Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe in Hot Weather

Now that warm weather is here, we can all enjoy spending time together indoors and out. Keep in mind there are a few things you should know to make your home safe for your pets. A few basic principles can guide good judgment.

Your pets' resting temperature is higher than yours (100-102.5F) and pets do not have the ability to cool themselves by sweating over most of their bodies, making it harder to tolerate the hotter temperatures.

Animals with flatter faces, like Boxers, Pugs and Persians, and overweight animals, are not as able to get rid of heat by panting. They are also innately curious, so may be more eager to involve themselves in a dangerous situation (e.g., play ball when it is too hot, jump out an open window).

1) Never leave your pet in a parked car. With the air conditioning off, the temperature in a parked car can rise within minutes to levels that could be fatal for your pet. If it is essential to take your pet with you, turn on the AC several minutes before getting in.

2) Hotter temperatures mean windows open -- make sure your screens are firmly in place before opening your windows. Cats love the fresh air, but may fall through open screens, leaving them in an unprotected and potentially dangerous situation.

3) Trimming long hair on pets may be beneficial, but make sure to never leave the skin exposed.
Doing so takes away a cooling mechanism and exposes the skin to the dangerous effects of the sun.

4) Take your pets to the veterinarian regularly. Many diseases leave your pet especially vulnerable to the effects of heat and humidity. Being aware of them could be a life saver. Make sure that your pet is tested and protected against heartworm disease, which is on the rise in NJ and is carried by summer mosquitoes. Assuring disease protection is also critical, as contact with ill animals increases as more pets are outdoors. Remember it is a law in NJ to have your pet rabies vaccinated (and vaccines are free of charge at clinics in every town twice yearly!). Use flea and tick prevention on your pets to keep your family safe and decrease disease spread.

5) Don't leave your pets outside unattended. All pets outside should have access to cold clean water, cooled shelter and be watched for conditions that lead to overheating. On a tie-out or in a fenced yard, dogs may bark at passers-by and raise their core temperatures to dangerous levels.

6) Take care walking your dog on hot sidewalks. Use the grass or dirt to avoid burning their pads.

7) Summer barbecues may be fun for your pet to attend, but keep a close eye on what they are eating. Many things that are enjoyable to us can be toxic to dogs, such as grapes, raisins, chocolate, onions and xylitol (a sweetener found foods like sugar free gums and candies). Too much of safe foods may cause gastrointestinal distress.

8) Be an Animals Advocate. If you see something that seems wrong -- a pet tied outside with no water, a dog left in the yard, a friend feeding their dog grapes, etc. -- say something. Animals can't speak up for themselves and alerting their people to danger may save the pet's life.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Division of Fish & Wildlife Tips on How to Help Reduce Encounters with Bears

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Earlier today a bear was spotted roaming in Montclair Center in the area of Church and Plymouth streets. Police, Fire, Animal Control and Community Services personnel were dispatched to secure the area and DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife was notified. DEP officers came to the scene and tranquilized, tagged and tattooed the animal and will release it in an appropriate wildlife refuge.

In April of this year, the DEP released the following information about what to do should you encounter a bear and measures to take to minimize the risk of the animals visiting one’s home:

With black bears emerging from winter dens and entering a very active period of the year in search of food and mates, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife is reminding residents, particularly in the northwest region of New Jersey known as “bear country,” of basic precautions this spring to reduce the risk of potential encounters.

“Bears that learn to associate food with people, and their homes and property, can easily become nuisance bears that forage for easy sources of food in neighborhoods,” said David Chanda, director of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. “Residents can greatly reduce the risk of interactions with bears by taking commonsense steps. Most importantly, people should never feed bears, intentionally or unintentionally.”

It is illegal to intentionally feed black bears in New Jersey and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. A more common problem is unintentional bear feeding by homeowners who unknowingly make household trash, pet foods and other food sources easily available for bears to find and eat.

DEP wildlife experts stress that a black bear simply passing through an area and not causing a specific problem, such as breaking into trash or otherwise trying to access food sources on peoples’ properties or posing a safety threat, should be left alone. The Division of Fish and Wildlife advises people to leave the area and allow the bear to continue on its way. When frightened, bears may seek refuge by climbing trees.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife also offers the additional following tips to minimize conflicts with bears this spring:
Secure your trash and eliminate obvious sources of food, such as pet food on decks, easy-to-reach bird feeders, or food residues left in barbecue grills.

Use certified bear-resistant garbage containers if possible. Otherwise, store all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and place them along the inside walls of your garage, or in the basement, a sturdy shed or other secure area.

Wash garbage containers frequently with a disinfectant solution to remove odors. Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before.

Avoid feeding birds when bears are active. If you choose to feed birds, do so during daylight hours only and bring feeders indoors at night. Suspend birdfeeders from a free-hanging wire, making sure they are at least 10 feet off the ground. Clean up spilled seeds and shells daily.

Immediately remove all uneaten food and food bowls used by pets fed outdoors.

Clean outdoor grills and utensils to remove food and grease residue. Store grills securely.

Do not place meat or any sweet foods in compost piles.

Remove fruit or nuts that fall from trees in your yard.

Install electric fencing as an effective way to protect crops, beehives and livestock.
If you encounter a bear that is standing its ground, remain calm and do not run. Make sure the bear has an escape route. Avoid direct eye contact, back up slowly and speak with a low, assertive voice.
 
Residents should report bear damage, nuisance behavior or aggressive bears to the DEP Hotline at 1-877-WARN-DEP (877-927-6337) or their local police department.

Black bears have been sighted in all 21 New Jersey counties, and bear-human encounters have occurred more frequently in recent years in places outside of traditional bear country, defined as the area west of Interstate 287 and north of Interstate 78.

To learn more about New Jersey’s black bears, their history in New Jersey and ways to avoid problems with them, visit www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/bearfacts.htm.

Source: DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife

Friday, May 27, 2016

What To Do When You See Wildlife In Distress

Montclair residents, like many folks in New Jersey, have learned to share their space with creatures of the wild, enjoying a peaceful coexistence with their furry, feathered and other neighbors of the animal kingdom. There are times when a resident may find that one of their animal friends is in distress and will call the Animal Control Officer.

If you think you may have orphaned, injured or displaced wildlife in your yard, before you pick up the phone to contact Montclair Animal Control, observe the animal and gather information. The following are questions the Animal Control Officer will ask you:

  • What is the exact location and address of the animal?
  • What does the animal look like? What color is it? Fur, Fins or Feathers? Size? Adult or Juvenile? How many animals are there?
  • How long has the animal been at the location? Days, hours, minutes?
  • What is it currently doing? How is it behaving?
  • Is it limping? If it’s a bird or bat can it fly?
  • Is there obvious injury or illness? For example, blood, broken bones, runny eyes or nose, etc.
  • Are there insects present on or around the animal? Flies, Fleas, Ticks or Maggots.
  • Is the animal vocalizing or is it completely quiet? If vocalizing how so and how frequently?
  • Are there any other animals in the area? Predators? Parents?
Once these questions have been answered the Animal Control Officer may decide to have you further continue to observe the animal or they may immediately come out to assess the situation further. By being observant and not approaching the animal you too can help the wildlife in our community!
For more information, contact Animal Control Officer at 973-509-6978.
Interested in volunteering to help the wildlife in New Jersey? Contact one of the following organizations to see what you can do.
Mercer County Wildlife Center 609-883-6606