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1/23 FLORIDA BRIEFS: Worker dies in crane accident

JACKSONVILLE -- Officials say one person is dead after a crane collapsed at the Jacksonville Port Authority.

Authority spokes- woman Nancy Rubin said the mobile crane had been brought in by an outside company to dismantle an old container crane it purchased from the port. She says the man who died Saturday was an employee of a contractor used by that outside company to do the job.

Sgt. Lonnie Mills of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says the victim’s name has not yet been released. Mills says the victim was operating the crane that buckled.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate the accident.

Alligator catching explained at UF event in Davie

DAVIE -- How do you catch an alligator?

Very carefully.

That’s according to wildlife expert Frank Mazzotti, who explained how to grab the gators during an open house Saturday at the University of Florida’s Research and Education Center in Davie.

Small alligators can be caught by hand, but researchers also use tongs and specially made self-locking wire snares.

Mazzotti estimates he and a team of others catch about 300 alligators a year and about 200 crocodiles.

Alligator catching wasn’t the only topic covered. Researchers also talked about how beehives produce honey, why the Everglades has changed over the past 100 years and how termites make nests.

Spokeswoman Carolina Revilla-Vendrame says about 200 people attended the event.

Florida man accused of stabbing his dog 26 times

FORT PIERCE -- A Florida man is behind bars after authorities say he stabbed his dog 26 times.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office says Joseph Grady Barker told investigators he was tired of his pet’s incessant barking. Authorities say he paid a friend $20 to drive him and the pit bull to a canal. He then allegedly struck the 3-year-old canine on the head several times with a tire iron and tossed him into the canal. After seeing the dog was still alive, Barker allegedly recaptured him and repeatedly stabbed him in the neck.

A family member who learned about the incident found the dog’s body at the canal and notified authorities.

The 35-year-old Barker was charged Friday with animal cruelty and is being held without bail at the St. Lucie County Jail.

2 panthers found dead in southwest Florida

NAPLES -- Two Florida panthers have been found in southwest Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that an 8-month-old uncollared male panther was found dead in Collier County Friday along Interstate 75. The death appeared to be caused by a vehicle collision.

Also Friday, a 10-month old collared male was found dead in Hendry County. Officials believe he was killed by another panther.

Both carcasses will go to the FWC Wildlife Research Lab in Gainesville for a complete necropsy.

A total of five panthers have been killed in 2011. Biologists estimate the panther population in Florida to be between 100 and 120.

-- Herald wire services

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