Category Archives: animals

DeBary picks party planner for Fourth blowout

DeBary Fireworks
DeBary fireworks

DeBary’s Independence Day festival has a new party planner.

The City Council, on a 4-1 vote Wednesday, hired a small Ormond Beach company for $10,000 to run DeBary’s biggest annual party – the daylong Fourth of July festival at Gemini Springs Park.

Concerns about professionals

Stephen Bacon
Stephen Bacon

City Council member Stephen Bacon cast the lone dissenting vote against the arrangement with Festival Designs, echoing previous concerns about having professionals- instead of volunteers– running the show.

Volunteers still needed

“I think the community needs to get involved again,” Bacon said.

Parks and Recreation Director John Fletcher noted that  Festival Designs will still use volunteers to help run the show, which draws 7,000 to 10,000 attendees from across Central Florida.

Festival Designs will also have to work with DeBary’s fireworks vendor, Creative Pyrotechnics of Orlando. DeBary hired Creative Pyrotechnics for $20.000 last April. The deal can be renewed for two years at $20,000 for each show.

Festival Designs,

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DeBary weather: Freezes over, 56-degree high today

After days of freeze warnings, DeBary and the rest of Central Florida will warm up a bit today. But not by much.

Today’s high will be 56 degrees in the River City. The lows will dip into the 30s overnight.

Sunday will be mostly sunny, with a high near 63.  The low overnight into Monday morning 51.

Monday’s high will be 72 degrees. There’s a 20 percent chance of showers Monday night.  The rain chance jumps to 40 percent Tuesday.

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Coyote spotted in DeBary, prompting concerns

DeBary residents are more accustomed to seeing bears in their neighborhoods. So Thursday’s rare coyote sighting prompted concerns from residents in the River City.

A driver snapped a photo of a coyote on Sanford Avenue near Wilson Road and posted it on the DeBary Proud Facebook page Thursday afternoon.

“Be careful with your pets and kids,” Evelyn Rodriguez wrote. “He didn’t seem scared at all by us stopping and taking a picture.”

FWC takes report

DeBary Life reported the coyote to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission just before 1 p.m.

An officer who took the call said there was nothing the agency would do other than taking a report.

However, if a coyote is on your property, the officer said, the owner can trap or euthanize the intruder a humane way or hire someone to do it.

The agency says online that coyotes have been documented in all of Florida’s 67 counties.

‘Fear of people’

“Encounters between people and coyotes in Florida are occurring more often,” FWC says online. “As coyotes become used to people, they may lose some fear of people, so sightings of coyotes during the day may increase.”

You can report the animals at 888-404-3922.

People who responded to the Facebook post said coyotes have attacked their pets or chickens.

“Out in the middle of the day, absolutely no fear of human contact. Something that definitely needs to be addressed,” David Connors wrote on Facebook.

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Bears busy bulking up for winter, FWC says

Florida wildlife officers Wednesday confirmed what some DeBary residents already know: Bears are busier than normal these days. Bears are busy bulking up for winter, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. That means your garbage could become a furry intruder’s next meal.

Bears need to pound 20,000 calories a day to prepare for the season.

“As bears become more active in the fall, they take the path of least resistance to find food,” said Dave Telesco, who leads the FWC’s Bear Management Program. “This draws them into neighborhoods and areas with convenient food sources, which can be dangerous for people. While the FWC continues to work with local communities to reduce human-bear conflicts, it is important for Floridians to understand the steps they can take to keep themselves safe.”

The FWC on Wednesday also revealed a new public-service video. The search for food often leads bears across busy roads. The latest installment of the Living with Florida Black Bears reminds drivers to use caution while driving through areas prone to have bears.

“Bears are most active around dusk and dawn, and therefore most vehicle-bear collisions happen during these times of day,” a news release said.

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Hurricane Irma orphaned baby squirrels in DeBary, elsewhere


Lisa Kestory gave the furry critter a kiss.

“When God wants to remind humans what falling love feels like, He sends a baby squirrel,” Kestory said on Facebook today.

The squirrel rehabber at Ahopha Wildlife Rescue said 22 baby squirrels, as well as other displaced animals, are being cared for at the DeLeon Springs-based nonprofit owned by Tom Scotti.

SquirrelGirl, as Kestory is called, recently set up an account on to help Ahopha Wildlife Rescue rescue squirrels and other animals displaced or injured by Hurricane Irma.

Most of the rescued animals are birds, including waterfowl and sandhill cranes, as well as “lots” of baby squirrels, she wrote.

“Donations are desperately needed for rescue supplies, pet formula, nipples and syringes, medical supplies, medical care and most importantly, FUEL for the Ahopha Wildlife Rescue vehicle to be able to get to the wildlife at rescue locations all over Central Florida, so they can be taken to the local rehabbers and Veterinarians for emergency care,” the GoFundme account says.
Baby squirrels were found across west Volusia after the storm.

On Sept. 11 , the day after Irma, Ej Bielen‎ posted this on the DeBary Proud! Facebook page:
“Found a baby squirrel in the Streets on naranja and Valencia. He’s still alive and has a small injury to his tail. We bandaged him up. He had a sibling next to him that unfortunately didn’t survive due to cars driving through. Luckily we found him before the next car did. He is very young and not moving too much but looks to be breathing normal. Eyes are still closed. If anyone has any tips on how to care for him or wants to help us out please provide guidance. Thank you.”

Kestory’s call for help prompted positive responses online.

Brandy Dantas of DeLand said this to Kestory on Facebook: “Do y’all need any blankets or supplies like that no extra money right now but can see what I have around the house to donate. Would love to help out any way I can Tom does amazing work and I have brought a few baby squirrels to him in the past.”

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DeBary dog named Junior racked up $2,500 in vet bills


A DeBary dog named Junior almost drowned. But then he chewed up some toys and got sick from ingesting the debris.

With Junior’s  veterinary bills up to $2,500, friends are asking for donations to help his new owner, Ashley Curfman of DeBary.

“This dog has been through soooo much…with such a dedicated foster that has now become his new mommy!!!” Facebook user Jamie Herman of DeLand wrote Sunday. “Please help her help him!!!”

Donations can be called into DeLand Animal Hospital at 386-734-1802.

Curfman said online she rescued the dog from a lake earlier this month.

The dog was adopted by a family but they later decided they couldn’t handle his “puppy attitude,” she said on Facebook.

“We have had him for about a week now and like any puppy he chewed on toys… he tore them up and it looked as if he was eating them (rope toys). Now I am freaking out because he hasn’t eaten for three days, he does drink, but no eating. I thought he was just doing a “cleanse” that my dog does once in a while,” Curfman wrote Aug. 23.

He was rushed to Deland Animal Hospital.

Curfman had no money “but thanks to donations from many local people the down payment of $1900 was raised along with her putting down $700,” Herman wrote Sunday.

Vets found pieces of toys amid the “twisted intestines” that had to be removed, as was a  bad kidney infection, she said.

“He still has a battle and now been about 4 days at the emergency vet and hasnt been released yet. He still wont eat….and now fluid has built back up….hes not out of the clear yet!” Herman wrote.

“Please help her so she can bring this sweet boy home where he belongs!!!! Ashley Curfman Is his new mommy and you can contact her for any questions!! We ill keep everyone updated!!!”

Facebook users are expressing support.

“ have gone above and beyond for this little guy,” Brooke McKendrick‎ wrote to Curfman. “You are awesome for this. Really hope he pulls through, but it’s so amazing he is getting to experience love in his time of need. He wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for you!!”

DeBary mini pig named Petals struggling to stay alive

A DeBary mini pig named Petals is struggling to stay alive.

Donations are flowing into a GoFundme account to help pay for the baby porker’s soaring medical bills.

The piggy’s parents hope the cash will come in quickly to save their newest family member.

“She’s not just a pig, she’s family, now,” Kari PTF said in a post. “The kids adore her, she cuddles , and is smart as can be . Any help might just save her life !”

Eight-week-old Petals has an enlarged heart and pneumonia, Kari PTF wrote.

One night, Petals went into extreme distress, gasping for air and struggling for breath.

“We managed to get her to an animal hospital that accepted exotic pets in the nick of time . They immediately began critical care emergency life saving treatments.”

The latest update: The pig needs to go to Gainesville to visit a University of Florida veterinarian for a heart exam before fluid fills her lungs again.

“This test is $400-$600 plus any medication needed to keep her going . The news stinks , by isn’t unmanageable !”