Of the more than 50 street dogs rounded up after five humans were found dead in a Mexico City park, almost half have had tests done on their stomach contents, and none have shown any evidence of having eaten human flesh.
Sources in Mexico City told the Associated Press that initial tests on 25 strays showed none had human remains in their stomachs. An unnamed employee of the city prosecutors’ office said officials were still awaiting results from tests on the dogs’ fur and paws to see if any human DNA was present.
Authorities in Mexico City have blamed five deaths on stray or wild dogs that roam Cerro de la Estrella park, where five mauled human bodies have been found in recent months.
Fifty-seven dogs, including the one pictured above, were swept up in and around the park, prompting protests from animal activists and others who believe authorities aren’t looking closely enough at the possibility that the bodies were killed by drug gangs and dumped there.
Dozens of protesters chanting “free the dogs, arrest the criminals!” and “the dogs aren’t criminals, the police are inept!” demonstrated outside Mexico City police headquarters Friday, demanding the release of the stray dogs.
Authorities say autopsies determined that three women, a teenage boy and a baby found in the park since mid-December died of loss of blood due to bites from multiple dogs.
The protesters, while acknowledging dogs might have fed on the victims after their deaths, say the dogs are being unfairly blamed, and many suspect the victims were killed by humans, then dumped in the park in hopes the stray dogs would destroy any evidence.
Jose Luis Carranza, of the Citizens Front for Animal Rights, was one of those critical of the round-up of strays:
“If the authorities really want to crack down on the overpopulation of dogs, then they should go after the clandestine puppy sellers,” he said. “Every day there are people selling dogs on the streets, and the police don’t do anything.”
The 57 dogs rounded up at the Cerro de la Estrella park, located in a poor Iztapalapa neighborhood, are mostly small to mid-size dogs, and include beagle and border-collie mixes. Twenty-three are puppies or very young dogs, according to the Associated Press report.
On Friday, authorities in Iztapalapa announced that the dogs taken into custody would, once tests are completed, be put up for adoption. They had earlier promised animal rights groups that the dogs would not be killed.
The dogs will get shots, baths and medical treatment before being given away, they said.
(Photo: Dario Lopez-Mills / AP)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 14th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, adopt, adoption, animal rights, animal welfare, animals, bitten, Cerro de la Estrella, citizens front for animal rights, contents, dna, dogs, five, humans, investigation, Iztapalapa, Jose Luis Carranza, killed, mauled, mexico city, pets, police, remains, roudup, round up, stomach, strays, street dogs, tests
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
“Experts have established that due to the gravity of the wounds, at least 10 dogs were involved in each attack,” Mexico City prosecutors said in a statement.
Authorities have begun rounding up dogs living in the park to conduct tests aimed at determining if they were involved in the attacks.
In one case, the Associated Press reports, a teenage girl called her sister with her cellphone to plead for help as the attack took place.
“Several dogs are attacking us, help me!” the girl screamed before the call was disconnected.
Despite that, some animal activists are questioning whether the deaths should all be blamed solely on wild dogs, and Diana Ruiz, who received the phone call, still doesn’t believe dogs were responsible for her sister’s death.
“What kind of dog can tear the skin from your whole arm and leave just bone and if it was an attack dog why didn’t it attack her neck?” Ruiz told Milenio Television. “What’s most shocking is that one of her breasts was mutilated.”
“There needs to be a thorough investigation,” she added.
The attacks occured in the Cerro de la Estrella, a hilltop park surrounded by the city’s Iztapalapa district.
The first two bodies — a 26-year-old woman and a 1-year-old child — were found there Dec. 29, authorities in Mexico’s capital said.
The woman, Shunashi Mendoza, was missing her left arm, and prosecutors said that both she and the boy had bled to death and been partially eaten.
On Friday, visitors to the park found the bodies of Alejandra Ruiz, 15, and her boyfriend Samuel Martinez, 16. Both had bled to death.
“It’s not the behavior of street dogs to kill humans,” said Maya, adding that blaming street dogs for the deaths could make life difficult for the thousands of homeless dogs in the city.
“A lot of people get tired of their dogs and they simply throw them on the streets,” he said. “This is going to create a terrible hate for street dogs and that’s going to lead to even more abuse.”
It’s estimated that, in the city of 9 million people, the number of dogs range from 1.2 million to 3 million.
Mexico City Public Safety Secretary Jesus Rodriguez told Milenio Television that the four victims were not dumped in the area as some had suggested. He said all the bodies had bite wounds, and that the bites were inflicted both while they were alive and after they had died. He warned against visiting the park.
According to Maya, the trapped dogs included beagles, Maltese and poodles and most were probably abandoned pets or their offspring.
Experts will test the dogs’ hair for traces of human blood and also test their stomach contents. Authorities haven’t said what they plan to do with the dogs.
Previous attacks by feral dogs have occured in Mexico City’s famed Chapultepec Park, but none fatal. After one attack there, authorities rounded up dogs, spayed and neutered them, and then either returned them to the park or found them homes.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, Alejandra Ruiz, animals, Antemio Maya, bitten, blood, Cerro de la Estrella, child, contents, deaths, dogs, feral, homeless, Iztapalapa, killed, mauled, mexico, mexico city, park, pets, roundup, Samuel Martinez, Shunashi Mendoza, stomach, street, Street Dog Protection Association, street dogs, teenagers, tests, wild
Using stainless steel salad tongs and simulated doggie drool, a Texas Tech researcher conducted tests on dog toys and determined some of them, under chewing-like conditions, leach chemicals that could harm dogs.
Phil Smith, an asssociate professor of terrestrial ecotoxicology — say that three times fast — presented his findings this week at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference held in California.
Among the toys tested, the worst offenders appear to be plastic fetching batons, or bumpers, which are used to teach dogs how to retrieve, according to a report on his findings by Discovery.com.
Smith, who raises Labrador retrievers, uses bumpers often, and got to wondering whether — with all the reports of dangerous chemicals in plastic — they were causing harm.
“In the process of training a Lab, you do a lot of work with these plastic bumpers,” Smith said in a press release. “I have a lot of bumpers in my garage, and they spend a lot of time in the mouths of my retrievers … Since we all care about our dogs, and we want them to be as healthy and smart and well-behaved as possible, we decided to look into this.”
Smith and Kimberly Wooten, his colleague at Texas Tech University, suspected that bumpers and other dog toys could leach phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) into the mouths and bodies of dogs. The chemicals are what give elasticity to plastic and vinyl and they are known endocrine disruptors that mimic estrogen or act as anti-androgens, according to Discovery.com.
To test for the chemicals, the researchers created simulated dog saliva, then simulated chewing by squeezing dog toys with stainless steel salad tongs. Toys were also weathered outside to determine if older toys gave off more chemicals.
“We found that the aging or weathering the toys increased concentrations of BPA and phthalates,” Smith said. “The toys had lower concentrations of phthalates than the bumpers, so that’s good news. But they also had some other chemicals that mimicked estrogen. We need to find out what those are.”
Wooten said that BPA and phthalates can have effects on developing fetuses. Studies on humans have resulted in mixed conclusions, but raised enough concern that the U.S. government banning the use of BPA in baby bottles this year.
“The interaction of pet health and environmental chemicals is understudied,” Wooten said. “What may be a safe dose for one species isn’t always a good measure for another species. But the amount of BPA and phthalates we found from the bumpers would be considered on the high end of what you might find in children’s toys.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baby bottles, batons, bpa, bumpers, chemicals, chewing, childrens toys, conference, dangerous, dog toys, dogs, environmental, fetching batons, golden, harmful, hazards, hunting, labrador, leach, pets, phil smith, phthalates, plastic, plastic dog toys, retrievers, safety, science, Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, terrestrial ecotoxicology, tests, texas tech, toxic, toxins, toys, training, warning
Ellen, one of the oldest of the dogs seized from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation, passed away earlier this month at Best Friends, the animal sanctuary in Utah.
“Ellen’s health is failing,” Best Friends veterinarian Dr. Patti Patterson, said of the 11-year old dog. “Although we do not know the cause of her illness and deterioration, we have exhausted all diagnostic and treatment efforts that we feel could help Ellen.”
An unknown disease was causing weight loss and muscle loss and preventing her stomach from emptying. Despite a barrage of tests, the medical team couldn’t determine the source of the problems. With her quality of life deemed no longer at an acceptable level, the decision was made to euthanize her.
During her final two days, Ellen had a steady stream of visitors, according to the Best Friends website.
“I’ve never had a dog who was so affectionate,” says caregiver Maddie Haydon. “She bonded with everyone she met.”
Most people Ellen met, though, were met from a distance.
In accordance with court orders, the former Vick dogs taken in by Best Friends were not allowed to interact directly with Sanctuary visitors, or even volunteers – at least not until they were upgraded from “red-collar” status.
For Ellen, that day finally came last month.
Some visitors were hesitant to meet Ellen, even from afar, but when they did, she generally altered any mistaken notions they had about pit bulls.
“You could just see them change their perception,” said caregiver Tom Williams. ”She went a long way toward helping not only the Vick dogs that are here, but pit bulls in general. She helped to dispel the myths about them.”
One volunteer figured out early that Ellen was a lover, not a fighter.
Betty Grieb, though a fence separated them, spent more than three years reading to Ellen.
When Ellen’s status was upgraded, and Grieb got to meet her in person, “It was like a dream come true,” she said. ”I really loved her. She was such a sweet girl, so full of life.”
(Photo and video courtesy of Best Friends)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 25th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, best friends, dead, dies, dog, dogfighting, dogs, eldest, ellen, euthanized, ill, medical, michael vick, oldest, passes, pets, pit bulls, red collar, rehabilitation, status, tests, vick, vicktory dogs, video
The Food and Drug Administration has logged 900 reports of illnesses and deaths since November, when it warned owners about continued problems with the products — all made in China — known as chicken jerky strips, treats and nuggets, a spokesperson said.
Last November, the agency had heard from 70 owners about problems ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to kidney failure after animals consumed the treats. Since then, complaints from owners and reports from veterinarians have mounted steadily, putting pressure on the FDA to solve the problem, MSNBC reports.
The agency sent inspectors earlier this year to Chinese factories where the treats are made, but no results of those reviews are yet available, an FDA spokesperson said Monday. Despite repeated tests since 2007, FDA scientists have been unable to detect any toxin responsible for the animal illnesses.
Three brands mentioned in the consumer complaints are Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch brands, marketed by Nestle Purina PetCare Co., and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, sold by the Del Monte Corp.
Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch treats are produced and supplied by JOC Great Wall Corp. Ltd. of Nanjing, China.
Both manufacturers have insisted their chicken jerky treats are sound and that any illnesses are unrelated to the products.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 23rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, brands, canyon creek ranch, chicken, chicken jerky, chicken jerky treats, china, chinese, dog treats, factories, fda, food and drug adminstration, health, home-style, jerky, milos kitchen, nestle purina, pets, research, safety, study, tainted, tests, toxins, treats, waggin train
Fourteen people in nine states have been sickened with Salmonella infections linked to a recalled dog food.
At least five have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC reported Thursday that multiple brands of Diamond Pet Foods dry dog food are the suspected source of the human illnesses, a result of contact with the contaminated food or handling an animal that has eaten it.
The dog food was all produced at a manufacturing plant in Gaston, South Carolina – the same one that produced mold-contaminated food that killed dozens of dogs nationwide in 2005.
In some recall notices, Diamond Pet Foods has claimed that no dog illnesses have been reported in connection with its three recent voluntary recalls. Those alerts from the company did not reveal that human cases of infection were being investigated, according to Food Safety News.
According to the CDC, state officials in Michigan first detected Salmonella in an unopened bag of Diamond Pet Foods Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food on April 2.
PulseNet, a national surveillance system for foodborne illnesses, then found several cases of human Salmonella Infantis infections with a genetic fingerprint identical to that found in the dog food, the CDC said.
Salmonella has also been detected in Diamond Brand Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula dry dog food, found in the household of an ill person in Ohio.
And a sample of Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food collected by the Food and Drug Administration during an inspection at the South Carolina production plant also yielded Salmonella, the CDC said.
Seven of ten outbreak victims interviewed said they had contact with a dog during the week before they became ill. Of five people who could remember the type of dog food they had handled, four said it was a Diamond Pet Foods brand.
The human illness has been reported in Missouri and North Carolina, each with three cases; Ohio, with two cases, and one each in Alabama, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Diamond Pet Foods recalled batches of its Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice dry dog food on April 6 in what it said was a “precautionary measure… No illnesses have been reported and no other Diamond manufactured products are affected,” the company said.
According to Food Safety News, the announcement came four days after the Michigan test results, confirming the presence of Salmonella in one of Diamond’s brands.
A second recall was announced April 26 for certain batches of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light formula dry dog food, also made by Diamond. After that, a company press release stated “no dog illnesses” had been reported.
On April 30, the company expanded the recall to include Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food.
According to the CDC, dogs and cats infected with Salmonella usually have diarrhea and may seem lethargic, but yhey can carry the infection and not appear to be sick. Humans can become infected by touching the animals, their food, or their environments such as food bowls, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands afterwards.
The CDC said consumers should check their homes for recalled dog food products and discard them promptly. Consumers with questions about recalled dog food may contact Diamond Pet Foods at telephone number 800-442-0402 or visit www.diamondpetrecall.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 4th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adult light formula, alabama, alert, animals, cases, cdc, centers for disease control and prevention, chicken soup, chicken soup for the pet lovers soul, connecticut, consumer, consumers, contaminated, diamond, dog food, dog food recall, dogs, dry, hands, health, humans, infected, infection, inspections, kibble, michigan, missouri, natural lamb meal and rice, new jersey, ohio, pennsylvania, pets, puppy formula, recall, safety, salmonella, salmonella infantis, sick, sickened, south carolina, tainted, tests, urgent, virginia, warning, wash
Four months ago, Bobby was dragging himself through the streets of Nicaragua.
The big white and tan dog would use his front legs to get from one place to another — not that he had any place to go.
Now, due to an inspiring chain of events, he’s getting treatment in Florida, before moving to a forever home in Oklahoma.
“A perfect storm of generosity helped by social media” is how the Florida Times-Union describes it.
First, Bobby was taken to Casas Lupita, a shelter that is part of a project called Building New Hope. There, his backside was fitted with a cart that restored his freedom of movement.
Patti Snyder, a veterinarian at North Florida Neurology in Orange Park, Florida, saw the story and pictures, and World Vets was contacted with an offer.
“If someone can get him to Jacksonville, we’ll treat him.”
Jill Murray, a veterinary technician in Stillwater, Oklahoma, saw the post too, and offered to give the 70-pound dog, estimated to be about 5 years old, a forever home.
Money was raised to send Bobby from Nicaragua to Jacksonville, and other offers of help were made and accepted, including one from a volunteer with The London Sanctuary, a Jacksonville-based large breed dog rescue group, which offered to provide Bobby with transporation once his plane landed.
Diane Meyboom, a caretaker from Casas Lupita, accompanied Bobby on the flight and went along Tuesday for tests conducted at North Florida Neurology.
“We’re so happy,” said Meyboom. “We don’t even know if surgery is possible, but even if it’s not, we just know he’s going to get the best treatment.”
Vets are awaiting the results, and say they will do what they can to try and restore feeling and movement to Bobby’s rear legs before sending him to his new home in Oklahoma.
(Photo: Diane Meyboom sits inside an enclosure with Bobby at North Florida Neurology in Orange Park; by Kelly Jordan / The Times-Union)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adopted, animals, bobby, body, building new hope, casas lupita, crippled, diane meyboom, dogs, dragged, facebook, florida, help, jacksonville, jill murray, legs, mixed breed, mutt, nicaragua, north florida neurology, oklahoma, patti snyder, pets, rescue, shelter, shipped, spine, stillwater, stray, street, street dog, surgery, tests, the london sanctuary, transported, veterinary, world vets
Was he part German shepherd, as most people guessed? Maybe some mastiff, or Great Dane, to account for his size? Some thought they detected retriever, or ridgeback, Catahoula or coonhound. It was a true whodunit – who exactly got together to produce such a beast? What made him so big? Where’d that curly tail come from?
It was an enjoyable mystery, unlike the kind of guessing game that becomes more common as a dog ages.
Then it becomes not what he’s got in him, but what he’s got. (I know that’s bad grammar, but I like it better, and I’m in control, at least of the words on this page.)
It’s amazing, and depressing, all the things that can go wrong with dogs, not to mention us. And the path to figuring out which one has – even when you do have medical insurance — can be torturous.
Breed determination tests require just a simple swabbing of the inside of the cheek (or a blood test), but determining what’s wrong with your dog will likely take numerous even more expensive ones that may or may not yield an answer, or even a general category into which his ailment falls.
Is it orthopedic, neurologic, digestive, cognitive? Or could it be, instead of a purebred disease or disorder, some sort of mix?
But first things first, or at least now. Ace seems back to normal. Unlike the previous two days, when he was a mix of clingy and anxious and, while he would sit, refused to lay down – an American Clinganxious Setter, maybe? – he’s himself again, and seems to have no complaints.
He’s back on the futon as I write this — one of the areas he has avoided for the past two days – back in the role of muse, as opposed to object of my fretting. He’s laying — or is it lying — down at will. He’s eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, playing and breathing normally.
A visit to the vet — and yes, I still want to marry a veterinarian — brought no definite answers. A battery of blood tests showed that liver, kidneys and pancreas were all clear, and that he had an only slightly elevated white blood cell count.
He was dispensed some anti-inflammatory pills, which may or may not account for his improvement. Still, upon the vet’s recommendation, I will engage in the also-not-fun, though highly challenging, game of catching one’s dog’s pee in a cup, and will tote a urine sample to their office this week.
Then, depending on what the pee reveals, and depending on whether he shows any more symptoms or strangeness, more tests are a possibility — X-rays of his stomach to ensure no parasites or other foreign objects are lurking there, neurological tests because of his earlier problems, and a day-long test for Cushing’s Disease, which the vet mentioned was also a possibility.
Or, given what appears at least today as an apparent recovery, was it nothing at all? For all I know it could have been the full moon, a ghost, a sound he was hearing that I wasn’t, or an extended blonde moment, even though he’s more auburn.
Adding to the uncertainty, when your dog appears to be ailing, there’s always the question you ask of yourself, or at least I ask of myself: Am I under-reacting, or over-reacting? The answer of course is that, in circumstances like these, over-reacting is preferable, if not good for the bank account.
For you newcomers who haven’t memorized Ace’s breeds, I won’t repeat them here. You’ll have to look it up, just in case I ever move to one of those backward towns that enforces or is instituting breed bans — though I probably wouldn’t — but in the event of which Ace is a collie.
Let’s just say, of those breeds that showed up in the three DNA tests he has had in the past two years, one is Japanese, one is Chinese, one is German (but not a shepherd) and one is an overused and misunderstood catch-all that’s not really a breed at all.
As for all those friends and readers who have offered their opinions, I do appreciate the input, the sharing of your own experiences, and the support.
As for Ace, once he wakes up, I think he’s due for a not-too-strenuous hike.
It’s always good to work a little sunshine into the mix.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ailment, animals, behavior, breed, cushings disease, diagnosis, disease, disorders, dna, dogs, guess, guessing, health, identification, medicine, mix, mutt, mystery, pets, strange, tests, travels with ace, uncertainty, veterinarian, veterinary, won't lay down
Jaggar, an English Bulldog whose owner reported him stolen and said he was being held for ransom, was found dead Monday by railroad tracks in Kelso, Washington.
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office was notified about the dog by a citizen who saw the dog’s remains and assumed he had been hit by a train.
The dog’s remains were taken to the Cowlitz County Humane Society for tests, KATU News reported.
The dog was killed an estimated two to three days before the remains were found, deputies said.
Jennifer Thomas of Woodland, Washington, told KATU News earlier this month that Jaggar had been taken from her driveway, and that three days after that she received photos of her dog and a text message demanding $1,000 and prescription drugs.
The text message said, “If you don’t do exactly as you’re told the next few messages will be of your friend slowly getting tortured to death. And do us both a favor, keep this to yourself, no cops.”
No further messages were received, she said.
“This appears to be a sad ending to this part of the investigation,” said Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson. “It doesn’t mean that we’re done with the investigation. We’ll follow any leads we get to find out who took Jaggar.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bulldog, cowlitz, dead, deputies, dogs, english bulldog, jaggar, jennifer thomas, kelso, kidnap, kidnapped, pets, ransom, safety, sheriff, stolen, tests, text message, threats, washington, woodland