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Archive for January 13th, 2009

Cecil County SPCA faces mounting allegations

The president of the SPCA in Cecil County says she has called for an investigation into the treatment of animals at the facility near Chesapeake City in light of allegations raised by the public, former volunteers and state Delegate Michael Smigiel.

Nancy Schwerzler, president of the SPCA board, called Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler’s office requesting a formal investigation of the abuse claims, according to the Cecil Whig.

“We are requesting an outside, impartial investigation to get to the bottom of this,” Schwerzler said.

Delegate Smigiel posted the allegations on his blog, including the claims of two former employees who described in affidavits abuse of dogs and cats that included shooting them with a .22 caliber rifle.

A large crowd was expected at the county commissioners meeting last night, including some of those citizens who have been picketing the facility.

Smigiel says he has received one or two complaints a week about the facility in the six years he has served as delegate.

They include animals dying during spay/neuter surgery, a high rate of euthanasia, little or no screening of adopters, unclean conditions, inadequate medical care, and the shelter’s director using the facility to provide grooming, boarding and treatment of her own dogs.

Wrestling with words, Rourke thanks his dogs

It’s pretty common for actors — and even moreso athletes — to thank God for the win, but Mickey Rourke, in accepting a Golden Globe award last night, thanked his dogs.

In one of the bigger surprises of the evening, the perennial “bad boy” — once viewed as washed up, burnt out and over the hill — completed his comeback by capturing the best actor honor at the 66th Annual Golden Globes for his role in “The Wrestler.”

Rourke beat out Leonardo DiCaprio for “Revolutionary Road,” Frank Langella for “Frost/Nixon,” Sean Penn for “Milk” and Brad Pitt for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

In “The Wrestler,” Rourke portrays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a professional wrestler past his prime, holding on to the remains of a once-famous career — circumstances that run more than little parallel to the actor’s own.

But, as Rourke noted last night, even when alone and at the bottom, he had his dogs.

“I’d like to thank all my dogs,” he said, “the ones that are here, the ones that aren’t here anymore, because sometimes when a man’s alone that’s all you got is your dog, and they meant the world to me.”

Fun with DNA on Rachel Ray

What breeds are in Bernadette Peters’ dog, Kramer, may not be a question that’s keeping you awake nights, but you can learn the answer on the Rachel Ray Show today.

The segment, titled “Who’s Your Daddy,” features the story of two mixed-breed dogs — one from a local NY shelter and the second belonging to film and Broadway star Bernadette Peters. Both were tested prior to the taping using Wisdom Panel MX, the new breed identification test made by Mars Veterinary.

Peters and Kramer appear on the show for the “reveal.”

As you regular readers know, we’re doing our own DNA test on two dogs, including mine. Ace was originally tested a year ago — and determined to be chow and Rottweiler — using the Canine Heritage test. Last month, we tested him with the upgraded Canine Heritage XL test, as well as the new Mars Wisdom Panel MX, which detects more than 150 breeds, and we’re awaiting verdicts on both. Also tested was Elliott, the winner of our What’s In Your Mutt contest.

We’ll be having our own “reveal” at a time to be announced.

On today’s Rachel Ray Show, you’ll also get the chance to see the shelter dog’s trip to the vet, and the results announced on air by Dr. Ernie Ward, the show’s resident veterinarian.

Bernadette Peters is a long-time advocate for dogs. With Mary Tyler Moore, she hosts Broadway Barks, a dog and cat adopt-a-thon benefiting New York City animal shelters and adoption agencies. Peters also put out a children’s book and CD of the same name.

(Update: Bernadette’s one-eyed dog — Kramer had a tumor in his eye when she adopted him — dog turned out to be predominantly Chow and Golden Retriever.)

Elvis has left the room

An up-for-adoption puppy who appeared at a special screening of the movie “Hotel for Dogs” this weekend to benefit the Maryland SPCA, has found a home — with the movie’s publicist.

Kevin Perkins, senior publicist with Allied Advertising, which is handling publicity for the movie in the Baltimore area, helped organize the advanced screening — then went home with one of the adoptable dogs the SPCA brought to the event.

The dog, who now goes by the name of Elvis, went to work with Kevin yesterday.

“He’s here at work with me right now!” Kevin said in an email. “The first few weeks I want him to have constant supervision, to both work on potty training and to bond with him, and not have him alone at home in a new place.  So far he’s fantastic … He just likes to nap on my jacket here at work.”

Elvis brings to three the number of dogs at the home Perkins shares with his fiancee. He joins Tesla, a miniature pinscher-dachsund mix, and Buzz, a Keeshond mix adopted through Pet Finder.com. 

Asked what prompted him to adopt Elvis, Kevin wrote, “A combination of winning personality, overall adorable-ness and the fact that my family loves dogs more than anything.  My parents have had up to 10 at the same time.”

All of which makes Perkins a fitting publicist for the movie, in which two orphans and their cohorts turn an abandoned hotel into a haven for homeless dogs.

The Maryland SPCA reports that the other two dogs brought to the screening were adopted as well.

Tainted dog food suspected in China

A Shanghai distributor of a popular brand of dog food said Monday it had suspended sales of the product following reports that dogs who ate it died from poisoning.

While China’s recent food safety scandals have centered on locally made products, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the suspicious dog food was local or imported, the Associated Press reported.

A customer service manager at Shanghai Yidi Pet Co. said the company stopped selling Optima brand dog food last week after reports that more than a dozen dogs who ate it had died from aflatoxin poisoning.

A report Monday in the Shanghai Daily newspaper said at least 20 dogs in four Chinese cities, including Beijing, had died since the end of November from liver complications from aflatoxin.

It wasn’t clear who makes the Optima brand involved in the complaints.

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