The chemical melamine, found in the wheat gluten that spurred a nationwide recall of more than 100 brands of cat and dog foods, was later found in another common pet food ingredient, rice protein concentrate. This contaminated substance was discovered in dog and cat foods manufactured by Natural Balance Pet Foods and Royal Canin USA. Both companies voluntarily recalled their affected products. Other companies using wheat gluten and rice protein concentrate in their pet foods have also joined the recall.
For up-to-the-minute information about recalled foods, visit www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/petfood.html.
Healthy Pets Act Controversy
The California Healthy Pets Act (AB 1634), which would require spaying or neutering of most dogs and cats over four months old, was passed by the House Business and Professions Committee on April 24, 2007.
The legislation mandates that all pets in the State of California be spayed or neutered, but provides exemptions for service, law-enforcement, and purebred animals. The bill is based upon a successful spay and neuter ordinance implemented by Santa Cruz County in 1995.
Because neutering pets is generally considered a positive thing by animal advocates, at first glance this bill may look beneficial. Lots of dog lovers oppose it, however. To learn why, see http://noab1634.com, www.ab1634.com/health.htm, and www.saveourdogs.net.
Fire Victims Update
Michael Keenan, the San Francisco man who risked his life to save a friend’s dog from a burning building, is making significant improvement. Keenan is now conscious and no longer relies on a ventilator. For the first time since the near-fatal fire in February, he is able to speak to loved ones. His personality is apparently still intact – he kids friends and family and makes good-natured demands.
The rescued dog left the Pets Unlimited hospital on March 14. His owner reports that he’s very active, has a great attitude, and is “the same old Bobby.” His burns have healed completely and he’s growing back lots of hair, which doctors weren’t sure he would do. Conjuctival grafts to repair his corneal burns have also healed well.
Puppy Mill Rescue
A puppy mill rescue by a Fremont veterinarian has brought 39 neglected dogs to the Bay Area. Some of the younger dogs had been bearing two litters every year for their entire adult lives and older dogs were still being bred at 11 years of age. Most of the dogs had never left their cages, leaving them poorly socialized and nearly terrified of humans.
Helen Hamilton, a doctor at Fremont’s Veterinary Internal Medicine Service, and three vet techs raised over $10,000 and traveled across the country to purchase the dogs at a kennel liquidation auction in Arkansas, where more than 300 dogs and puppies were on the block. Their goal was to call attention to the bad business practices of irresponsible breeders, in addition to rescuing the neediest dogs of the lot. The dogs face a long road to recovery for their illnesses and injuries.
Hamilton and her fellow rescuers hope the dogs they brought back will “serve as ambassadors, prompting future dog owners to buy more responsibly: question the breeder, expect to be interviewed and visited by the breeder, and above all, do not buy over the Internet.” [Ed. note: Bay Woof advocates adopting dogs, rather than buying from breeders.]
To follow the progress of these rescued dogs, or to help with donations or adoption, go to www.endpuppymills.com or call the Fremont Animal Hospital at (510) 656-1852.
Dog Abandoners Earn Jail Time
For abandoning their two dogs in a park, two South San Francisco residents were convicted on a misdemeanor charge of animal abandonment in April and ordered to pay $6,630 in restitution and spend five days in a county jail.
The purebred 1 1/2-year-old Siberian huskies, Tasha and Wolverine, were left at Buri Buri Park in South San Francisco in May 2005. After a call about stray dogs, the animals were picked up by Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA. A relative reported the abandonment and the perpetrators later admitted to dropping off not only the dogs but four cats as well. The cats were never found.
The dogs required medical attention for multiple scratches and skin infections. One had an eye ulcer. Both were underweight and very shy. Thanks to the efforts of the PHS, they found a new home five months after being abandoned.