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Mulch law gets buried in Minnesota

Minnesota’s legislature was on the verge of passing a simple little law — requiring retailers to post signs warning consumers that cocoa mulch can be fatal to dogs — when the governor stepped in and vetoed it.

Why? Because, he said, it was an example of “legislative overreach.”

“I share the goal that we should take reasonable precautions to protect our pets,” Gov. Tim Pawlenty wrote. “However, it is unreasonable to ask all retailers to post signs at the point of purchase for such products.

“A better approach would be to require manufacturers to post warning labels on the products themselves, where necessary and appropriate. We should also supplement efforts to protect our pets by raising public awareness regarding products that are potentially harmful to them.”

The law, nicknamed ”Moose’s Law“ for a chocolate Lab who died after ingesting cocoa bean shell mulch, was authored by state Sen. Scott Dibble. It would have required businesses selling the mulch to post signs, warning that the product is potentially poisonous to pets, and advising them to contact a veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center if a pet eats it.

Moose belonged to Terry and Dawn Hall who moved to Minneapolis from Atlanta, and laid down the mulch while landscaping their yard in the summer of 2007.

“The package said it was organic,” Terry Hall says. “It was nice and dark, and we thought that would look really good.”

A couple of days later, on a boat on the St. Croix River, they threw a Frisbee into the water for Moose to retrieve. He dove in and never came up. They spotted his body floating beneath the surface of the water.

Learn more about cocoa bean shell mulch here.

Comments

Comment from Pet Poison Helpline
Time May 19, 2009 at 10:46 am

Thanks for spreading the word on pet toxicities on your blog – so important for pet owners to be aware of the lurking household poisons in (and outside of) their house! As an ER specialist, I see so many toxicities that owners bring in too late (making it more expensive to treat, with a worse prognosis!). When in doubt, it’s so important to call a Poison Control for peace of mind! I wanted to make you aware of an important resource out there also – Pet Poison Helpline is an additional Animal Poison Control Center, and it’s one of the most cost-effective animal poison ($35/case vs. ASPCA’s new $60/case) controls out there nowadays. Unfortunately, because animal poison controls are not federal- or state-funded, there is a fee to allow the service to be run 24-7. We provide a similar service, but have the added benefit of veterinary specialists (in internal medicine and emergency and critical care) as part of our staff. You can always call 1-800-213-6680 if you ever have a problem. Thanks for spreading the word!

Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC
Associate Director of Veterinary Services
http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com
http://www.drjustinelee.com

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