Friday, October 30, 2009

More on Memphis Animal Shelter Cruelty

The Memphis Animal Shelter raided by law enforcement this week has been returned to the city's control. Whistleblowers have reportedly been complaining about cruelty at the shelter for a long time:

Cindy Marx-Sanders, who was appointed to the shelter's advisory board by then-Mayor Pro Tem Myron Lowery, spent a year before her appointment and the two months after telling shelter administrator Ernie Alexander and his director about problems at the shelter located at 3456 Tchulahoma.

"Nothing was ever done," Marx-Sanders said. "I've brought in complaints, numerous complaints with specific employees, cage numbers; everything they needed, and still nothing was done."

She wasn't the only one complaining. Volunteers and other citizens have called and written City Hall about problems at the shelter for years. One of the tips led to the search warrant executed Tuesday by the Shelby County Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office to investigate charges of animal abuse and cruelty, something the shelter is supposed to police for the city. [emphasis added]

That's about the crux of it. The people paid to provide care for pets in need and prevent cruelty in the community are cashing their paychecks while abusing animals themselves. Shelter pets are a special brand of vulnerability - they have no chance, no choice and no hope beyond what their caretakers give them. And when those caretakers are abusers, shelter pets have no owner, no neighbor, no good Samaritan or Vet to speak for them. They are pets who must rely completely on the mercy of shelter staff which is why it's so tragic when the shelter fails them.

193 dogs and cats fell over dead in their cages at the Memphis Animal Shelter in 2008. Who will stand up for them so that the abuse is ended and the shelter reformed? I will be watching with interest.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Treats on the Internets

Dog adoption event called a "black eye" for rescue in OK

AKC registration and puppy mills: here, here, here, and here.

Wysong's talking about more mold

The lawsuit filed by a LA Pitbull breeder whose dogs were all killed immediately upon seizure involves a high level employee of the ASPCA

Mastiff in MA ordered killed after two biting incidents - owners to appeal

A short educational video on reading dogs' body language

Balance IT site sells recipes for homemade dog and cat food - get a free recipe using promotional code

Pet food research and packaging facility fined by OSHA to the tune of half a million dollars

Two dogs stolen from home, shot to death and laid out along railroad tracks in PA - Reward

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Troubled TN Shelter Raided by Authorities

Sheriff's deputies in Shelby Co, TN executed a search warrant this week at the Memphis Animal Shelter:

According to the search warrant, "detectives have learned that some animals have been deprived of food and water while at the Memphis Animal Shelter," and while in the shelter's care, "some dogs have been starved to the point of requiring euthanasia."
[...]
District Attorney Bill Gibbons said an investigation into practices at the shelter was launched after his office received a tip from a citizen earlier this month.
[...]
Gibbons said one or more people could face criminal charges. Up to 300 animals were inside the shelter, but officials did not say how many were in bad condition.
So I guess we can hold out hope that they may have fed at least some of them?

This shelter is no stranger to cruelty allegations, as this report from last month illustrates:
The incident in question took place at the animal shelter last Friday, when an injured dog ended up buried beneath bags of euthanized animals. The animals were on their way to an incinerator where dead animals are burned.
The employee involved in this incident kept his job.

Failure to properly feed the dogs in their care has been alleged in recent months as well, although the shelter denied the allegations:

The complaint alleges the shelter was at full capacity, ran out of food, and a dog fight began when an employee trying to stretch the food supply brought one dish into a cage.

"We were never out of food," [Memphis Animal Shelter administrator Ernie] Alexander said.

He then explained what really happened.

"We had an influx of dogs to come in from both the city and the county, where we had three to four animals per kennel," he said.

Alexander claimed the dog fighting was due to the overcrowding, and not a food shortage.

That was in July. So if there truly was no food shortage but now the dogs are starved nearly to death, either someone's lying or intentionally starving the shelter pets. Will everyone keep their jobs this time?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What if We All Neutered Our Pets Today?

I no longer believe in the concept of "pet overpopulation" in this country. That myth has been debunked to my satisfaction by Nathan Winograd. But setting that aside, let's say for the sake of discussion that there are - if not a surplus of pets, at least way too many being killed in animal shelters. It's good to have a general agreement on what the problem is when considering possible solutions. So let's consider this guy's idea, which is not his alone, but rather one shared by many people concerned about pets being killed in shelters:
The Executive Director of what is now the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia in Gainesville says he would support a law requiring cat and dog owners to spay and neuter their pets.
As regular readers know, I do not support mandatory spay-neuter laws in any way, shape or form. But again, for discussion purposes, let's give the proposal a whirl.

So we all spay and neuter our pets. Well hold on a sec actually because I could not afford to spay and neuter all of mine at once. And there are most likely many others like me. So will there suddenly be funding for low cost spay-neuter services everywhere they are needed, especially in rural areas of the South for owners like me? That seems hard to believe since, if funding were available, wouldn't we have low cost spay-neuter services available everywhere already? But let's just say that all the needed neuter clinics appear magically throughout the U.S. Further, let's set aside the concerns about vaccinations (mandatory or owner discretion?), individuals with medical concerns (senior pets, anesthesia sensitivity, etc.), transportation (how do I get my pets to and from the clinic?) and any other potential conflicts. We'll just make this happen.

So now we've all got our pets neutered. But wait - is it reasonable to assume that every single pet owner complied? Probably not. People who rely on selling puppies and kittens as a means of income may not be willing to give up their livelihoods and in fact, unscrupulous individuals may see a black market developing for their product. Other owners may be involved with criminal activities involving their dogs and cats (dogfighting, crush videos) and may intend to continue but even if they were willing to abandon their practices, they likely wouldn't want to come forward to have any official records created on their animals.

In my estimation, we'd still have black market entrepreneurs and other criminals with intact dogs and cats. Then there are the strays, reproducing at will all over the country. Stray dogs and cats, lacking in socialization and definitely going without health screening or even basic health care. Litters born under abandoned trailers in the cold and the wet. Those lucky enough to survive spend their lives evading animal control, scrounging for scraps, and reproducing at will.

Back at home, 10 years into the future, all my pets will have died. And so will everyone else's who complied with the MSN law. But we really want to have pets. Veterans and other individuals need service dogs to assist them in day to day life. Farmers need stock dogs. Families need companion animals. Etc. What are we to do?

We can try to trap and domesticate a stray dog or cat. That may or may not work out so well, especially if our needs are for a particular type of pet. And if we successfully catch and tame a stray pet, the animal will need to undergo training for the work we require him to perform. He may or may not be physically and mentally suited for this training. If we get lucky and all goes well, we can hope that he is able to provide several years of service/companionship but of course he'd have to be neutered, leaving us stranded in the same boat eventually.

Alternately, to find a pet of a specific type, with predictable behavior and aptitude, we could seek out a criminal. Because those are the only people with intact pets who would be breeding anymore in this country. Again, that may or may not work out so well and probably isn't worth the risk.

Finally we might have the option of importing a pet from a foreign country. But surely foreign breeders will seize the opportunity to make financial and other demands on U.S. buyers, since the market will bear it. And some breeders will not sell stock to a country where sterilization is mandatory. The average pet owner will most likely be unable to import a pet. Perhaps U.S. shelters will import pets from foreign sources - strays rounded up off the streets or taken from shelters. Will these pets be well cared for in transit and what will the cost be to adopt these precious few available pets? If we look at how American consumers have historically fared when we've relied upon foreign products, we could get a glimpse into how the foreign pet trade might look.

So where are we in 10 years if we pass mandatory neuter laws all over the U.S.? We can have a pet, provided we're skilled in trapping and taming strays, willing to buy from a criminal and hope we don't get caught, or wealthy enough to import a pet. These unlikely and undesirable options will not apply to the average pet owner though. The average pet owner will be a thing of the past - not in 1000 years or 100 years but in 10 years.

There is another approach to tackling the problem of killing shelter pets. It makes sense and allows all of us to keep owning pets for as long as we can do it responsibly. No Kill now.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Blog Makeover


Thank you to everyone who submitted photos. I hope no one minds me cropping, I wanted to get in as much subject as I could in the small space the format allows. The two Flatcoat photos to the right (the one of Charlie having a biscuit and the one of Jewel in front of the purple flowers) were both taken by me. All other dog photos, including the one in this post, were sent in by readers. Scroll down the sidebar to see them. I so enjoyed looking at all the photos and will definitely do this again in future.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Wish Al Franken was My Senator

Al Franken (D-MN) has got his first piece of legislation - the Service Dogs for Veterans Act - on the President's desk:

The Veterans Administration would develop partnerships with organizations that provide disabled veterans with service dogs. Franken said he introduced the legislation after meeting a veteran who said his service dog improved his quality of life.

He said the measure will cost about $5 million and is designed to not edge out non-profits doing similar work.

"The government is going to pay for essentially every other dog. What I didn't want to happen was to dry up the funding for the organizations like Hearing and Service Dogs in Minneapolis and all of these non-profits who have been providing dogs to some vets."

Awesome! A rookie Senator getting bipartisan support (from some very wishy-washy Senators I might add) for his first piece of legislation, Franken says:

"There is evidence to suggest that increasing the number of service dogs would reduce the alarming suicide rate among veterans, decrease the number of hospitalizations, and lower the cost of medications and human care. We’re talking about a real return on investment that will pay dividends for these veterans for years to come.”

We often feel spurred to action when we disagree with the words and deeds of our elected officials. But we should thank them when they do good too. Why not take a moment to thank Senator Franken for recognizing the significance of the human-canine bond and its beneficial effects on the lives of our brave service men and women?

Update on Craiglist "Wolf"

via SmartDogs.

As we all suspected, he's a regular ol' dog.

Food Porn, Part Three

Excerpt from the book British Dogs - Their Varieties, History, Characteristics, Breeding, Management and Exhibition by Hugh Dalziel (circa 1879)

(click images to enlarge)





Previously in this series:
Food Porn (Part One)
Food Porn, Part Two

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Treats on the Internets

Of the 85 dogs temperament tested on SC Marine bases, only 2 got the boot

Former AC officers in Orangeburg Co, SC plead guilty to animal cruelty

Wilkes Animal Shelter in NC back in the gassing business

Police seize "wolf" bought on Craigslist - looks like a dog to me

Lovely photo

Flu News:

H1N1 confirmed in hog exhibited at MN State Fair

Ontario reports H1N1 in turkeys

Owner in OR gave H1N1 to pet ferret

Dogs and cats are not known to be susceptible to H1N1

Dog owners should be aware of H3N8 aka Canine Influenza Virus

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

97 Dogs Seized in Laurens Co, GA

A CNN crew tagged along on a police raid of a rural property in GA where authorities suspected dogs may have been used in dogfighting. (Video of the raid here.) The owner has been charged with animal cruelty and CNN reports the dogs are being evaluated by Vets for physical signs of dogfighting.

Most of the dogs were pit bull terriers; many were puppies. They were found cowering in cages or chained. Some older dogs were scarred -- possible signs of fighting, investigators said. Others were malnourished, simply skin and bone.

Their conditions were atrocious, according to Terry Wolf of the Dublin-Laurens County Humane Society.

"Their chains are too short to reach shelter, those who have shelter. The water that they have seems to be recent rainwater with algae in it, and I've seen no food bowls. Most of them are very timid," Wolf said. "They seem to be human-friendly, but they're attention starved, and they're definitely not socialized. You can tell they've been living hidden in the woods, out of sight."

Irene Sumner, director of the Dublin-Laurens County Humane Society, talked through tears, overcome before the count had been completed.

She told us about a puppy found dead and tossed aside into a used plastic bag.

The seized dogs were taken to an undisclosed location:

Volunteers feared one puppy wouldn't make it through the night.

The next step for these dogs is to determine which ones are healthy enough to possibly be adopted. Some, sadly, won't share that fate. They'll have to be put down.
If they are malnourished, as some appear to be in the video, that can be fixed. I don't know what other problems the dogs might have which would require euthanasia, but unless they are medically hopeless and suffering, I hope they will at least be given a chance. The article doesn't provide any information on whether the owner has signed over the dogs or the county has otherwise been granted custody. That issue needs to be sorted out before anyone starts killing anything.

This article seems to offer additional information on the case:
[Sgt. Robbie] Toney says they did not find training equipment or scars on the dogs consistent with dog-fighting.
[...]
Eventually the courts will decide whether to put down some of the dogs or even give them back to Loyd [the owner].
Meantime, the dogs are in the care of the Dublin-Laurens Humane Society. Supplies or monetary donations are being sought for the dogs' care:
For information on how to donate you can call 478-272-5341.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

12 Seized Pitbulls Killed in NY

Authorities in Buffalo NY seized 25 Pitbulls this month in an alleged dogfighting ring bust. The Buffalo City Animal Shelter has now killed 12 of the dogs. Of the remaining dogs, there is a litter of 8 pups.

I did not find any information on whether the dogs received evaluations by qualified individuals prior to being killed. Even if the dogs were individually evaluated, too little time has elapsed for any behavior modification/training, which may have been recommended based upon the tests, to take effect. And setting aside those issues, I am guessing none of the owners have had their day in court yet. Therefore these dogs remain the legal property of the accused unless they have signed them over for authorities to dispose of at their discretion. Lots of questions, no answers, and another pile of dead Pitbulls. Just when it seemed like the tide was turning for seized dogs.

Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Pet Store Protesters Get Shot at in CA

Friday in Santa Monica, several people staged a protest in front of the Aquarium & Pet Center alleging the store purchased puppies from puppy mills:
Three protesters were hit with what was later determined to be brass pellets fired from a high-powered air rifle. The protesters suffered minor injuries, said Sgt. Jay Trisler with the Santa Monica Police Department, which is asking for the public's help in identifying the shooter.
[...]
Davis [head of the protest group] said employees with the Aquarium & Pet Center threatened the protesters and were seen laughing after the shots were fired.

The store's owner, Scott Lee, said his employees were not involved in the attack and does not purchase animals from mills.

"We get ours from local breeders … ," Lee said. "[The accusations are] not true."
There is a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Call for Photos

Time for a blog makeover. Please send me any photos you wouldn't mind having posted on the blog. My favorites are photos depicting the human-animal bond - they don't necessarily have to have a human in them, but if they do, that's A-OK. Any pets welcome, and I have a soft spot for kids with pets but adults also acceptable. You can e-mail photos to: eiderdown--at--yesbiscuit--dot--com.

Fail, Six Ways from Sunday

I often say that most of us in SC are normal people - we just don't make the national news. I'm not sure if this story has gone national but it generally qualifies:
After running over a dog on a rural road in McClellanville on Thursday morning, the driver of a pickup truck tried to “put the dog out of its misery” by whacking the animal with a machete and a hammer, authorities said.

The dog's owner heard the dog's plaintive yelping and ran out of his house, grabbed the machete and hammer and started whaling away with the hammer, attacking the man who had been attacking his dog.

The driver was hospitalized with a skull fracture. The dog's owner is in jail, accused of trying to kill the driver. The dog, whose name is “Dingo,” was hanging on for his life Thursday night.

If you want all the details, you can clicky. I have sat here for the past 10 minutes trying to think how to summarize the back story and provide sensible commentary with hopefully some sort of uplifting message. I'm tired of waiting.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wysong Hits Back at Blogosphere

Pet food watchers have been critical of Wysong for posting the recall notice for certain batches of their foods a week after notifying retailers. The company has now responded to some of the online comments from consumers with an expanded notice.

LA Pitbull Owners Sue Group Who Killed All Their Dogs

Floyd Boudreaux and his son are suing the Louisiana SPCA for killing all their seized Pitbulls immediately after seizure in a dogfighting case in which the defendants were eventually acquitted of all charges:
On March 11, 2005, the men were arrested and 57 dogs were seized from their Youngsville home after a Louisiana State Police investigation into alleged dogfighting.

They stood trial in October 2008 and were acquitted of all charges.

According to state law, upon acquittal, all items confiscated from the Boudreauxs should be returned to them, [attorney Richard] Dalton said.

"But all the dogs are dead," he said.

It will be interesting to see how the court rules in what seems to be a complex case:
According to Louisiana Revised Statute 14:102.6, the law enforcement officer making the arrest can lawfully take possession of suspected fighting dogs and "cause them to be humanely euthanized as soon as possible by a licensed veterinarian or a qualified technician."

But the law further allows the owners to post a bond with the court "within 15 days after receiving notice of such seizure..."

The Boudreauxs were arrested on a Friday, Dalton said. They were in jail until Monday and were unable to post a bond on their dogs until then.

By then, the dogs were dead, euthanized by the SPCA with 24 hours of being seized in the police raid, he said.

In testimony during their trial, Trooper Jacob Dickinson, a state police investigator who headed the case, said the SPCA gave investigators no prior notice before euthanizing the dogs.
So was this a case of the SPCA going rogue? What's their explanation for killing the dogs immediately upon seizure?

Future Episode of 'Behind the Music'?

In May, former Missing Persons lead singer Dale Bozzio was convicted of animal cruelty. Long story short, Ms. Bozzio says she cared for a number of feral cats in her home and hired a caretaker to look after them while she was on tour. The caretaker became ill and never showed up for work and couldn't reach Ms. Bozzio to advise her because she was on tour (apparently in places without phones?). Authorities found the cats suffering in deplorable conditions - some died on their own and the remaining dozen or so were euthanized. Ms. Bozzio was sentenced to a small amount of jail time but filed an appeal which will be heard later this month. In the meantime, she went back out on the road.

Search Term Chaos

In no particular order, rhyme or reason, here is a random sampling of search terms which have led inquiring minds to the blog...

racharl ray kills dogs
nutro kills
PITBULLS KILLING
make bleev dogs
animals food getting

biscuit YES

pony rider women movies

pissing
porn sc
rape rack
what is a rape rack
rape rack michael vick

what is chinese name for eggshell powder

am i legally responsible to keep my dog out of the neighbours garden,even though the fence is in disrepair and is his responsibility

my dog weighs 5 pounds over heartworm

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Nuh-uh ABC News!

An ABC News article on home cooked meals for pets vs. kibble contains a couple of misleading statements by my interpretation. Regarding the major pet food recall of 2007, ABC says:
Dozens of dogs and cats died as owners learned about the tainted dog food, most of which was imported from Chinese manufacturers.

Firstly, "dozens" is misleading because it makes it seem like the total number of dead pets as a result of the melamine tainted food was less than the thousands who likely died. Secondly, although the melamine tainted ingredients were imported from China, the toxic pet food itself was largely manufactured in the U.S., using the poisoned ingredients. No one should feel automatically "safe" buying a pet food just because it wasn't made in China.

As far as so-called regulation goes, ABC notes:
Gallagher and Thompson [from the Pet Food Institute] didn't dispute some of [Dr. Richard] Pitcairn's claims of byproducts that were sometimes found in food, but pointed out that the commercial industry is regulated -- a stamp of approval not guaranteed with home cooking.
Again, misleading to my mind because the "regulation" of the pet food industry is done by AAFCO and it's by no means an independent, third-party "stamp of approval" for pet food products. Further, of course there is no guarantee that home prepared diets are 100% complete and balanced - whether you are feeding humans, pets, or weevils. That doesn't mean they're unsafe.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Batches of Wysong Dog Food Recalled

From the Wysong website:

The following batches of Wysong Canine Diets Maintenance™ and Senior™ have shown above acceptable moisture levels and may contain mold.

Wysong Maintenance™: lot #: 090617
Wysong Maintenance™: lot #: 090624
Wysong Maintenance™: lot #: 090706
Wysong Maintenance™: lot #: 090720
Wysong Senior™: lot #: 090623

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trivial Pursuit

Interesting tidbit I came across regarding the most popular dogs in Los Angeles County:

1. Chihuahua named Princess (1,262)
2. Chihuahua named Chiquita (1,138)
3. German Shepherd named Lucky (862)
4. Chihuahua named Lucky (819)
5. German Shepherd named Max (784)

Made me wonder what the stats might be for my county. I might add that I had a stuffed GSD as a kid that I named Max and I'm rather dismayed to see all these folks that copied offa me.

Treats on the Internets

Birds hosting flu virus may develop drug resistant strains due to modern man's lifestyle

CA Governor vetoes AB 241 which was a bad quality care=number of intact pets bill. Ironically, the special interests behind the bill are upset that "special interests" are the reason for the veto.

Dolittler takes up the wet vs. dry cat food debate

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit against TLAC in Austin requested a temporary halt to the cat killing there (scroll down to bottom)

US dairy industry needs mo(o) money

Speaking of which, here is a rebuttal to a PETA "expose" video taken at a dairy farm

And one more on dairy cattle: no more tail docking in CA

Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Sarry for the pwnage, but u no how it is an stuff, kthxbai"

Excerpt from the lolcat Bible Translation Project:
An then thier wuz a n00b king, an he wuz liek, lol I am Kinng of Egypt. Whose is Joseph? Dont even no. King sayed to hiz peeps: Yo. Look at teh Ibruz are lots of em. We gotta stops em an take thear cheezburger. Or els theyll takes our cheezburger, srsly.

And:
If sum d00d wants to steal cheezburgr, don't halp him.

If he sez, "omg, lets hied ovr here, an' jump on doodz,

Lets eated them,

An' taek all teh cookies thay has,

An' eat teh cookies,"

Yuo do not want! Do not eated anybuddy or thier cookies.

D00dz liek dat iz evul.

Cuz if yuo eat teh cookies,

Teh cookies really eated u.

SRSLY!!!!!.

Also And:

Wisdom posts on teh internets, n edits wikipedia.

Food Porn, Part Two

Excerpt from The Gentleman's Dog - His Rearing, Training and Treatment by C.A. Bryce, A.M., M.D. published in 1909:

(click images to enlarge)







Previously in this series:
Food Porn (Part One)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Friday Night Fights

Courtesy of BET, it's Must Not See TV:

According to the Los Angeles Times, the freshly reinstated (sorry, Kendra and Hank) NFL star will feature in an eight-part documentary-style reality show to air early next year on the cable net.

The show, tentatively if not creatively titled The Michael Vick Project, will follow the dogfighting ringmaster as he joins up with the Philadelphia Eagles, rebuilds relationships with his fiancĂ©e and kids and attempts to make amends—presumably of both the court-ordered and PR-advised variety—for his 2007 arrest.

"I just want people to really get to know me as an individual," he told the paper.
I guess the same could have been said about your dogs Vick. Before you tortured and killed them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

SCOTUS Considers Federal Animal Cruelty Depiction Law

An update for those following the SCOTUS case on animal cruelty depiction and the US Constitution via USA Today:
The Supreme Court appeared ready Tuesday to strike down a federal law that makes it a crime to sell depictions of animal cruelty on the grounds that it sweeps too broadly and violates free speech rights.

In a spirited hour marked by outrageous hypothetical questions, most of the justices made clear that they thought the disputed statute — used to prosecute a Virginia man who made dog-fighting videos — was too vaguely written.

My thinking is that Congress will need to go back and come up with new legislation that specifically names the acts of animal cruelty depiction covered by the law and what acts are exempt.

Marine Corps Pets Tested by ASPCA in SC

In keeping with its policy banning so-called "aggressive dogs" on base, the US Marine Corp has brought in ASPCA reps to test dogs living on SC bases:
Although not the 54-hour test called the Crucible that Marine recruits must pass to join the Corps, dogs from three Marine facilities in South Carolina faced their own assessments Tuesday to see if they may remain among the few and the proud.

Both Vader and Osceola passed, but the friendly pit bull terriers seemed more interested in a group of reporters and their youngest owner, 7-month-old Keeley Drew Smith, than news they may remain with their Marine family.

The two pets were among more than 100 pit bulls, Rottweilers and canine-wolf mixes owned by Marines at Parris Island, the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort and the Beaufort Naval Hospital.

The tests are being used to determine which families to break up, unless the owners can afford to move off-base which is not likely:
Dogs that don't pass may no longer stay at the bases. Dogs that do pass get waivers to stay until 2012.
What happens in 2012? Who knows. Probably more stupidity.

Monday, October 5, 2009

PetAg: Not Recalling KMR but Don't Use It if It Smells "Off"

I posted the other day about a reported lab analysis of Esbilac (puppy milk replacer) made by PetAg. Today I see PetAg has put an "update" - not a recall - on their site regarding KMR (kitten milk replacer):
Recently, a limited number of KMR powder users have experienced product producing an off odor. Normally, the product exhibits a faint "milky" smell.

It has been determined that some packaged KMR powder may have been exposed to excessive heat outside the manufacturing process.

Do not use the product if it has an off odor.
They provide no geographical location or product code information about this "limited" problem. They want consumers to call them and provide that info. Not sure exactly what qualifies as "off" smelling. I know some people can't smell 6 wet dogs in a van so hopefully consumers will be able to define "off" sufficiently so no kittens get fed this powder, which PetAg doesn't tell us what problems might result if they did. Vagueness-as-usual.

We'll Make Great Pets

If only there could have been some earthly way to predict this tragedy:
Authorities in northeastern Pennsylvania say a woman was killed by her pet black bear as she cleaned its cage.
[...]
Officials say Walz [the owner] threw a shovelful of dog food to one side of the cage to distract the bear while she cleaned the other side. At some point the bear turned on her and attacked.

"At some point" - hmm. Maybe when the bear finished the allotment of dog food. Or maybe when he realized he was hungry for something a little more substantial. Or maybe when he felt like being a bear.

The owner reportedly kept a tiger and a lion as pets too.

I Never Fool with Raccoons

Mainly because:

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - A 74-year-old Lakeland woman was hospitalized after being mauled by a pack of raccoons she tried to shoo from her yard.

Gretchen Whitted fell when five raccoons surrounded and attacked, suffering extensive cuts from her neck to her legs.

"We're not talking about a lot of little bites here," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. "She was filleted."

In Seattle, I had a raccoon family living in my garage and they kept me trapped inside my car many a time. I didn't want to get filleted.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I Wonder When the US Will Take Food Safety Seriously

NYT article on e. coli and ground beef exposes lots of repulsive practices in the meat industry but of particular interest to me was the info on page 2. The NYT tried to get details on Cargill's grinding practices via a Freedom of Information Act request but the USDA redacted info from those docs to protect Cargill. The Times eventually got the unredacted docs from other sources. If our tax dollars are being used to fund agencies who look out for the interests of corporations, who is protecting consumers?

Another noteworthy bit: Cargill is careful about inspecting meat for metal pieces because nails and metal hooks might damage their grinders. But checking for e. coli before putting meat through the grinders - meh. When the bacteria is discovered later in the process, Cargill can honestly say they don't know the source because they buy from multiple slaughterhouses (and countries) and don't test before grinding everything together. If you happen to become gravely ill from a Cargill product, as Ms. Smith (the woman in this story) did, well - sucks being you.

The U.S.D.A. found that Cargill had not followed its own safety program for controlling E. coli. For example, Cargill was supposed to obtain a certificate from each supplier showing that their tests had found no E. coli. But Cargill did not have a certificate for the Uruguayan trimmings used on the day it made the burgers that sickened Ms. Smith and others.

After four months of negotiations, Cargill agreed to increase its scrutiny of suppliers and their testing, including audits and periodic checks to determine the accuracy of their laboratories.

It took 4 months of negotiations to get Cargill to agree to "increase its scrutiny of suppliers" of their incoming meat but they still won't test it. Meanwhile, Ms. Smith fights to stay alive:
Her kidneys are at high risk of failure. She is struggling to regain some basic life skills and deal with the anger that sometimes envelops her. Despite her determination, doctors say, she will most likely never walk again.

Food Porn

Thanks to reader Pai and to the Library of Congress, I offer the following chapter on feeding from the book Dogs as Home Companions by A.F. Hochwalt, published in 1922. I love this kind of thing, prolly abnormally so. Expect to see more excerpts from old dog books in future. Thank you Pai!

(click images to enlarge)







Saturday, October 3, 2009

Those Old Yellow Magazine Clippings

H/T to They are What They Eat

One of my Favorite Things is looking at old dog photos. I came across a collection on Photobucket of some good ones:

Flatcoated Retriever photos

Beagle photos

Saluki photos (another breed on my wish list)

and another of my fetishes: old clippings about what people fed dogs before the invention of commercial dog food

Pet Food Problems

Nutro has recalled some varieties of puppy food but they haven't posted about it on their website which seems totally in character odd. Pet Connection has the details.

Premium Edge recalled two varieties of cat food due to thiamine deficiency which causes neurological problems.

Esbilac puppy formula has not been recalled but there is an internet posting from a group claiming to have sent the product to an independent lab for analysis. The analysis turned up some discrepancies with the product label. The makers of Esbilac deny any problems with their product according to the posting.
Note: I have done supplemental puppy feedings with this homemade puppy formula and had great results.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Garland Shelter to Kill More Pets by Injection vs. Gas Chamber

The Garland animal shelter has been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century and its modern methods of killing pets:
Garland’s animal shelter will shift from carbon monoxide gassing to lethal injection as its main means of euthanization by the end of the year according to a memo from City Manager Bill Dollar.
Before we get too excited about this development, let's remember that the shelter is:
  • Still killing healthy, adoptable pets
  • Changing their killing method after the local paper exposed many unlawful, inhumane killings at the shelter
  • Only admitting to one case of killing a pet under the age of 4 months in the gas chamber
Furthermore:
The city continues to reiterate the fact that both methods of euthanization are approved under American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines and State of Texas regulations.

Yeah, why is that AVMA and Texas?

Dollar's memo continues:
“The selection of euthanasia methodology has always been tied to resource allocation,” the memo said. “Departmental management has been, and continues to be, unwilling to operate in a manner that will increase response time to citizen calls for service simply to use a less efficient, but equally humane, method of euthanasia (injection of sodium pentobarbital) more frequently.”
Oh my. This rhetoric is approaching the level of "If we kill pets by injection, the terrorists win". I wonder what this exemplary "response time to citizen calls" is that they value so highly? Heaven forfend a resident would have to wait an extra minute to complain about his neighbor's barking dog just because the shelter can't gas as many pets as it would like. Get with it Garland city officials. We're watching.

I Know What Kind of Rabbit I Want

A four-eared one, obviously.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Eagles: Can't We All Just Be Like 'Yay Vick'?

When a season ticket holder showed up for a recent Eagles game wearing an anti-Vick shirt, she was turned away at the door. Apparently her admission ticket became invalid when she decided to express her feelings about Vick's dogfighting history via her t-shirt. That must be in the fine print somewhere on the back of the ticket.

30 Pitbulls Seized in North Carolina

When Greene Co authorities did not have space to take care of 30 Pitbulls they seized from an alleged dogfighting operation, they drove them over to Wake Co:

Michael Williams, director of Animal Care, Control, and Adoption for Wake County, said the shelter handles any dogs that may have been trained to fight with special care.

"Historically, they are friendly towards people and aggressive towards other dogs," he said. "So of course, we keep them isolated. We have protective measures we take here so we provide a safe environment for our staff and the other animals."

Hell, I'm just glad they didn't kill them all outright. The times they are a-changin'?