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Pet owners warned as highly contagious dog flu spreads after dog show

Officials are warning about the dog flu after five confirmed cases in Georgia.

The new strain was apparently spread by out-of-state dogs at a dog show in Houston County last month.

>> Read more trending news

Veterinarians said the dog flu is so contagious that a dog can sneeze 20 feet away from another dog and pass it or people can spread it by petting another dog.

“It can easily be transferred from one city to another, simply because of a plane flight or a car ride,” Dr. Cary Mackey said.

Mackey’s clinic is stocking up on vials of the dog flu vaccine, which may soon be administered all around the metro. 

Related: 5 things to know about dog flu

“It may not offer full protection, but if the dog gets infected, it should help prevent severe symptoms of the flu in your pets,” she said.

A growing number of pet owners are getting their dogs vaccinated and state officials are spreading the word that the flu is out there. 

“(It can spread in) shelters, kennels, things like that where you have a lot of dogs collected in one place,” Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Janemarie Hennebelle said. 

Officials advise dog owners to be on the lookout for dogs that are sneezing or coughing. They said the flu can make dogs sick, but it is not usually fatal. 

“Very rarely is this fatal, but unfortunately there have been a few patients that have passed away due to the flu and side effects of being infected,” Mackey said.

Nearly 200 at-risk dogs, cats flown to Pacific Northwest to find ‘forever’ homes

Nearly 200 at-risk dogs and cats have been flown to the Pacific Northwest so they can find forever homes.

The animals were saved from overcrowded California and Texas shelters that planned to euthanize the dogs.

>> Read more trending news

Most shelters in Washington state have a no-kill policy.

A total of 103 dogs on a flight Wednesday into Paine Field in Snohomish County. They were then taken to shelters, including the Humane Society of Tacoma and Pierce County, the Kitsap Humane Society and the Seattle Humane Society. 

Another 100 or so cats arrived Thursday afternoon from Dallas. Now, the goal is to find the animals homes where they can spend the rest of their lives.

The animals were flown to Washington with the help of Wings of Rescue, GreaterGood and Freekibble,

“Most of these dogs and cats won’t survive if they don’t make this flight,” Freekibble wrote on its Facebook page.

Wings of Rescue is an alternative to a traditional shelter system. The organization has the lives of more than 20,000 animals and flew 400 animals just this week.

Video of a rescue at Boeing Field, from Wings of Rescue, can be seen below.

Dog that calls storm drain home concerns neighbors

Residents are concerned about a dog that has been living in a storm drain in a Texas neighborhood for six months, fearing that animal control is not moving quickly enough to rescue the pup.

The dog, which has been named Cassie by neighbors, is a German shepherd mix that weighs 60 to 70 pounds, according to WFAA. Residents have filed numerous reports to Grand Prairie Animal Services about the dog. Recent heavy rains have raised fears for the dog's safety.

>> Read more trending news

Grand Prairie Animal Services told WFAA that it is actively working to rescue the dog. It said the dog is not stuck in the sewer drain, but comes and goes and considers the drain its home. Attempts at catching the dog have failed, but one neighbor has built up enough trust to hand feed the dog. Animal Services is asking residents for patience as it works to move the dog to a better place.

VIDEO: Florida mom lets snake bite baby to 'teach a lesson'

A Highlands County, Florida, mother is under fire after posting a video to Facebook that shows a rat snake biting her 1-year-old daughter. 

>> Watch the news report here

The mother said that she has “no regrets” after she let the snake intentionally bite the child several times, WFTS reports. 

"It had bitten me and my son and didn't leave a mark, several times," she said to WFTS. "So, I thought it was a good opportunity to introduce her without actually getting hurt."

>> Read more Floridoh! stories 

The Facebook video has been removed and the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, according to WFTS. 

In the video the mother holds up a container with a rat snake inside and lets her daughter reach toward the snake. You can hear the daughter flinch and cry each time the snake strikes her. 

>> Read more trending news

The mother said her daughter was not hurt because the snake has teeth “too small to actually puncture the skin,” WFTS reports. Her intention was to teach her child a “valuable lesson” on how to handle reptiles, she said to WFTS. 

Read more here.

Troopers rescue dog stuck in tree

A dachshund hunting for groundhogs ended up getting stuck in a tree.

Fortunately for Rocco and his owner, two Kentucky State Police troopers were nearby and came to his rescue. The incident was captured on the agency's Facebook page.

>> Read more trending news

Sergeant Michael Williams and Trooper Gerick Sullivan were off-duty, mowing a cemetery Thursday when they heard a dog barking. After searching for several minutes in a wooded area adjacent to the cemetery, they stumbled upon Rocco, whose head was poking out of the trunk of a tree.

Troopers said the dog followed a groundhog hole and ended up getting stuck in the tree. The Salem Fire Department was called to assist in the rescue, which required cutting a portion of the tree.

The troopers reunited Rocco with his owner.

First cases of highly contagious 'dog flu' reported in Florida

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Tuesday that the first cases of H3N2 canine influenza, also known as the “dog flu,” have been confirmed in the state.

>> Read more trending news

The announcement was made in coordination with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.

So far, seven cases of dog flu have been confirmed, officials said.

Results from six other cases are pending.

The FDACS said it has not found any evidence that dog flu can cross over to humans.

The dogs affected are being treated and all were reported to be in stable condition.

While the virus has been circulating through the U.S. since 2015, this is the first time it has been confirmed in Florida.

The virus is highly contagious, but the mortality rate is low, officials said.

Anyone concerned about their dog being infected can have their veterinarian vaccinate them against the dog flu.

Symptoms are fever, decreased appetite and lethargy during the first few days.

Most dogs recover at home without complications, but some require hospitalization, the FDACS said.

Anyone who suspects that a pet has the dog flu is encouraged to contact a veterinarian before taking the pet to the office to decrease the chance of spreading the virus to other animals at the clinic.

Fiona the baby hippo to make media appearance at Cincinnati Zoo

Four months after she was prematurely born, the media will be able to watch Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Fiona the baby hippo in her outside habitat and pool, according to WCPO.

>> Fiona goes for a swim, internet goes crazy

The Cincinnati-based television station reports that Fiona, along with swimmers, will explore the Hippo Cove exhibit after the zoo closes.

>> Fiona the hippo turns 3 months old

Until now, the zoo has guarded Fiona’s access because of her weakened immune system and safety concerns. 

>> Read more trending news

Members of the media will be able to shoot photos and videos of the baby hippo during a time when keepers report that they have heard occasional vocalizations from Fiona, including grunts around meal time.

Kittens mysteriously trapped in wall rescued by kind sheriff’s deputy  

Kittens mysteriously trapped in the wall of a house in Seminole County, Florida were rescued by a caring sheriff’s deputy.

The homeowners called authorities on May 20 after hearing a strange noise coming from inside a wall.

>> Read more trending news

The couple decided to cut a hole into the wall to investigate and found two kittens stuck inside, deputies said.

Deputy Nick Stewart carefully reached into the wall and pulled the kittens to safety.

The homeowners, who don't own a cat, said they were surprised to find the felines.

They said they believe the mother gave birth to the kittens in their attic and that the felines somehow fell between the studs and the drywall and became trapped behind the wall.

WATCH: Cat nurses orphaned puppies at shelter

A cat named Miracle is nursing newborn puppies at the Okefenokee Humane Society.

On Monday, a man brought seven puppies to the humane society, saying he couldn’t care for them.

He said his dog, the puppies’ mother, had been shot and killed by a neighbor.

That person told police the dog tried to attack him and his children and he had to shoot it.

>> Read more trending news

The dog’s owner said she just gave birth to puppies the day before and must have been protecting them.

“I really felt like we could help (the puppies) in some way, and then Miracle happened,” said Danielle Barcomb, a humane society employee. “So I put these two puppies that I've been fostering up to her, and she took right to them like they were her own.”

Barcomb said it’s not recommended to put such young puppies with another litter that isn’t the same age, but they really didn’t have any other options.

“Love knows no bounds,” Barcomb said. “Doesn't matter if you're a different species or not, you're just a mom trying to give love to some babies.”

To learn more about how you can help the Okefenokee Humane Society, visit their YouCaring page or their Facebook page.

Florida man accused of nearly beating dog named Elizabeth Taylor to death

A Florida man is facing charges that he nearly beat to death a dog named Elizabeth Taylor, according to an arrest report.

Jason Robert Snead, 40, is facing charges of animal cruelty, possessing a controlled substance without a prescription and possession of drug equipment and is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $9,000 bail.

The dog, a 2-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, has a fractured skull, according to Animal Care and Control Capt. Dave Walesky.

“We’re hoping she makes a full recovery, but she’s not in the clear yet,” Walesky said late Monday.

>> Read more trending news

Snead was seen by a witness and caught on surveillance video brutally beating the dog outside a car dealership in Palm Springs , the report said.

The video appears to show Snead kicking, punching and “aggressively swinging” the dog against the inside the vehicle, the report said.

A witness told Palm Springs police that the dog looked “lifeless” as Snead swung it around by its leash.

Snead told police that the dog, which belongs to his girlfriend, was injured when he was forced to brake hard while driving. Snead said he hit his lip against the steering wheel while braking, but the report states the man “did not exhibit any injuries to his face consistent with his story.”

During a search of Snead’s vehicle, 0.5 grams of methamphetamine, a glass pipe, multiple syringes and a straw with drug residue were found, the report said.

Of the methamphetamine discovered in the vehicle, Snead allegedly told Palm Springs police: “Off the record, I started today.”

Walesky said that Snead’s girlfriend originally agreed to renounce ownership of the dog, but changed her mind Monday. Walesky said the agency will not willingly give the dog back to the woman and will go to court to remove it from her custody.

The dog is under the care of a private veterinarian, Walesky said.

Elizabeth Taylor weighs 8 pounds. The arrest report lists Snead as 6 feet 5 inches and 200 pounds.

Have you seen them? Wanted fugitives in Palm Beach County

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