Animals

A red-tailed hawk at Sweetbriar. Photo by Talia Amorosano

Time to clean out your closets and help a noble cause! Sweetbriar Nature Center, located at 62 Eckernkamp Drive, Smithtown seeks donations for its annual spring Yard Sale for Wildlife fundraiser to be held on May 11 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Antiques, collectibles, memorabilia and other “cool” stuff accepted. Please no clothes, books, baby supplies, electronics or anything that weighs over 40 pounds unless it fits the above guidelines. All funds raised will support the nature center’s mission of providing nature education and wildlife rehabilitation. To drop off items or to arrange a pick up, call Eric at 631-979-6344, ext. 302.

Fiona

MEET FIONA!

Fiona

This St. Patty’s Day week our shelter pet of the week is a sweet Irish girl named Fiona!  Fiona is a 1½-year-old husky in search of her forever home. She is an energetic pup and is also extremely loving. Just look at those gorgeous brown eyes!

This princess would be the perfect addition to an active family and comes spayed, microchipped and up to date on all her vaccines.

Fiona says, “Kiss me, I’m Irish and I’ll be waiting for you at Kent Animal Shelter!”   

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Fiona and other adoptable pets at Kent, visit www.kentanimalshelter.com or call 631-727-5731.

Louisa. Photo from Kent Animal Shelter

MEET LOUISA!

Beautiful Louisa is this week’s featured shelter pet. A 1-year-old domestic short-haired black-and-white sweetheart, Louisa sports an adorable mustache! Found as a stray, she really loves attention and would be an awesome addition to any home.   

Louisa comes spayed, microchipped and up to date on all her vaccines. She would love for you to come by and meet her. 

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on Louisa and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

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Sadie

MEET SADIE!

This week’s featured shelter pet is Sadie, a beautiful Lab mix who was rescued from a high kill shelter in North Carolina and is currently safe at Kent Animal Shelter. The sweetheart is approximately 2 years old and has a very sweet, mellow disposition, loves people and seems to be fine with other dogs as well.  

Sadie comes spayed, microchipped and up to date on all her vaccines. Why not come by and say hello?

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on  Sadie and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com

Stock photo

By Matthew Kearns, DVM

I authored an article on the benefits of medical marijuana and the legal restrictions of a veterinarian’s ability to prescribe anything with the psychogenic component of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), back in September of 2018. 

I touched on cannabidiol, or CBD, in that article and wished to expand on the reported benefits of CBDs. A quick disclaimer: As a veterinarian I am not legally allowed to recommend the use of this product. There is limited science behind it regarding safety, efficacy and purity of products.

CBD is a compound found in the non-THC portion of the cannabis plant. There are two known cannabinoid (CB) receptors in the body: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system. These receptors are activated by THC, the psychoactive portion of the cannabis plant and gives people the “high” associated with marijuana. 

CB2 receptors are found associated with the immune system and associated cells circulating throughout the body. CB2 receptors are activated by CBD and other non-THC compounds found in the cannabis plant. 

Almost all of the information we have in veterinary medicine comes from studies done on the human side so a look at those studies may prove helpful. CBD oils were first isolated from the cannabis plant in the 1930s and ’40s, and it was compared to phenobarbital, as well as other anti-convulsants, for its anti-seizure properties. 

There was a more recent human study that anecdotally reported a reduction in both seizure frequency and duration using a purified CBD product. As a matter of fact, preliminary results show that this product is more effective at treating seizures than a 50:50 blend of CBD:THC.  

CBD has been shown in humans to have an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety effect) similar to the benefit of a benzodiazepine, but there has yet to be a study performed on animals to support this claim.  

CBD products may also have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. Studies on rheumatoid arthritis reveal that the administration of a purified CBD oil reduces the release of inflammatory chemicals such as gamma interferon and tumor necrosis factor, and CBD proved a more effective antioxidant effect than vitamin C. No studies have been performed in dogs or cats. Topical CBD activity has been shown  to be resistant against Staphylococcus bacteria in laboratory settings.

The future for the CBD oil appears bright, but some real studies need come about first to standardize some of the claims that are out there, as well as guarantee the purity and quality of products. There is only one CBD product approved for the treatment of epilepsy in humans. There are currently no approved products for pets. 

Dr. Kearns practices veterinary medicine from his Port Jefferson office and is pictured with his son Matthew and his dog Jasmine.

Kevin

MEET KEVIN AND KALI!

Kali

This week’s featured shelter pets are 7-month-old pointer/heeler mix siblings Kevin and Kali, both waiting at Kent Animal Shelter to be adopted. Kevin, listening very closely on the left, is an outgoing little guy with lots of energy, while Kali on the right is a bit more relaxed and is very sweet. These two would benefit from a nice big backyard to run around in. Kevin comes neutered, Kali is spayed and they are both up to date with their vaccinations and are microchipped.

If you would like to meet Kevin and Kali (they do not have to be adopted together), the center is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. For more information on Kevin, Kali and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Photos courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

Carmel

MEET CARMEL!

This week’s shelter pet is Carmel, a 2-year-old Chihuahua. Cute as a button, Carmel is a very loving, devoted dog. She attaches very quickly and loves to sit on laps. Carmel was surrendered to Kent Animal Shelter by her family due to personal problems and is now in search of a forever home.  

She is spayed, up to date with her vaccinations and is microchipped. Come down and meet her!  She would love to go home with you for Valentine’s Day! 

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Carmel and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Millers Pond in Smithtown. File photo by Rita J. Egan

Suffolk County’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to those individuals who might be responsible for decapitating six birds found in Smithtown and Great River.

The Town of Smithtown’s Public Safety Department received an anonymous phone call Feb. 4 reporting three dead birds were found near the Maple Avenue and 4th Avenue entrance to Millers Pond County Park, according to town spokeswoman Nicole Garguilo. The public safety officers then immediately notified the Suffolk SCPA.

Roy Gross, chief of the nonprofit animal advocacy group, said his volunteers working in cooperation with Smithtown park rangers and Suffolk County Police Department found the bodies of two chickens and a blue jay that had been beheaded lying next to a bloodied cardboard box.

“People do these animal sacrifices, and it’s absolutely illegal. They will say they are allowed to do it because it’s a religious right. It is not.”

— Roy Gross

The following day, Feb. 5, the SCPA received a report of three decapitated birds, two chickens and a dove, left alongside Wheeler Road in Great River. Gross said additional items left at the site raised questions as to whether the animals’ deaths were ritualistic in nature.

“We’ve had numerous cases over the years,” he said. “It has all the indications of a religious animal sacrifice.”

The SPCA contacted Marcos Quinones, a retired New York police detective of 36 years and renowned occult specialist, on these two cases. Quinones said he has worked with law enforcement officials at federal, state and local levels on various causes related to occult matters.

“Santeria is a nature-based religion, and it varies based on what god or goddess you worship, each has an element of nature they are thought to control,” he said. “If you needed something from them, you would do a ritual.”

Quinones said based on the location of the six birds’ bodies and items left with them, he believes the birds were killed elsewhere and brought to the pond as a religious offering for Oshun, goddess of the rivers and lakes.

“Santeria is basically a good, nature-based religion, but sometimes people take something good and misuse it,” the occult expert said. “You have to ask yourself what’s the purpose of this ritual?”

Under New York State law, to kill an animal without any intention to consume it is illegal, according to Gross.

“People do these animal sacrifices, and it’s absolutely illegal,” he said. “They will say they are allowed to do it because it’s a religious right. It is not.”

In February 2018, the Suffolk SPCA found the bodies of two hens frozen in the ice at Millers Pond. Gross said the chickens’ heads were found a short distance away, but it was originally thought that other animals may have ripped it apart from the body as potential food.

“We canvassed the area to see if anyone had chickens that were lost,” the chief said. “We did a thorough investigation but couldn’t get any information on it.”

“If there’s an arrest and conviction, that’s a check I’m happy to write.”

— Roy Gross

Gross said twice the SPCA has found a cow’s tongue nailed to a tree across from Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River. Upon further investigation, SPCA volunteers discovered candle wax, pins and nine slips of paper bearing individual names had been inserted inside the cow’s tongue, according to Gross. Another time the cow’s tongue was attached by a fishing lure and left out with a bowl of livestock feed as an offering.

“Imagine if a child had come along and grabbed it or seen something like that,” Gross said. “It’s bad enough for an adult, walking along and seeing a tongue hanging from a tree or a beheaded animal. It’s barbaric and should not exist in this day and age.”

If an arrest is made, Gross said the individual will face misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty to wildlife or farm life, which carries a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine for each offense.

The SPCA is asking anyone who may have information related to the recent discoveries in Smithtown and Great River to contact the nonprofit organization at 631-382-7722. All calls are confidential.

“If there’s an arrest and conviction, that’s a check I’m happy to write,” Gross said.

Nugget. Photo courtesy of Kent Animal Shelter

MEET NUGGET!

This week’s shelter pet is a very handsome cat named Nugget. This one-year-old love bug was found outside as a stray and clearly belonged to someone at some point. He is now safe at Kent Animal Shelter but would rather be curled up in your arms for Valentine’s Day.

Nugget is neutered, up to date with vaccinations, has tested negative for feline AIDS and leukemia and is microchipped. Come on down and meet Nugget! 

Kent Animal Shelter is located at 2259 River Road in Calverton. The adoption center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. For more information on Nugget and other adoptable pets at Kent, call 631-727-5731 or visit www.kentanimalshelter.com.

Snowy Owl by Rainy Sepulveda

By Heidi Sutton

Something special is in the air. From Feb. 9 to 21, the Four Harbors Audubon Society (FHAS) will present a photography exhibit titled A Valentine to Whitman’s Paumanok, featuring the wildlife and landscapes that influenced the early life of one of America’s greatest poets, at The Bates House in Setauket. The venue is a fitting one as it is nestled in the 26-acre Frank Melville Memorial Park where many of the photographs in the exhibit were taken. 

In a recent interview, curator Patricia Paladines, outreach chairman of the FHAS board, said the show will feature the works of 12 photographers who were invited to submit up to five images each. 

The concept for the exhibition came about when Paladines heard from her friend Lise Hintze, who manages The Bates House, that the venue was interested in hosting an art exhibit of some sort. A shutterbug herself, Paladines was familiar with many talented nature photographers who shoot locally. “The whole idea worked very well with the mission of the Four Harbors Audubon Society,” she said. 

Kingfisher by William Walsh

Indeed, the 60-piece collection features breathtaking images of nature, from a great blue heron searching for his next meal, a juvenile kingfisher perched on a branch, a seahorse gripping onto a blade of seagrass in the swift current, to a nest of fluffy cygnets, each more visually stunning than the next.

Exhibiting photographers include Dr. Maria Bowling, Maria Hoffman, Joe Kelly, Anita Jo Lago, Luke Ormand, Christopher Paparo, Derek Rogers, Rainy Sepulveda, Alexandra Srp, Kevin Walsh, William Walsh and Debra Wortzman

“I wanted the show to be a platform for the work of these photographers who dedicate a lot of time capturing the natural beauty of Long Island and hopefully in turn inspire the viewers to make time to go out and enjoy it too in the many parks, preserve and natural shorelines that surround us,” Paladines explained, adding that the idea was to “raise awareness of the variety of wildlife that we can see if we just look around this lovely island.”

The fact that Whitman’s 200th birthday will be celebrated all over the country this year was just coincidental in referencing America’s most celebrated literary figure in the title. “Actually I found that out later,” said Paladines. “I was delighted to learn that it is the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birth. I like his poetry and Long Island is where, of course, he was born and where he was inspired early in his life. He uses nature in a lot of his poetry. [When deciding the title] I though it’s Valentine’s Day, this exhibit should be about Long Island and I’ve always liked Whitman’s poem that starts out “Starting from fish-shape Paumanok …” 

Lined Seahorse by Chris Paparo

Paladines is hopeful that this show will become an annual event. “We’ll see how it goes this year,” she laughed.

Join the Four Harbors Audubon Society for an opening reception on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Special guest Darrel Blaine Ford, historian, ornithologist and Walt Whitman personator, will read a few poems from “Leaves of Grass” including “There Was a Child Went Forth.” Refreshments will be served. The exhibit will be on view at The Bates House, 1 Bates Road, Setauket through Feb. 21. All the photographs will be for sale. Call 631-689-7054 or visit www.thebateshouse.org for viewing hours.

Serving the Townships of Smithtown and Northwest Brookhaven, the Four Harbors Audubon Society’s mission is to advocate education and conservation efforts for the enjoyment, preservation and restoration of birds, wildlife and habitat in our communities. The society hosts monthly bird walks at Frank Melville Memorial Park and West Meadow Beach in Setauket, and Avalon Park & Preserve in Stony Brook; lectures at Emma S. Clark Memorial Library; Friday movie nights at the Smithtown Library; field trips; and bird counts including the popular Stone Bridge Nighthawk Watch. For more information, visit www.fourharborsaudubon.com.

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