Let’s Play Oddball

Tom cats in China are apparently growing “wings”, as reported by The Telegraph. At first you might think these are just big tufts of extra fur, but they actually have bone underneath. Huh. As I am fond of saying: cats is da craziest people!


There is no new Parvo. There is no new Parvo. There is no new Parvo. Whatever the reason, mass e-mails continue to circulate warning dog owners about the horrors of the “new” strain of Parvo (that has actually been around for years). Read the August 27, 2008 press release on the subject which clearly states the “new” Parvo is not new and it does not “jump the vaccines” and there has been no increase (in MI, where Vets from West Michigan Academy of Small Animal Practitioners gathered to talk about it) in Parvo infections among vaccinated dogs.
Also see Pet Connection’s latest post on this recurring subject.


The London Free Press has a story on a woman who tried to steal hamster food from a pet shop. When confronted, the suspect allegedly knocked another woman down and bit the store owner twice in an attempt to escape. The cops arrested her. I don’t know what that pet store charges for hamster food but I can only assume this was like, primo stuff. The kind of food hamsters only eat when they’re packin’ and another hamster got their back.

We are So Screwed

An article at Mother Jones titled “The Chinavore’s Dilemma” gives us an overview on how the FDA allowed – and keeps allowing – tainted imports from China to enter the US. Pet food, toys, toothpaste, heparin, seafood… and the hits just keep on comin’.

“Indeed, FDA documents scrutinized by Mother Jones show that officials have
long known dangerous products were entering the country. They knew it because
some portion of the tainted, counterfeit, or mislabeled shipments were being
intercepted and tallied in monthly lists that get passed around the agency.
While the same products appear on the lists month after month, agency officials
seldom warn the public until after Americans are hurt or killed.”

O snap. Read the full article. With your lights on.

"Pedigree Dogs Exposed"

Last week, BBC aired an hour long documentary called “Pedigree Dogs Exposed“. It’s available in six segments on YouTube but I am on Bellsouth dialup and the 3 legged asthmatic hamster they’ve got powering their internet service just isn’t turning the wheel as reliably as one might hope. Sooo, I haven’t seen it. But I have been interested in the various discussions the program has prompted. Here are some worth checking out:

Vet in Harness
Cold Wet Nose
Pet Connection
Lassie, Get Help

SC Hog-Dogging Case Closed

In 2004, several dirtbags were rounded up in Chester County, SC – including the county’s animal control director – in a hog-dog fighting bust. “Hog-dog rodeos” are some twisted idiots’ idea of “sport” where dogs are turned loose in an enclosure with wild hogs whose tusks have been removed. Sickos stand outside the ring with their kiddies and throw down money on how long it will take the dog to pin down/maim the hog. So when law enforcement seized over 100 dogs and injured hogs from these bozos – that was a good thing. Unfortunately, no one realized that hog-dog fighting wasn’t actually against the law. Oops. South Carolina’s Animal Fighting and Baiting Act was amended in 2006 to specifically make this a felony but it was too late for the Chester County scumbags who described what they were doing as “training”. Two of the accused were acquitted at trial in 2005 and finally this month the charges against everyone involved were officially dropped. One of the defendants also dodged similar hog-dogging charges in Florida. As for the fired animal control director, she has been required to remain in the state while charges were pending and says now she’ll be leaving. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

Personal Pet Post: Just Because I Love Her

I don’t post about my pets very often but just wanted to share this photo of my too-adorable-to-be-as-disobedient-as-she-is Beagle. Graham turns 9 years old next month and I can honestly say – despite all the trash she’s “redistributed” for me on the floor, and how many times she’s unmade the bed, and all the lizards and turtles she’s tormented (and I won’t even get into the coming-when-called thing) – it’s been 9 years of pure joy. I love her!

*wag, wag*

Straight Talk on How You Can Keep Your Dog During the Economic Crisis

If you are one of the many people facing hard times financially these days and considering giving up your dog due to the cost of maintaining a pet, this is for you. Here are some ways to save money in the short term until you get back on your feet financially – cos I do believe a change is gonna come.

1. Food – Many places already have pet food pantries which will supply food for your pet at no cost and more are springing up as we speak. Check with your local animal shelters to see if they have or know of a pantry in your area. Alternately, your dog can eat leftovers from your plate, provided you eat a relatively healthful diet. Cooked meats (trimmed of fat and bones), canned meats/fish, organ meats, rice, vegetables, oatmeal, eggs, yogurt, etc – make use of your healthy leftovers and table scraps to feed your dog. Yes, it’s perfectly safe. Really. I’ve been doing it for years and so was every other dog owner prior to the introduction of widely available pet food to the market. For treats, raw carrots are great for chewing exercise – they will harmlessly pass through undigested as dogs can’t digest whole, raw veggies. You can also use any leftover bits from the cupboard as treats: crackers that have gone stale, that bit of cereal left in the bottom of the bag, the crust of bread no one is going to eat…

2. Heartworm Meds – Heartworm preventive labeled for cattle is available at feed stores and online without a prescription. It has long been used “off label” as a canine heartworm preventive and the cost is dramatically cheaper than buying canine heartworm meds. Check with your Veterinarian to see if this is a recommended alternative for your dog if you are unable to afford the expensive meds right now.

3. Annual vaccines – Good news: they aren’t needed for most dogs! Find out what your state’s requirement is for Rabies revaccination and check with your Vet to see what, if any, other vaccines are recommended. Times have changed and it is now known that the immunity provided by many dog vaccines lasts longer than one year. So if your dog was previously vaccinated, he may not be due for revaccination this year and if you’re in the midst of a financial crisis, certainly a “wellness exam” can be postponed until it’s something that can be worked into the budget.

4. Spay-NeuterCheck with your area shelters to see if they operate or know of a low cost spay-neuter clinic. There are different kinds of clinics – some you have to demonstrate that you fall within certain income guidelines in order to qualify for the reduced fee services, others are open to anyone and everyone. Some require proof of recent vaccination for your pet, others do not so you’ll need to ask these questions before making an appointment.

5. Dog Shampoo – If your dog is one that needs regular bathing, you are probably shocked at the price of dog shampoos – and rightfully so. What I use is the same as what I’ve used for years – even when I showed Champion titled dogs in dog shows – blue dishwashing liquid, original formula. I dilute it with at least 5 parts water to one part dishsoap and it works great. As with any shampoo, be sure to rinse every last bit out. If a conditioner is needed, anything that’s on sale in the human shampoo aisle works fine. The cheaper, the better.

Investment Management Company Increases its Share of the Pet Food Market

Berwind Corporation, owner of Elmer’s glue and other companies, acquired Eagle Pack Pet Foods in 2007 and is now the buyer of Wellness/Old Mother Hubbard pet foods in a $400 million deal.

I wonder what changes, if any, the investment conglomerate will make to its pet food companies. And if changes are made, will customers be informed?

Recalls: Beef and Pedigree Dog Food

Seems like it’s been hard to keep up with all the recalled foods lately…

Nebraska Beef has expanded its recall due to E. coli illnesses in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illlinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Although the feds said last month the company had cleaned up its act after its ground beef recall, apparently they still can’t keep the BEEF separated from the POO.

Mars, maker of Nutro and other pet foods, has issued a limited recall of some of its Pedigree products due to possible Salmonella contamination (from some ingredient they decline to make public). I can’t help but think of the last time Mars put Salmonella contaminated pet food on shelves, sickening people in 19 states, and then issued only a limited recall, never revealing what brands and how much food was potentially contaminated.

A Little Help for Southern Pets in Need

In South Carolina, The Aiken County Council earmarked $30,000 to fund a subsidized spay-neuter voucher program for county residents. Pet owners must meet US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) income guidelines and fill out an application at the Aiken County Animal Shelter. If approved, the owner will be given a voucher which he can take to any Veterinarian willing to accept it. No word on the shelter’s webpage on how low income residents are supposed to get to the shelter to fill out their application, how they should demonstrate they fall within HUD’s income parameters, how many Vets accept the vouchers, and if those Vets require vaccines and/or other fees in addition to the spay-neuter. A step in the right direction, perhaps but certainly not a giant leap.

Also in Aiken County, CSRA Life Saver in North Augusta, SC offers low cost spay-neuter services to anyone. No vouchers or income status documentation is required. Fees range from $35 for a male cat neuter to $75 for a large dog spay or neuter. I contacted the group and they do accept feral cats for spay/neuter surgery. Visit their website for detailed information.

The Young-Williams Animal Center in Knoxville, TN euthanized approximately 70% of the pets it took in last year. This year, they are teaming up with what is so far a small scale effort at transporting rescues called Pilots-N-Paws. This is a volunteer group of pilots willing to fly rescue pets from a shelter where they would have to be euthanized for space to a location where they could be adopted. The main pilot in the organization is often asked why he would volunteer to fly shelter pets on his personal plane just to get them into adoptive homes. “The answer is because I can.” I love that.

And I love the spirit behind the whole idea. Shelter killing is a reality, but it doesn’t have to be. It will take coordinated community efforts and innovative thinking by those involved but no kill is achievable. Not only that, it’s essential to my mind. Because we can.

Deep South Shelter by the Numbers

The Humane Society of South Mississippi (HSSM) took in 1,734 pets in June, euthanizing 70% of them at their facility designed to hold about 300 animals. In 2007, they took in 16,044 pets (average of 1337 per month) and were able to adopt (or transport out for adoption) 38%
of them. The shelter reports that only 3% of adult cats are adopted and that few strays (16%) are ever claimed by owners. They currently offer low cost spay-neuter ($35 per their website)
and low cost/free microchipping ($20 regularly with free chip clinics held on designated dates) but the services are apparently underutilized. HSSM would like to change that by engaging local partners in an effort to become a no kill community and to establish a transport program to get pets to and from the spay-neuter clinic.

I would love to see a committed no kill community established in the South. I hope HSSM can achieve their goals.