The area's leading online source for news!
Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

In God We Trust - Established 2008


No more deadly snakes in the south?

This pic was nabbed from my former student and good friend Brian Howell of Martin County. Thought he wouldn't care for me to share it with Lazer viewers

Date: 04-29-2015

black vultureFew predators in recent years have created a stir quite like the black vulture. It is loved by biologists – and equally despised by farmers.

You can curse it. You can bless it. What you can’t do is kill it.
All vultures are scavengers – feeding on dead flesh: In essence, a clean-up crew. But the black vulture is a bolder bird, willing to kill weakened or young animals.

“It won’t pass up a free meal, but it will kill if it needs to,” said Brandon Boone, a conservation officer with Kentucky Fish and Wildlife. 

Protected by the federal government through the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the coragyps atratus have increased in range and population.

Tales of its aggression have reached across the state as farmers report attacks on newborn calves and cows giving birth. (Editor’s note: The details are not for the squeamish.)

The financial loss of the livestock is aggravated by the gruesome nature of the attacks. A group of farmers attending the LaRue County Cattleman’s Association meeting last week described their losses attributed to the vulture. Boone said he would pass the information to officials with KFW.

“Bird biologists say (attacks) are rare,” Boone said. But the reports he hears from farmers say otherwise.

One farmer saw a black vulture “standing on the back of a newborn calf ... trying to peck its eyes out,” said Boone. Going after the eyes is a fast way to disable the young animal and commence the meal.

Donald McDowell, who owns a farm between Hodgenville and Magnolia, said a group of about 15 vultures pecked out one of his cow’s eyes as she was giving birth.

“She was a good cow, too,” said McDowell.

Gil Myers described watching a wake (flock) of black vultures track a blind calf through the woods.

Mark Tucker lost five calves in 2014, attributed to the raptor.
Tucker, who owns a farm near the Mount Tabor area in Buffalo, purchased a registered Angus bull to improve his herd. He believes that during the fall calving season, three healthy bull calves and two heifers were killed by vultures. He estimates the financial loss at $1,500 to $1,800 per head.

He has photos of one of the carcasses. The vultures ate through the calf’s back parts and its navel.

One of his cows, that was giving birth, had been pecked on her tailbone.

“They’re pretty smart,” Tucker said of the vultures. They appear to know when he is around – and stay out of sight. They have a large roost in the woods on his property.

He expected one of his cows to calve on a Sunday last fall. He checked on her before he went to church. He didn’t see “a single vulture” at that time. When he came home two hours later, he saw “a big black spot” in the field. He assumed the cow was down (having difficulty with the birth) until he got closer – and the wake of vultures took flight. They had been feasting on a newborn calf.

He’s been dealing with the black vultures for three years. He lost one calf in 2012; and two in 2013.

“If it wasn’t for neighbors calling me, it would be worse,” he said. “They see them congregating in trees and let me know.”

Tucker said he’s had problems with coyotes in the past – but he can legally take care of that problem.

According to KFW’s website, there is no daily bag limit on coyotes – and they can be taken year-round by hunters. 

Landowners with “livestock depredation problems can get permission from their local conservation officer to trap coyotes whenever they are a problem.”

The black vulture is federally protected, and there is a lengthy and aggravating process to obtain a permit to eliminate it. Steel shot must be used – and that’s the least of the restrictions.

Tucker applied for a permit but by the time he received approval to shoot one of the birds, it was too late in the year to help.
“They’re gone by mid-November,” he said.

Boone agreed, saying the permit application is a “tedious, long process – and the permit costs about $100.” The applicant must show proof that he has tried other (non-lethal) methods.

Tucker said he has resorted to “driving around and shooting in the air” to aggravate the wake, in hopes they will move on.

Boone is requesting that farmers document any healthy calf or cow losses or injuries that can be attributed to the black vulture or aggression of the bird. He will pass the information to Fish and Wildlife.

“They want some proof – they like photos,” he said.
Many times the black vulture will eat afterbirth or a stillbirth – and those instances should not be submitted.

Boone said the “more people make (Fish and Wildlife) aware of documented cases, the more likely they are to change things. If 200 people from this county do that, they can’t ignore that.”
Photos should be emailed to him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Or, he can be called at 270-491-0541.

Turkey vultures do not take live prey - they only feed on animals that are already deceased. Turkey vultures can be identified by their red heads.
Black vultures will feed on carrion and live prey - usually newborn or sick and dying animals. They are smaller than turkey vultures – and more aggressive.
Black and turkey vultures are protected by federal law and cannot be killed without a federal permit. If black vulture attacks on livestock are documented, landowners can apply for a permit to reduce the black vulture population on their farms. In order to start the application process, they should contact the USDA Wildlife Services at 502-254-1592. Take photos of the damage whenever possible to accompany the application.
Although it is illegal to kill a vulture without a permit, it is legal to harass vultures away from roosting areas. Landowners can make loud noises (shooting a gun in the air or pyrotechnics) or spray the birds with a water hose.

By Linda Ireland
LaRue County Herald News

APRIL 27, 2015

3,200 sign online petition to overturn ban of breed...

Robert Ward, of Dayton, Kentucky, walks his dogs Diamond (foreground), a boxer mix, and Molly, a pit bull mix in Frederick's Landing Park, Wilder.Molly and Diamond aren't welcome in Dayton, Kentucky.

Right now, the two-year-old dogs are staying in undisclosed locations in Northern Kentucky. Otherwise the city of Dayton would confiscate them for violating its ban on pit bulls.

Their owner, Robert Wade, wants to bring them back to his home on Eighth Avenue in Dayton. More than 3,200 other people seem to want the same and have signed an online petition to overturn Dayton's ban on pit bulls.

"They tore the wall down in Russia, communism, it went down," Wade said. "So they said. They opened that (expletive) up and extended it over here. Next year you're going to tell me my truck is two different colors so I can't drive."

Molly and Diamond earlier this week seemed to enjoy a walk with their owner at Frederick's Landing park in Wilder, unaware they were the center of the latest local battle between cities and pit bulls.

Both dogs look like pit bulls, but Wade maintains Diamond is a boxer mix with a jet black coat and Molly is a white pit bull mix who's deaf. Wade said he keeps them inside or enclosed in his yard and they've never attacked anyone.

Pit bull laws locally crept back into the headlines last year after a 6-year-old Westwood girl was attacked by a pit bull. Cincinnati City Council ultimately opted not to require special collars for pit bulls as proposed by Mayor John Cranley.

Many other cities in the area do have laws banning or restricting pit bulls. Fort Thomas bans pit bulls. Newport requires pit bull owners to have special insurance coverage and a microchip implanted in the dog with the owner's information.

But nationally, cities are starting to ease restrictions on these dogs. More than 100 cities across the United States over the past two years have overturned bans and other restrictions that target pit bulls, according to a report by USA Today.

Will Dayton, Kentucky join the list?

Wade's fight to keep his dogs began a week ago when a resident complained to Mayor Virgil Boruske that the dogs were "jumping on the fence." Wade said the dogs were inside the house and were simply barking. The city's animal control officer visited Wade told him he couldn't keep his dogs in the city.

Since then, the dogs have stayed elsewhere. Wade received a harsh reminder Tuesday on what would happen if he brought his dogs back in the city when the city served a notice to confiscate the dogs.

The dogs, however, weren't there. While Wade claims one of them, Diamond, isn't a pit bull, the city has deemed them both as having the properties of a pit bull.

"They think they're lap dogs," Wade said. "They're like my kids."

Boruske said he's simply following the law.

"We've got to uphold the ordinance," Boruske said. "They cannot be in town. I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do."

Wade believes he's being unfairly targeted because a friend of the mayor's complained. He and his neighbors said they've seen police cars parked outside his house in the past week to make sure he doesn't bring the dogs back.

Boruske said that's not true. He wouldn't reveal the identity of the complainant but said it's not favoritism.

Boruske stands by the city's pit bull ban. He voted for it as a city council member in 2006.

"They are aggressive animals," Boruske said.

Those gathering the petition believe breed-specific laws are unfair and want the city council to repeal the law. Lisa Rittenhouse, a neighbor of Wade's, started the petition. So far, more than 3,200 people signed the petition as of Friday She hopes to have 5,000 signatures to present to city council at its next meeting May 5. Though many of the signatures are from outside Dayton, she hopes the petition will spur the city to change the law to define vicious dogs by behavior not breed.

"I have a boxer, and I'm afraid that if all the bigger dogs get a bad rap, it's just going to start going down the line," Rittenhouse said. "I know pit bulls have a bad reputation, but so did Dobermans in the 1990s. In the '80s it was Rottweilers."

Boruske said he's not in favor of lifting the ban, but other members of city council are more open to the idea. Vice Mayor and City Councilman Ben Baker said he's undecided on whether the law should change and will talk to other cities with pit bull bans before the next council meeting on May 5.

"I'm undecided on it," Baker said. "I do believe breed-specific laws are somewhat archaic. I believe every dog owner should be a responsible dog owner."

By Scott Wartman
The Kentucky Enquirer


APRIL 27, 2015

KY. German Shepherd has starring role in new film similar to 'Old Yeller'

Tony Richling, right, his wife Laura Richling, center, and their son Josh Richling, 11, along with Buck, a 4-month-old German Shepherd, prepare to demonstrate dog training on April 15 at the family canine training center, Liberty K9, on Schafer Camp Road in Hawesville. "Max," a movie set to be released in the United States on June 26, stars Carlos, a Belgian malinois, that was born and raised at the Hawesville training center.

The 1957 film "Old Yeller" and the about-to-be released movie "Max" have something in common.

"‘Yeller" made grown men cry, and "Max" is going to do the same, according to Tony Richling. The film's star, Carlos, a Belgian Malinois, was born and raised at the Richling family canine training center on Schafer Camp Road in Hawesville.

Richling has been training dogs at Liberty K9 since 2006. The film is based on a true story about a soldier killed in Afghanistan. Max was his dog, and after the soldier's death, the Marine K9 became despondent and unable to perform his duties and was returned to the States. The soldier's family adopts the dog.

"Max" is on Malco Cinema 16's June 26 calendar.

Carlos was discovered by Birds & Animals Unlimited Inc. trainer Mark Forbes, Richling said. Forbes found Liberty K9 during a nationwide search for a Belgian Malinois.

"My son and I drove Carlos to California," Richling said. "When Mark met Carlos, he fell in love with him."

"They used five dogs in this movie, but Carlos is the lead dog," Richling said.

An email to the Richling family from Jennifer Henderson at Birds & Animals summed up the company's affection for Carlos: "We love Carlos. Can you please bring us 2 more Malinois exactly like him. Seriously, if you see or hear of any dogs that are as handsome as he is, we'd love to have them. Even if they're three-fourths as handsome as he is. The trainers are in awe of his incredible personality. It's obvious that he's had the best of everything. He's confident, kind, fit and pretty darn smart. Please know that we're so appreciative of your breeding and training, and you should be proud."

Liberty K9 is a family business. Richling's wife, Laura, and their children, Joe, Colleen, Sharon, Steve and Josh, also are animal trainers.

Tony and Laura Richling have been training dogs for nine years, and their children followed their lead.

Colleen, 20, said she and her siblings saw their parents enjoying their work and fell in step as soon as they were old enough to learn how to train animals.

The Richlings believe that any dog, whether it is pedigreed or from a shelter, can be taught to be a well-behaved member of the family.

Liberty K9 offer private lessons with boarding, or owners and pets may attend public classes at the training center.

There are several "Max" previews online.

"The trailers are pretty awesome," Tony Richling said.

"I cried, not like a girl, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I had tears," Tony Richling said.

"We're very proud of Carlos," he said.

The Messenger-Inquirer




The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed added protections to crayfish, citing surface mining in Appalachia as one of the reasons for a decline in the species, James Bruggers reports for The Courier-Journal in Louisville. Mining, logging and population growth are being blamed for putting the Big Sandy crayfish and the Guyandotte River crayfish in danger of extinction. (West Liberty University photo by Zachary Loughman: Big Sandy crayfish)

Fish and Wildlife specifically mentioned mountaintop removal as being one of the threats to the species, Bruggers writes. "The Big Sandy crayfish is found in four isolated populations across the upper Big Sandy River watershed in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. The Guyandotte River crayfish survives at a single site in Wyoming County, West Virginia."

Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned for the listing, told Bruggers, "For decades coal companies have gotten away with polluting Appalachia's water and killing its species, but it is time for the Endangered Species Act to start being enforced in Appalachia." (Read more)

Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 4/08/2015 01:34:00