A physician’s organization led a rally this week urging Wayne State University to end its long-running series of cardiac research experiments on dogs.
About 45 people joined in the protest, led by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
According to the nonprofit organization, the heart failure experiments have been going on for 20 years, at a cost to taxpayers of about $8 million, and have provided no information beneficial to treating human heart disease.
No dogs leave the program alive.
“These research experiments have not garnered anything that has advanced human health,” said Jennifer Giordano, a Detroit-area doctor representing the committee. “We want them to use human-relevant research methods.”
In the experiments, heart problems are induced in the dogs by the use of implanted electrodes, which cause their heart rates to more than double.
The dogs are then put through multiple surgeries and are required to run on treadmills. About 25 percent of the dogs die during or after the surgery. Those who do survive are euthanized when their participation is no longer needed.
The experiments are funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.
At the Wednesday rally the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine presented a letter signed by actress Lily Tomlin to Wayne State University officials, calling on them to end medical experiments on dogs. Tomlin is a Detroit native and attended the university.
In the letter, Tomlin wrote: “I understand that Wayne State is spending millions of taxpayer dollars using dogs in heart failure experiments that have not benefited human health in any way. I urge you to end these senseless experiments as soon as possible.”
A copy of the letter was given to Matt Lockwood, a university spokesman who came to the rally and a read a statement defending the experiments, the Detroit News reported.
“Almost every medical advance in the last 100 years was due to research on animals — chemotherapy, hip replacements, transfusions, dialysis — was all tested on dogs,” Lockwood said. “We need to continue to do research to advance science.”
He said the animals in the experiments are under the constant supervision of veterinarians.
“There’s a committee that’s sole purpose is to ensure the animals are as comfortable as possible,” he said. “We’re also under the oversight of the federal government and the state. Never once has any animal been found to have been mistreated at any time.”
He said the dogs are euthanized after taking part in the experiments, but he declined to provide numbers.
(Photo: Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 10th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cardiac, cease, detroit, disease, dog, dogs, end, experimentation, experiments, failure, heart, induced, laboratory, letter, lily tomlin, medical, pets, physicians committee for responsible medicine, protest, rally, research, science, stop, surgery, wayne state university
She was a truck stop dog — or at least that’s where she seemed to spend most of her time.
Having no real home, and no official owner, she could most often be found at a truck stop in Moses Lake, Wash., taking advantage of the kindness of truckers and others who would pat her on the head and toss some food her way.
Sometime in February, she appeared to have met the fate of many a wandering stray. She was hit by a car on the highway and injured so severely that someone thought it best to put her out of her misery.
She was struck on the head with a hammer and left in a ditch.
A few days later the white pit bull mix — dirty, limping and emaciated — showed up at a farm outside of town, with her tail wagging.
A farmhand took her to Moses Lake Veterinary Hospital, and the owner-less dog’s plight ended up being posted on Facebook.
When Sara Mellado, a Mose Lake resident, read the post, she offered to provide the dog a temporary home. Mellado, whose German shepherd had died just two weeks earlier, named the dog Theia.
“Considering everything that she’s been through, she’s incredibly gentle and loving,” Mellado said. “She’s a true miracle dog, and she deserves a good life.”
Since then, Mellado has made several trips to Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman, where Theia has been treated for leg injuries, a dislocated jaw, and multiple fractures in her nasal bones that are believed to be a result of the hammer blows.
“When I brought her home, she hardly slept because breathing was such a chore,” said Mellado.
The veterinary hospital’s Good Samaritan Fund committee awarded $700 to help pay for Theia’s treatment, and a GoFundMe campaign started by Mellado has, as of today, raised $12,000 — $2,000 more than its goal.
The money will be used to pay for Theia’s nasal passage surgery which will inolve installing a stent to help reopen her nasal passages.
The surgery is scheduled for April 22, according to Washington State University News.
(Photo: Washington State University News)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 2nd, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, animals, breathing, campaign, car, dog, dogs, expense, foster, fractures, fundraising, hammer, head, highway, hit, killing, mercy, misery, moses lake, nasal, passages, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, sara mellado, sinus, stray, surgery, survival, survivor, theia, truck stop, veterinary, veterinary hospital, washington, washington state university
A veterinary student in Poland is facing expulsion after he stitched “I Love You” into the skin of a dog he had operated on — then posted a photo of his handiwork on Facebook to impress his girlfriend.
Staff at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn launched an investigation after becoming aware of the pictures, which have been widely shared on Facebook by horrified dog lovers.
The fourth-year student was not publicly identified.
“Saying you love someone is not a bad thing,” the university’s head of veterinary studies, Andrzej Koncicki, told the Croatian Times.”But the fact this was stitched into the stomach of an animal does seem immoral and unethical behavior from a student of veterinary science … We need to find out more about what happened here.”
The student’s girlfriend defended his actions, saying, “What’s so unethical about it? He’s learnt to sew in order to help and is just showing his skill.”
The university offers a veterinary service for locals including some free treatments to allow students to test their skills, supposedly while under supervision from qualified professionals.
Where the supervision was in this case is among the questions the university says it is looking at.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 2nd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: anger, animal cruelty, animals, canine, dog, dogs, facebook, i love you, image, investigation, patient, pets, photo, poland, posted, stitches, student, surgery, veterinary
It’s no secret that a sad dog story, properly promoted on social media, can bring in some pretty huge donations — for an animal shelter, a rescue organization, or an individual.
Whether your dog needs life-saving surgery, or even an intense diet regimen, you don’t have to be a nonprofit organization to ask the public for help — and you shouldn’t have to be.
But with the rise of social media, and online fundraising tools like GoFundMe, IndieGogo, and all those other I-would-like- some-of-your-money-please websites, there are likely more bucks than ever before being donated directly to individual dogs in need.
With all that unmonitored money pouring in, what ensures that it’s going to the rightful place — namely, helping the dog in question? What ensures any surplus won’t end up going to the dog owner’s kitchen remodel? What’s to guarantee that the sad dog story is even true in the first place?
In a word, nothing.
Just as the Internet has made us all published journalists, photographers and autobiographers, it has given us an easy route to becoming professional fund-raisers.
What gets lost in that transition is knowing who we can trust.
We can only cross our fingers and hope that those engaging in outright fraud get caught, that those soliciting funds to help a dog don’t get too greedy, and that money sent in by good-hearted people seeking to help a dog actually goes to helping a dog.
It’s a fuzzy area — legally and morally. What accounting, if any, does a private citizen raising money to help a dog owe those who contribute?
In Oregon, at least, the answer seems to be some, at least in the view of the state Attorney General’s Office.
Since January, the office’s charitable activities section has been looking into how Nora Vanatta spent, and is spending, all the money sent in to help Obie — the 77-pound dachshund she adopted and whose weight loss program became a much-followed story.
Vanatta, a veterinary technician who lives in Portland, never purported to be affiliated with a nonprofit, but she did seek and accept thousands of dollars from people around the world who were inspired by Obie’s story.
Vanatta initially fostered Obie, after reading about him on the Facebook page of Oregon Dachshund Rescue.
After Obie’s story went viral, the rescue sought to get the dog back, and filed a lawsuit. The case was later settled, and Vanatta was awarded permanent custody. (Obie is down to 22 pounds.)
Meanwhile, money — Vanatta won’t say how much — continued to come in, $15,000 of which Vanatta says was spent on lawyers she hired to fight the custody battle. Some of it went to pay for $80 bags of specialty food Obie required, and a $1,500 skin-reduction surgery.
Since January, Vanatta has been answering questions from the Attorney General’s office, which began looking into the matter after receiving complaints about how she was spending the funds, and is now in the process of working out an agreement with her.
“They wanted everything – copies of every penny in, every penny out,” she told the Oregonian.
The Attorney General’s office won’t identify the source of the complaint, and it says no wrongdoing was found in how Vanatta has spent the funds so far. (Apparently, nobody in that office full of lawyers had any problem with all the money that went to lawyers.)
But the office does disagree with how she plans to spend the rest. (Obie’s PayPal account was closed last year.)
Vanatta says the office objects to her using the money to help individual dogs with medical needs, which is maybe a little ironic given the money was raised to help an individual dog with medical needs. The Attorney General’s office frowned upon her giving $2,000 to a family she met at the Tualatin veterinary clinic where she works to help them pay for their dog’s back surgery. Instead, the office wants her to give the money away to established nonprofits, and wants to set a deadline.
The case raises lots of interesting questions, and some disturbing ones.
We’re all for the attorney general keeping an eye on such fundraising drives; slightly less for that office dictating what good causes should receive the remainder of the money, and when.
We agree with Vanatta’s reasoning on that: “I strongly believe you do not have to be a nonprofit to do good,” she said.
What bothers us most, though, next to Obie’s previous owners letting him get so morbidly obese, is how much of the money donated has gone to lawyers — $15,000 on the custody case, another $11,800 for lawyers to represent Vanatta in the attorney general’s investigation.
Obie may be becoming a slimmer dog, thanks in part to donations from the public, but, as always, lawyers — gobbling up the bulk of the donations — just keep getting fatter.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 19th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abused, accounting, adoption, animals, attorney general, campaigns, charitable, charities, crowdfunding, dachshund, dog, dogs, donations, dying, foster, fraud, fundraising, gofundme, internet, investigation, money, monitoring, nora vanatta, obie, oversight, pets, raising, rescue, sick, social media, surgery, trust
They’ve been playmates and cuddle-buddies for several months now, so when Ruuxa, a cheetah cub, underwent surgery last week at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, a puppy named Raina was there for him.
Raina, Rhodesian ridgeback, stood guard while the cheetah recovered from an operation, and licked and nuzzled him once he woke up, zoo officials say.
The two were paired up shortly after Ruuxa, seven weeks old at the time, arrived at the zoo. Born alone, instead of in a litter, he was rejected by his mother, as zoo officials say is often the case with single-birth cheetahs.
Figuring he needed a companion, staff teamed him up with Raina as part of the zoo’s animal ambassador program.
They are both about four months old now, and have become close friends.
Last week, KPBS reports, Ruuxa underwent surgery to correct a growth abnormality causing a bowing of his limbs.
Raina, according to animal training manager Susie Ekard, grew distressed. She waited outside the operating room during the surgery at the zoo’s veterinary hospital. When Ruuxa, still sedated, was in recovery, Raina was allowed to stand guard.
“She appeared very concerned about Ruuxa when she saw he was sleeping and she couldn’t wake him,” Ekard said.
Once Ruuxa woke up, Raina licked and nuzzled him and layed down beside him, Ekard said.
Under the amabassador program, Safari Park officials pair cheetahs with domestic dogs, with the idea that they will be companions for life. according to a zoo blog. The dogs help the wild animals feel more relaxed and comfortable in their surroundings and to be less fearful of people.
Here’s a video of the two not long after they were first paired up:
(Photo: San Diego Zoo Safari Park)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 8th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, cheetah, cheetah and dog, cheetah and puppy, cub, dog, dogs, friends, operation, pets, raina, relationships, rhodesian ridgeback, ruuxa, ruuxa and raina, safari park, san diego, surgery, video, zoo
A week ago Saturday, two customers asked her about it, and whether she had a dog of her own.
Indeed she does, one of whom is a Great Dane-Labrador mix named Tucker who, she told the man and woman, was at the veterinary hospital having emergency surgery after he swallowed a tennis ball.
The man commented about how expensive that was probably going to be, and Summitt confided that she’d received an estimate of $2,700.
But Tucker, who she adopted in 2011, was her baby, she explained, and she’d sell her car, if necessary, to pay for the operation.
After the conversation, Summitt got busy behind the bar of the Clinton Holiday Inn, and the couple ordered more drinks and dinner. When it was time to close out their $80 tab, the man filled out a tip for her on the receipt — for $1,000.
“I went back over and said ‘Sir, I cannot accept this, what is this for, why would you do this?’’” Summitt said. He told her to put it toward Tucker’s medical costs.
“I just stood there in shock. I walked around and hugged this couple.”
Summitt, in addition to working three jobs, is a volunteer with a pit bull rescue group, according to CNN, which initially carried her self-reported story as an iReport.
Summitt, 37, wrote a Facebook post about, and it went on to appear, on Easter morning, on the Facebook page “Why Bartenders and Servers Hate People.”
Not everyone believed it initially, but it was true.
Hotel manager Michelle Satanik told CNN she tracked down the customer to verify that the gesture was legitimate.
“Apparently this man does this quite frequently. Just a really nice guy and humanitarian,” Satanik said.
In case that’s not a happy enough ending, Tucker’s operations was a success, and he’s recovering at home.
(Photos: Tucker being dropped off for surgery; the receipt; bartender Chrstina Summitt; by Christina Summitt/iReport)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 25th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $1, 000, animals, ball, bartender, christina summitt, clinton, couple, customers, dog, dogs, great dane, holiday inn, labrador, mix, new jersey, one thousand, one thousand dollar tip, pets, surgery, swallowed, tip, tips, tucker, veterinarian, veterinary
A dog that was shot three times by a deputy in Georgia, and then left to die under a mobile home, has surfaced — alive.
The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office said a deputy shot a dog that charged at him Saturday.
The dog ran under a trailer, the deputy presumed it dead, and the task of retrieving its body was referred to animal control.
Later that evening, the female pointer mix, named Bama Junior, was found alive by her owner at the Skyview Mobile Home Park. She was taken to a veterinarian by a local animal rescue group and is expected to recover.
Nikkie Brooks, with Furever After Rescue, drove the dog to Southwood Animal Hospital in Warner Robins where she had surgery to remove a bullet and received sutures for four wounds.
Brooks, who was contacted by the dog’s owner after she found the injured dog, said staff at the veterinary hospital — not knowing the dog’s real name — had dubbed her Lucky.
The sheriff’s deputy who shot the dog was responding to a call of three “aggressive” dogs barking and chasing children at the mobile home park.
“I found myself cornered,” the deputy wrote in his report. “The dogs stayed aggressive, then one of the dogs charged as he got within a couple of feet from me.”
The deputy said he fired a first shot that struck the dog in the back. He said he fired a second round into the dog’s side, and then a third round when ”the dog stood up and started towards me .”
According to the report, deputies were unable to retrieve the dog after it ran under a trailer, and Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare was called to remove the three dogs — the believed-to-be dead one and the other two.
Animal control staff couldn’t confirm which dogs they picked up, dead or alive, according to The Telegraph in Macon.
The sheriff’s office is looking into the case.
“Like any other use of force situation, if you’re being threatened with injury or someone else is being threatened with injury, you have to do whatever you can to neutralize the threat, and that’s what happened,” Sheriff David Davis said. “My concern is the follow-up as far as making sure that the dog was not suffering.”
(Photo: Macon Telegraph)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 13th, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggressive, alive, aniimal control, animals, bama junior, bibb, bibb county, bibb county sheriff, deputy, dogs, furever after rescue, georgia, law enforcement, left to die, lucky, macon, mix, mobile home, pets, pointer, recovering, shot, southwood animal hospital, surgery, three times