Tag: pet food
Mention the idea of food stamps for dogs and you’re likely to get one of two reactions:
Those touchy-feely animal lovers (such as me) will say it’s a great idea that could help keep dogs from being surrendered to shelters, abandoned, or worse, by owners who can’t afford to feed them anymore.
Those “It’s-just-a-dog” types will say its ludicrous, that they’d hate to see their tax dollars used for something like that, and that, if you can’t afford a dog, don’t get one in the first place.
When the idea does float to the surface, there’s usually some quick debate — then it vanishes as quickly as a bowl of kibble.
Now, in a way, the concept is back, and it’s being carried out on a national scale — with no involvement from government, and no use of tax dollars, it should be noted. It’s the mission of a nonprofit organization formed by a New York man who describes himself as a stockbroker, journalist, entrepreneur and business consultant — a frightful combination if ever there was one.
The organization is called Pet Food Stamps, though no stamps actually appear to be involved. Instead, low income individuals can submit applications, which, if approved, lead to six months worth of deliveries of dog food from Pet Flow, an online pet food store. It’s all to be funded through private donations, founder Marc Okon says.
Pet Food Stamps and Pet Flow announced their “exclusive partnership” in February:
“Pet Food Stamps aims to provide pet food for pets of families receiving public assistance and for food stamp recipients who otherwise could not afford to feed their pets. Based in New York City, the program is open to anyone in the United States. More than 80,000 pets have already been registered …”
Okon, 36, said the idea was inspired in part by a friend going through some economic hard times who told him “she sometimes fed her cat before herself,” Wall Street Journal columnist Al Lewis reported. Also, he says, doing something philanthropic helps remove the bad taste that remains from some of his previous employment experiences in corporate America.
Okon says he briefly worked for a firm that sold dubious medical benefits to seniors in the South. “Their whole corporate philosophy was to manipulate seniors who didn’t have any type of insurance,” he said. “I could only do that for about a week and half,” Okon said. The article calls him “a man so disgusted with the lack of ethics he witnessed in private enterprise that he founded a nonprofit to hand out dog food.”
While many a humane society operates similar programs on the local level, Pet Food Stamps says it has been swamped with applications — 45,000 in the first two weeks alone, according to a press release.
Okon says the applicants often describe how they’ve lost their jobs and homes.
“Millions of pets are surrendered to shelters each year and euthanized because their owners can’t afford to feed them,” he said.
Okon says he isn’t against the idea of the government providing food stamps for dogs, but that it’s not part of the current picture.
“We’re not looking for government funding at this point,” Okon told ABCNews.com. “Should the government be willing to provide assistance further down the line, we will look into it.”
It seems a noble idea, and we hope it’s nobly carried out — with enough transparency that dog lovers who make donations know exactly how much money the organization is receiving, how much of that is going to buy and ship dog food, and what profits, if any, the private dog food company is making.
We’d point out, too, that people unable to afford to feed their pets can check with their local humane society or SPCA to see what programs might be available in their area. Some food banks distribute dog food and cat food, and some chapters of Meals on Wheels deliver pet food, too. In 2006, Meals on Wheels started the We All Love Our Pets (WALOP) initiative after finding some of their clients were sharing their meals with their pets because they couldn’t afford pet food.
For a state by state list of programs offering free and discounted services — from food to veterinary care — check out this Humane Society of the United States link.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 6th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aid, animals, assistance, cat food, dog food, dogs, food banks, food stamps, food stamps for dogs, help, humane society, marc okon, new york, pet flow, pet food, pet food direct, pet food stamps, pets, shelters, spca
OFF THE MARKET AT LAST
It was a long time and hundreds of dog deaths coming, but Del Monte and Nestle Purina announced this week that they will cease to market Chinese-made chicken jerky treats sold under their brand names.
Del Monte’s Milo’s Kitchen products and Nestle Purina’s Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats will all be pulled from the market after the New York State Department of Agriculture found possible contamination by an antibiotic that is illegal in the U.S.
The treats have been anecdotally linked to kidney failure, illness and death in hundreds of dogs, and the FDA — while never going so far as to recall them — has issued three different warnings to pet owners in the past five years about possible risks.
FDA tests for toxins and heavy metals have found no explanation for the alleged illnesses, and its unclear if the banned antibiotic is the culprit in the hundreds of dogs deaths in which the treats were suspected to be a factor.
Nevertheless, Nestle Purina and Del Monte decided to pull their products after New York officials announced they had found trace amounts of the banned antibiotic in tests of the products, ABC reported.
“Pet safety and consumer confidence in our products are our top priorities,” said Rob Leibowitz, Del Monte’s general manager for Pet Products. “While there is no known health risk, the presence of even trace amounts of these antibiotics does not meet our high quality standards. Therefore, today we decided to recall both products and asked retailers to remove the products from their shelves.”
Nestle Purina also stressed that “there is no indication that the trace amounts of antibiotic residue are linked to the FDA’s ongoing investigation of chicken jerky products.”
Posted by jwoestendiek January 11th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, canyon creek ranch, chicken, china, chines, deaths, del monte, dog food, dogs, fda, gone, hazards, health, illness, investigation, jerky, kidneys, market, milos kitchen, nestle purina, off, pet food, pets, pulled, recalls, related, safety, suspected, tests, treats, waggin train
Here’s an in-depth report out of Canada on the rising concerns about chicken jerky treats from China.
CBC television’s Tom Harrington looks at the lack of pet food regulations in this Marketplace segment, called “Fighting For Fido.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: america, animals, canada, cbc, chicken, china, chinese, dead, dogs, dying, fda, government, health, jerky, marketplace, news, pet food, pets, regulations, regulatory, report, safety, sick, tom harrington, treats
The American Veterinary Medical Association next month could give final approval to a policy that discourages feeding pets “raw or undercooked animal-source protein diets” — on the grounds that they are unsafe for dogs, cats and humans.
Some people see the measure as a proactive and well-reasoned stance, aimed at making our dogs and ourselves safer.
Some see it as meddling.
And some see it as a conspiracy.
I, not being a dog food expert, fall into the middle ground — those vast numbers of folks who are highly confused by our dog-feeding options, puzzled over what truly is best for our dogs, befuddled by how so-called experts can be telling us exact opposite things, scared by anything from China, fretting over what we can afford, and, all the while, wondering how something like dog food has managed to become the volatile topic it has.
Emotions about dog food, given all the scares and recalls of the past decade, sometimes seem to run nearly as high as those in the abortion debate, and proponents of one kind of food or another are just about as firmly entrenched in their beliefs.
My dog Ace thrived on a raw diet the two years he was on it. His coat was shinier, his health was good, his stools were less massive, leading a layman like myself to belief that, as its proponents claim, it was a more natural choice for his species, and one he seemed to absorb something from, unlike kibble, which just seemed to go in one end and out the other.
(We switched back to kibble and canned when we entered a refrigerator-less phase of life, and haven’t gone back on raw for budget reasons.)
Even without Ace as a customer, the raw diet has continued to grow in popularity — probably at least in part because of all the issues surrounding other forms of dog food, which, we’d point out, the AVMA hasn’t felt a need to take a stand on.
Next month, at its meeting in San Diego, the AVMA House of Delegates will be voting on a policy discouraging feeding pets a raw diet, based on scientific studies that have shown raw meat, unless it has been subjected to a process that eliminates pathogens, can be contaminated with Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus.
These infections can sicken pets and pet owners alike, and even be life-threatening, the AVMA says.
All that is true enough. Then again, it’s also true of the hamburger meat you bring home from the grocery store. Read more »
Posted by jwoestendiek July 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american veterinary medical association, animals, avma, bacteria, barf, brenda bax, conspiracy, delta society, director, dog, dog food, dogs, feeding, house of delegates, industry, marketing, meat, meeting, pet food, pets, policy, proposal, purina, raw, raw diet, raw meat, salmonella, san diego, susan thixton, the truth about pet food, theory
What do you do with a ratty-looking invasive species that’s eating its way through thousands of acres of coastal wetlands?
In Louisiana, entrepreneurs have made hats and purses out of them, and, for several years, state wildlife officials have offered $5 bounties to hunters and trappers in an attempt to curtail their numbers.
Now, a local company is turning nutria into dog treats:
“Marsh Dog uses an innovative market-based approach to solve the problem — wild Nutria dog biscuits … Owners can treat their dogs to an all-natural, artisanal treat that tastes good and does good while helping to support the fight to conserve the fastest disappearing land in the world—coastal wetlands.”
The Marsh Dog website says the locally made treats are being sold in numerous pet care outlets in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
And, the website makes clear, nutria are not rats. Despite public perceptions, despite a similarly slinky appearance, and despite sharing the same taxonomic order (as do squirrels, beaver, and guinea pigs) nutria are actually more closely related to porcupines or capybaras.
And they taste much better, the website says.
The Marsh Dog idea was born last year when owners Veni Harlan, a graphic designer, and her brother, Hansel Harlan, an attorney, were awarded a $7,022 grant by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, which helps fund attempts to curb the nutria population in Louisiana’s wetlands.
“We both cook for our dogs,” Veni Harlan explained to The Advocate. ”We’ve both been involved with dogs all our life.”
The Harlans make the biscuits – each batch takes about four days — in their new commercial-grade kitchen in the backyard, and they say demand keeps increasing.
“People like that it’s all-natural and has no preservatives, and, of course, that it’s made locally,” said J.T. Hackett, a manager at Petz Plaza, a Baton Rouge pet shop.
Nutria are an invasive species native to South America. They gnaw at the roots of marsh vegetation, causing the plants to die, which contributes to coastal erosion.
The state’s Coastwide Nutria Control Program pays trappers $5 per nutria for each tail they bring out of the marsh. The program is federally funded and managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Trappers also have the option of selling the animals to companies like Marsh Dog, or Righteous Fur, a New Orleans-based company that makes hats, messenger bags and more out of nutria.
The state’s goal is to shrink the nutria population in south Louisiana by 400,000 animals a year.
Nutria make up about 20 percent of each dog treat. The treats also include brown rice and black strap molasses. An 8-ounce bag of the treats retails for about $8.50.
“We honestly didn’t know how well they would be received,” Veni Harlan said. “And we’ve just been blown away. The people have really responded. They get it. They understand what this is about — that it’s about Louisiana.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, biscuits, bounties, coastal, curtailing, dog, dog biscuits, dog food, dog treats, dogs, erosion, hunters, invasive, louisiana, marsh, marsh dog, molasses, new orleans, nutria, nutria dog treats, pet food, pet treats, pets, population, rice, species, trappers, treats, wetlands
According to a company news release Friday, no illnesses have been reported and no other Diamond products are affected.
The product was distributed to customers in 12 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.
Consumers who purchased bags of the recalled food should stop using it and discard it, the company said. Consumers can obtain a refund by contacting Diamond Pet.
Pets with salmonella may have decreased appetite fever and abdominal pain.
People who handle the pet food can become infected with salmonella.
The recalled products are 6-, 20- and 40-pound bags of Diamond Naturals Lamb and Rice, with a “best before” date of Jan. 3 or Jan. 4, 2013, and the following production codes:
Posted by jwoestendiek April 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, consumers, contamination, customers, diamond, diamond naturals, distributed, dog food, dogs, dry, florida, formula, georgia, health, kentucky, lamb and rice, lamb meal & rice, lamb meal and rice, list, maryland, michigan, naturals, new york, north carolina, ohio, pennsylvania, pet food, pets, production codes, recall, safety, salmonella, South Carolina and Virginia, voluntary, warning
Truth, always elusive, is even tougher to get a handle on in the chaotic aftermath of a tsunami — and that’s one reason the fate of the two dogs pictured in the now famous video of one stranded dog loyally watching over another remains obscure.
Despite reports from CNN, UK Telegraph, NPR, PETA and others that the dogs were rescued — all based solely on Facebook posts by Kenn Sakurai, the owner of a dog food supply company in Japan — their fates remain unclear and uncomfirmed.
The best account we can find is one prepared by Global Animal, an online animal magazine that, unlike most major media, interviewed Sakurai, who is being described, without documentation, as both a savior or a charlatan in Internet posts
Global Animal reports that Sakurai told them the two dogs were rescued by friends of his who are off-road bikers and that the dogs are being treated by an undisclosed veterinarian.
Sakurai lists his occupation as president of Butch Japan, Inc., a dog food company. Oddly, for a self described animal lover, his Facebook page lists Michael Vick among his “favorite athletes.”
Sakurai has reportedly deleted all negative comments from the page — as well as those that questioned his involvement in rescuing the dogs.
Sakurai’s page says he was born in Tokyo, raised in Tokyo and the UK and went to school in Tokyo and New York City. He says he was involved with the development of Tokyo Disneyland and that he now is the importer of ”the safest dog and cat food on the planet.”
After the tsunami, he set up a paypal account so that people could donate to his effort, but, in his later posts on his Facebook page, he says he plans to donate that money to established shelters.
Still, many remain troubled that he has presented no photographic evidence that the two dogs are safe.
Global Animal reports: “Mr. Sakurai says he promised the bikers that he wouldn’t reveal the location of the veterinarian because they don’t want animal rescue organizations to take the dogs for their own fundraising purposes. This is why no pictures are being made available, claims Mr. Sakurai.”
In an editorial written by Arthur Jeon, co-founder of the online magazine, Sakurai is quoted as saying he would try and send the organization photos. But, the magazine said, “we are not hopeful that credible evidence will materialize.”
“Our best guess is that some difficult truth may be hidden here, and that either one or both dogs have died, possibly on the trip or shortly after. Or, that this is a story that got out of hand, perhaps being used to raise money by Mr. Sakurai himself, though he is not associated with any animal rescue organization that’s mobilized in the devastated areas.”
Global Animal provided readers interested in donating money to the animal rescue effort in Japan with a list of legitimate and long-standing animal rescue organizations.
The editorial concludes: “It’s human nature to yearn for a happy ending, to be able to move these dogs’ misery off our mental list of anguish and to find heroes in a horrible reality. It also makes for ‘good copy’ by mainstream news organizations who hit it for its feel-good elements, then move on. However, the web and Facebook are not good places to collect facts for substantiated reporting; these reputable news organizations know better.
“Ultimately, the two dogs … deserve the truth. As do we. If Mr. Sakurai responds with verifiable truth that the dogs are alive and well, nobody will be happier than the hardcore animal lovers and readers of Global Animal.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 21st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, company, dogs, earthquake, facebook, fate, global animal, japan, kenn sakurai, loyalty, news, news media, outcome, pet food, pets, president, reports, rescue, rescuing, sakurai, truth, tsunami, two dogs in japan, video
No illnesses have been reported, and the voluntary recall is based on “an isolated instance,” in which a product sample with the above “Best By” had a positive result for Salmonella in a random test conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The product, sold in 5-lb. and 28-lb. bags, was originally manufactured on December 17, 2009, Natural Balance, based in Pacoima, California, said in a press release. The company was formed by actor Dick Van Patten and partners, and is sold under his name.
Salmonella can affect animals and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products. People handling dry pet food can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with surfaces exposed to this product.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, the company advises you contact your veterinarian.
Recalled products were distributed in pet specialty stores in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: affected, animals, best by, chicken, dates, dog food, dogs, dry dog food, fda, food, health, natural balance, news, pet food, pets, recall, recalled, safety, salmonella, states, sweet potato, sweet potato & chicken, upc codes, voluntary
Nature’s Variety has expanded its voluntary recall of all Chicken Formula and Organic Chicken Formula products with a “Best If Used By” date on or before 2/5/11.
Nature’s Variety has received new test results from an outside facility that indicate that its Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet, issued under the ”Best If Used By” dates of 10/29/10 and 11/9/10, may be contaminated with Salmonella.
The company — out of an “abundance of caution,” it says — is also expanding the recall to include all Chicken Formula and Organic Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diets for dogs and cats with any “Best If Used By” date on or before 2/5/11.
The products included in the expanded recall are:
UPC#7 69949 60130 2 – Chicken Formula 3 lb medallions
UPC#7 69949 60120 3 – Chicken Formula 6 lb patties
UPC#7 69949 60121 0 – Chicken Formula 2 lb single chubs
UPC#7 69949 50121 3 – Chicken Formula 12 lb retail display case of chubs
UPC#7 69949 60137 1 – Organic Chicken Formula 3 lb medallions
UPC#7 69949 60127 2 – Organic Chicken Formula 6 lb patties
The “Best If Used By” date is located on the back of the package above the safe handling instructions.
If you have purchased one of the affected products, you may return the unopened product to your local retail store to receive a complete refund, or exchange it for another variety. If your package has been opened, dispose of the raw food in a safe manner by securing it in a covered trash receptacle. Then, bring your receipt (or the empty package in a sealed bag) to your local retailer for a complete refund or replacement.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 9th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: cat food, chicken, chicken formula, chubs, contamination, diet, dog, dog food, exchange, food, frozen, medallions, nature's variety, news, organic chicken formula raw, patties, pet food, raw, raw diet, recall, refund, replacement, salmonella
The owners of a Las Vegas-based company that supplied wheat gluten tainted with melamine to pet food makers have agreed to plead guilty in connection with the widespread scandal that may have killed thousands of dogs and cats in 2007.
Stephen S. Miller, and his wife Sally Miller, co-owners of ChemNutra Inc., reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and will plead guilty at a hearing June 16, according to the Associated Press.
The information was contained in a court filing, and attorneys did not immediately respond to the AP’s calls seeking comment Tuesday. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said the office couldn’t discuss any plea agreement until it had been approved by a judge.
The Millers and ChemNutra, along with two Chinese companies, were indicted in February 2008 on charges alleging they imported wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine, which was then sold to pet food makers. Thousands of cats and dogs reportedly sickened or died after eating the tainted food.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agreement, chemnutra, company, contaminated, dog food, guilty, killed, melamine, news, ohmidog!, pet food, pets, plea, pleas, recall, sally miller, scandal, scare, stephen miller