Monday, November 30, 2009

Great Expectations

When Michael Vick goes to Atlanta to play football next week, he expects a standing O:
Vick will play his first game in Atlanta since 2006 when the Philadelphia Eagles visit Sunday.
Vick smiled when asked about the kind of reaction he expected from Falcons fans.
"I'm going to get a great reaction from the crowd. It's going to be a standing ovation," he said, smiling.
Vick, let me be the first to offer you a standing FU.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Recipe: Twice Baked Potato and Sour Cream Treats

This was sort of a leftovers extravaganza: I baked about 8 small potatoes and scooped out the flesh when cool. (Skins got tossed into the dogs' dinner bowls.) I beat in about 2/3 of a medium carton of sour cream, a couple eggs, 6 or so tablespoons olive oil, and added some milk to thin it out. Then I sprinkled in some dill and added enough wheat flour to make a dough (maybe 6 cups). Roll dough on to greased cookie sheet, bake at 325 degrees F for about 45 minutes and cut into squares.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Food Porn, Part Four

Shots of both sides of an old bag of kibble sent to me by a generous commenter on the Pet Connection blog. The bag arrived with what appears to be kibble crumbs still inside! I accidentally washed the bag (and the envelope - ahem) and interestingly, the kibble crumbs were still clinging inside after the coming out the washer. Sorry I don't have a date on the bag but here is a tidbit on the company:
In the early 20th century, Chappel Brothers of Rockford, Ill., supplied canned horse meat to the hungry citizens of France, Holland and Italy -- and exported the scraps back to the United States as dog food. Chappel Brothers marketed Ken-L Ration and at its apex slaughtered more than 50,000 horses a year.
For the PetFoodiCurious, more tidbits on Chappel Bros (and general history of dog food) can be found here, here and here.

And while we're looking at old dog food packaging and advertising:



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

Friday, November 27, 2009

Treats on the Internets

Toronto Humane Society President, General Manager, Head Veterinarian and others charged with animal cruelty and related crimes

MN animal "shelter" kills lost police dog after deeming him unadoptable

Nathan Winograd looks at the proposed Oreo's Law in NY, the opposition to it, and a similar law in CA

2002 article from NYT on the domestication of dogs from wolves

Man climbs into Brown Bear enclosure at Swiss Zoo for picnic, becomes lunch

Tampa man found by authorities playing video game in apartment full of dead exotic pets and feces

VA rescue that places homeless pets in homes (not PETA, obviously) wins cash prize

SC "pet food flavoring" maker to build dog and cat research facility to study what pets eat (Hint: not flavoring)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What I'm Thankful For

Before we eat, I thought we could go around the table and each say something we are thankful for (I saw this on Dexter). I'll start.

I'm thankful for Good Samaritans:

Jennifer Mann said at first she didn't see anything wrong with Sadie, a chocolate lab, when she found her Thursday.

"When I got up to her, her whole left side was completely ripped back like a deer carcass. It was terrible," she said.

Mann recognized the dog and went to her owner, but the owner said he didn't want to help the injured lab. So Jennifer took Sadie to veterinarian Dr. Sharon King.
Ms. Mann is now trying to raise money for Sadie's vet care:
The "Saving Sadie Fund" has been created at MidCarolina Bank locations in Greensboro, Graham and Mebane. For more information, you can contact Theresa Vernon at 336-538-1600.
There is video of Sadie at the vet clinic at the link.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vet Laments Loss of "Rational Euthanasia Policy" after Shelter Embraces No Kill

The Porter Co Animal Shelter in IN has made a number of changes over the past 18 months in an effort to implement a no kill policy:
While the effort has already resulted in a noticeable decrease in the number of cats at the shelter, she [the shelter director] predicted the problem will really start coming under control within the next five years.

Veterinarian Mary Ann Sheller, who was replaced on the shelter board as part of last year's change in operations, disagreed with the rosy assessment, saying she continues to hear about animals being turned away or dumped because the shelter is full.

"In essence, what they have done is exchange a rational euthanasia policy for a warehouse policy," Sheller said.

Too bad, so sad. The community tossed you off the shelter board and did away with your pet killing ways. Now all you have to fall back on is the tired old "warehousing" (pdf) argument. *dabs tear*

Monkey in a Cage Acts Like Caged Monkey

I guess nobody thought to advise "Sammy" he's a pet monkey:
Police said their investigation showed Green was holding her granddaughter near the cage that held Sammy, a monkey kept in the home as a pet. The baby started crying. Green then noticed the monkey had reached outside of its cage and grabbed the hood of the coat Brenna was wearing. Police said the monkey began pulling on the hood, causing the baby's head to repeatedly strike the metal cage. The monkey let go of the hood but started pulling the infant's hair, police said.
The baby was checked out at a hospital in IN and released. Luckily, there were no serious injuries... this time.

WI Greyhound Track to Close

Dairyland Greyhound Park in WI is set to end racing on December 31, 2009. From their website:
Wisconsin State law provides that the greyhounds are to be adopted to new homes, sent to another racetrack for racing purposes or returned to their owners. Our kennel compound will remain open until all greyhounds are properly placed.
If you are interested in adopting a racing Greyhound, visit the website for more information.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dinner at Chez Dog

We've got weevils. (Don't worry, that's not what's for the dog dinner.) They can apparently get into most anything and I don't know how we're going to get rid of them. For starters, I'm trying to cook everything in the cupboard to diminish their food supply. Unfortunately this also diminishes our food supply so I'm not sure what the end game here is exactly. At any rate, I boiled up every kind of pasta we had in the cupboards. (Note: Weevils float to the top of the pan as soon as you dump the pasta in so you can skim them out if you don't want the added protein.) I then cooked up some spinach, carrots and yellow squash and stirred them in. Minced parsley, yogurt and cottage cheese were added and I topped each dog's bowl off with a couple hunks of mozzarella. Add calcium and oil (I used fish oil caps for this meal) and serve.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Treats on the Internets

Another "Uga" - the University of GA Bulldog mascot - has died. He was 4 years old.

Animal terrorism indictment for MN man likely linked to IA research facility break-in

Veterinarians in Morgan Co, CO work with local rescue to offer low cost neutering

Marion Nestle reminds us there is ONE FOOD SUPPLY and all us mammals eat from it

AVMA has a page for news on H1N1. Some cats and ferrets have contracted the virus and one cat has died.

Woman in Scotland stabbed her dog because he was barking, had her pets taken from her as a result, and now has gotten them back. She was reportedly "under a lot of stress".

For those wanting to know more about Pets Alive, the sanctuary that offered to take Oreo, they have a nice slideshow.

Bill proposed in Ontario to repeal the dreadful Pitbull ban

Friday, November 20, 2009

Blue Light Special on Shelter Pets

In OH, infamous dog killer Tom Skeldon has resigned as Lucas Co dog warden. A PETA representative wrote a Letter to the Editor at the Toledo Blade praising Skeldon's killing:
No one wants to end the need for euthanasia more than the brave people who hold the syringe, but pushing dogs out the door like clearance merchandise or releasing vulnerable breeds into a world that holds only suffering and death for so many of them isn't the way to do that.

If we overlook the fact that PETA is among the "bravest" of us, killing tens of thousands of pets without even trying to adopt them out, we might focus on the thinly veiled slam on poor people. Yes poor people (and others) love clearance merchandise. It means getting a bargain, a good deal on some desired product. What's wrong with that?

In fact, would it be so awful to get dogs off the killing table and "out the door" by marketing them as "clearance merchandise"? As long as homes are adequately (and not overly) screened, I certainly don't have a problem with it. Everyone loves a good deal and many people are willing to buy last year's model, as it were, or slightly irregular products if it means added value overall.

Maybe some people consider shelter pets to be clearance rack type pets as opposed to new-in-the-box, bright and shiny puppies and kittens. So what? The fact is that retail stores manage to attract a good number of shoppers to their clearance racks and move merchandise. Isn't that what we're trying to do for shelter pets - attract buyers with the prospect of a good deal and get pets into homes?

Once again, PETA has it all wrong in my opinion. Pushing dogs out the shelter doors and into homes is the goal. Of course potential owners must be screened and no one wants to guilt anyone into taking a pet they're not prepared to accept responsibility for or a pet who would be a mismatch for the owner's lifestyle. But aside from the screening process, "pushing dogs out the door" is exactly what we want to do for shelter pets. If it takes a clever marketing ploy such as a blue light special to help achieve that, I say go for it. Obviously PETA chooses the blue needle special for the unfortunate pets who fall into their hands. But they are fast becoming dinosaurs in the world of homeless pets. We are a no kill nation of people who care about pets. Join us.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Two Pieces from 'USA Today' on Oreo

USA Today has an interview with Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, a behaviorist with the ASPCA who worked with Oreo. He is asked about the opposition to releasing her to a sanctuary instead of killing her:
"Unless she was put in virtually complete isolation," she'd live a "life of constant stress," he said. She was so reactive to so many things that she was almost always agitated. "We tried to desensitize her, and that tended to make her more reactive. The kind of love, attention and handling that has worked with so many other dogs made her more hostile," he said. Drugging her might have lowered her aggression, but if drugs succeeded, "you have to be certain someone would always maintain and monitor this treatment for the next 12 to 14 years … and there can be organ damage over time." And finally, complete isolation from all people and animals is "not a quality of life we can accept."

In another piece, USA Today heads down the well worn path of rationalizing killing while pepetuating the myth of pet overpopulation:
In shelters across the country Friday, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dogs met Oreo's fate for the same reason she did: They were too violent — because people made them that way. At least Oreo got the benefit of months of efforts to try to make her capable of living peacefully in this world; most of the rest did not because most shelters haven't the time, resources or expertise to work with such animals.
[A]lso on Friday, thousands of perfectly friendly dogs lost their lives in shelters simply because of the numbers reality: No more animals could be crammed in, but more are always arriving because people get bored with them or don't feel like training them, or let them create litters. So discarded pets must die to make room for more discarded pets.

At some shelters, the kill rate is 90%, and the vast majority aren't too vicious or too sick to save. They're merely victims of overpopulation.

The piece suggests that compassionate people must come to terms with these "truths" even though it may be uncomfortable. The truth is that there is no such thing as pet overpopulation. The truth is that shelter pets do not have to be killed in order to make room for more. The truth is that we are a no kill nation of people who care about pets and know they deserve better.

Facing these truths may be uncomfortable at first for some, but the nature of life is change and evolution of thought. Thinking about the value of the lives of shelter pets and changing how we go about saving those lives is one way forward.

Yeah, He's Cute NOW

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Wish Wilkes Co was in NY

NY state legislators seem to take the business of needless dog killing seriously:

From the Office of Assembly Member Micah Kellner in Manhattan:

We are preparing to introduce legislation this week along with State Senator Tom Duane to require shelters to release any animal they plan to kill to a bonafide rescue group or humane organization which requests possession of [the animal].
The legislation is titled "Oreo's Law".

Added, 11-19-09: pdf of letter from No Kill Advocacy Center regarding Oreo's Law.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Kind of "Injuries, Illness or Behavior"?

The Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) has been handling hundreds of dogs seized as part of a multi-state dogfighting bust this year. HSMO took the dogs seized in MO and IL. 100 dogs seized in other states were sent to other rescues. Some of the HSMO dogs have been released to rescue groups or foster homes but the numbers don't seem to add up:
  • 120+ dogs placed in foster homes (or scheduled for placement last week)
  • 117 dogs awaiting placement
  • 2/3 of the dogs "tested well for nonaggression and adoptablility"
  • 160 dogs killed "because of injuries, illness or behavior"

If we add together 120(+), 117 and 160, that comes out to approximately 400 dogs. If 2/3 of those tested as adoptable, that would be approximately 132 that didn't test well. Perhaps we could toss in another 28 that were medically hopeless and suffering ("injuries, illness"?) and that would make it 160.

But hold on. That would mean that every single dog who did not test well for adoptability was killed. In other words, the evaluations were used as a pass/fail determiner of life or death. Is this "rescue" for these dogs?

I consider this Maddie's Fund page on behavioral evaluations to be the gold standard. It is very detailed and outlines fair evaluations for shelter dogs as an initial step toward determining their future path. Sadly, there are some aggressive dogs who do not respond to training and drug therapy and will have to be euthanized because no sanctuary option exists. Of course some dogs will respond to behavioral modification training and drug therapy and will be able to be adopted out eventually. But not if they are denied that chance. The fact that every single dog who did not test well for adoptability was killed by HSMO leads me to believe that none were given the opportunity for behavior modification.

If the evaluation is used as a pass/fail justification for killing, one has to question the value of the test. To my mind, it would be akin to getting a suicidal person to sit down with a therapist and after the first hour the therapist says, "Sorry but you failed, you'll have to be killed". Is that such a great service to have offered the suicidal individual?

I'm not arguing that every dog of these 400 absolutely should have been saved regardless of circumstances. While I wish that every dog who could not be rehabbed had a guaranteed place for life in a wonderful sanctuary, I know that's not the reality. But I absolutely believe that every dog deserves a chance. The behavioral evaluation is an excellent start if it is used properly as a guide to which direction the dog needs to be headed next. If it's used merely as a killing tool, then what's the point? Surely no one thinks we pushed for individual evaluations for every bust dog just for the sake of the evaluations themselves? They are a tool for determining the needs of the dog and what type of rehab may be fitting. Using them as a pass/fail is nothing short of a disgrace.

A "fair evaluation" means a qualified individual testing the dog to determine what, if any, special needs must be addressed in training. Every dog deserves a fair evaluation.

Thank you EmilyS for sending me the link to the AP article.

Monday, November 16, 2009

ASPCA Euthanizes "Oreo"

Some of you may have been following the story of "Oreo", a Pitbull mix in NY who survived terrible cruelty thanks to the care of the ASPCA. On Friday, the ASPCA euthanized her due to aggression:
Because adoption was not an option, the ASPCA looked at placing Oreo in a long-term resident facility. However, because of the aggressive behavior displayed, it is almost certain that Oreo would have lived out her entire life in seclusion from other dogs and people. Her contact with the outside world would have been minimal at best. Her quality of life would have been reduced to virtually nothing. Thus, we arrived at the painful yet clear decision to humanely euthanize Oreo.

I don't know that I disagree with euthanizing a dog with extreme aggression, especially when extensive rehab efforts have been made as in Oreo's case. But it is hard to support the decision to euthanize when a reasonable alternative exists. Pets Alive, a no kill shelter in NY with a proven track record regarding difficult dogs, had offered to take Oreo:
We offered to take Oreo to our facility and work with her. If she was adoptable we would adopt her out. If not she would live at the sanctuary for the rest of her life. That’s our standard offer.
As an outsider, it seems to me the ASPCA should have at least considered the offer and taken a tour of the facility where Oreo would live. This would give them a concrete idea of her potential quality of life, rather than the assumption they were basing their decision on. By refusing to consider the offer, the ASPCA comes off as irresponsible to my mind. The ASPCA must be held to a very high standard due to their size and influence and they must set an example for preventing cruelty to animals, like the name says. I can't see how they've met this burden or fulfilled their obligation to Oreo by refusing to consider a reasonable alternative to her death.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dinner at Chez Dog

Sweet potatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, turkey livers and turkey gizzards - add calcium and oil, serve.

I found the organ meat for a good price in a freezer bin at the grocery store. Never having bought them before, I was a little leery because they were labeled "turkey gizzard" and "turkey liver" (each singular) and were in white plastic containers that you can't see into. I was envisioning some monster sized organ falling out of each but alas, when opened, the containers revealed multiple organs, regular sized.

Bad Animal Control Ideas, Nebraska Edition

In summary:

The Gothenburg Animal Hospital serves as Gothenburg’s city pound.

Now, because of a new state law that changes how animals are handled at city pounds statewide, it will be more expensive to adopt a dog or cat.

“It will be much more costly,” said Gothenburg Animal Hospital owner and veterinarian Roger Dudley.

Under a Gothenburg City Council proposal driven by state law, all adopted cats and dogs must be spayed or neutered.

A for-profit veterinary clinic can't possibly serve the needs of the city's shelter pets at the level they deserve. Basically, the staff is moonlighting by taking in strays but obviously their top priority will be their business. If they don't keep focused on making a profit, they won't have a business anymore. Shelter pets deserve better.

The Vet is obviously thinking in terms of profit when he talks about the greatly increased fee to adopt neutered shelter pets. The community needs someone who thinks in terms of public service with regard to saving pets and getting them into homes. Why not get the community involved and see if those goals can't be accomplished?

Unfortunately, there are more problems:

Dudley said the city currently pays the Gothenburg Animal Hospital $10 a day for cats and $12 for dogs to board strays only if they are euthanized but not if they are adopted.
Financial incentive to kill is never a good practice when the goal is saving pets.

[T]he city pays for four days of boarding. If the clinic keeps a pet longer for adoption, the business is not reimbursed.
See above.

Since he’s been in the veterinary business, Dudley said he doesn’t think problems with stray dogs have increased but cats have.

“Cat’s [sic] continue to multiply and that’s difficult to shut down,” he said. “There are so many, I don’t know what could be done.”

Is this the person the community wants in charge of caring for stray pets - someone who says he has no ideas on how to handle the local cat population? Perhaps the idea of TNR for feral cats doesn't appeal to him due to the issue of profit. But it would be worth bringing up to the city and recruiting volunteers from the community to help reduce the feral population. And what about low cost neuter services so local pet owners can afford to get their cats neutered? Maybe that falls under the lack-of-financial-incentive category too.

What say you Gothenburg?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tips for Avoiding Factory Farm Products

A guide to shopping and eating for those who wish to avoid supporting factory farms:
Most people share at least the following traits: they want to be healthy; they like animals; and they value clean air and water. Yet relatively few Americans connect those concerns with their food. As more people start making the link (especially if they've seen graphic video footage of industrial animal operations), many decide it's time to stop eating foods from factory farms. This is a guide for doing just that.
Among the author's recommendations:
  • Eat less meat. Eat better meat. (The same goes for dairy products and eggs).
  • Know your labels (and their shortcomings).
  • Explore alternative stores (independent grocery stores and co-ops).
  • Pasture is the gold standard.
  • Grass fed is very good (but the label is weak).
  • Organic is very good, (but the label isn't perfect).
  • Free range is okay (but the label is seriously flawed).
  • Antibiotic free doesn't mean much.

NY Woman Accused of Torturing Pets

After Sharon McDonough's eldest son turned her in to authorities, 5 dogs and a cat were found in terrible condition in filthy cages at her home. The remains of 20 dogs were excavated from the backyard and are being checked for microchips. Local residents whose pets have gone missing in past are fearful they may have been victims of cruelty at the home.
Douglas McDonough, 21, who turned his mother in to authorities on Nov. 5, called the home "a concentration camp for the animals" in comments to reporters after the arrest.

"She would have the oldest kids hold down the dog while we duct-taped his mouth and she would hit him," he said, adding that he and his sisters were all forced to take part in the abuse.

On Tuesday, a judge removed the six girls — ages 18 months to 13 years — from the custody of McDonough, who is widowed. Her court-appointed attorney, James D'Angelo, called the animal cruelty counts a "low-level offense."

Let's hope the charges get increased to a level more impressive to the attorney and better fitting to the allegations.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good News from Afghanistan

Via BBC (includes video):

A sniffer dog lost in battle in Afghanistan 14 months ago has turned up safe and well and rejoined its Australian unit.

Defence officials said Sabi the dog was recovered by a US soldier at an isolated patrol base.

The dog returned to a celebrity welcome from visiting Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and US commander Gen Stanley McChrystal.

Sabi is being tested for disease before a possible return to Australia.

The black labrador bitch was with a joint Australian-Afghan patrol that was ambushed in Uruzgan province in September 2008.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

Honoring all those who serve - thank you.

  • Watch some clips of dogs in over-excitement mode when their owners return from service overseas
  • Detailed history of Stubby the military dog
  • VetDogs helps veterans get service dogs

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Al Franken Meets a Service Dog

I got a bit choked up watching this vid featuring Senator Al Franken (D-MN) talk about the event that inspired him to draft service dog legislation for our veterans.

Don't Let the Door Hit You on Your Way Out

The Memphis Animal Shelter director, having had his shelter raided by law enforcement this week as part of a cruelty investigation, should have been on his A Number One best behavior. And yet, on his watch, the shelter killed someone's pet this week without even contacting the owners. Finally, the Mayor has fired the director:
“You’ve got a mayor now who, perhaps to a fault, likes to be hands on,” said [Mayor] Wharton during a morning press conference at the shelter. “I am not an expert on (animal shelters), but I can walk in there and tell you if there is enough food or water in the bowl, or if they followed our own procedures.”

Perhaps the most startling bit from the article though is how the director, Ernest Alexander, came to be in charge of the shelter:
Despite allegations of mistreatment of the animals he oversaw at a shelter in Albuquerque, N.M., Alexander arrived in Memphis in the spring of 2008 after former mayor Willie Herenton launched a nationwide search for an administrator who could improve conditions at the shelter, long a source of controversy for local animal rights activists. [emphasis mine]

Either there is a conspiracy cloud hanging over this guy's head or he brings animal suffering and death with him wherever he goes. I'm glad he's out. I hope they also sack every last one of the employees who weren't whistleblowers. It's way past time to take out the trash there.

Friday, November 6, 2009

"A dog wags its tail with all its heart"

All Eyes on Memphis Animal Shelter

Webcams up and phone number to the "Mayor's Action Center" if you see anything worthy of reporting.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Search Warrant for Memphis Animal Shelter

According to the search warrant served on the Memphis Animal Shelter (pdf) Puppy #199287 was admitted on August 18, 2009. Her records indicate she is a friendly pup and specify that she was to be held for a pending court case involving animal cruelty. Sadly, she ended up as evidence in a completely different cruelty case after the shelter allegedly starved her to death. Photographs documenting her condition from arrival until she was found dead in her cage on September 4, 2009 appear in the search warrant along with the necropsy results by the ASPCA Vet. That report concludes Puppy #199287 died of "non-accidental" "end-stage starvation". First her body consumed its external fat in an effort to stay alive. When that supply was exhausted, her body consumed organ fat and finally bone marrow fat. Normal bone marrow fat levels are 60% or higher but this pup's was 2.3%. Although she had not been fed for days, someone apparently gave her a small amount of food shortly before death which she did eat. So Puppy #199287 could and would eat, the shelter just didn't feed her.

The search warrant references a whistleblower (identity withheld) who, along with many other shelter volunteers, had long been advising those in charge at the shelter that animals were being starved, living in feces/urine filled cages with Parvo dogs and receiving no or dirty water. All these people are back on the job today while the investigation continues. Perhaps the only saving grace is a temporary halt to killings at the shelter, ordered by the mayor. But of course that doesn't cover pets starved to death or being forced to live in inhumane conditions. The Mayor is apparently not too concerned about that. If he was, he wouldn't allow the people who condoned this suffering to keep collecting their paychecks and remain responsible for the care of pets at the shelter right now.

I ask again - Are they feeding the pets NOW?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Treats on the Internets

NY Times article on psychiatric service dogs

111 pets die in fire at TX no kill shelter and the community steps up to help

There are 2 sides to every story but only 1 side to dead

Poultry farm trash (such as feces and feathers) is regularly fed to cattle but some want that practice changed

Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare in UK has published its report "A Healthier Future for Pedigree Dogs" (pdf)

This is how I feel about Debbie Downer Cattle on social networking sites

AC officer steals dog and lies to cover up her crime

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Memphis Animal Shelter Abuse Photos


This pup was brought into the Memphis Animal Shelter on August 18, 2009:

This is the same pup on September 4. She was found dead in her cage:

Fuckity fuck fuck.

This was not a one off case. This shit has allegedly been going on for a long, long time.

I wonder if they're feeding the dogs NOW?

I can't help looking at that sweet face and seeing just the spot I'd like to leave lipstick on that pup - right between the eyes.


Home is Where the Heart is

If you have dogs, you probably step outside without a coat and sensible shoes like I often do. It might be to fill a water bucket or scoop the yard or let a dog out to potty at 3 a.m. Whatever the reason, you know that chill that hits you at certain times of the year - the one that makes you curse into the night air and start jumping around while willing the dog with your mind to hurry up.

For me, this chill has taken on new meaning due to people moving into a nearby trailer and tying two dogs up to trees in the front yard. The dogs are tethered 24/7 on very short ropes and have no shelter (the trees are very small and provide no cover). They get rained on, sometimes all day, and then the chill comes at night and they stay tied to their trees, wet and cold. Although the dogs are usually quiet, sometimes they cry - pitiful yelps that go on for a good while. The sound is almost unbearable to me, I can't imagine what it's like living in that trailer but the people never come out to shush them. In fact, I've never seen the family interact with the dogs at all but presumably they are giving them food since they are still alive.

I have no problem with responsible tethering (or crating or kenneling for that matter). But a dog tied, without shelter, day and night - that's not responsible tethering. That's cruelty.

Now when I step out in the cold and the wet, I think of those two dogs suffering next door and the owners, just a few yards away, safe and warm inside the trailer. It breaks my heart. And I wonder how it could be that it doesn't break theirs.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Another Huge Ground Beef Recall

CBS News reports that dozens of illnesses and 2 deaths may be linked to the latest recall of half a million pounds of ground beef:
Ashville, N.Y.-based Fairbank Farms recalled almost 546,000 pounds of fresh ground beef that may be tainted with E. coli bacteria. The meat was distributed in September to stores from Virginia to Maine.

The ground beef was sold at Trader Joe's, Price Chopper, Lancaster, Wild Harvest, Shaw's, BJ's, Ford Brothers and Giant stores. Each package carried the number "EST. 492" on the label. They were packaged Sept. 15-16 and may have been labeled with a sell-by date from Sept. 19 through Sept. 28.

Also, ground beef packaged under the Fairbank Farms name was distributed to stores in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. That meat was likely repackaged for sale and would likely have differing package and sell-by dates.
So basically, good luck figuring out where the meat you bought came from. Business as usual.