New Lab Results Bolster Claims of Pet Poisonings


[ History: This article first appeared on the AnimalsVote.org News website March 2, 2014. This is the Thirteenth installment in an ongoing report - you can catch up on the story with the earlier posts linked below ]

This month, a year after the samples were submitted, the lab began mailing out the results of those tests. So far, every sample sent in for independent testing has come back positive for more than one of the six sulfon-amide-containing illegal antibiotics the FDA identified last February (Enrofloxacin, Sulfaclozine, Sulfamethoxazole, Sulfquinoxaline, Tilmicosin, and Trimethoprim), after scores of tests that looked at everything from melamine to gelatin. The FDA discovery of the illegal antibiotics prompted a voluntary recall of the treats by manufacturers.

Sarge is one of the dogs who lost his life after eating Waggin Train treats. TN

Sarge is one of the dogs who lost his life after eating Waggin Train treats. TN

None of the pet owners are surprised by the results,because they’ve known right along that whatever killed their pets would turn up in the samples…once scientists knew what they were looking for.

The sulfa drugs are thought to have contaminated the meat during farming, when they were included in chicken feed. Trimethoprim, tilmicosin, enrofloxacin, sulfaclozine, and sulfamethoxazole are not allowed in chicken at any level but the FDA had found them in levels as high as 2800 ng/g (ppb). Sulfaquinoxaline was found in chicken jerky treats as high as 800 ng/g, which is well above the U.S.FDA tolerance of 100 ng/g.

So far, the independently tested dog treats have all tested positive for varying amounts of Sulfaclozine, Sulfaquinoxaline, Enrofloxacin, Sulfamethoxazole, Trimethoprim: the independently tested cat treats have tested positive for Enrofloxacin and Tilmicosin. The results bear out the veracity of pet owner’s claims.

Although the FDA still has fallen short of stating that these illegal antibiotics are what sickened thousands of pets, it has become increasingly hard to ignore the facts:

  1. The Chicken Jerky Treats (CJT) were recalled because they were proven to be tainted by illegal antibiotics.
  2. The levels were reported as trace (therefore not harmful) but the levels were much higher than reported, as evidenced in the FOIA request.
  3. CJT are “linked” (per the FDA wording) to Fanconi-like illness and death in dogs.
  4. Dogs with a sulfa antibiotic sensitivity react to high levels with Fanconi-like symptoms.
  5. The adulterant antibiotics are those fed in farming, so the drugs were in the chickens– not a result of the processing. Therefore, each individual piece would have varying levels, accounting for the inconsistencies in testing and the differences in the way pets were affected.
  6. Sulfa-drugs are illegal in animal feed in the US because of the high instance of hyper sensitivity, but all of the questionable chicken jerky had been produced in China. After the B-lactams antibiotics, (penicillins and cephalosporins), sulfon-amide-containing antibiotics are among the most frequent causes of drug reactions.
Sampson lost his life after eating Waggin Train treats. OH

Sampson lost his life after eating Waggin Train treats. OH

Pet safety has been compromised long enough, reliant on the actions of pet treat manufacturers who are concerned only with profits. Instead of considering consumer complaints might be an indication of something gone wrong, they have continued to deny culpability and were excruciatingly slow to recall. Because no warnings were posted in stores while the FDA investigated, many more pets died because owners were uninformed.

There are still pet owners every day finding out the hard way, as their pets fall ill.

Dr. Harr is the vet behind the AMVA resolution asking that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) adopt the following position on Jerky Pet Treats:

Jerky pet treats are not necessary for adequate nutrition. Adulterants have been found in jerky pet treats, and to mitigate the risk that the pet may become sick and potentially die from ingesting them, the AVMA discourages the feeding of jerky pet treats until further information on their safety is available. Veterinarians are encouraged to report suspected jerky pet treat-related illnesses to the FDA, and to prominently utilize a display and notification summary similar to the requirements reflected in Section 211 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

Ginger continues to receive treatment after becoming ill from eating Waggin Train/Beefeater treats. NY

Ginger continues to receive treatment after becoming ill from eating Waggin Train/Beefeater treats. NY

CALL TO ACTION: Please share the following link with your vet and ask your vet to sign the AVMA resolution. https://www.facebook.com/groups/342467355771185/permalink/730576086960308/ 

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Chicken Jerky Makes a Comeback – What Does That Mean for Your Pet?


[ This is the Twelfth installment in an ongoing report - click here for the earlier articles: part 1, part 2part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8 , part 9, part 10, part 11  ]

It’s official. Del Monte and Nestle Purina have both announced that they will have their chicken jerky treats back on store shelves in March.  It’s been a year since they ‘voluntarily’ recalled the tainted treats after the FDA found illegal antibiotics in them.
(See part 9 above.)

Neither manufacturer has admitted any wrongdoing, and they aren’t likely to, since multiple lawsuits have been brought against them by consumers. Any admission of guilt could cost them millions.

As for the FDA, although they discovered the drugs in the chicken jerky, they’ve stopped short of blaming the antibiotics for the deaths and illnesses of thousands of dogs. But just because they don’t say it, doesn’t mean it isn’t so.  The FDA maintains that although it appears there is a link between the chicken jerky imported from China and the illnesses and deaths of pets, they have not been able to name a culprit.

Blah blah blah.

Unable to name a specific cause, the FDA is unable (or unwilling) to keep the treats off of store shelves, and Nestle and Del Monte have been planning a huge rollout.

So, what have the two treat manufacturers been up to, and what are they saying about the treats?  Del Monte (makers of Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky and Chicken Grillers) says they will be sourcing all of their meat for their chicken grillers in the U.S.

This information is telling. It suggests, at least on the surface, that Del Monte knows (or suspects) that there is a problem with producing the treats overseas, and that the problem is in the meat supply chain.

(And here’s a warm and fuzzy thought: the USDA has recently OK’d the sale of chicken imported from China for human consumption. You might want to rethink keeping chicken as part of your diet!)

Nestle Purina (makers of Waggin’ Train Chicken Jerky) Pet Care officials say they will be reintroducing chicken jerky treats sourced entirely in the U.S. and other jerky treats sourced and made from a single supplier in China. But guess who the supplier in China is? Simmons Foods – the parent company of Simmons Pet Foods (remember all the pets that died in 2007 as a result of melamine poisoning by Menu foods? Guess who owns them?)!

newtreatsDon’t be fooled by the new packaging!  Purina’s Waggin Train treats are being re-imaged. They will be Smoky Jerky Snacks, Jerky Duos and Chicken Jerky Tenders. The new packages also indicate pet size, with none of them recommended for dogs under 5 lbs, and the jerky tenders not recommended for dogs under 11 pounds. Are you wondering why that disclaimer is significant? Because although thousands of pets got sick from the treats, most of the fatalities were small dogs.

Meanwhile, with major brands off the shelves, pet parents have been turning to brands they can trust, and instead of giving their dogs Purina and Milo’s jerky, they’ve been making their own, or feeding trusted brands like Zukes, who source ingredients and manufacture in the U.S.

But while the world slept…Nestle acquired Zukes!  I guess it makes good business sense; when a competitor is selling product and you are not; when the competitor is trusted and  you are not; when the competitor is small and you are not;  buy them out.

While Zukes maintains that their treats will be the same superior quality, consumers are wary. Zukes’s Facebook page is full of comments calling them ‘sell-outs’ and making it clear that the buyout is creating distrust in the product because the foxes are watching the hen house….and not so much metaphorically.

So, what does the reappearance of Waggin Train and Milo’s Kitchen mean to your pets?  Veterinarians, pet parents, and pet food safety advocates warn us not to be duped into a false sense of security. The FDA hasn’t come to a definitive conclusion, and without that, and without any admission of guilt, Chicken Jerky manufacturers are only guessing as they make changes to their process. How sure do you think they are that their products are safe,  if they are including weight disclaimers on their new packages?

There are still too many unanswered questions to make feeding the treats to your pet anything less than a crap shoot.

Your pet’s safety is in your hands. Be wary, be safe, be sure. Be smart.

 

 

 

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Lammy Lamb and Lana Tumor


When I woke up last Sunday, there was so much blood in our living room that it looked like a crime scene. My Jack Russell Terrier stood on her furbrother’s bed, the white fur of her back legs stained red.  She looked up at me, and I could see that she had been trying to clean herself up; the blood around her mouth made her look like she’d just killed something.  It was day 7 of a health issue that had reached a point of crisis. This was no week at the Waldorf.

lammyI’d kept Lammy Lamb in the closet for two years.  Not an actual closet — that would be cruel. It’s metaphorical. She was “in the closet” about a health issue that I’d been keeping close to the vest.

Lammy Lamb had a tumor.

Her vets had assured me early on that it was benign. It began as a fleshy lump that appeared one day under her tail. Because of her age (15), the vets recommended that we leave it alone and just keep an eye on it.

So we did.

We kept our eye on it while it grew to the size of an egg. Then the vets studied it and its positioning again, and worried that even if she could withstand anesthesia, removing the tumor would leave her fecally incontinent. At 15 she was not a good candidate for surgery, and unless the tumor began to cause her problems, the recommendation was still to leave it alone.

So we watched it some more.

It wasn’t ugly, as tumors go; it was soft and mostly smooth, but it didn’t belong on her. She showed it no concern at all. She didn’t mind it being handled or washed, and she didn’t bother with it or act like it was even there.

More time passed. Lammy Lamb turned 16  and the tumor grew to the size of a small avocado. It wasn’t hurting her or making her ill, but I was ashamed that she was carrying it around. How many tumor laden pound dogs had I seen in my Facebook feed whose photos had drawn the ire of animal rescuers with cries of neglect? I knew that if anyone saw the monstrosity they would have pointed fingers without ever bothering to ask if the situation had been assessed. They would just condemn. It dangled ridiculously under her tail, and swung side to side when she ran. Dark purple veins snaked through it feeding it; like some sort of parasitic creature. I needed to call it something, and so it became Lana Tumor.

Lana began to have a life of her own.

Lammy Lamb went about her daily business, but Lana Tumor trapped all her poop between the underside of the growth and the Jack’s curly butt. I was bathing her bottom three times a day.

As Lana grew heavier, Lammy Lamb began to do a lot of pacing and squatting, as though the pull of it made her feel like she needed to poop. But any time I mentioned  possible surgery, I was met with opposition from both my partner and Lammy’s vets.

“She is sixteen, too old. Too risky.” My partner chastised me for worrying what others might say or think. Nobody came out and said so, but I think everyone was thinking that she was already so old she wouldn’t be likely to live long enough for removal to become necessary. After all, the normal life span for a JRT is about 13 years…and their deaths are often the result of the crazy, fearless things they do… because that’s how they roll. Lammy Lamb was already three years beyond the normal lifespan. PICT1125

I put her in diapers, cute ones with Clifford the Big Red Dog on them, and bought two pairs of nylon dog pants to secure them: Lammy Pants. The idea was to relieve the pressure by lifting the tumor and supporting it, but it also had the added advantage of making it less visible to any terminally critical finger pointers. We were in the closet.

Lammy Lamb adapted well to the pants, but I was still cleaning her up 3 times a day. In my imagination, I designed net-style tumor slings to lift it and stop its crazy swinging, but I didn’t attempt to make one. I just watched Lana, and washed Lana, and dusted Lana with powder so there would be no chafing, and I didn’t talk about Lana, because the tumor, like a Hollywood starlet, had become extremely high maintenance and embarrassing in public. Lana Tumor was eclipsing Lammy Lamb. It was the bad and the beautiful.

Then the other dogs started to give her a hard time. The puperazzi sniffed it, they barked angrily at her, they bullied her. She learned to give the biggest of them a wide berth and keep a low profile.

Then, one day, with no warning, Lammy Lamb blew one of Lana’s veins. Maybe she was straining to poop. Maybe she jabbed it on something…but all of a sudden it was bleeding with all the ferocity of a head wound. And while I tried to staunch the flow of blood while holding her still with one hand and putting pressure on the vein with the other, all of that blood tipped the balance and made my choices crystal clear: we were going to have to risk the surgery, or we were going to have to put down a sweet, intelligent little dog still full of love and life.

What an awful dilemma. What would you do?

I scheduled an appointment with her vet and dealt with four more bleeding crises before we got in to consult with her and reach a consensus. I call them “crises”, because even though Lammy Lamb wasn’t in mortal danger, it is scary when your dog is bleeding so profusely. Blood = life, and watching it pour out of one of your precious dogs is scary as hell. Lana had become an unrelenting sadistic bitch, and Lammy Lamb was deflated and depressed. The vet agreed; the situation was only going to get worse, and neither Lammy Lamb nor I could go on like this.

To everyone’s surprise, the surgery went amazingly well. When her vet told me “She’s doing better than you think. She’s doing better than *I* thought!”  I was reminded of how tough Jack Russells are, and how they can never be underestimated. lamb butt

Lana Tumor has been sent packing, and Lammy Lamb’s tiny butt is back to its adorable self. I hadn’t realized how badly I’d been missing her cute bottom.

To all of Lammy Lamb’s fans who lent their moral or  financial support to her surgery, we thank you. She is doing great. She is free again.

 

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The Bumpy Road to a No-Kill Nation


I’ve been writing for the AnimalsVote.org website for almost a year now. Recently, I was asked to be part of a team to help the organization launch No Kill Mondays. (#NoKillMondays).  Essentially, it’s an initiative wherein AnimalsVote.org contacted 2,500 animal shelters across the U.S., and asked them to take a pledge to stop killing animals on Mondays.  AnimalsVote is working toward making our nation a no-kill nation, and this is just one step.

The sad thing is that out of the 2,500 shelters contacted, so far only 629 have given an answer one way or the other. Only 41 of them took the pledge to stop killing on Mondays. Not a single Ohio shelter took the pledge. You can view the list of shelters, which is organized by state, on the AnimalsVote website. But sadder even than this dismal response by shelters, are the negative responses from other animal advocates about the initiative.

nkmI sincerely can’t believe all the negativity from people involved in the rescue community. Everybody has an opinion about the best way to solve our nation’s shelter problem, and the attitude that their solution is the only solution. But I don’t see why one opinion has to trump or cancel another. There are lots of things wrong, and it will take lots of solutions to fix it.

I’ve written about the failings of our shelter system before. The problem is multi-faceted and complex. It’s not just about there being too many animals in the system. It’s  also about killing for space (before space is even needed); killing for convenience (like the day before holidays, so no one has to come in to clean kennels); botched killing (like the debacle at the Fairfield Ohio animal shelter last year); the mentality of shelter directors and untrained workers (anybody remember Akron animal control ten years ago?); not enough low cost spay and neuter programs; not enough serious effort put into adoption programs; secrecy (like the way shelters report or don’t report their kill stats); lies; lack of funding; not enough effort expended on recovery; depressing atmosphere; making sure dogs don’t become warehoused; and the list goes on.

I think everyone can agree that in a perfect world, animal shelters wouldn’t kill animals at all, unless it was medically indicated. So why all this negativity to No Kill Mondays? Honestly, what is the harm in shelters stopping the killing for one day?

Some nay sayers have said that it will create a double-kill Tuesday. I don’t believe that would happen (after all, there are only so many hours in a day). Would the animals slated to be killed on Monday be killed on Tuesday?  Maybe. But that’s not the point. The point is that giving them an extra day gives them 24 more hours to be adopted or to be found by their families. According to AnimalsVote.org, giving them that one extra day gives them an additional 8.3% chance of living. Aren’t they worth that?

Some nay sayers have assumed that because the initiative is called No Kill Mondays, that it is somehow related to Nathan Winograd’s No Kill Equation. Among some advocates that initiates a knee jerk reaction to oppose it, because Winograd’s belief that there ‘is no pet overpopulation problem’ is troubling. But AnimalsVote.org is not connected to Winograd or his movement. They have their own no kill solution, which founder Alex Aliksanyan puts forth in 3 laws that if enacted could change the playing field.

I think Winograd has some good points. I think Alex has good points. I don’t think that either plan by itself is going to solve our nation’s shelter issues, and I sure don’t agree that there’s no overpopulation problem. You can crunch the numbers any way you want – if supply exceeds demand (not just in numbers, but in attitude – people not willing to go to shelters to adopt), there’s overpopulation. I don’t have the answers, but I can see what the problems are and what needs to be addressed. Maybe, if all of us work on whichever of these issues is the most important to each of us, we will someday achieve a no kill nation together. It’s not a matter of one thing being the main thing, or the most important thing. All of the problems need to be addressed. One group can’t do it on their own – it takes constant effort on every front.

Here are some of the suggestions of areas to address in order to bring about a no kill nation:

  1. Low cost and free spay and neuter clinics, or mandatory spay/neuter.
  2. Stricter regulation of breeders through legislation.
  3. Eliminate the sales of dogs and cats in pet stores – except those animals placed there for adoption by registered 501C3 organization.
  4. More aggressive adoption programs.
  5. Creating visitor friendly shelters. (many people won’t adopt from a shelter because it’s too depressing to go there and look at the animals)
  6. Enforcement of pet licensing.
  7. Low cost and free microchipping programs.
  8. More effort put into locating the owners of pets picked up as strays. (many shelter animals are peoples’ displaced pets!)
  9. Mandatory training of humane officers

Can you think of more shelter problems that need to be addressed? Let’s discuss it in the comments section.

Meanwhile, won’t you support #NoKillMondays? Won’t you support giving shelter animals one more small chance to be saved? Wouldn’t it be great if every shelter animal could #TGIM?

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The Best Christmas Gift for Your Dog This Year


(edited  12/7)

Here we go again.

I just heard through the grapevine that Waggin Train Chicken Jerky Treats could be back on store shelves in time for Christmas 2013. Purina began importing the treats again in October, suggesting (though unconfirmed) that they are satisfied they have “fixed the problem” that caused the deaths of more than 580 dogs and sickened 3,000 more since 2007.  Except, the shipments of treats since October are still coming from China, and as we’ve been taught by experience, “fixed the problem” and “coming from China” are contradictions.

I’m not buying it, and I’m not buying the treats, and I hope for your pet’s sake you will not buy them either. The best gift you can give your dog for Christmas this year is his life.

Several manufacturers of Chicken Jerky treats made in China voluntarily recalled their products in February of this year. They made the decision based on FDA findings of trace residue of illegal antibiotics in the treats. The FDA told the public that the antibiotics were nothing to be concerned about, and they issued a statement that they didn’t think that the residue was responsible for pet sickness or death, but they weren’t ruling it out. The manufacturers said that they were just pulling the treats as a precaution.

But…the devil is in the details.

I’ve been covering this story since a family in Cleveland went to the media about their dog who they claimed died after eating Waggin Train treats. As the story got out, more and more pet owners came forward who had sick or dead pets and who all had one thing in common: Chicken Jerky from China.

It’s been a long, sordid ordeal. I’m not going to recap it all here, but you can catch up on how the story progressed if you read my series of posts in the Special Woof Reports section. I’m not trying to vilify Purina or any other pet treat manufacturer, but they really need to get off the Chinese bandwagon if they have any hope of staying solvent. Pet owners did not take the Chicken Jerky Debacle lying down, and they are not through fighting. There was a time when I really trusted Purina — but then they were bought out by Nestle, a company that has a dubious reputation when it comes to caring about the health and well-being of consumers.

Susan Thixton, author of “The Truth About Pet Food”, just uncovered a troubling discrepancy in the FDA findings about the chicken jerky treats. The ‘trace’ amounts of antibiotic residue that they reported in February don’t match the findings as reported by the New York laboratory that did the actual testing. The discrepancy looks like this:

discrepencyThe FDA told the public that the NY lab had found Sulfaquinoxaline below the legal tolerance…but the NY lab reported that they found several treats which had exceeded the Sulfaquinoxaline legal tolerance…and the same proved true of the other drugs.

Now, before you get stuck on the words “several treats”, you need to understand exactly what the laboratory was testing. They were not testing a gajillion treats as they came into the country. They were testing the leftover treats that pet owners had provided them after their pets had become sick or had died.

The Sufaquinoxaline results were just one of 6 antibiotics found. The antibiotics in the treats are the types used in farm animals such as chickens and pigs to ward off certain diseases. There are thousands of chicken suppliers in China, yet Purina would have us believe that they have ‘fixed’ the problem with the Chinese suppliers. Wouldn’t that mean that the farmers would have to stop or change the antibiotics? Where’s the proof that’s happened? If you are thinking that the FDA is overseeing that, you’re mistaken.

Remember where I mentioned above how the FDA said they didn’t think the antibiotics and the sicknesses/deaths were related?  Let’s go over a few of the facts again:

  • Some pet owners reported that they fed their dog one treat and the dog died.
  • Some pet owners reported that their pets had eaten several treats from a bag and suffered no symptoms, then suddenly fell ill or died.
  • Some pet owners reported that they had more than one pet sharing a bag of treats, and one pet became ill or died, and the other was fine.
  • Some pet owners reported that multiple pets had become ill while sharing a bag of treats.
  • Many of the pets who died (opposed to those who were just sickened) were small.

Not related? Then why does the following statement from Robert Sheridan, Chemist for New York State Department of Agriculture appear to completely substantiate pet owners’ accounts of what happened?

“In all we found six antibiotics including Sulfaclozine, Sulfaquinoxaline, Sulfamethoxazole, Tilmicosin, Trimethoprim and Enrofloxacin.  The concentrations of these drugs ranged from 1.0 to 2000 ng/g (ppb).  Not every jerky treat contained one of these drugs and many contained more than one.  Almost every bag had several pieces that contained at least one of the six drugs.  (Sulfaquinoxaline is approved by FDA to be used in chickens bound for consumption as long as residues in chicken meat are below a set level.  Several jerky treats with that antibiotic exceeded the FDA maximum allowable level.  The other drugs are not allowed by FDA at any concentration in chicken.)”

Robert Sheridan, Chemist for New York State Department of Agriculture …(bold added)

That would be some kind of crazy coincidence.

And then there’s this little snippet of information from several health sites about Fanconi Syndrome, the consistent diagnosis of the pets who became sick or died from eating Chicken Jerky: ingesting certain expired antibiotics can cause acquired Fanconi Syndrome.

More than 4.5 million pounds of jerky treats are on their way from China to U.S. pet stores — maybe in time for holiday gift giving. Don’t make this your pet’s last Christmas — there are plenty of other safe treats on the market. roulette

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Reactive Overreaction – Let’s All Just Calm the Hell Down, OK?


I’m getting kind of burned out on advocacy lately. Well…not advocacy exactly, but advocates. Specifically, advocates whose outrage is disproportionate to reality.

Recently, a story and photo started circulating on social media sites. The story is about a mother and son in New Mexico who were arrested on animal cruelty charges after they posted a photo of their puppy on Facebook and somebody called the authorities.

Stupid is as stupid does

Stupid is as stupid does

Just about every advocacy page is blasting these people, and I am by no means excusing their actions…but…

While it’s absolutely true that what they did was stupid, is it true that it was felony animal cruelty? I think we all need to just calm the hell down. I’ve read half a dozen articles about this story;

( here are a few of them: TheRepublic , KRQE, WNEM. )

Essentially, what happened was that Angela Stell put her 8 week old Chihuahua puppy in a Ziploc bag, held it open, had her son take a photo, and posted the photo to Facebook. The reason she gave was that they were trying to show how tiny the puppy was, and it wouldn’t hold still. So Frick and Frack solved the problem by putting the animal in a see-through bag.

Stupid is as stupid does.

I agree that a Ziploc bag is no place for a puppy…but there is no indication that there was malicious intent. There is no indication that they kept the puppy in the bag for any longer than it took to take the photo. The puppy, by all reports, was not injured. Witnesses say that they treat their pets well.  So why all the outrage?

Authorities said the puppy couldn’t lift his head to get air and could have suffocated. But…he didn’t. And I don’t believe that Stell would have let the puppy suffocate. There’s no indication that she meant the puppy any harm.

There was a similar case last July, when Amanda Beals found her dog with his head inside her sandwich bag –caught red-handed stealing her lunch – and picked the dog up, (bag still on his head) and took a photo. I’m sure she thought it was hilarious. (ha ha, look at my doofus dog, caught red-handed!) But animal advocates weren’t amused then, either. They made a big fuss and she was investigated for cruelty. (To the best of my knowledge, she was not prosecuted) Beals didn’t put the bag on her dog’s head, she found him that way and simply recorded it – but advocates crucified her.  Their fuss stretched from accusing her of purposely suffocating her dog to  ‘take the damn bag off the dog’s head, don’t take a photo!’, but Beals loved her dog. If she thought he was in danger, do you think she’d have left the bag on his head?

There are so many horrible stories of animal abuse on any given day:

…I don’t understand why people waste their time and energy getting all worked up over cases like this – cases where the animals weren’t hurt, weren’t in real danger, and the owners meant the animal no harm.

There’s kind of a lunatic fringe in advocacy, where people have completely lost their ability to put things in perspective; where people jump to the worst possible conclusion even when there’s no evidence.

It’s not just these two stories, either. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen someone comment that if a pet’s owner can’t afford some outrageously expensive veterinary procedure the pet needs, they shouldn’t have the animal. Is that really fair? Does anybody adopt an animal and expect that it will have a catastrophic health issue?  Does anybody have a crystal ball that shows whether they will lose their job, or become ill themselves, or experience any number of financial setbacks that will render them helpless to pay for emergency vet care? Many pet owners find themselves in just this sort of situation, and the animal’s condition gets worse, and then people start shouting ‘NEGLECT!’  Before we start pointing fingers and assuming that the pet’s owner doesn’t care, wouldn’t it be better to get all the information, and assess the situation first? Maybe offer to lend a hand, instead of criticizing and condemning?

All this wasted energy could be so much better spent if it were redirected to criminal cases of abuse or helping those pet owners who need help.

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Interrupting your regularly scheduled blog…


I haven’t said so lately, but thanks so much for reading Up on the Woof and sharing it with your friends and through social media. I try to keep the posts here relevant, and not bore readers by continually promoting my books. My titles appear to the right of the page like any other  innocuous ad might appear on any given blog, and if you choose to look at them, great.

But today I am interrupting your regularly scheduled blog to tell you something about two of those books.

The first book is How to Change the World in 30 Seconds: a Web Warrior’s Guide to Animal Advocacy Online, the Award-Winning Finalist in the Animals/Pets category of The 2013 USA Best Book Awards, sponsored by USA Book News. 30sec_finalist_sm

My publisher, Barking Planet Productions, is giving away 25 kindle copies for the holidays.

To register to win, just send an email to: books4doglovers@gmail.com with ‘enter 30’ in the subject line.

Winners will be notified on January 3, 2014 and will be gifted with a kindle copy through amazon. We will be gifting 25 copies.

The second book I want to tell you about is Finding Fido: Practical Steps for Finding Your Lost Pet. This book was the natural result of founding and maintaining the Facebook page Lost & Found Ohio Pets, which I told you about in the blog post “Finding Fido (and Fifi, and Fluffy, and…)”.  Every pet owner should have a copy of this book on their shelf. fidofrontcover_thumbIt contains advice to prevent the loss of a pet, tips for what to do if you find a stray pet, and a step-by-step plan in case the unthinkable happens and you are missing a pet.  100% of the proceeds from the sale of Finding Fido directly benefit the Beagle Freedom Project. The BFP is a  service of Animal Rescue, Media & Education (ARME). Founded in 2004, ARME is a nonprofit advocacy group created to eliminate the suffering of all animals through rescue, public education and outreach. The purpose of BFP is to rescue beagles (and other dogs) that have been used for laboratory experiments. They are a wonderful group doing great work in advocacy and rescue. You can buy a copy of Finding Fido on amazon, but BFP actually makes more in royalties if you BUY IT HERE.  Right now it’s only available in paperback, at the very reasonable price of $6.29, but it will soon be available for Kindle as well.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.

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