By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
When the dolphins do make an appearance, two scientists bust out their big cameras with massive lenses and try to snap the critters, paparazzi-style. It's kind of like playing Whack-a-Mole. Cooperating dolphins might open their mouths slightly when they jump, grinning with their cute little dolphin teeth. One is even named "Smiley Smile."
Turns out, researchers can specifically identify each particular dolphin by the marks on its dorsal fin. Although a baby dolphin's fin is smooth at birth, it gets permanently — and uniquely — banged up when bitten during fights with sharks or unfortunate encounters with fishing line. Software called Fin Scan exists — it's similar to computer programs that categorize fingerprints — but the researchers know the dolphins well enough to identify them by sight.
"That's Mogul!" captain Joe Contillo shouts the instant he spots a fin popping out of the water. "He's going to be with number 65. Those two are buddies." Sure enough, a second later, Dolphin 65 himself leaps out of the water.
"See?" Contillo yells. "I called it!"
The NOAA scientists have given names or numbers to 222 dolphins, but it's the same hundred or so who've been spotted around since the project started. That's a sign that the population is in stable health, the researchers say. As they dock the boat after six hours on the sparkling water, they figure that the day's total sightings — six dolphins, including a grandma and a baby calf — was decent.
On good days, they might spot as many as 50; on bad days, none. Their findings are entered into a database that is accessible to marine mammal researchers around the country for a host of scientific projects.
Have they figured out whether there's truth to that burning scientific rumor: that dolphins can kill sharks, particularly in defense of little blond kids who might have gotten lost at sea? Marine biologist Tony Martinez won't say it's never happened. "Let's just say that you see a lot of dolphins with scars from sharks. But you don't see a lot of sharks with dolphin scars."
Joseph Kildare, a 20-year-old from Plantation, may not be a model citizen; then again, that doesn't mean he deserves to be treated like the chew toy of a German shepherd, Tailpipe says.
Kildare was one of three young men who scrambled out of the Blackhawk Estates driveway of Brad Corliss, who was arriving home just after midnight March 14. Suspecting burglars, Corliss chased Kildare and his cohorts through the subdivision. When officers from the Davie Police Department arrived, Corliss pointed to a bush where he thought the suspects were crouching, according to the police report. An officer shone a spotlight into it, and sure enough, the young men went running.
In Kildare's version, the chase lasted 15 minutes, until he finally realized it was no use. He surrendered. Instead of being handcuffed, Kildare says, "an officer said a command to the dog and it started attacking me — as if I was a threat."
The dog mauled Kildare's left arm and shoulder, inflicting gashes that would need stitches to close. But he'd have to wait for medical attention. In the complaint Kildare filed a week later against the Davie police, he says that he was whisked away as the ambulance was arriving and that an officer drove him to a secluded part of the neighborhood and parked. "Look, it's pretty dark out here," Kildare recalls the officer saying. "I can do anything I want, so stop fucking lying to me."
Kildare was in no condition for dialogue, he says in the report: "I didn't respond because I started fading out because of all the blood I was losing."
More than three hours passed, Kildare says, before he received medical treatment.
For all that, Kildare was charged only with resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, though the case remains open. Davie Police Internal Affairs' investigation into Kildare's arrest is also pending.