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Talkin' Pets News

June 17, 2023

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Jillyn Sidlo - Celestial Custom Dog Services - Roan Mt. TN.

Producer - Lexi Adams

Network Producer - Ben Boquist

Social Media - Bob Page

Colorado Gov. Jared Polisis has signed into law a bill that limits extra fees for renters who have pets.

House Bill 1068 also forbids restrictions on dog breeds for homeowner’s insurance purposes, the Denver Gazette reports.

Among the bill’s provisions:

  • Keep pet rent to $35 per month or 1.5% of the owner’s monthly rent, whichever is more.
  • Limit pet deposits to $300 beyond the existing security deposit.
  • Require that pet deposits be refundable.

Landlords will still be able to prohibit pets or impose breed restrictions.

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People are rallying around an ailing dog who collapsed on a roadway in East Grand Rapids. Last week, Emilee Bond made a public Facebook post about the situation, writing:

This morning the starved/emaciated dog was spotted by my husband and a few other neighbors on Lakeside, where she had crawled out of the woods and collapsed in the middle of busy morning traffic, too exhausted to make it across the street. Concerned neighbors stopped traffic and kept her safe and were eventually able to get her to the sidewalk.

A woman named Rachel, with the city of East Grand Rapids, stepped up to get the ailing dog to Cascade Animal Hospital, and Emilee started a fundraiser to help cover veterinary expenses.

Nearly $20,000 has been donated by people hoping to see the dog, dubbed Hope, recover. According to the veterinarian who examined Hope, it appears that she was a “breeding dog” who had multiple litters and was then discarded.

With good care and the support of strangers, hopefully, Hope will recover and be able to enjoy the rest of her life.

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Researchers with the Cincinnati Zoo have developed a way to sterilize cats without putting them through surgery. A news release outlines details of the ground-breaking study which has huge implications for controlling the overpopulation of cats.

The study, funded by The Joanie Bernard Foundation and The Michelson Found Animals Foundation, demonstrates how Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) gene therapy can effectively sterilize female cats, reducing the need to put them under anesthesia for spay surgeries.

Senior author and CREW’s Director of Animal Research, Dr. Bill Swanson (DVM, PhD) commented on the limitations of traditional spay surgeries to control feline populations:

“The trap, neuter [spay], return model is difficult to achieve on a large scale because surgery requires general anesthesia, an adequately equipped surgical facility, and more veterinarians than are currently available,”

The study included six female cats at the Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW) who were treated with AMH gene therapy and three untreated female cats who served as controls. One injection of the treatment caused the cats’ muscle cells to produce AMH and raised the overall level of the hormone by approximately 100 times the normal amount produced by the ovaries.

Two-month breeding trials were performed one and two years after the treatment. Dr. Lindsey Vansandt (DVM, PhD), the lead author on the paper and CREW director of the Imperiled Cat Signature Project, said:  “Evidence for the effectiveness of this treatment is strong. All of the control (non-treated) cats produced kittens, but none of the cats treated with the gene therapy became pregnant.”

The cats who were treated were tested and monitored for more than three years and there were no adverse effects observed, indicating that the gene therapy was “safe and well tolerated.”

Gary K. Michelson (MD), founder and co-chair of the Michelson Found Animals Foundation, which helped fund the study, commented on the gene therapy’s potential impact:

“A non-surgical sterilant for community and companion animals is long overdue and will transform animal welfare. This breakthrough discovery is a major milestone in our quest to provide pet owners with an alternative to surgical spay and neuter.”

All of the cats involved in the study were made available for adoption at the conclusion of the research, with many of them finding homes with zoo staff and volunteers. Dr. Swanson adopted three, stating:

“We are cat lovers, which is one of the reasons we’re excited about what this new technology can do to improve the lives of domestic cats,”

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The USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB) has allowed animal health company, Medgene, license to produce and market a USDA - approved category of vaccines called Platform Vaccines to the cattle industry. Specific cattle vaccines available under this new Platform Vaccine category include Influenza D, Coronavirus, Rotavirus, and Papillomavirus.

Medgene's vaccine approaches leverage USDA-approved "platform technology" guidelines that are safe, and easily adapted to multiple animal disease targets. The result is the development of vaccines and an understanding of how diseases move across species and geographies within a fraction of the time of traditional vaccine approaches. 

Dr. Alan Young, Chief Technology Officer for Medgene, began foundational work in Platform Vaccine technology in 2010. "Vaccines have come a long, long way since their first use in the late 1700s. We've learned that diseases, no matter what the species, have a lot in common. But by focusing on the unique genetic components that are different, we can create vaccines that are far more efficient."

Veterinarian and advocate of Platform Vaccines, Bob Gentry, DVM, stated "For the veterinarian, Platform Technologies improve our option in providing care. We can identify a disease and provide a vaccine within weeks instead of years. For animal owners, that can mean tremendous differences in the health of their animals."

Medgene announced their receipt of USDA licensure at a June 9 event held at Iowa State University's Research Park facility in Ames, Iowa. Medgene CEO, Mark Luecke, stated, "Getting Platform Vaccines to market has been a team effort. From government regulatory to university research to the extraordinary team at Medgene, Platform Vaccines are a historic example of teamwork towards a common goal - improving animal health."

Medgene's Influenza D, Coronavirus, Rotavirus and Papillomavirus vaccines are available to licensed veterinarians.

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Government officials in Ireland are considering slaughtering cows to help fight climate change. Sources report that ranchers may be offered financial incentives to voluntarily cull their herds – with a goal of 200,000 cows being culled to help achieve “net zero” emissions.

Irish farmers have pointed out that the culling of herds will simply increase the demand for beef imported from other countries. Irish politician Peadar Tóibín pointed out the short-sighted the plan is, especially if it pushes imports from countries like Brazil:

“How is it environmentally friendly to kill large swathes of the Amazon, import that beef from Brazil to substitute for Irish beef that’s been culled here in this state. It’s a significant threat hanging over farmers in this country, and we must have a debate crystallizing exactly what the plan of this government is.”

Katy Atkinson, an agricultural advocate who raises cattle in Albany County, told Cowboy State Daily about the problems with the Groupthink, tunnel-vision mentality:

“Groupthink happens a lot around the climate change conversation. We get tunnel visioned on one piece of it without considering the full ramifications of what’s going to happen if we remove cattle from the land,”

It has been pointed out that millions of bison roamed North America in the 1500s through the early 1800s and they did not negatively impact the climate, but somehow cattle, whose numbers today are similar to the bison population of the past, are now blamed for the climate crisis. Both animals are ruminants with digestive systems that produce methane emissions.

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Dogs and vacuums have long existed in a state of conflict. But that could soon change.

A new Roomba robot is ready to make peace.

T.R.E.A.T. is an experimental prototype engineered to dispense dog treats on demand.

The prototype is unavailable for purchase. But the company is “looking for willing pet owners who are excited to experience the dispenser in action.” Visit www.treatbyirobot.com to apply to participate in the T.R.E.A.T. prototype program.

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A 23-year-old Naples, Florida man is accused of beating his Goldendoodle puppy, Buzz Lightyear, so severely that the puppy died. According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Robert William Garon beat the five-month-old puppy on July 29, and then he and his girlfriend took the puppy to an emergency veterinarian.

The news release from the authorities outlines the puppy’s pitiful condition upon arrival at the veterinary hospital:

“The puppy was wet, disoriented, and unable to breathe normally. The dog was unable to stand or pick its head up. A veterinarian examination revealed possible head trauma, bruising to the right ear and mouth, and muscle damage throughout the body.”

Buzz Lightyear died at the emergency veterinary hospital – his injuries were too severe for his survival. Dr. John Morton performed a necropsy on the puppy at Humane Society Naples. The necropsy report included the following: “This dog’s death was caused by non-accidental, blunt force trauma to the head and body with secondary internal hemorrhage. I believe he suffered significantly from his injuries before death.”

Witnesses have stated that Garon locked himself in a room with Buzz and proceeded to pummel the puppy. Yelps and cries could be heard from the puppy for several minutes…then silence.

The authorities are appalled by the brutality of this incident. Sheriff Rambosk said, “This is one of the worst cases of animal abuse we’ve seen. No animal should ever have to suffer such a death.” As if this puppy’s death was not bad enough, the authorities say this is the second dog in five months to die in his care. Visit www.animalvictory.org for more on this story.

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A lonesome coyote pup, who lost his family, squeezed into a Jackson, California resident’s dog kennel seeking companionship. The touching incident was recounted by Tri County Wildlife Care last week; the non-profit organization said: Coyotes are beneficial predators and we can coexist with them. This pup lost his family and squeezed through into a kennel to be with a kind resident’s dogs.

The resident reached out to the agency to come and retrieve the coyote pup and it was taken to Dr. Alison Pillsbury of Acorn Hills Animal Center to be examined, vaccinated, dewormed, and treated for fleas and ticks. The future is bright for this orphaned pup – the organization said: This baby will be placed at another great rescue with other coyote pups to grow up wild and free. The organization explains why coyotes are important, and thanked the resident for reaching out for help: We need a diversity in wildlife to have a healthy ecosystem. Thanks to the kindness of this dog owner, this pup is getting a second chance at life.

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Morris Animal Foundation is funding a new study aimed at identifying genetic markers that may increase a dog’s susceptibility to hemangiosarcoma, one of the deadliest forms of canine cancer.

The study, which is being conducted by researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, uses data from the Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. This longitudinal study has been tracking the health of 3,000+ dogs for more than a decade. Hemangiosarcoma is the most common malignancy diagnosed in Study participants, resulting in a unique set of biological samples and data that the new research will leverage to advance knowledge of this serious disease.

“Researching the data obtained from the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study could result in the identification of the actual DNA mutations that cause the disease,” said Dr. Kim M. Boerkamp, Co-Principal Investigator with the study. “These findings could aid in the development of new therapies for the disease. Additionally, a DNA test could be developed that can be used for breeding dogs to help decrease the disease incidence in the population.”

In addition to this study, the Foundation also launched its Hemangiosarcoma Initiative, a multiyear, multimillion-dollar endeavor dedicated to funding research studies focused on hemangiosarcoma to better understand, prevent, detect and treat this aggressive and deadly cancer.

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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis proclaimed June 15 as Morris Animal Foundation Day – a significant declaration as the Colorado-based Foundation celebrates its 75th anniversary. The proclamation underscores Colorado’s commitment to the health and well-being of animals both within the state and globally, aligning with Morris Animal Foundation’s mission of bridging science and resources to advance the health of animals.

Morris Animal Foundation has funded nearly 3,000 studies to date. It currently has about 200 active studies aimed at addressing significant health challenges in dogs, cats, horses and wildlife. Notable among these studies include the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, the largest cancer-focused study of its kind in dogs, improved and novel vaccines for infectious diseases in cats, as well as critical research to safeguard endangered species worldwide.

Headquartered in Denver, Morris Animal Foundation is committed to improving and protecting the health of animals through scientific innovation, education and inspiration. The Foundation was established in 1948 by Colorado-born Dr. Mark L. Morris Sr., a passionate veterinarian who recognized the need for more research to improve the lives of animals. Today, Morris Animal Foundation is one of the leading funders of animal health research in the world.

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Nature has once again proven that life finds a way, as a female crocodile has given birth to fertilised eggs - despite having lived alone for the past 16 years. This is the first time scientists have shown that a crocodile can produce offspring without mating, and they now say that dinosaurs might have been able to do the same thing. Zookeepers discovered that an 18-year-old female American Crocodile, an apex predator growing up to 20ft, was guarding a clutch of 14 eggs in her enclosure, despite not having seen a male in over a decade. It is not entirely uncommon for lone crocodiles to lay unfertilised eggs which are usually discarded; however, researchers were surprised to discover that seven of the eggs were actually fertilised. While the eggs did not hatch after three months of incubation, one was found to contain a fully formed female foetus which was nearly genetically identical to its mother. 'Virgin birth' is a natural process called facultative parthenogenesis, meaning a female is able to produce young without any involvement from a male.

It's extremely rare in nature, although it is found in some other species, most notably mayflies, turkeys, pythons, and boa constrictors. This particular case involved a mechanism called 'terminal fusion automixis', meaning the female fertilizes her own eggs using a genetic by-product called the second polar body. This means that both parents are the mother and they have two pairs of the mother's DNA. Animals in the wild generally do not reproduce in this way, however, some research now suggests that endangered animals might do so more frequently as finding a mate becomes harder. According to Warren Booth, associate professor at Virginia Tech who led the study, this discovery could offer 'tantalizing insights into the possible reproductive capabilities of extinct archosaurian relatives of crocodilians' including the dinosaurs.

Crocodiles branched away from other dinosaurs around 240 million years ago, yet these ancient lizards also share a common ancestor with birds dating back at least 267 million years. With proof that crocodiles and birds can both produce young without mating, Booth says that this capability is 'a trait likely possessed by a distant common ancestor of these lineages', meaning that dinosaurs too might have exhibited 'virgin births'. However, 'virgin birth' is not the product of divine intervention or sneaky visits from the zoo's male crocs, but a natural process called facultative parthenogenesis. Facultative parthenogenesis is the rare ability to produce offspring without the need for sexual reproduction. While this can be mistaken for a phenomenon called 'long-term female sperm storage' in which an animal may produce offspring long after mating, researchers used genetic analysis to prove there was no male involvement whatsoever.

The female embryo was 99.9 per cent genetically identical to its mother, showing that it had no father.  This is the first time scientists have shown that a crocodile can produce offspring without mating, and they now say that dinosaurs might have been able to do the same thing. According to Booth, what makes this discovery 'particularly interesting' is that crocodile reproduction is quite different to any other animal previously known to be capable of facultative parthenogenesis. Crocodiles lack all sexual chromosomes - the X and Y components of our DNA - meaning that the sex of crocodile offspring is not determined by their parents but by the weather. In a process known as temperature-dependent sex determination, whether a crocodile becomes male or female depends on what temperature the egg is incubated at. Above 99ºF (33º) or below 86ºF (30ºC), 100 per cent of crocodile eggs will become female, while around 89º (31.5ºC) the offspring are mostly male. This research was published in the Royal Society's Biology Letters

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The phrase Biblical plague can sound like hyperbole, but when your state is dealing with an infestation of cannibal crickets, it may begin to sound like an understatement. That’s the problem facing Nevada, as millions of so-called “Mormon crickets” are currently causing concern and repulsion.

According to USA Today, the flightless creatures are emerging from years of dormancy and creating serious obstacles in parts of the state due to their congregating and tendency to excrete feces. The insects are infesting areas near buildings, highways, and even healthcare facilities. It has also been alleged they will eat the stucco off a house.

“Just to get patients into the hospital we had people out there with leaf blowers, with brooms, at one point we even had a tractor with a snowplow on it just to push the piles of crickets and move them on their way,” Steve Burrows, director of community relations at Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital, told KSL TV. The Mormon cricket is not really a cricket at all but a 2-inch long katydid that devours grass and contributes to soil erosion. Their name comes from their wanton destruction of Mormon settler land in Utah, back in the 1800s.

That the bugs are cannibals and will devour one another if no other food source is available is only contributing to the problem. The result can be a gruesome scene of sprinting insects and half-eaten corpses. Walking on them is said to be similar in sensation and sound to stepping on popcorn. When the bugs expire on a roadway, they can actually cause accidents, as their slick entrails create a slippery surface for vehicles.

“They get run over, two or three come out and eat their buddy and they get run over and the roads can get covered with crickets and they can get slick,” Jeff Knight, an entomologist for the Nevada Department of Agriculture, told Nevada news affiliate KSL. “The bigger issue is these afternoon thunderstorms and put a little water on that and it gets slick ... we’ve had a number of accidents caused by crickets.”

Knight said the hordes can travel about a mile a day, though they may hang out at one site for up to four days. Residents horrified by the insects crawling up their walls will have to just wait it out, though that may take a while. The current infestation began in 2019 and may persist owing to the region's cricket-friendly drought conditions.

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Five show dogs died in an RV fire at the Florida State Fairgrounds, according to a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesperson.

Crews responded to the fire around 2:45 p.m. where they discovered an RV engulfed in flames. Inside the RV were five boxer breed show dogs who were unable to be rescued.

“By the time it was obvious, there was nothing that could be done,” said Susan McQueen, an American Kennel Club dog handler.

An American Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show is happening at the fairgrounds this week. Wednesday was the first day of the event, but the tragedy left dog lovers in attendance feeling somber.

“I actually saw the smoke, and somebody who was trying to get the dogs out wasn’t allowed to get the dogs out even though she was trained to get the dogs out, it’s a terrible thing,” said Pam Hamilton, a dog rescuer.

At Wednesday’s competition, the Boxer group set up a vigil for the five dogs that died in the fire and missed out on the challenge.

“People left things, left their ribbons and they had a little candle and a stuffed boxer, and we’ll probably do that every day,” McQueen shared.

A GoFundMe was created to help the dog handler suffering through this loss.

The American Kennel Club sent a statement following the tragedy. “We are aware of the tragic incident that occurred in the parking lot at the Tampa Fairgrounds in which dogs perished, and our hearts are with those affected, both human and canine.”

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Scientists found that ice grains on Saturn's satellite Enceladus contain a rich array of minerals and organic compounds, including the ingredients for amino acids associated with life.

The Cassini spacecraft, which explored Saturn and its system of rings and moons for over 13 years, from 2004 to 2017, discovered Enceladus' subsurface liquid water. They analysed samples in a plume of ice grains and gases erupting into space from cracks in the moon's icy surface.

Data from Cassini's Cosmic Dust Analyzer showed the presence of sodium phosphates, suggesting that phosphorus is readily available in Enceladus' ocean as phosphates.

Phosphorus, the least abundant of the essential elements necessary for biological processes, hadn't been detected until now. The element is a building block for DNA, which forms chromosomes, carries genetic information, and is present in the bones of mammals, cell membranes, and ocean-dwelling plankton.

Phosphorus is also a fundamental part of energy-carrying molecules in all life on Earth. Life wouldn't be possible without it.

"We found phosphate concentrations at least 100 times higher in the moon's plume-forming ocean waters than in Earth's oceans," said Dr. Christopher Glein, a planetary scientist and geochemist at Southwest Research Institute's (SwRI) in Texas.

Previous analysis of Enceladus' ice grains revealed concentrations of sodium, potassium, chlorine, and carbonate — containing compounds, and computer modelling suggested the subsurface ocean is of moderate alkalinity — all factors that favour habitable conditions.

"High phosphate concentrations are a result of interactions between carbonate-rich liquid water and rocky minerals on Enceladus' ocean floor and may also occur on a number of other ocean worlds," Glein said. "This key ingredient could be abundant enough to potentially support life in Enceladus' ocean; this is a stunning discovery for astrobiology," he added.

Although the science team is excited that Enceladus has the building blocks for life, Glein stressed that life had not been found on the moon or anywhere else in the solar system beyond Earth.

"Having the ingredients is necessary but may not be sufficient for an extraterrestrial environment to host life. Whether life could have originated in Enceladus' ocean remains an open question."

The Cassini-Huygens mission was a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (European Space Agency), and the Italian Space Agency. Cassini's mission came to an end in 2017, with the spacecraft burning up in Saturn's atmosphere, but the trove of data it collected will continue to be a rich resource for decades to come.

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Summer is almost here, which means it won't be long before swarms of spotted lanternflies come to the Philadelphia area. It's been almost 10 years since the invasive species first appeared in the region, but are scientists making any progress in getting them under control?

Part of the problem is that because lanternflies are an invasive species from Asia, they don't have any natural predators in America, which has allowed their population to explode. Researchers in Delaware say they traveled to China and came back with a couple of natural predators with major potential.

"The species name is Dryinus sinicus," Kim Hoelmer, with Beneficial Insects Introduction Research Unit, said, "and it has no common name." Inside a USDA laboratory on the University of Delaware's campus, researchers have been studying spotted lanternflies ever since they arrived in Berks County, Pennsylvania, nearly 10 years ago.

Spotted lanternflies feed on the sap of more than 70 plant species, leaving them susceptible to disease and destruction from other pests.

"Females search through the environment," Hoelmer said, "and they attack the young nymphal stages." "When [spotted lanternfly adults] become very abundant and buzz around in the fall, they become bothersome to people," Hoelmer said. "But the real impact of this invasive species, the economic impact, is because of its ability to attack grapes."

Through extensive research, Hoelmer and his colleagues have honed in on two tiny parasitic wasps that specifically seek out and attack adolescent lanternflies in their native country of China. "The first of these of these wasps is a small parasitic wasp that attacks lanternfly eggs," Hoelmer said, "and the second is another parasitic wasp a little bit larger that attacks the younger nymphal stages after the eggs hatched." Smaller than the size of your fingernail.

Hoelmer says you don't have to worry about these wasps stinging or hurting humans, but because they're not native to North America, it takes years of testing to prove they prefer lanternflies to other insects. "We don't want these wasps to attack insects that are not causing problems in North America or are beneficial," he said.

Hoelmer says they're likely still a couple of years away from getting government permission to release these wasps in the wild, but if their tests continue to go well, he says they're our best bet to get this invasive insect under control. "We're hopeful that we can eventually demonstrate that we'll be able to release at least one of the natural enemies, if not both, but we're not there yet," Hoelmer said. "We just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that that's where the results will take us."

Spotted lanternflies started in Pennsylvania and have since spread to 17 states. Scientists say they wouldn't be surprised if they're spotted from coast to coast soon, but there's hope to get the invasive species under control one day.

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Two endangered Florida panthers struck by vehicles in the same area have died.

They’re the fifth and sixth panther deaths attributed to fatal collisions, out of six total deaths this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The remains of a 5-month-old female panther were found last Friday along a rural road in Collier County, and then a 3-year-old female panther was found dead on Monday, less than a mile away from the first, wildlife officials said. Officials won’t know whether the cats are related until genetic analysis is performed.

Florida panthers once roamed the entire southeast, but now their habitat is mostly confined to a small region of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico.

Up to 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild.

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A Colorado home had an uninvited guest Wednesday afternoon. A cinnamon-colored bear was caught on video by a neighbor trying to make its escape through an upper-level window of a home in Steamboat Springs. The neighbor who took the video told Shannon Lukens with Steamboat Radio that the bear broke into the home through a partially open window on the home's lower floor.

H. Hannah said the bear tried four times to leave through the upper-level window. The video shows the bear hanging by its claws from the window sill, looking around for a place to safely get down. Eventually, the bear pulled itself back up into the home, but not before literally taking a couple bites out of the window frame.

The bear made its way back downstairs and out of the home through the same window it entered through. The bear then ran off through the neighborhood forcing the neighbor who took the video to rush back toward her house.

Two Steamboat Springs Police officers were at the house for a while but had to leave to respond to another call, Lukens said. Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) officers were also called about the bear, according to Lukens. 9NEWS reached out to CPW for more information Friday but has not yet received a response.

It's unclear whether the home or its furnishings were damaged while the bear was inside. The home is located in the Blue Sage area near Fish Creek Falls, Lukens said. The home's owner wasn't home at the time of the bear's break-in.

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