Feral Kitten In Ocean View Tests Positive for Rabies

OCEAN VIEW – Delaware’s Division of Public Health (DPH) is advising Ocean View residents who reside in the Plantation Park community of a positive case of rabies in a feral kitten that came into contact with a human.

The individual was exposed to the kitten while taking care of a litter of kittens on the person’s property. The individual sought medical care for the kitten after it suffered an injury. Based on symptoms at the time of care, the kitten was tested for rabies, and test results returned on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, confirmed the suspected diagnosis. The remaining kittens in the litter were trapped by DPH and euthanized to prevent any additional rabies exposures to humans or animals. The exposed caretaker also has begun treatment for rabies exposure.

While additional human exposure in this case is low, anyone in this area who thinks they might have been bitten, scratched or come in contact with a feral kitten should immediately contact their health care provider or call the DPH Rabies Program at 302-744-4995. An epidemiologist is available 24/7. Anyone in the area who thinks their pet may have been bitten by a feral kitten should call their private veterinarian or the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) at 302-698-4500 or email deanimalhealth@delaware.gov.

Rabies is a preventable disease. DPH recommends that individuals take the following steps to prevent rabies exposure:

• All dogs, cats, and ferrets 6 months of age and older are required by Delaware law to be vaccinated against rabies by a licensed veterinarian.

• Pet owners can reduce the possibility of pets being exposed to rabies by keeping them indoors and not letting them roam free. It is especially important that pet owners who do allow their cats to roam outdoors vaccinate their pets.

• Do not touch or otherwise handle wild or unfamiliar animals, including cats and dogs, even if they appear friendly.

• Do not keep your pet’s food or water outdoors; bowls can attract wild and stray animals. Do not feed feral animals, including cats, as the risk of rabies in wildlife is significant.

• Spaying or neutering your pet may reduce the tendency to roam or fight and, thus, reduce the chance they will be exposed to rabies.

• Keep your garbage securely covered.

• Consider vaccinating livestock and horses as well. It is recommended to consult with your private veterinarian if you have any questions regarding whether your animal(s) should be vaccinated against rabies.

Since Jan. 1, 2019, the Division of Public Health (DPH) has performed rabies tests on 137 animals, nine of which were confirmed to be rabid, including six raccoons, two cats (including this one), and a skunk. DPH only announces those rabies cases for which it is possible the animal had unknown contacts with additional humans or pets.

In 2018, DPH performed rabies tests on 146 animals, 19 of which were confirmed to be rabid, including six raccoons, five cats, one dog, five foxes, one horse, and one donkey. Additionally last year, DPH announced Delaware’s first positive case of rabies in a human in nearly 80 years. A Felton woman died after contracting the disease.

Rabies is an infectious disease affecting the nervous system of humans and other mammals. Infection can occur through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or if saliva from such an animal gets into the eyes, nose, mouth or an opening in the skin. Rabies in humans and animals cannot be cured once symptoms appear, and therefore, if an animal that has exposed a human is unavailable to be quarantined or tested, DPH recommends that people receive post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment, a series of four vaccinations, as a precautionary measure.

If You Encounter an Animal Behaving Aggressively:

• If you encounter a wild animal behaving aggressively, it is recommended you contact the DNREC’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a private nuisance wildlife control operator. A listing of nuisance wildlife control operators can be found at https://wildlifehelp.org/.

• Do not throw items at the animal or make loud banging noises, which may startle the animal and cause it to attack. Instead, your initial response – if the animal is behaving in an aggressive manner or appears to be foaming at the mouth – should be to raise your hands above your head to make yourself appear larger to the animal while slowly backing away from it. If the animal starts coming toward you, raise your voice and yell sternly at it “Get away!” If all that fails, use any means to protect yourself including throwing an object at the animal or trying to keep it away by using a long stick, shovel or fishing pole.

• If you encounter a stray or feral domestic animal behaving aggressively, contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

If You Encounter a Sick or Injured Animal:

• To report a sick or hurt wild animal, Delaware residents are asked to contact the DNREC’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912 or 302-735-3600. Staff will determine whether it is more appropriate to refer callers to a permitted volunteer wildlife rehabilitator.

• If you encounter a sick stray domestic animal (cat or dog) contact the Office of Animal Welfare at 302-255-4646.

For more information on the DPH rabies program, visit http://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/dpc/rabies.html or call 1-866-972-9705 or 302-744-4995. For more information on rabies, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


DNREC sets Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission public hearing on striped bass management plan Aug. 29 in Dover

Striped bass illustration by Duane Raver

DOVER – The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will hold a public hearing regarding a proposed addendum to the Atlantic Striped Bass Interstate Fisheries Management Plan at 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 29, in the DNREC Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today.

The addendum to the striped bass fisheries management plan proposes to reduce fishing-related mortality by 18 percent in response to the 2018 Striped Bass Benchmark Stock Assessment, which indicated that the population was overfished and overfishing was occurring. The addendum proposes a range of coastwide management options for both the commercial and recreational fishing sectors, designed to end overfishing and reduce fishing mortality to the target level in 2020.

Draft Addendum VI is available for review on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s website at http://www.asmfc.org/about-us/public-input. Stakeholders are encouraged to provide input on the draft addendum, either by attending Delaware’s public hearing, or submitting written comment. Public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, and may be mailed to Max Appelman, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, 1050 N. Highland Street, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; faxed to 703-842-0741; or emailed to comments@asmfc.org, subject line: Striped Bass Draft Addendum VI.

For more information on the public hearing, please contact the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.

Follow DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook, www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 49, No. 224

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Severe crop damage at Redden State Forest creates public deer harvest opportunities to assist local farmers

DOVER, Del. — A recent increase in severe deer damage to agricultural crops on two portions of Redden State Forest in Sussex County has created public deer harvest opportunities to assist local farmers. Through a partnership with DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife, the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is opening specific portions of Redden State Forest’s Jester Tract immediately to expanded antlerless deer harvest dates and methods through Monday, Sept. 30.

“We recognize that farmers are attempting to protect their crops without using lethal measures, but the steps they are taking are not keeping deer from causing crop damage. The field inspections conducted by the Department of Agriculture are showing upwards of 85 percent crop loss,” said Deputy State Forester Kyle Hoyd. “We have an opportunity to assist these Delaware farmers by opening these portions of Redden State Forest earlier than normal to allow the use of firearms to harvest deer, which will provide the public additional opportunities to harvest antlerless deer.”

Under this special permit from DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, only antlerless deer can be harvested in the specified portions of the Jester Tract outlined in red on the associated maps. The harvest of antlerless deer, specifically does, has been proven to be the most effective way of reducing local deer populations and associated crop damage.

Only firearms or archery equipment that can be legally used to harvest deer in Delaware are allowed. Those using archery equipment may still harvest antlered deer on these permitted areas once the archery and crossbow deer seasons open on state forests on Monday, Sept. 2. Pursuit and harvest of deer on Sundays is prohibited in these areas.

All users of the areas, including those pursuing the harvest of deer, are required to wear and display at least 400 square inches of hunter orange in these permitted areas through Sept. 30. These areas will have signage posted, so the public knows where these expanded firearm harvest opportunities of antlerless deer are permitted.

To harvest or attempt to harvest deer, a Delaware hunting license or License Exempt Number (LEN) is required. To purchase a hunting license, either in person or online, hunters born on or after Jan. 1, 1967, must have a successfully completed a basic hunter education safety course. Delaware hunting licenses can be purchased online at Delaware Licenses, at the license desk in DNREC’s Dover office at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, or from hunting license agents statewide.

Deer must be tagged immediately after harvest, and tags must remain attached until the deer is processed. Delaware hunting licenses come with four antlerless deer tags, but additional antlerless deer tags may be purchased online or from license agents for $20.

All harvested deer must be registered deer within 24 hours of harvest. A registration number is required before taking any deer to a butcher or taxidermist. Likewise, those who butcher their own deer must register the deer within 24 hours of harvest or before processing. Deer may be registered by visiting the Hunter and Trapper Registration (HTR) system online at https://egov.delaware.gov/htr using their smartphone, tablet or computer, or by calling 1-855-DEL-HUNT (1-855-335-4868).

Harvested deer may be donated to the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger Program using the walk-in cooler at the Redden State Forest. All donated deer will be processed free of charge and the meat will be distributed to participating charitable groups. The Division of Fish & Wildlife requests that those donating harvested deer call the phone number posted on the cooler, so that donated deer are transported for processing in a timely manner. Any deer dropped off at a cooler must be field-dressed and registered, with the registration number written on a field tag to be attached to the deer.

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Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, 302-698-4542, stacey.hofmann@delaware.gov

 


DNREC, Croda, Inc. reach settlement agreement on company’s air and water violations from Nov. 25, 2018 EO incident

DOVER – The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and Croda, Inc. have entered into a settlement agreement that resolves environmental violations arising from the Nov. 25, 2018 ethylene oxide release (EO) at Croda’s Atlas Point facility.

Croda, Inc.’s facility located at 315 Cherry Lane, New Castle, Del., manufactures surfactants that promote mixing of oil- and water-based ingredients in consumer products such as pharmaceuticals and shaving cream. At 4:23 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25, the EO release by Croda was responsible for a seven-hour shutdown of the Delaware Memorial Bridge while emergency responders – including DNREC’s Emergency Prevention and Response Section and Environmental Crimes Unit – worked throughout the area to ensure that there was no threat to public health and safety.

Croda’s subsequent investigation found that the release was due to the failure of a gasket made of unsuitable material for processing EO at the plant. The accidental release resulted in 2,688 pounds of the highly flammable EO gas escaping into the environment. A water deluge system, deployed by Croda to minimize the risk of ignition or explosion of the EO that was released, caused almost 700,000 gallons of deluge water to overflow a spill sump and to discharge into the ground and a wooded area behind the sump.

The settlement agreement includes a DNREC Secretary’s Order issued on March 4, 2019, citing Croda for Division of Air Quality violations for the EO release and for the improper maintenance and operation of the Atlas Point facility. The Division of Water cited Croda for the unpermitted release of deluge water in violation of its NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit. The settlement agreement also directs Croda to pursue a plan of sampling and remediation, pursuant to HSCA (the Delaware Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act), administered by the Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances’ Site Investigation and Restoration Section (SIRS).

Through the settlement agreement, DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin issued a Notice of Penalty Assessment and Order to Croda, Inc., for the violations of Delaware air quality regulations and the company’s NPDES permit. The Secretary’s Order assesses a penalty of $246,739 to Croda, which includes $16,489 for DNREC cost recovery from responding to and investigating the incident.

In the settlement with the State of Delaware and DNREC, Croda, Inc. also has agreed to resolve all violations arising from the operation of Croda’s new EO plant as permitted by DNREC, both prior to and including the Nov. 25 incident. The settlement agreement also calls for DNREC and Croda to define further Croda’s environmental obligations for the Atlas Point facility. With Croda having accepted those obligations set forth by DNREC and agreed to necessary remedial actions required by the Department for public health and safety, the settlement with DNREC provides a path forward to resume production of ethylene oxide at the Atlas Point facility upon final approval from DNREC.

The settlement agreement and Secretary’s Order can be found on the DNREC website at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/secretarys-orders/.
A DNREC Q&A about the Nov. 25 incident and the Department’s investigation into it can be found at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/croda-questions-answers/.

Media contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 49, No. 65

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DNREC’s Natural Resources Police launch new tip411 mobile app for reporting crimes and concerns

DOVER – Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has launched a new law enforcement app, enabling the public to connect with the department’s Natural Resources Police officers, receive alerts, and submit anonymous tips from their smartphones.

“Technology is playing an ever-increasing role in the ways we communicate, and this new Natural Resources Police app offers the public an easy electronic means of reporting crimes and concerns,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The app also gives our Natural Resources Police officers an efficient new tool to gather tips and share information and alerts with app users.”

Developed by software company tip411, the Delaware Natural Resources Police (DENRP) app encourages the public to provide DNREC’s Natural Resources Police (NRP) with factual and anonymously reported information leading to the arrest of poachers, polluters, and other violators. The app is available for free download by searching “DENRP” via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. The app can be used with 100 percent anonymity, as tip411’s technology removes all identifying information before NRP officers see the tips.

Delaware’s tip411 system enables the public to connect with the three branches of DNREC’s natural resources police to report crimes and hazards to public safety. In addition to enforcing all Delaware criminal and motor vehicle laws as do all Delaware police agencies, DNREC’s three law enforcement branches focus on specific enforcement areas:

Environmental Crimes Unit Natural Resources Police – text keyword ECUTIP
The Environmental Crimes Unit (ECU) investigates environmental violations, primarily focusing on unlawful releases of liquid, solid, and hazardous waste, and air pollution violations. Common complaints include illegal dumping, open burning violations, unlawful asbestos removal, illegal transportation of solid or hazardous waste, and water quality violations for wells, failing septic systems, and illegal disposal of wastewater. The ECU also has a K-9 tracking unit.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police – text keyword FWTIP
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, including two K-9 tracking units, investigate hunting, fishing, and boating violations; respond to and investigate boating and hunting accidents; respond to poaching complaints through Operation Game Theft; and patrol state-owned boating access areas, fishing ponds and piers, and 19 state wildlife areas encompassing nearly 65,000 acres statewide. F&W NRP officers also conduct marine law enforcement patrols and boating safety checks on Delaware waterways, including the state’s three-mile offshore limit in the Atlantic Ocean.

State Parks Enforcement Natural Resources Police – text keyword STATEPARKTIP
Delaware’s Park Rangers patrol 16 state parks encompassing more than 26,000 acres. Rangers enforce park rules and regulations such as surf fishing regulations, campground policies, trespassing in restricted areas, and hunting, fishing, and boating on state parks properties. Rangers also respond to and investigate visitor injuries, motor vehicle accidents and all other crimes and offenses occurring in or near Delaware’s state parks. Alerts including park closings, special event notifications, and weather advisories also will be available through the tip411 app.

Anyone without a smartphone can send an anonymous text tip via their cell phone to Delaware Natural Resources Police officers by texting the appropriate NRP section keyword as listed above and their message/tip to 847411 (tip411). For more information on the new app, visit de.gov/tip411.

Tip411 users also are advised that DNREC’s new app does not take the place of dialing 911 for immediate emergency response. In the event of an emergency situation, call 911.

To report possible crimes, DNREC’s Natural Resources Police also can be reached by phone:

  • Environmental Crimes Unit Natural Resources Police: 24-hour Environmental Emergency Response Line, 800-662-8802
  • Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police: Illegal hunting, fishing, or boating activities, 800-523-3336; Operation Game Theft (wildlife crimes): 800-292-3030
  • State Parks Enforcement Natural Resources Police: 24-hour dispatch, 302-739-4580

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902