Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another Bill Bruce support piece

Check out Lois Henry's Bakersfield Californian column regarding the licensing program Bill Bruce spoke about during his presentation to the Animal Control Commission.

It was a great column for a few reasons. She reports the success of the city's licensing pilot program that took place last year, something I've been hoping to see for some time. She's got the first public mention I've seen of Denise Haynes' departure from Kern County Animal Control which, whether you agreed with the way she handled the department or not, is news. And she once again puts a little fire under the feet of a Board of Supervisors who appear quite long on talk, but painfully short on action.

Maybe, if we all get together, they will finally get the message that we'd like to see a little action for a change.

Sunday swelter

It's hot. So hot that even Musette has better things to do than to lay on my lap, mingling her body heat with mine. The animals are all stretched out, two on the tile, one in a chair, one in the cat hammock, looking like chocolate bars oozing on a summer sidewalk. I'm sipping iced coffee in between bouts of getting out of my chair to break the sweat-inspired seal between my undergarments and my skin. My hair is in a perpetual state of back-of-the-neck dampness and top-of-the-head lifelessness in the low humidity.

The pets do a nice job of handling the heat. The cats move from cool spot to cool spot, leaving one behind as their body heat warms it for a new patch of tile to begin again. The dog looks at us as we head for the backyard for moment, but makes no move to follow. He reminds us that he is a house dog, not a yard dog, and he'll be waiting to see us when we come to our senses and come back indoors. Even Bo has managed to keep his whining for treats to a minimum, since getting a treat requires enough mobility to get to the treat station.

These are the lucky ones. The ones who have parents who, unlike many Bakersfield stalwarts, turn on the air conditioning when the weather heats up. Parents who vigorously check the status of their water dishes, adding an ice cube or two to the dog's bowl at regular intervals to keep the water cool and tasty, and who take Darby for his weekly pet store run in the morning, before the pavement gets hot enough to leave his pads raw and burned from the trot across the parking lot.

It's summer again in Bakersfield.

Monday, June 22, 2009

MRSA can be passed through a pet bite

As if rescuers and critter foster parents didn't have enough to worry about, this article from HealthDay talks about increasing incidence of MRSA (you know, the antibiotic-resistant staph infection) occurring between people and pets.

"Pet owners are often unaware of the potential for transmission of life-threatening pathogens from their canine and feline companions," Dr. Richard Oehler, of the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, and colleagues wrote in the July issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

In the end, researchers say the risk is relatively small, but present nonetheless.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It all begins with the license

A few years ago I wrote an article in response to people frustrated over what they believed were inefficiencies with our Animal Control department. The gist of the article was that the monies generated by dog licenses are monies that can be spent making Animal Control what we all want it to be, and if we want a responsive, efficient department we should all begin by making sure our dogs are licensed.

I thought again about that article as I listened to the presentation Bill Bruce, Director of Animal Services and Bylaws of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, gave to the Animal Control Commission in Bakersfield on June 10. In his city of 1.1 million people, 91 percent of all dogs are licensed, creating the lynchpin of a highly effective program that benefits pets and pet owners.

His program, which contained far too much information for a column as short as this, uses licensing fees to expand their offerings into a number of activities including a curriculum-based education series for kids, immediate home returns for lost pets with no stop at the shelter along the way, money for training and behavior programs for wayward dogs (and their owners), and, though the recent licensing of cats, a free spay/neuter program for those who cannot afford the standard fee. And they managed to euthanize fewer than 450 dogs and cats in 2008 (and no, I didn’t drop any zeros).

All accomplished without breed specific bans, mandatory spay/neuter laws or even limits on the number of pets an individual may own.

When all is said and done, I’m left with one question: Is this a place where we can start? Are the tenets of this program a place where the breeder, the rescuer and the family down the street can finally come together and work towards the one goal everyone would like to see --- the reduction of homeless pets in Kern County?

Maybe. I’m hoping that before the afterglow has burned down to an ember, the people attending that presentation will begin spreading the word and making plans for a real, substantive push to get a program along these lines going. Lives depend on it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

FDA suspends Evanger's Pet Food temporary emergency permit

The FDA announced that they are suspending the temporary emergency pet food manufacturer permit for Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Co., Inc.

According to the release

"Evanger's, operating in Wheeling, Illinois, deviated from the prescribed process, equipment, product shipment, and recordkeeping requirements in the production of the company's thermally processed low acid canned food (LACF) products. The deviations in their processes and documentation could result in under-processed pet foods, which can allow the survival and growth of Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum), a bacterium that causes botulism in some animals as well as in humans."

“The FDA is stopping Evanger's ability to ship pet food in interstate commerce,” said Dr. Bernadette Dunham. “Today’s enforcement action sends a strong message to manufacturers of pet food that we will take whatever action necessary to keep unsafe products from reaching consumers.”

Read the entire release by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

FDA approves first drug to treat hyperthyroidism in cats

The FDA has approved Felimazole (methimazole) for the treatment of feline hyperthyroidism. This is the first drug developed specifically for cats suffering from this condition.

For the full FDA release click here.

Sunday, June 7, 2009 supports animal cruelty?

Jean-Pierre Ruiz of has published a three-part series regarding several publications sold by that promote or support cockfighting. Ruiz asserts that selling publications that promote cockfighting is tantamount to supporting animal cruelty, as Amazon clearly is earning some sort of profit from their sale.

I did a quick search after reading these articles on's site, placing the word "gamecock" in the search engine. One quick look and not only will you be able to purchase products related to cockfighting, but on "The Art of Cockfighting" product info section you'll get a "sponsored link" to a DVD "that takes you deep into this bloodsport," offering an hour of "raw footage".

A quick search of the term "pit bull" also brought up a number of products I might deem questionable, in terms of judgment. There are a number of "historical" items detailing dogfighting methods and training.

Yeah, I know it's their right to sell these items, but also has the right not to.

Is it a free speech issue, or a profit, regardless of means, issue?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Concerned about pet overpopulation in Kern County? This event may be for you.

Bill Bruce, Director of Animal Services and By-Laws in Calgary, Alberta, Canada is coming to Bakersfield to talk about how Calgary claims to have achieved the lowest euthanasia rate and highest license compliance in North America, as well as a no-cost spay/neuter program. All programs are self-funded and all without Breed Specific Laws or Mandatory Spay/Neuter.

Now is a great opportunity to learn what others have done to successfully manage the pet overpopulation issue.

The event takes place on Wednesday, June 10, at 6 p.m. at the Kern County Supervisor's Chambers, located at 1115 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield.

For more information you can contact Janice Anderson at (661) 667-0125, or feel free to email me and I'll send you the flyer.

Hope to see you there.

FDA approves cancer treatment for dogs

This article has personal significance for me, as I lost a dog to cutaneous histiocytoma.

Read the article by clicking here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

SB 250 Passes CA Senate

SB 250, the Pet Responsibility Act has passed in the Senate by a 21-16 vote. Senator Dean Florez' bill now moves to the California State Assembly for consideration.

Read the statement regarding the Senate vote by clicking here.

For more on SB 250, click here.

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