have plenty of small blankets or towels.  Never use heating pads as these can cause life-threatening burns.  An old-school hot water bottle is fine, as long as it is wrapped in towels. A safe and low-tech way to provide warmth is to make what’s known as a  “rice sock”.  Place a cup and a half to two cups  of dry white rice or beans in a clean sock. Tie off the end of the sock, microwave it for 45-60 seconds, and place it under the kittens’ bedding.  We have saved many a critical neonate with our hospital’s rice sock!

Do ask for help

Neighbors, friends, church groups, home-school groups, family members, older children - you’d be surprised how many of these folks are willing to lend a hand.  The hardest part about hand-raising kittens is the 24/7 part.  But when it’s spread out amongst several groups or individuals, it’s actually rather fun!  Caretakers are less likely to suffer from burnout if they know there is an end in sight.  Additionally, the kittens enjoy the benefit of additional stimulation and socialization.

Miami Dade Animal Services is currently seeking “kitten cuddlers” to help with their own kitten  influx.   This is a great way to help the community, as well as pick up the skills needed to care for any bottle babies that may cross your path in the future.  MDAS can also provide the materials, formula and training you may need to raise a litter in your care.

The Humane Society of Greater Miami is looking for foster parents to help care for the hundreds of orphaned baby kittens that are being abandoned in record numbers.

The Humane Society will provide all food and supplies necessary to care for the kittens until they are old enough to be brought back to the shelter.

The Feral Cat Coalition has a fantastic page on the specifics of feeding bottle babies, including feeding amounts, intervals, and troubleshooting tips. Click here to access the page directly.

The Cat Network can also help with bottle rearing questions. Joining Cat network allows you to participate in their adoptions program, which can help you find homes for your kittens once they are weaned.

Finally, the best way to ensure you never have to hand-raise kittens is to do your part to keep them from being born in the first place.  Spay and neuter your pet cats.  If you are feeding a stray, feral, or “neighborhood” cat, contact Miami Dade Animal Services or the Cat Network for information on low-cost or free spay/neuter programs for free-roaming cats.  Project PetSnip  provides free spays, neuters, and rabies vaccines for stray cats in Miami Dade County. These services are for stray and feral cats only.  Pets are not eligible, and ear tipping is mandatory. Please contact them at (305) 387-0721 or petsnip@gmail.com for more information.

An intact female cat will inevitably become six cats.  In a year or less, that one little stray can turn into a colony of 30 - 40 cats! By preventing these births, we can make tremendous strides in reducing the number of unwanted cats both in our streets and in our shelters.

To visit the NBC6.com "All About Animals" section, click here.


Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee?

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email by clicking here.

Click here for special deals and discounts exclusively for NBC 6 viewers.

<![CDATA[Foster Parents Wanted for Orphaned Kittens]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 11:28:04 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Kittens.JPG

The Humane Society of Greater Miami is looking for foster parents to help care for the hundreds of orphaned baby kittens that are being abandoned in record numbers.

The Humane Society will provide all food and supplies necessary to care for the kittens until they are old enough to be brought back to the shelter. “Until we eradicate the serious pet overpopulation problem that we have in Miami, we need help from the community to save these innocent babies,” said Laurie Hoffman, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Greater Miami.

Every first Sunday of the month at 3:00PM, the Humane Society of Greater Miami holds a “Kitten Baby Shower” where new fosters will learn all that they need to know in order to properly care for very young kittens. Become part of one of the most rewarding, life-saving teams in your community!

Help us help more animals by becoming a foster parent. Email foster@humanesocietymiami.org for more information.

<![CDATA[WATCH: Paddleboarder Has Close Encounter With Shark]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 14:11:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/214*120/040816+paddleboarder+shark.JPG

A standup paddleboarder in Florida came face to face with a shark Thursday in the waters off Jupiter in Palm Beach County.

Maximo Trinidad shot video of the close encounter while boarding on his lunch break near Corners Beach, according to NBC affiliate WPTV in West Palm Beach.

The footage shows Trindad along when suddenly, his board clips a large shark to his left, sending Trinidad straight into the water.

"As soon as I saw that big beautiful animal jumping next to me, everything went into slow motion. I didn't want to be on top of it and think I was a fish," he told WPTV. "Everything was so surreal. It was so cool."

Trinidad is seen on video climbing back on top of his board and letting out an expletive in reaction to the incredible encounter.

He told WPTV this wasn't his first experience with a shark.

On another occasion, a shark jumped so high next to him it nearly reached eye level, Trinidad said.

Photo Credit: Maximo Trinidad]]>
<![CDATA['Smokey Jr.' Bear Cub Saved From C. Fla. Brush Fire]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 11:25:16 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/040816+baby+bear+saved+from+fire.jpg

Firefighters in central Florida helped save a crying bear cub while fighting a brush fire on Thursday.

The roughly 250-acre fire took place in the rural Royal Trails section of Lake County. Multiple homes had to be evacuated.

A resident heard the bear crying and firefighters went back into the brush to rescue him, according to Lake County public information officer Elisha Pappacoda.

According to NBC affiliate WESH in Orlando, Lake County Fire Rescue contained the fire and was in the "mop-up" phase when they found the cub.

"We do have a lot of Florida black bears in the area. But, this [baby bear] is not something you see every day. The tips of his fur on his face were singed. Firefighters held onto him until Fish and Wildlife came," Pappacoda said. 

Nicknamed "SJ" — for Smokey Jr. — by the fire department, the cub's paws and face were burned and his mama bear was long gone.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was called to evaluate the cub. "SJ" was in a veterinarian's care Friday morning. Pappacoda said the cub is doing fine and recovering from the minor burns. 

Photo Credit: Lake County Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 11:00:01 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6_Kitty.jpg Take a look at the furry friends available for adoption in Broward County.]]> <![CDATA[Lucca, 3-Legged Marine Corps Dog, Receives Service Medal]]> Wed, 06 Apr 2016 04:47:37 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/lucca-photo.jpg A retired U.S. Marine Corps dog who lost one of her legs while protecting the lives of troops in Afghanistan was awarded a top military medal on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

Photo Credit: PDSA]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets ]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 10:53:51 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/180*120/Pretty+A1773106.jpg Check out the animals up for adoption at Miami-Dade County Animal Services!]]> <![CDATA[Alligator Approaches Resident's Front Door in Plant City]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 10:54:16 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/040516+plant+city+gator.jpg

An alligator was removed from a mobile home community in Central Florida Tuesday after it approached a resident's front door.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the gator was 9 feet 5 inches long. Authorities said the animal "was attempting to gain entry into a residential mobile home."

Officials said a licensed trapper and HCSO deputy were able to capture and remove the gator before it could harm anyone.

Plant City is about 30 miles east of Tampa.

 [[374687901, C]]

Photo Credit: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
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<![CDATA[Sea Turtles Rescued on Cape Cod Released in Fla.]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 21:09:38 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/201*120/Sea+Turtle+enters+ocean.jpg

Sea turtles rescued after being stranded on Cape Cod last fall have made their way to warmer waters in Florida, thanks to some help from the humans at the New England Aquarium.

Nineteen Kemp's Ridley sea turtles were released at Little Talbot Island State Park near Jacksonville on Sunday after their rehabilitation near Boston for the past four months.

Officials with the New England Aquarium say the endangered sea turtles were suffering from severe hypothermia when they were found on the north side of Cape Cod late last autumn.

The sea turtles, which are members of the most endangered sea turtle species, were last seen dipping into the warm ocean surf. 

Photo Credit: New England Aquarium]]>
<![CDATA[Chihuahua Rescued on Calif. Bridge]]> Mon, 04 Apr 2016 09:48:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/runaway+puppy.jpg

California Highway Patrol officers gave chase to an unlikely suspect early Sunday — a Chihuahua.

A driver reported the dog on westbound Bay Bridge just after 7 a.m., according to Officer Vu Williams, a spokesman for CHP San Francisco. 

CHP units noticed the small dog on the bridge's north side catwalk heading toward San Francisco, prompting an officer to stop traffic.

A motorcycle officer tried to go over to the Chihuahua and pick it up, but it bolted onto the Bay Bridge, Williams said. A video on the CHP San Francisco Twitter page shows a motorcycle officer pursuing the dog as it scampered across multiple lanes.

The black Chihuahua kept running away from officers who were trying to safely capture it so a motorcycle officer and others in a patrol car boxed in the wayward dog, Williams said. One officer distracted the animal with a jacket while another scooped it up. 

The rescue lasted roughly five minutes, according to Williams. 

CHP officers also shared a photograph of the Chihuahua being carried by one of their colleagues. A skull is dangling from the dog's black collar, but Williams said it doesn't contain any identifying information.

The dog has been picked up by the San Francisco County's Department of Animal Care and Control, whose employees nicknamed it "Ponch," after Erik Estrada's character in the 1970s TV hit, "CHiPs." Officials are going to use a scanner to ascertain if it has a microchip in it, Williams said.

Officials are seeking the public's assistance in reuniting the Chihuahua with its owner. If it isn't claimed in seven days, it will be put up for adoption.

This dog isn't the first animal to prompt a brief closure of the Bay Brige. Williams said turtles, seals and a litany of other animals have caused traffic jams in the past. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 415-554-6364.

Photo Credit: CHP San Francisco
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<![CDATA[Pet of the Week: Wendell]]> Sun, 03 Apr 2016 11:24:22 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/pet+of+the+week+wendell.jpg

Our pet of the week is Wendell, a two-year-old Pointer mix, who is looking for his forever home.

Lisa Mendheim with Broward Animal Care stopped by NBC 6 on Sunday with Wendell. She said Wendell is very smart and playful, and friendly.

Wendell would make a great family pet.

If you're interested in Wendell or other animals up for adoption, contact Broward Animal Care at (954) 359-1313.

For more animal news, visit our All About Animals section. 

Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 20:34:18 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6_Lil+Pup.jpg Check out the pets available for adoption at the Broward Humane Society!]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Florida Panther Runs Past Woman on Nature Walk]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 08:01:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/033016+florida+panther+nature+walk.jpg

Not only do Florida Panthers like to hang out on porches, they also apparently like nature walks.

That's according to a video a woman posted on Facebook Tuesday showing one of the endangered cats running past her on a wooden walkway.

Tina Dorschel, who posted the video, said she was on an early morning nature walk at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples when she encountered the panther.

"On on early morning nature walk we saw a gator, a snake, frogs, pretty birds, and had this unexpected encounter. (Warning...curse word at end!)" Dorschel posted, along with the brief video clip.

The news comes as a Fort Myers man captured a rare sight of a Florida panther taking a rest on his father's porch.

Photo Credit: Tina Dorschel
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTO: Man Finds Florida Panther Sitting on Porch]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 17:06:17 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/033016+florida+panther+on+porch+fort+myers.jpg

A Fort Myers man captured a rare sight recently when a Florida panther decided to take a rest on his father's porch.

Phil Hendra was at the house in East Fort Myers in Lee County on March 18 when he took a photo of the endangered panther.

Hendra sent the photo to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which posted it on Facebook.

"It stayed for about 20 minutes and laid down for a bit," Hendra told the FWC. "It looked at us inside the window then slowly walked away and we have not seen it since. My parents have lived here since 1988 and they may have seen a younger panther about two years ago, but nothing compares to this once in a lifetime experience."

Panthers are endangered and FWC biologists estimate there are 100-180 adults and yearlings in Florida. Report panther sightings here

Photo Credit: Phil Hendra via FWC
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<![CDATA[School of Sharks Spotted Off Port Everglades]]> Wed, 30 Mar 2016 11:47:15 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/shark-school.jpg

A school of at least 50 sharks was seen congregating around Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday morning.

While shark schools are not uncommon in South Florida, sightings so close to shore often prompt beach closures.

Researchers at the Nova Southeastern University Guy Harvey Research Institute, however, say migrating sharks are not a threat to humans.

Another giant school of sharks was spotted off the Florida coast last April.

Photo Credit: WTVJ]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Tue, 29 Mar 2016 15:55:07 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/184*120/Trixie+A1766507.jpg Check out this week's furry friends that are up for adoption at Miami-Dade Animal Services! ]]> <![CDATA[Broward Animal Care to Hold Low-Cost Rabies Clinic]]> Tue, 29 Mar 2016 11:39:02 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/184*120/GettyImages-73808274.jpg

The Animal Care and Adoption Division will host a Rabies Clinic on Saturday, April 2nd, from 9AM to 2PM at Roosevelt Gardens Park, 2841 NW 11th Street, in Fort Lauderdale.

Pet owners will be able to have their dog or cat vaccinated against rabies and receive a Broward County Rabies Registration License tag.
Cost for a one-year rabies vaccination and license tag will be:

- $25 for dogs and cats that are spayed/neutered (sterilized)
- $35 for pets that are not spayed/neutered (not sterilized)

Dog and cat ID microchips, with free registration, will also be available for $15. Microchips can be scanned by a veterinarian or animal shelter if your pet gets lost so they can be returned to you.

Debit/credit cards will be the only form of accepted payment. Cards accepted include Visa, Master Card, American Express and Discover.

You must be a Broward County resident to attend. All dogs must be on leashes and all cats in carriers.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Needs Kitten Cuddlers]]> Fri, 08 Apr 2016 11:24:28 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/cat-generic-103131833.jpg

In what may be the most desirable occupation ever, Miami-Dade County Animal Services says it's in need of kitten cuddlers to snuggle with and feed newborn cats.

MDAS said it sees an influx of very young kittens in the spring, and the animals require round-the-clock care in order to survive and possibly be adopted.

"Abandoned newborn kittens are an unfortunate right of spring and we need the help of the community," said MDAS director Alex Muñoz. "Engaging and empowering the community to play an active role is a key component of our lifesaving efforts."

Kitten cuddlers will receive training on bottle feeding the kittens, and will get kitten care kits that include everything necessary to take care of the newborns. That includes heating pads, feeding bottles and milk replacement.

MDAS will also coordinate veterinary visits and routine care until the kittens are old enough to be adopted.

Training sessions will take place the second and fourth Sundays of every month starting in April.

To become a kitten cuddler foster parent, email asdfoster@miamidade.gov and write "Kitten Cuddler" in the subject line.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Miami-Dade Crew Pulls Trapped Dog to Safety]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 21:46:56 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/032516+dog+rescued.jpg

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews pulled a Husky to safety after it became trapped between a wooden fence and a concrete wall.

When they arrived to the location on Southwest 138th Court, crews could hear the dog and were able to locate her. They had to breach through the wall in order to reach the trapped dog.

After freeing the dog, the crew assessed her and fed her. They said the dog seemed to be in good condition and was not injured.

Station 43, which responded to the rescue, houses one of MDFR's Technical Rescue Teams and they have extensive experience with these types of recoveries.

The dog was taken to Miami-Dade Animal Services, where it was named Tundra. She does not have a chip (ID: A1771039).

Photo Credit: MDFR]]>
<![CDATA[Giving Rabbits As Easter Gifts]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 13:22:48 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/192*120/Dr+Kupkee+and+Easter.jpg

by Dr. Ian Kupkee

It’s official, South Florida - Spring has arrived! As our thoughts begin turning to warmer weather, our little ones eagerly await the arrival of the Easter Bunny. Some will undoubtedly plead for a “real live Easter bunny”. Parents, be warned - bunnies are cute! But before you give in, let’s look at some of the most common misperceptions about keeping rabbits as pets.
Rabbits are low maintenance pets
Caring for a pet rabbit is almost as much work as caring for a puppy. Like dogs, rabbits are social animals that do not thrive when forced to live in isolation. They need to live as a member of the family. And in South Florida especially, that means living indoors. Your home is the safest place for your rabbit to exercise, something they must do for about 30 or so hours per week. The time he spends outside his cage must be closely supervised, as rabbits love - and need - to chew. Electrical cords, chargers, power cables, and carpets are just a few of the things that must be secured in a bunny-proofed home. And unless you are prepared to do a lot of cleaning, you will need to train your bunny to use a litterbox.
Rabbits require regular veterinary and dental care. They should also be spayed or neutered; they are springtime fertility symbols for a reason! They eat 1-2 cups of fresh vegetables per day, and their bedding must be changed daily. Since many of their most common health problems are caused by improper diet and housing, it literally does not pay to cut corners.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates that roughly 80% of bunnies bought as Easter gifts are ultimately abandoned or re-homed. It’s a lot more sensible to buy Easter bunnies - or better yet, chocolate bunnies!
Rabbits are perfectly happy living outside in a hutch
While most of us, myself included, grew up with this information, we now know that it is incorrect. The wire bottoms of old-school rabbit hutches can cause ulcers and sores on a rabbit’s sensitive feet. Enclosures for bunnies should be at least six times the size of the rabbit. A rabbit that lives alone in a hutch is a likely to suffer from depression. They lack the opportunity to develop coping skills. As a result, a solitary rabbit has little, if any, ability to handle even minor stress. These rabbits can literally die of a heart attack if approached by a predator - either real or perceived. Between stress and exposure to the elements, an outdoor rabbit has a life expectancy of about 12 months. House rabbits, on the other hand, live between eight and ten years!
Rabbits are great with kids!
The rabbits sold by pet stores during the Easter season are babies. One day, your baby bunny will grow up. When this happens, she will realize that she is a prey animal, and will no longer appreciate being grabbed, squeezed, hugged, and cuddled by your children. She is likely to react the way all prey animals behave when they feel threatened - by scratching, biting, hiding, and running away. At this point, sexual maturity is right around the corner. Remember what I said about spaying and neutering? Sexually mature female rabbits may defend their territory by biting your children when they reach into her cage. Mature males will begin spraying their home - and yours! - with foul smelling urine to mark the boundaries of their perceived territory. This is the point at which many new rabbit owners start looking for the exit.
Unwanted rabbits can fend for themselves in the wild
Unlike their wild counterparts, domestic rabbits do not have the stamina or survival skills to live in the wild. Yet this misperception leads to thousands of rabbits being dumped in parks and green spaces every year. Most of them die of starvation or exposure, and many are killed by cars,
wildlife, off-leash dogs, and free-roaming cats. Thousands more are surrendered to shelters and rescue organizations. 
The same rules apply to baby chicks. Yes, they are adorable little peeping fluff balls! But they grow up to be chickens. While “urban chickens” have become very popular, they too will lose interest in being snuggle-buddies for the kids. Like rabbits, they have specific housing, dietary and exercise needs. Remember also, that many communities have local ordinances that prohibit keeping chickens. They can easily fall prey to hawks, foxes, even our pet cats and dogs. And if you’re thinking it’s worth the hassle for the sake of fresh eggs, note that hens do not produce eggs indefinitely. While the stats vary widely depending on breed, health, and husbandry, most go into “henopause” between three and seven years of age. This has led to an increasing problem of abandoned chickens being dumped at local animal shelters and rescues.
So does this mean rabbit and chickens are horrible pets? Absolutely not! Like any other pet, these special little souls are long-term commitments. Do your research, have a family meeting, and know what you are getting into. If you have decided a rabbit is a good fit for your family, try to adopt before you shop. By Memorial Day weekend there will be LOTS of wonderful rabbits in need of loving homes! Visit your local Humane Society, or contact the House Rabbit Society at www.rabbit.org.
My wife and I adore rabbits. When she told me that one of her favorite books was “Watership Down”, I knew I had found my soulmate! But at this point in time, we simply do not have a lifestyle that gels with responsible rabbit ownership. If you are considering a real live Easter bunny, I implore you to do some soul-searching as well. If you’re like me, you might decide that a chocolate bunny suits you just fine. Preferably dark chocolate - and maybe some marshmallow chicks!

Dr. Kupkee is the lead practitioner at Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Do you have a question for Dr. Kupkee? Send him an email by clicking here.

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<![CDATA[WATCH: Man's Emotional Reunion With Stolen Dog]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2016 16:27:13 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/213*120/032516+chloe+mary+jane+collier+county+department+of+animal+services.jpg

A Facebook video showing a Florida dog owner's emotional reunion with his stolen dog after seven months apart is going viral.

The video, posted by the Collier County Department of Animal Services, shows the dog happily barking and jumping into her owner's arms for a big hug.

The dog, named Chloe by the shelter's workers but whose real name is Mary Jane, was found roaming the streets. The shelter posted videos which led to her owner.

The Facebook video (below) has been viewed more than 1.5 million times and had nearly 35,000 likes by Friday.


Photo Credit: Collier County Department of Animal Services
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<![CDATA[Broward Humane Society Adoptable Pets]]> Wed, 23 Mar 2016 16:50:06 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/182*120/NBC6+Sizing+and+Naming+Template_Charo.jpg Meet the animals who are up for adoption through the Humane Society of Broward County.]]> <![CDATA[Miami-Dade Animal Services Adoptable Pets]]> Tue, 22 Mar 2016 17:11:35 -0400 http://media.nbcmiami.com/images/178*120/Alloy+A1765165.JPG Check out this week's furry friends that are up for adoption at Miami-Dade Animal Services! ]]>