Urban Wildlife

St. Augustine Humane Society's New Pet Calendar Fundraiser

St. Augustine Humane Society's New Pet Calendar Fundraiser

The St. Augustine Humane Society has launched its newest fundraising program to support the non-profit's mission to prevent pet overpopulation with affordable spay neuter programs and to eliminate the relinquishment of pets to shelters.

The organization's "Pin Up Paws" calendar fundraiser allows donors to submit a photo of their pet to be featured in the 2012 calendar. There is no charge to submit the photos and friends can vote for the pet for the owners to win prizes. Visit the website for more information and to view official rules at http://www.staugustinehumanesociety.org/pinuppawscalendar.html.

Pet Shelter Packed with Animals Their Owners Can't Afford

Pet Shelter Packed with Animals Their Owners Can't Afford

One by one, the work trucks pull up to the St. Johns County Animal Control Pet Center, often filled with pets whose owners no longer want them.

Animal Control Division Chief Paul Studivant described the pet center as "inundated" with pets the owners can't afford. "It's due to the economy and unemployment. We're hearing every story you could possibly hear," Studivant said.

Some people are abandoning pets, but Studivant said it appears more are giving up their animals this year, surrendering them to the center.

There are so many owner-surrendered pets at the center, there's little room for strays.

According to St. Johns County Animal Control, between January 2010 and July 2010, there were 2,118 surrendered pets. During that same time period, the number jumped to 2,403.

Today, a young woman dropped off a little dog named Buster. 

Sea Turtles Nests Cover St. Johns County Beaches

Sea Turtles Nests Cover St. Johns County Beaches

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- Tara Dodson inspected a set of fresh sea turtle tracks this morning on Crescent Beach.

"Isn't it cool?" Dodson said.

The tracks are made when a sea turtle comes ashore to lay her eggs.

Dodson is the habitat conservation plan coordinator for St. Johns County, and this year she has a lot of sea turtle nests to get excited about.   

"We're actually doing better this year than we were just three years ago," Dodson said.

Currently, there are 318 nests in St. Johns County. 

This time last year there were 383 nests, however last year the county saw a record number along the beaches. Dodson said the numbers this year are still great; just two years ago, there were only 250 nests all season long.

"Biologists are still trying to determine why the increase occurred. We're the only county in Florida that saw a 360 percent increase in nesting," Dodson said.

Holidays Mean More Boats in Manatee Zones

Manatees face added danger during busy holiday weekends, simply because there are generally more boaters on the water passing through manatee restricted-speed zones. Boaters should be aware of where the zones are, so they don’t have any surprises when they come upon them. Maps of the zones can be found at MyFWC.com/Manatee.

St. Augustine Fire Crews Save Family, Dog

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- While St. Johns County fire crews are fighting 24 wildfires, firefighters in St. Augustine had to deal with a house fire.

The fire broke out at a home on 20th Street near the Willie Galimore Center at about 9:30 p.m. Friday, witnesses said.

Witnesses observed an adult being treated for smoke inhalation, and rescuers had to give oxygen to a dog that had been inside the smoke-filled home.

The Red Cross said it is helping five people from the home with food, lodging and clothing.