Evanger’s Still in Trouble with FDA, Still Denying Food Problems

The most popular post on my blog right now seems to be this one from a year ago about the FDA telling Evanger’s pet food company to get it together on the botulism thing (I paraphrase, heh). So an update is probably in order. Apparently Evanger’s has not made satisfactory changes and the FDA (a government org which, inexplicably, lacks the authority to mandate recalls of anything but baby milk) has recently, in effect, shut the company down:

When the FDA announced its latest enforcement against Evanger’s, the agency’s Dr. Bernette Dunham said: “The FDA is stopping Evanger’s ability to ship pet food in interstate commerce. Today’s enforcement action sends a strong message to manufacturers of pet food that we will take whatever action necessary to keep unsafe products from reaching consumers.”

Before Evanger’s can resume shipping products, the FDA said, it must prove that corrective actions and processing procedures have been made to ensure the company’s finished product will not present a health hazard.

Botulism is a toxin that affects the nervous system and can be fatal, the FDA said. Symptoms of botulism in dogs and cat include progressive muscle paralysis, disturbed vision, trouble chewing and swallowing, and progressive weakness to the body. Death is usually caused by paralysis of the heart or the muscles used in breathing.

Dog Ownership for Poor People

I’m sure this article was well intended. It was perhaps written to remind potential dog owners that nothing in life is free – even a free dog – and that there are financial responsibilities that come along with dog ownership. That said, I must offer my low/no cost alternatives to some of the expenses listed in the article:

Basic supplies: Food bowls, a leash and toys can cost $35 to $50 even if you restrain yourself. Crates can cost an additional $50 to $150, depending on the size.

Food and water bowls can be picked up from the Dollar Store (they don’t have to say DOG on them yo) or you can use something from your own cupboard. Washing bowls regularly is more important than paying for ones with fancy designs. A slip leash (the kind I prefer) can be purchased very inexpensively. Your Vet might even be willing to sell you one if they have adequate supply. Toys depend very much on the individual dog (you don’t want the dog ingesting the toy) but a few ideas: empty plastic milk jugs (can be tied together), raw beef bones, knotted up socks or other old clothing bits, empty water bottles. If you need a crate, try checking your local paper or one of the many online resources (like freecycle or craigslist) where folks pass on used household items at no/low cost. Crates are easily cleaned so as long as the condition is good, there is no need to buy a new one.

Food: What you can expect to pay to feed your new pet will depend on the size of your dog and the quality of the food. A 15-pound bag of dry food from a well-known national brand should cost about $17 at a grocery store, and will last two to four weeks, depending on the size of your dog (an average of $225 to $450 per year). Canned, or wet, food tends to be more expensive.

Healthy table scraps help me save on food costs because I share much of what I eat with the dogs and therefore, almost nothing goes to waste. For example, I may not finish the entire carton of eggs before the “sell by” date, but when I see it’s getting close, I can hardboil the rest for the dogs.

Health care: Expect to pay $200 to $300 a year for nonemergency vet bills, including an annual exam and preventive care for common problems such as heartworm, fleas and ticks.

Heartworm meds can be purchased at a far more reasonable cost than what the major brands go for, without a prescription, at your local feed store or online. HUGE savings right there, provided your vet agrees that this is a safe alternative for your dog.

Grooming: Professional grooming services are a necessity for certain breeds.

Two thoughts:

If interested, you can learn to do at least a passable dog haircut yourself from books at the library or by searching for “how to” pages online. I used to groom a Toy Poodle that showed up in our yard one day. He wouldn’t have won any beauty contests with my grooming but it kept him from turning into the Shaggy Dog.

Alternately, if you don’t have the desire to give regular haircuts at home (I feel ya), you can get a dog that doesn’t need them.

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

The Power of Failure

Ontario, Canada is going to keep on killing Pitbulls – legally. The Supreme Court will not hear an appeal seeking to overturn the province’s breed ban. Pitbull advocates are going to keep going.

Loudoun Co, VA is going to continue legally killing Pitbulls too. The plaintiffs in the recent court case challenging the ban on Pitbull shelter adoptions testified as follows:

Puppy number 43063 was identified by the shelter as a pit bull mix. On the puppy’s pre-euthanasia report, the official reason for euthanasia is typed in as “breed.” Let me repeat that. The recorded reason for why puppy number 43063 was killed under current shelter policies was “breed.” That reason at some point was crossed out in ink and “behavioral observations” was written in its place. Behavioral observations. The shelter’s canine behavior assessment for puppy number 43063 notes that the puppy, “Approaches the front of the kennel seeking evaluator’s attention. Happily greets evaluator. Is sociable. Initiates gentle, physical contact. Wanted to be in evaluator’s lap. Moves closer for further attention. In evaluator’s lap playing. Wiggly. Leans against you. Bouncing around. Very lovey.

Read the rest on Winograd’s blog. Read, weep and then – keep going. Failure is an option on the road to success. We can learn from these setbacks and strengthen our resolve to try again. We can continue our efforts to keep dogs from being killed based on nothing more than their (supposed) breed. Not only can we keep going, we must. In tribute to the memory of the dogs killed by the city of Denver, the Houston SPCA, the HSUS, Ontario, Loudoun Co and countless others – we must keep going. And in honor of the Pitbull victims currently sitting in shelters, awaiting death under these misguided laws – we must continue.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends – go forth and fail, because failure breeds success. We’ll get there because we are the real humane society. Join us.

It’s Kitten Season – Your Local Shelter Needs You

Shelters all across the country are in need of supplies such as canned cat food and kitty litter to help care for all the kittens who get turned in to shelters every Spring. This shelter in Myrtle Beach, SC is making a plea to the community for assistance:

The Grand Strand Humane Society in Myrtle Beach needs your help.

The shelter is asking for donations of cat food, kitten food, canned cat food and cat litter.

The humane society’s executive director, Sandy Brown, says the shelter is caring for over 100 cats and kittens and every cage is full.

Your local shelter is probably in similar need. Remember that your local shelter relies on you for support. They likely receive little or no financial support from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) – even if your local shelter is named “Humane Society”. The HSUS does not run any animal shelters, anywhere although they do offer to take their money (to the tune of a $4000 – $20,000 “consulting fee”) if your local shelter needs “help”.

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Shelters in the Baltimore, MD area are teaming up in an effort to get 500 cats/kittens into homes this month by waiving adoption fees. See more info here.

Cincinnati Dog Shot by Police

What is the criteria for a police officer to use lethal force against a dog? I don’t know the answer to this question but having a guess, I’d say something like “Threat of grave bodily harm or death”. IOW, an officer trying to subdue a dog would first try some sort of reasonable approach, such as calling animal control, or if circumstances dictate he secure the dog himself, he might try a leash. If peaceful methods failed, I’m guessing some sort of improvised “out of the box” thinking might be employed. Depending on the size of the dog, the officer could possibly don some thick gloves or maybe drop a box over the dog for example. If things escalated to the point of “threat of grave bodily harm or death”, I’d guess the officer might use a weapon such as a nightstick, taser or gun – whatever it took to prevent the dog from causing that grave bodily harm the officer believed was imminent.

All this is a long way of saying, I don’t get wtf happened here:

A Blue Ash family is outraged after returning home to find their dog had been shot and killed by a police officer.

The dog was a Chihuahua-mix named “Jack” that Scott and Sharon Bullock had given to their 12-year-old son for his birthday a few years ago.

When the Bullocks returned home from a family member’s funeral on Friday, they found blood and three bullets on their front porch – along with a note to call the Blue Ash Police Department about their dog.

The Bullocks were shocked to learn that Jack had gotten out of the backyard and two officers who tried to catch him, ended up shooting and killing him right on the family’s front porch.

“He was cornered on the porch and scared,” said Sharon Bullock. “The officer bent down bare-handed to pick up Jack, and Jack bit him.”

??????

Anyone?

The way the article reads, it sounds as if the gun was the first option once the officer deemed the dog was potentially deadly. I can’t help but think that any number of alternate, non-lethal methods would have successfully subdued this dog. But here’s my question, was the dog still a potentially deadly threat after the first bullet? And after the second? Cos that is truly hard for me to imagine.

I would suggest this officer take some lessons from his local shelter volunteers and staff who likely handle biting Chihuahua mixes regularly. I own one myself – a shelter dog – and I can’t imagine the profound loss and outrage I’d feel if a public servant put three bullets in her because she bit a stranger trying to pick her up on her own porch.

Dude, Suck It

From FL:

A man was jailed on animal cruelty charges after officials reportedly found five sick and underfed pit bulls at his home.
[…]
[D]eputies saw two dogs in small wooden cages and others that were infested with fleas and parasites. One pit bull, Poncho, was hacking badly and suffered from heartworm disease.

All of the dogs were taken from Bowens [the owner], who told officials that he knew Poncho was sick but could not get him to a veterinarian because he recently was jailed on other charges.

First off, it takes years for heartworm disease to develop to the point of “hacking badly”. Heartworm preventives are available for little cost, even for a group of dogs, without a prescription, and recommended year round by every Vet I’ve ever known for pets living in the Southeast. I have no idea how long this guy was in jail previously but indeed if it was many years, obviously he should have had someone caring for the dogs.

At any rate, the charges he faces now for the alleged years of neglect of his 5 Pitbulls are only misdemeanors. So he prolly won’t be able to use the “But I was in jaaaaaaail” excuse next time.

If he is found guilty on these cruelty charges, I hope he doesn’t get these dogs back. I also hope the dogs receive the treatment they need and can find permanent homes with owners who will take care of them.

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Completely separate cruelty story here, but if these allegations are true, this guy – and anyone who watched this going on and did not report it to authorities – can suck it too.

Treats on the Internets

A bit more info on the case of Phoenix, the Pitbull set on fire in Baltimore while a crowd of onlookers stood by

Vet students willing to practice farm animal medicine in rural areas can get a sweet deal on student loans

BSL article at HuffPo

City of St. Petersburg trying to invade the life of a turtle owner

Your American Animal Shelter” on Nathan Winograd’s blog

Biographical type piece on Rich Avanzino, President of Maddie’s Fund

Rescue Network is another online resource for getting pets into homes

Things I’ve Learned from Cesar Millan

Seems like many online dog folks are Cesar Millan haters. Not me! I like to have lots of tools in the toolbox and enjoy learning from as many people as possible. I have one of his books and try to catch his TV show, The Dog Whisperer when I can.

Note: These are not verbatim quotes from Cesar Millan – just a few random things I have taken away from his show. It’s certainly possible I have misunderstood or misremembered something over time. Enough of the disclaimers already.

1. Exercise, discipline, affection – in that order. It’s his mantra and so basic yet so true. I keep it in mind every day and those three simple words have guided my approach to solving a lot of challenges.

2. Dog parks are not the place to go to release your over-anxious, under-exercised dog’s energy. Instead, they should be used to allow an exercised dog who is in a calm state to socialize with other dogs. Since the majority of owners use dog parks as the former, I tend to stay away. Less potential for problems that way.

3. Allow dogs to meet you at their own comfortable pace. My friend Heather blogged about this in a great post yesterday.

4. Set the tone for whatever activity you are doing with your dog – walking, training, etc. Be calm and assertive and your dog will feel confident in following your lead. Again a simple idea but so helpful to keep in mind when interacting with your dog.

Shelter Worker’s Dog Bites Two People in One Week

From WI:

A worker from the Door County Humane Society may need to sacrifice her pit bull after the dog bit a second person last week in Southern Door.

According to the Door County Sheriff’s Department, Katie Miller of De Pere was running on Door County C on May 26 when a 3-year-old American pit bull owned by Amy Vlies, Brussels, came off the property and bit Miller in her left knee and right upper thigh.

Vlies was able to retrieve the dog, but it was the second bite reported within a week. The dog had shots last year but needed to be quarantined due to the previous incident. It was taken to the Door County Humane Society, where Vlies is employed.

I wonder if the shelter does a better job educating adopters about appropriate confinement for pets than it does educating its staff.

Who’s really making the “sacrifice” here?

Charges in Baltimore Cruelty Case

But will there be justice for Phoenix? Two teens charged:

Two juveniles have been arrested in the burning of a pit bull, a case that sparked a furor over animal cruelty and a reward that topped $24,000.
A press conference is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at police headquarters to discuss the case.

I hope authorities take this crime seriously and recognize that next time, the target might not be a dog but a kid or some other easily victimized member of our society. I’ll update this post if additional details are made available.

Update: News conference has been postponed.