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Toy Requires Tongue Amputation

If your dog plays with a pimple ball with bell (pictured here) manufactured by Four Paws Inc., please remove it immediately. Then read what happened to 10-year-old Lab mix Chai, whose tongue had to be amputated after playing with the ball.

When Chai's owner first brought this to Four Paws' attention two months ago to demand a public recall of this product, he was ignored. Then he was told that all of his correspondence had been forwarded to its insurance company! Four Paws did not publicly acknowledge the defective toy and recall it until August 27, 2008. The long-time dog toy manufacturer claimed that this had never happened before.

Daniel planned to accept a financial settlement from Four Paws to cover Chai's vet bills and rehab until he learned that a 5-year-old Lab mix named Cole died from his horrific tongue injuries sustained by the ball back in 2005. Four Paws was aware of this and did NOTHING. Who knows how many other dogs suffered or died over the past THREE YEARS due to this company's negligence and greed?

Julia Kamysz Lane

August 29, 2008 in Current Affairs, Health, Humane, Legislation, media, product review, Recreation, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

A Compassionate Development

The Walters Group of Barnegat, New Jersey, recently built a $1 million facility to serve the animals of Ocean County Animal Shelter. The developer donated the cost of materials and construction in exchange for the opportunity to redevelop the land where the old shelter existed.

Improvements include 5,000 square feet of space, air conditioning, quarantine areas, new cages, indoor-outdoor runs, surgical facilities and a ventilation system with filtration that will help prevent the spread of airborne diseases. The cats and dogs in their care will be far more comfortable, which lowers their stress levels and improves their chance at adoption. "We also hope to encourage more traffic from potential adopters,” says Dr. Ella Boyd, Public Health Coordinator for the Ocean County Health Department, which oversees the shelter.

The shelter is open seven days a week thanks to volunteers and dedicated staff such as employee Kristen Schools pictured above with Kibbles (who was recently adopted!). To see dogs and cats available for adoption, click here. The adoption fee includes a vet exam, vaccinations, deworming and spay/neuter. Volunteers are always welcome to help with adoptions, donations and other projects.

For more info, please call (732) 657-8086 or email [email protected].

Julia Kamysz Lane

August 28, 2008 in Current Affairs, Donations , Humane, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Batman and Ted

I've been enjoying the dog days of August with lots of trail time with my pups, and so missed a few newspapers and some dog news including the tale of Batman. But I figure with the tribute to Edward Kennedy planned for the Democratic Convention tonight, I could link to this story about a Minneapolis dog who not only has the same kind of brain cancer as the senior senator but whose cutting-edge treatment may hold some keys to an effective treatment in people. Here's hoping for Batman's speedy recovery and Kennedy's health--and breakthroughs for humans and canines alike.

Lisa Wogan

August 25, 2008 in Dogs and science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Huge Puppy Mill Rescue

One thousand dogs were rescued from a West Virginia puppy mill over the weekend, including puppies just hours old. According to the Humane Society of the United States, this is one of the largest rescue operations ever undertaken in this country. Read more.

Lisa Wogan

August 25, 2008 in Current Affairs, Humane | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Crufts Exposed

In our desire to make life better for dogs, we fight against backyard breeders and puppy mills but earlier this week these efforts were joined by a BBC documentary that casts a glaring, unflattering light on the world of breeding show dogs. Based on two years of research, “Pedigree Dogs Exposed” explores the devastating health consequences of breeding for the show ring. Through interviews with scientists, vets, historians, activists and representatives from the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), the documentary catalogs how many purebred dogs suffer severe illness, pain, discomfort, disability and deformities -- including champions.

The tough documentary paints a portrait of the UK's pedigree dog establishment (including the 135-year-old Kennel Club, born out of the eugenics movement, and it's jewel-in-the-crown dog show, Crufts). The majority of these breeder/judges reject science and seem prepared to sacrifice the health, happiness and future of purebred dogs to protect their "ideals" of beauty and breed standard. This is MUST viewing (available at YouTube) but be warned it's not easy to watch. (10/11/08: I noticed recordings of  the documentary have been removed from YouTube.)

Lisa Wogan

August 22, 2008 in Current Affairs, Dogs and science, Health, Humane, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Man Who Axed Dog Gets Slap On Wrist

Last month, Freddie Mock of Manito, IL, bludgeoned a four-year-old Cocker Spaniel with an axe and left him for dead in the woods. Someone passing by heard the dog's cries and rushed him to the vet. The dog's injuries were so severe that he was put to sleep.

Mock was charged with aggravated cruelty and admitted that the dog's owner, Connie Vanderheiden, paid him $25 to kill her dog. (She has since been charged with aggravated cruelty and will appear in court Aug. 21.) What's even more outrageous is that after Mock's arrest, more people came forward to confess that they had paid him to kill their unwanted dogs, too. His own 14 dogs were thankfully surrendered to a local rescue group, Pets Without Parents (PWP). 

Mock deserves the maximum penalty of three years in jail and a $25,000 fine, but Mason County State's Attorney Kristin Miller has made a pitiful plea offer of just 90 days and two years of probation. This is unacceptable. Please contact Miller and the parties listed below and politely request that Mock serve more jail time befitting his horrific, cowardly crime:

Mason County State's Attorney Kristin Miller, (309-543-4212, [email protected]
Mason County Courthouse, (309) 543-6619, [email protected]
Judge Thomas Brownfield (217) 277-2055, [email protected]
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, (217) 782-7884, [email protected]

For more info on how to help, please call PWP President Susan Oldham at (309) 543-4652. Donations to Pets Without Parents are gratefully accepted through PayPal or snail mail: PO Box 25, Havana, IL, 62644.

Julia Kamysz Lane

August 20, 2008 in Current Affairs, Humane, Legislation, media, Volunteer | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

If You Feed Pedigree ...

... there is a recall of 20-pound bags of Pedigree Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites purchased from some Albertson's stores in Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada, out of concern over Salmonella. If you have this product, please return it immediately to Albertson's for a full refund.

According to a press release from Pedigree parent company Mars Petcare US, "Pedigree Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites is a multi-component dry pet food. Last week, a component that should have been on hold due to positive testing results was inadvertently shipped to our Tracy, California facility and used in the production of 100 bags of Pedigree Complete Nutrition Small Crunchy Bites with best buy dates of 07/2009."

Out of curiosity, what exactly is a "multi-component" dry pet food? I'm guessing it means fillers like corn and other grains that our dogs don't need. If you have a bag of Pedigree, please check out the ingredients list and let me know.

For tips on how to safely purchase, prepare and handle pet food, please check out this comprehensive resource page from the FDA.

Julia Kamysz Lane

August 12, 2008 in Current Affairs, Dogs and science, Food, Health, Legislation, product review | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Would You Clone Your Dog?

ClonedpupsLeave it to Hollywood. This past Tuesday, California screenwriter Bernann McKinney was the first to buy cloned puppies. The five puppies are genetically identical to McKinney's late beloved Pit Bull, Booger, and were sold for $50,000 by Seoul-based RNL Bio. The real sticker price is $150,000, but McKinney received a discount because she made history and promised to help with publicity. Despite having to sell her home to afford the pups, McKinney describes this as a "miracle." She plans to keep three and donate the other two to be service dogs.

With tens of thousands of shelter dogs yearning for good homes, was this really necessary? There are many legitimate nonprofit organizations that thoughtfully breed, raise and donate service dogs. Surely, McKinney could've offered to raise service dog puppies or donate some money to these groups rather than bring five more dogs into the world. How will McKinney feel if all five puppies do not share the same personality or behavior traits as Booger? If you've ever met identical human twins, it's probably safe to say that each of these pups will be their own individual. So if that's the case, what's the point of cloning them in the first place?

What will the long-term effects be for these puppies? Will they be showered with attention and adored forever or just as long as they're little novelties? Will their health prematurely break down like Dolly the cloned sheep? Her life expectancy was only half that of a traditionally bred sheep. When we choose to clone animals, are we prepared to deal with all of the potential consequences?

Would you clone your dog? Why or why not?

Julia Kamysz Lane

August 7, 2008 in Current Affairs, Dogs and science, Health, Humane, Legislation, media, Science | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Dog Clones Poised for the Assembly Line

In May, I wrote a post about BioArts' successful efforts to clone dogs. Well, not three months later, there are two dog-cloning companies in South Korea ramping up for big business. According to a story in today's International Herald Tribune, they've already produced more than 50 cloned dogs between them. Choe Sang-Hun writes that while the idea of replacing a beloved companion is what has captured public interest, the real commercial potential for these labs is in "mass-producing dogs for medical research and as service animals." Let the alarm-bells sound!

Lisa Wogan

August 6, 2008 in Current Affairs, Dogs and science, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Human Yawns "Contagious" for Dogs

Recent research has revealed that dogs can "catch" yawns from humans. Apparently, it's the first demonstration that canines are stimulated to yawn at the sight of a person yawning. Not only does this put them in a heretofore primate-only club, according to the researchers, this is also the first evidence that dogs have the capacity to empathize with humans. Very cool. Now, I'm wondering: Can catch a yawn from my dog?

Lisa Wogan

August 6, 2008 in Cool stuff, Current Affairs, Dogs and science, Science | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack