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Tag: department

Rat terrier finds missing dog in drainpipe

One dog came to the aid of another last week, leading rescuers to a drainage pipe where a 15-year-old miniature schnauzer named Casper had been stuck for up to three days.

The hero? A rat terrier named Rowdy, who belongs to a neighbor.

“He caught the scent and he just started barking, barking, barking,” said Rowdy’s owner, Patty Monk, whose dog led her to the 8-inch wide storm drain pipe in which Casper was stuck.

Seeing Casper inside, Monk, who is friends with Casper’s owners, ran a block to their home and notified them. They sought help from the Sacramento Metro Fire Department.

Firefighters, not wanting to injure the dog, wrapped a teddy bear around the end of a fire hose to push him out the end of the pipe.

Casper’s owners, who had searched for days and put up posters after Casper went missing, took him to a nearby animal hospital to have him checked out.

“We have one of these storm drains right in front of our house. He may have fallen in that one and crawled all the way here, we don’t know,” said Wayne Hernandez.

“We’ve been kind of taking him for granted, he’s been around for so long,” Hernandez told News 10 in Sacramento. “But we’re going to have to try and pamper him a little more. He deserves it after this.”

Probe finds lax enforcement of puppy mills

Lax government enforcement of puppy mills has led to countless dogs dying and living in horrific conditions, according to an internal government report.

Investigators say the Department of Agriculture often ignores repeat violations, waives penalties and doesn’t adequately document inhumane treatment of dogs, the Associated Press reported.

In one case cited by the department’s inspector general, 27 dogs died at an Oklahoma breeding facility–  after inspectors had visited the facility repeatedly and cited it for violations.

The review, conducted between 2006 and 2008, found that more than half of those breeders who had already been cited for violations flouted the law again.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday that USDA will take immediate action. “USDA will reinforce its efforts under its animal welfare responsibilities, including tougher penalties for repeat offenders and greater consistent action to strongly enforce the law,” he said.

Federal investigators uncovered grisly conditions at puppy mills around the country where dogs were infested with ticks, living with gaping wounds and in pools of feces, according to the report.

The report recommends that the animal care unit at the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service immediately confiscate animals that are dying or seriously suffering, and better train its inspectors to document, report and penalize wrongdoing.

The investigators visited 68 dog breeders and dog brokers in eight states that had been cited for at least one violation in the previous three years. They found that first-time violators and even repeat offenders were rarely penalized.

“The agency believed that compliance achieved through education and cooperation would result in long-term dealer compliance and, accordingly, it chose to take little or no enforcement action against most violators,” the report said.

In the case of the Oklahoma breeding facility, the breeder had been cited for 29 violations, including nine repeated violations, from February 2006 to January 2007. The inspector returned in November 2007 before any enforcement action had taken place, according to the report, and found five dead dogs and “other starving dogs that had resorted to cannibalism.”

Despite these conditions, the inspectors did not immediately confiscate the surviving dogs and, the report says, 22 additional dogs died before the breeder’s license was revoked.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, said the report confirms what animal rights groups have been pointing out for for years.

“Enforcement is flaccid, the laws are weak and reform needs to happen,” he said. “We have long criticized having the animal welfare enforcement functions within a bureaucracy dedicated to promoting American agriculture. There’s a built-in conflict of interest.”

Johnson gets 90 days for death of Karley

johnsonA former Los Angeles County assistant fire chief was sentenced to 90 days of weekend jail time and 400 hours of community service for beating his neighbor’s dog so severely with a rock that she had to be euthanized.

Animal activists packed a courtroom in Riverside to hear the, which also requires Glynn Johnson, 55,  to take anger management courses and pay the veterinary bills, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Johnson , accused of using a 12-pound rock to repeatedly strike a 6-month-old German-shepherd mix named Karley, was convicted in January of animal cruelty.

Johnson claimed he was freeing himself after the puppy clamped its mouth on his hand as he walked her home to his neighbor. Witnesses disputed that and said Johnson attacked the dog without reason.

Johnson apologized to the owners, but said he would appeal the sentence.

karleyKarley’s owners, Jeff and Shelley Toole, said in court that Johnson should get the maximum sentence of more than four years in prison.

“If (Karley) did this to you, her punishment would be death,” Jeff Toole said. “And if I were a judge that would be the punishment for you too, but I’m not a judge. You’re a danger society and you need to be locked up before you hurt someone else.”

Judge J. Thompson Hanks said he considered Johnson’s lack of criminal record and service as a firefighter in the lighter sentence. The judge specified that Johnson’s community service include working with dogs.

“You don’t see this kind of outpouring from the community in many cases, including the death of children,” Hanks said. “As a judge, I have to balance. I have to consider the conduct of the individual who did it and the appropriate punishment.”

Canine melanoma vaccine gets approval

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted Merial Limited full licensure for a therapeutic DNA vaccine designed to aid in extending survival of dogs with oral melanoma, the company reports in a press release.

Merial, a licensee of Vical Incorporated, plans to launch the product, called Oncept, at the North American Veterinary Conference in Orlando Jan. 16 – 20.

Melanoma is a common type of cancer in dogs and is the most common malignant tumor of the dog’s mouth. It can also occur in the nail and footpad.

The vaccine contains a gene encoding human tyrosinase, an enzyme associated with skin pigmentation. The tyrosinase produced from the human DNA is similar to canine tyrosinase and has been shown to stimulate an immune response against canine melanoma cells producing tyrosinase. The use of DNA from a noncanine species causes production of tyrosinase that is considered foreign by the canine immune system, stimulating an immune response, acording to the vaccine’s makers. It is similar enough to canine tyrosinase that the dog’s immune response will target canine melanoma cells.

Normal treatment for canine oral melanoma includes surgery and radiation, but even after successful local treatment, the melanoma frequently spreads throughout the body, including the lymph nodes, liver, lungs and kidneys, and is often resistant to chemotherapy.

“The approval of Oncept is a milestone in the cancer vaccine field and a significant advancement for our DNA delivery technology platform,” said Vijay B. Samant, Vical’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Pennsylvania pulls license of big puppy dealer

The Pennslyvania Department of Agriculture has revoked the kennel license of CC Pets, a Lancaster County puppy broker with a history of violations under its previous name.

Once known as Puppy Love, the kennel, owned by Joyce and Raymond Stoltzfus, has been the subject of investigations and lawsuits for at least 20 years, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

CC Pets sold more than 2,000 puppies last year, making it one of the state’s highest-volume dog dealers.

In 2000, the kennel was fined $35,000 by the state for selling sick puppies and misinforming buyers about the health or breeding qualities of the animals. In 2001, kennel owner Joyce Stoltzfus was cited for practicing veterinary medicine without a license. In 2005, the kennel was the subject of a consumer fraud settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed on behalf of 171 customers in seven states.

One of the agreement’s conditions was that Stoltzfus, had to identify herself and the business correctly to customers rather than use an alias. Her failure to comply with that condition led to the license revocation, officials said.

Osbournes help Muncie police buy a new K-9

ozzybabyThe Muncie Police Department is getting a new K-9, courtesy of Ozzy Osbourne and son.

The “Prince of Darkness,” who was often shown interacting with his family’s dogs on their MTV reality show, was recently convinced by his son Jack to buy the Indiana police department a new K9 officer, according to the StarPress in central Indiana.

“Jack and Ozzy are sending the check either this week or next week and then we’ll go get him,” said police Sgt. Jay Turner. The department plans to name the new dog Ozzy.

Read more »

Dog flu vaccine approved for marketing

A flu vaccine for dogs has received a conditional license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health said this week its canine influenza vaccine is the first approved to protect dogs from the contagious respiratory illness known as the H3N8 flu virus, which was first recognized in 2004 after an outbreak among Florida greyhounds.

Since then, it has continued to spread and has now been detected in dogs in 30 states and the District of Columbia, according to a company press release.

The disease does not affect people, but can be passed among dogs or from a human carrier to a dog .

Dogs have no natural immunity to the virus, which is related to an equine flu strain. The most common symptoms are a cough, high fever and nasal discharge. Most cases are mild, but a severe illness can lead to pneumonia and become fatal.

In hindsight, breeder regrets sale to Biden

What was initially a proud moment for Linda Brown turned sour not long after Joe Biden bought his new German shepherd puppy from her kennel in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Brown says the sale led to a visit every month from the state Department of Agriculture, death threats from animal rights activists, and loads of criticism.

“I thought when Joe Biden bought a puppy from me, what an honor,” Brown told the Chester County Daily Local News. “Out of millions of breeders in the country, in the world, he picked me.”

But as soon as the purchase was publicized, the criticism started — first of then vice president-elect Biden, for purchasing from a breeder, and for the Secret Service contingent that arrived at Brown’s Wolf Den Kennel with him; then of Brown, whose kennel was cited for record-keeping problems and warned about maintenance and sanitation shortfalls by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

“I was cited for a piece of kibble on the floor and five strands of dog hair. They took a picture of that, they walked around, snapped pictures and don’t tell you why,” said Brown.

According to Philly Dawg, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s dog blog, the violations found included dogs kept in outside pens with ice accumulation, broken fencing, shredded aluminum capping, and holes in pens large enough for a dog to escape. One large dog’s only shelter was an airline travel crate in which he could not stand erect.

Brown racked up five citations after December for numerous kennel violations and a slew of warnings for other problems including an “immediate grooming” order for a St. Bernard to “prevent the dog from harboring infectious and contagious disease.”

Brown was warned about the problems in a Jan. 5 inspection. When investigators returned to the kennel in Spring City in Jan. 22 they found conditions had not improved. They also found incomplete sales and health records, prompting three more citations –  one each for records, drainage and maintenance. Brown also received two citations in December – the same week that Biden purchased the six-week-old puppy.

According to Philly Dawg, Brown, who also operates as JoLindy’s German Shepherds, had 85 dogs on the property on Jan. 22 and reported 188 dogs sold in the past 12 months. She holds the largest state commercial kennel license that allows her to keep or sell an unlimited number of dogs. 

Brown’s case was heard by District Justice James DeAngelo in South Coventry on March 31. She was found “not guilty” for each citation, the judge’s office confirmed Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said Brown was inspected in December because of a complaint. He declined to release the name of the person who complained. He said the inspectors returned as a matter of follow-up to determine if the matters had been addressed

Brown’s kennel, Wolf Den, was inspected twice a year by the agency and had satisfactory reports until December 2008 when it was rated unsatisfactory in seven of 26 areas, according to the inspection records on the agency’s website.

Brown, who spent $4,000 on lawyers to fight the citations, says she doesn’t plan to sell any more dogs to high profile clients. “Never, never, never again,” she said.

Welcome to the monkey house

The Humane Society of the United States says a 9-month undercover investigation has revealed routinely unlawful mistreatment of hundreds of chimpanzees and other primates in a federally funded research project at the New Iberia Research Center in Louisiana.

As a result, HSUS has forwarded a 108-page complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, alleging at least 338 possible violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act at the center. The law sets minimal standards for the treatment of animals in labs.

The HSUS covertly videotaped the lab, gathering evidence of severe distress of primates in isolation, including self-mutilation — tearing gaping wounds into their arms and legs in what the HSUS says could be a result of the center’s failure to provide adequate environmental enhancement.

In addition, the report says, dart guns and squeeze cages are shown causing acute psychological distress to chimpanzees and monkeys.

“These experiments come at an enormous short-term and long-term expense to taxpayers, and an even greater expense in suffering and anguish to chimpanzees and other primates forced to live in this pitiful laboratory,” said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO.

“Our investigation found an abject failure on NIRC’s part to attend to the psychological well-being of primates as dictated by law, a lax USDA attitude about enforcing that law, and a knowing and gross violation of the federal government’s pledge to stop breeding more chimpanzees for research.”

The center cages about 6,000 monkeys and 325 chimpanzees on its 100 acres, but in the span of nine months, an HSUS investigator saw only about 20 of the chimpanzees used in active studies. The majority of chimpanzees at the facility appeared to be warehoused or used for breeding – at a time of fiscal crisis and when no other developed nation uses chimpanzees in experiments.

The chimps in New Iberia are among more than 1,000 chimps kept in laboratories across the United States, HSUS says.

Part of the the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the New Iberia Research Center is located on a former naval base outside of New Iberia, Louisiana.