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Archive for January 26th, 2009

Wild dogs and cats euthanized in California

More than 100 feral cats and dogs living in squalid conditions were euthanized after authorities found them with the remains of 200 other animals placed in trash bags on the grounds of a home in rural Temecula, Calif.

Ten dogs were rescued, but authorities had to remove the dead bodies of 318 cats and dogs from the property, said Willa Bagwell, executive director of Animal Friends of the Valleys.

“They were just wild animals. They had never been touched,” she told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “I’ve never seen this many animals and animals this feral.”

When animal control officers initially arrived, packs of dogs attacked each other, and about 70 dogs circled officers and threatened to attack, leaving authorities with no choice but to euthanize the animals, she said.

Temecula police Friday arrested Elisao Gilbert Jimenez, 66, on suspicion of animal cruelty after being called to the residence about a vicious dog. Jimenez lived alone and let the animals breed and roam freely without taking any of them to a local shelter because he feared they would be destroyed, Bagwell said. Jimenez put animals that had died into bags instead of burying them because he didn’t own the property, she said.

ASPCA advises avoiding peanut butter treats

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is advising pet owners to discontinue using peanut butter products in light of last week’s recall by the FDA, which traced sources of Salmonella contamination to a plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), a distributor of peanut butter and peanut paste used in some dog treats.

“The ASPCA recommends that pet parents discontinue the use of all affected products immediately until further information has been received,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, the ASPCA’s Senior Vice President of Animal Health Services. “Pet parents should wash their hands after handling any potentially contaminated food and immediately consult with a veterinarian if any signs or symptoms are noticed in their pets.”  

The ASPCA warning follows PetSmart’s voluntary recall of seven dog biscuit products as a result of a salmonella outbreak. In addition, the Jewel-Osco company announced its own dog biscuit recall earlier today in what it described as a “precautionary move.” The recall affects Happy Tails Brand Multi-Flavored Dog Biscuits in 26-ounce and 4-pound sizes.

For a complete list of affected brands and more information on the recall, please visit FDA’s recall page.

Read more »

Pricey pocket-sized pet proves popular

One of the most popular booths at World of Pets Expo in Timonium over the weekend was that of “Pocket Pets,” distributors of Sugar Gliders, a tiny squirrel-like marsupial that lives in the wild in Australia, Indonesia, New Guinea and Tasmania.

They’re cute little boogers, with big brown eyes. Imagine a squirrel, crossed with a bat (would that be a squat?). The company says they are inexpensive to feed and care for, don’t smell bad or bite and are quick to bond with humans(contrary to some Internet reports). The company calls them “sugar bears,” and they sell for upwards of $400.

They’ve been sold in the US. for more than 15 years, and grown increasingly popular — in part because they’re so easily transportable. They love being in pockets, partly because that’s how they traveled in their infancy, partly because of the warmth the human body provides.

They’re also capable of gliding, having a fur covered membrane between their wrists and ankle that serves like a parachute when they jump of tree limbs.

Fascinating little creatures, and it was nice to get an up close look at them. But their domestication struck me as a little sad — that life soaring from treetops, for some, has been replaced by living in a pair of Levis. The average life span of a sugar glider is 12 to 15 years.

While Pocket Pets says sugar gliders are not exotic pets, the Humane Society of the United States considers them just that — and says that as such they require considerable expertise and specialized facilities. “Wild or exotic animals — even those who were captive-born or hand-raised by people — have not been adjusted to life with humans. Doing so takes generation after generation. So keeping them as pets is usually inhumane — deliberately or not — and comes with threats to human health and safety.”

Dogs rule at World of Pets Expo

The World of Pets Expo, which ended yesterday, had a little something for everyone — whether their pet of choice was dog, cat, gerbil, rat, snake, bird or goldfish.

But dogs clearly ruled, dominating most of the vendor space, workshops and demonstrations.

It was our first visit to the show, and, having the camera along, we took a few pictures. So we’re able to show you some highlights, starting with …

Best shoulder accessory

Best shoulder accessory

Silliest new product

Silliest new product

Most disgusting treat

Most disgusting treat

Cutest couple

Cutest couple

The end

The end

Rescued dogs expected to rapidly multiply

Three puppy mill raids in two Washington counties in recent weeks resulted in about 600 dogs being seized — but those 600 are expected to soon become 1,500.

Four of every five dogs rescued are pregnant, authorities say.

“We’ve already had two litters born,” said Bud Wessman, director of Everett Animal Services, which is caring for 155 dogs seized from a Snohomish County property on Jan. 16. “We have six that will give birth over the weekend and probably another 10 litters coming up in the next week.”

The Snohomish County kennel is linked to another in Skagit County, where authorities seized 135 dogs on Wednesday and returned Friday to seize the remaining 308. The owner of the Skagit County property, near Mount Vernon, is the mother of the woman who owns the Snohomish County property near Gold Bar, the Seattle Times reported.

Animal control officials are struggling to care for the crush of animals, most of which are Chihuahuas, shih tzus, poodles, and Yorkshire terriers.

Read more »

Pamela Anderson fights for India’s strays

After an appeal from Pamela Anderson the Indian Supreme Court has issued a ruling against killing stray dogs in Mumbai.

The former Baywatch star appealed to the authorities in India’s financial capital not to put down nuisance stray dogs, instead calling for them to be sterilized.

“It is well established that killing stray dogs is not a permanent solution to controlling their populations,” the former “Baywatch” star said in a letter to the municipal commission of Greater Mumbai, made pubic by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

About 70,000 stray dogs are in India’s financial and entertainment capital and there are widespread concerns about the spread of diseases, including deadly rabies.

Anderson’s letter, which cited World Health Organization and Animal Health Board of India support for mass sterilisation, cam after a legal ruling here to destroy nuisance dogs.

Anderson’s stance was supported by the Mumbai-based charity Welfare of Stray Dogs, which has been carrying out mass sterilization of stray dogs since 1989.

India has so many dogs roaming its streets because of its high numbers of slum and street dwellers, who often keep the animals as pets, plus a large amount of garbage, which provides readily accessible food for scavenging mutts, according to an AFP report.

India’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that a dog can be put down only if it is rabid, mortally wounded or incurably ill.