Dove admitted after dog attack

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

A mourning dove was among the 49 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include an ovenbird, an anhinga, a burrowing owl, a Florida box turtle, and a marsh rabbit.

The mourning dove was one of two doves admitted last week; both were victims of dog and cat attacks. The injuries the dove sustained in the dog attack were extensive. The dove suffered deep lacerations and torn skin over one third of his body.

Our staff vet at the hospital sedated the dove in order to fully assess the injuries and thoroughly clean the wounds. The dove was started on pain medications and antibiotics but the damage proved too severe. The dove’s condition deteriorated overnight which required the dove be humanely euthanized.

Several other animals, including a blue jay and four eastern cottontails, were also admitted last week with varying degrees of injury caused by domestic pet attacks.

The injuries these animals sustained were preventable if the pet owners had monitored their dogs and cats when they were allowed outdoors. Monitoring pets keeps them safe from cars, wildlife predators and possible exposure to harmful diseases. Not allowing our pets to roam free keeps wildlife safe as well.

If your dog or cat does catch a wild animal, please bring the animal to the wildlife hospital for immediate medical assistance. Most injuries caused by domestic pet attacks require antibiotics, pain medication and daily wound management.

Recent Releases — 41 Animals Return Home

  • 2 Florida softshell turtles
  • 6 northern mockingbirds
  • 2 mourning doves
  • 1 gray kingbird
  • 1 Virginia opossum
  • 1 red-shouldered hawk
  • 1 common moorhen
  • 3 red-bellied woodpeckers
  • 6 peninsula cooters
  • 1 chimney swift
  • 4 raccoons
  • 1 brown thrasher
  • 4 blue jays
  • 2 eastern screech owls
  • 1 common ground dove
  • 1 gopher tortoise
  • 2 eastern cottontails
  • 1 Florida box turtle
  • 1 striped mud turtle

Opportunities to Help

Please visit the Conservancy website at to view all of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Volunteers are needed more than ever during our incredibly busy summer season. Your volunteer time, memberships and donations are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

Joanna Fitzgerald is director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Call 239–262–2273 or see

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