Seeking Stories from Owners Who Feed Homemade

I had an idea for a collaborative post among readers who feed their pets either a partially or entirely home prepared diet.  I thought it would be fun and interesting to put together a collection of anecdotes and recipes and post them on the blog.

If you would like to contribute:

  • E-mail  (eiderdown–at–yesbiscuit–dot–com) your submission regarding how you feed your pet(s).  You can be as brief or as detailed as you like.  (List of possible topics below.)
  • Photographs are welcome but not required.  Photos may be of pets or food (or both!)
  • Sign your name at the end of your submission exactly how you’d like it to appear in the post.  Real name not required.
  • I will collect submissions until July 9 and, assuming I get any, will publish the post shortly thereafter.

Suggested topics:

  • What kind of pet(s) do you have?
  • What foods do you feed?
  • Why did you decide to include homemade foods in your pet’s diet?
  • How long have you been feeding this way?
  • Have you noticed any benefits to feeding fresh foods?
  • Recipes (for either meals or treats)

Think Small

The President of the Aiken SPCA in SC wants the public to know:

The Aiken SPCA does not receive funding from either the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). It relies upon local, private donations.


The most visible of the national organizations, particularly HSUS and PETA, collect hundreds of millions of dollars that are used primarily for lobbying, promoting legislation and for retirement plans for their administrators.


To really help animals at the local level, give at the local level and talk to elected officials about using tax money, but do not be persuaded into believing that any of the privately run rescues is so flush with money that they don’t need your help, because they do.

Many people are under the impression that money donated to large national organizations such as ASPCA, HSUS and PETA help pets in their local shelters.  That’s why I feel it’s so important to dispel that myth.  While you can’t put me down in the LOVE column on any of these groups, I do recognize they each contribute some amount of good to the animal world.  But the public did not come by this misconception about donating to these organizations by accident.  Big corporations can afford to buy major media ads, do bulk mailings and pay fancy PR firms.  They can pay people to surf the web and copy-paste pre-fab spin into every blog on the net they can find that mentions them.  That’s their right.  Just as it’s my right to help spread awareness via this blog whenever I can.

Donate to the Aiken SPCA here or find your local no kill shelter here.

Best Friends Animal Society and Oreo’s Law

I think Best Friends Animal Society is talking about Oreo’s Law here but calling it “Kellner/Duane” (“Oreo’s Law” is referenced in the first sentence).  I’m not sure where they are coming up with the name “Kellner/Duane”.  I follow Micah Kellner (sponsor of the bill) on Twitter and he calls it Oreo’s Law.  At any rate, assuming I’m correct that they are talking about Oreo’s Law, I found many parts of the statement curious.  For example:

The Hayden Bill in California is often cited as a shining example of shelter access legislation, but it does nothing to address these kinds of situations and they are more prevalent in California than proponents of the bill are either aware of or willing to admit. In the last 2 years alone Best Friends has been asked to intervene in 267 hoarding situations affecting over 19,000 animals. Of those, 49 have been in California, 7 more incidents than the next three states combined.

First off, CA is huge.  They gots lots more of most things than other states.  Color me unimpressed with the numbers magic there.  Secondly, is BFAS saying that there have been 49 hoarding cases in CA in the last 2 years that were a direct result of the Hayden Act?  If yes, please provide some documentation and names so we can all learn.  If not, why mention the cases at all?  Animal hoarders exist.  We know.  It sucks.  But if these 49 cases are not situations where the hoarders got their animals by utilizing the Hayden Act, it’s extremely misleading to cite those cases here.

Read the entire statement and see if it seems clear to you.  I remain somewhat puzzled.

I also recommend reading a personal take on the situation with BFAS and Oreo’s Law from a former BFAS employee on John Sibley’s blog.  I am strongly in favor of Oreo’s Law (I wish it could be a federal law to be honest) and John speaks for me, and I suspect many others here:

I love Best Friends, and I am one of many. We want to see you succeed, and we want you to regain the moral compass that you once displayed so clearly. We, I, remain hopeful. I may be disappointed, but I still love Best Friends. We need you to step up right now and do the right thing. We need you to show the moral clarity that you started this journey with. We need your help.

It seems like Best Friends has done right by the animals in the past which is perhaps why their statements on Oreo’s Law seem confusing to me.  Is there something more to the story – a bigger picture I’m missing?  What do you think?

No Kill Shelter Struggling in NC

The state of North Carolina says they’ve been working with The Haven, a no kill shelter on 140 acres, for years on compliance issues:

For years, the state has encouraged [shelter director Linden Spear] to bring the facilities up to code by building more kennels and laying concrete and gravel – impermeable surfaces considered more sanitary than grass or wood.

Spear said she has complied when she can.

But as the state has noted, she’s also continued to take in dogs and cats, adopting them out when possible and keeping them on the premises when it’s not.

In any given month, Spear could have 600 to 800 dogs at the facility and 500 to 600 cats. Sometimes, it’s more.

The state has regularly dinged her for violations, from the quality of kennel structures to problems with water drainage, waste disposal, and insect and vermin control.

At least once a year since 2005, officials have issued a warning to Spear to come into compliance with the state Animal Welfare Act.

Every year, Spear fails.

The state recently sent a letter to Ms. Spear’s attorney giving a July 9 deadline for The Haven to reduce the dog population by half with a September 1 deadline for full compliance.

Spear said she has gotten word to outside network groups to help find homes for at least 300 dogs.

But one of the groups, the Humane Society of the United States, said Spear has all but turned down its help.

The Humane Society helps fill in the gaps where other shelters are unable to and promotes legislation against animal cruelty, said Kim Alboum, the North Carolina state director for the Humane Society of the United States.

Earlier this spring, Alboum said, the group offered to take a large number of dogs from The Haven and find them homes. Since then, it has never heard back from Spear.

Ms. Spear is apparently not fond of the idea of turning over hundreds of dogs to HSUS who would serve basically as a third party broker and farm the dogs out to various groups around the country.  If Ms. Spear is able to place the dogs with local rescue groups that she knows and trusts, I can understand her preference for going that route over handing the dogs over to a lobbying/fundraising group who does not run an animal shelter itself.

I, for one, am thrilled to read that HSUS “helps fill in the gaps where other shelters are unable to”.  Here’s their chance:

By Sept. 1, the shelter needs raise $60,000 to $100,000 to finish renovating the adoption center, the quarantine area and the dog pens.

Gap available for filling.  HSUS mega-checkbook on standby, I presume?

All Sales Final?

On the opinion page of a NY paper, the secretary of the Hi-Tor Animal Care Center Board of Directors writes:

Unlike some organizations, we are not selective as to admission based on age, breed or adoptability status. In fact, it is not unusual for Hi-Tor to receive animals adopted on impulse from other organizations that do not readily accept the animal back if the adoption is unsuccessful.

I wonder how often this happens.  It’s hard to tell from the wording (it’s “not unusual” that it happens) but the fact that it’s mentioned perhaps indicates it takes place often enough to note.

I’m trying to picture the typical scenario at both ends – the shelter not “readily” accepting the pet and the intake at Hi-Tor.  For example, how does Hi-Tor know the adoption was an impulsive decision – the owner tells them so?  If Hi-Tor really is surrounded by shelters who regularly adopt out pets “on impulse” and then don’t “readily” take the pets back – well, that would sure suck being them.

But I guess I’m wondering what happens when the supposedly impulsive adopter comes to his senses and tries to bring the pet back to the shelter.  Is the shelter offering advice to the owner on how to overcome whatever obstacles are preventing a harmonious home life?  That’s not uncommon and I certainly have no problem with it as long as it’s made clear up front that yes, if you still decide after our talk that you want to return the pet, we’ll take her.  After all, many people – especially first time pet owners – benefit from the voice of experience during those rocky, first weeks of pet ownership.  It’s always worth a try to at least see what the problems are – if nothing else, the information will be useful in making the pet’s next placement.

The part I’m having trouble picturing is a shelter outright saying “No” to an adopter attempting to surrender a newly adopted pet – or at least the adopter having the impression that the shelter means “No, we won’t take her back”, regardless of whatever the verbiage used.  Is this like the infamous “You break it, you bought it” Pottery Barn reference made by General Colin Powell?

I’m just not getting it.  If you are an animal shelter and someone wants to bring back a pet they adopted from you, under what circumstances would you ever justifiably say no?  I can’t think of any.  Even if someone came back 5 minutes after leaving the shelter saying, “Fluffy doesn’t match my car upholstery like I thought she would”, I would expect the shelter to take Fluffy back.  Actually, especially then, because that person really isn’t someone I’d trust to take good care of Fluffy.

My thinking is that, if this is a regular occurrence at Hi-Tor, it is possibly based on misinformation.  Perhaps the adopters feel guilty about surrendering a pet so they make up a story they think reflects less poorly on them than whatever the real story is.  Or maybe this isn’t something that happens often at Hi-Tor but rather it happened once, and sort of grew into a fish tale over time.

Maybe some of you can offer some additional insight.  I can’t quite get my mind around the idea.  I think the way the whole paragraph was worded just rubbed me the wrong way.

Treats on the Internets

Pricey “shelter evaluation” by HSUS receives a less than glowing review in WI


What difference can one company make with regard to a charitable donation directly to a shelter?  Ask House of Mews in Memphis.


CA:  Butte County grand jury recommends the Butte Humane Society’s “appalling” facility be replaced.  Speaking of appalling:

[Shelter director Christine] Fixico said the facility receives about 6,300 animals per year. Its policy is to only euthanize animals on the basis of health or temperament. In the 2008-09 fiscal year the facility still had more than 1,800 animals to house after the others were put to death.


Michael Vick had a birthday party this week in Virginia Beach and someone got shot outside:

“The reports that say someone was shot at his party are not correct. The shooting occurred outside the place,” said Lawrence H. Woodward Jr., Michael Vick’s attorney. “Mike is not involved in any way. Michael left somewhere around 2 a.m.”

According to police, the shooting occurred at 2:10 a.m.

He’s squeaky clean.  There is a vast gap of “somewhere around” minutes between him leaving and a guy getting shot.  And that was outside the party, not inside.  Totally in the clear there.  P.S. – Don’t forget to bring the kiddies to Vick’s next HSUS youth intervention event.


Bloat survey requesting responses from breeders who have had a dog bloat and those who haven’t


FL outlaws Burmese pythons as pets, current owners grandfathered in


Pork industry aims to shut down unicorn meat industry

Cruelty Case at PA Show/Breeding Kennel

Ironwood Kennels in Lehigh Co, operated by Miriam “Mimi” Winkler and James Deppen, was inspected by 3 PA dog wardens on April 27:

The visit turned up 18 bichon frise dogs that were “living in unsanitary conditions and had heavily matted coats, long nails and open tumors on some of the dogs that were untreated,” police said.

The kennel owners turned all 18 dogs over to the dog wardens.  The following day, one of the dog wardens returned to the kennel and Ms. Winkler surrendered “an emaciated and sickly border collie”.  Authorities tried repeatedly to contact Ms. Winkler and Mr. Deppen in the following weeks without success.

The three dog wardens then returned June 4 to the kennel and discovered three Neapolitan Mastiff dogs “in health conditions that indicate that necessary vet care had not been provided.”

An order to obtain veterinary care was left and, in accordance with state law, the wardens waited 72 hours to allow for compliance.

The wardens returned June 7 to find “two of the Neapolitan mastiffs were deceased, one of which was disposed of outside of the kennel in a wheelbarrow,” police said.

The owners have each been “charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty and one count criminal conspiracy“.  There is a video here, shot from outside the property, which shows a well kept lawn that doesn’t look like dozens of dogs are exercised on it daily.  The video does not show the kennels or dogs. (Note:  15 second ad prior to vid.)

According to Infodog, Mr. Deppen is an AKC conformation judge, approved to judge several breeds with provisional approval on many more.  On one of the weekends during the period authorities were trying to reach him regarding the allegedly sick and neglected dogs at his kennel, he was apparently judging show dogs in Virginia.  A Neapolitan Mastiff bred by Mr. Deppen and Ms. Winkler was shown at the Westminster Kennel Club show in February.

Winkler and Deppen are in the process of filing papers in Harrisburg to close the kennel, according to state police.

It’s unclear to me what this means exactly.  Does it indicate they are planning to move?  Or simply that they are planning to come into compliance with local laws changing their status from kennel operators to regular pet owners?  Something else?

Good on You Forrest City Animal Shelter

How do you approach the difficult problem of abuse at an animal shelter such as the case at the Forrest City shelter in Arkansas?  If you’re Desiree Bender of HSUS, you barge in and attempt to drive a wedge between the staff allegedly responsible for the abuse and the pesky volunteers who just won’t shut their traps about it.  And that made things better… how?


If you are the Forrest City Chief of Police, Dwight Duch, you make changes and get the job done without fanfare and with the assistance of Rescue Ink:

Chief Duch took over operations at the shelter earlier this month. Since then, conditions have improved. Now animals have clean cages to sleep in, fresh water to drink and plenty of food. Volunteers say help couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It’s amazing the difference from two weeks ago. If you had been here two weeks ago and then come here today, you would’ve been like wow. I can’t believe what a change. We’re not there yet. It’s going to take time to get this stuff implemented like it needs to be, but it’s working,” said Janie Hicks, Humane Society Volunteer.

To make sure things stay that way, Rescue Ink, an animal rescue group based out of New York City, stepped in to offer their expertise.


Rescue Ink provided volunteers with the tools needed to make sure dogs are adoption ready. The group also solicits donations from local businesses, and provides educational tools for anyone looking to adopt a rescue dog.

“Those guys are amazing. They come in and bring a little community awareness to it. I think it’s great with all the publicity and stuff, to help some of these dogs make it to a good home, and I know it’s a home out there for all of them,” said Chief Duch.

Well pardon my French but fucking A.  That’s the way ya do it.

I hope the community stays involved and improvements at the shelter continue.  And while I’m sure the police chief never signed on to run the animal shelter, I’m glad he stepped up.  I hope they can find someone with a similar attitude to permanently run the place.  To volunteer, donate or adopt, call or visit the shelter.

There’s a home out there for all of them.<——-THAT

Lawsuit Against Robeson Co Animal Shelter Dropped

There was a 3 hour public hearing on Thursday regarding alleged abuse at the Robeson County Animal Shelter in NC:

The board heard testimony and affidavits from more than a half dozen witnesses who accused staff at the county animal shelter of mistreating dogs and cats and making it difficult for rescue groups to adopt animals.

A few witnesses said they had seen shelter staff dangle puppies by their necks. One rescue worker told the board shelter workers threatened her physically.


[Attorney Calley] Gerber showed the board photos taken by shelter volunteers of filthy kennels, a dead kitten, empty water and food bowls and emaciated dogs and cats.

Other witnesses said they were often turned away by staff workers who didn’t feel like filling out adoption paperwork.

Response from the man in charge:

Health Director Bill Smith defended his employees against some of the charges, but acknowledged mistakes had been made.


Puppies dangled by the neck, rescue worker threatened by staff, starving pets, filthy kennels, pets killed because staff too lazy to do the adoption paperwork…


The meeting came less than a month after the health board voted to adopt a policy giving rescue groups an additional 48 hours to claim stray dogs or cats. The shelter has seen its kill-rate drop from more than 90 percent this time last year to below 25 percent since the policy was implemented, Smith said.

Well I can certainly understand why they waited so long to implement these changes.  Think of all the extra years of puppy dangling they got in under that 90% kill rate.

At any rate, the lawsuit has now been dropped:

Gerber said she believes the lawsuit was responsible for at least some of the changes at the shelter. She also acknowledged the work of local animal rights advocates who have complained of abuses at the shelter for the better part of the past decade.

But Smith said the majority of the changes had nothing to do with the lawsuit.

“If they want to take credit, that’s fine,” Smith said Friday after learning that the litigation would be dropped. “Most of these changes were already in the works before the lawsuit was filed. I think most of their concerns have been addressed.”

Shorter, via Pee Wee Herman:

I meant to do that.

SC: Guilty Plea in Dog Dragging Case

A SC man, William Jefferson, says he tied his Rottweiler mix to the trunk of his sedan with a six foot leash and placed the dog inside the open trunk.  As Bud was unaccustomed to this method of transport and, I presume, the trunk lid would have been moving up and down in a frightening way, Bud jumped out and was dragged for a mile.  Police followed a trail of blood to the scene and found Bud alive but with his paws, belly and groin torn open.  Mr. Jefferson’s daughter told police at the scene that her father had been angry with Bud that morning.

Bud has been placed with another family.  Mr. Jefferson has two other dogs – one will be placed with his daughter who lives less than a half mile from him and he is hoping to keep the remaining dog.  That decision, along with whether he will be allowed to have additional pets in future, has yet to be made.  Mr. Jefferson was sentenced to probation and psychiatric evaluations.