Sunday, January 24, 2010

Humane Scorecard is out

Interested in knowing how your legislators voted when it comes to animal issues? The Humane Scorecard, issued by the Humane Society Legislative Fund, is out and ready for viewing. Take a peek and see how your elected officials are doing.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

California residents: Round down to prevent pet overpopulation

What if helping prevent pet overpopulation was as easy as checking a box? Would you do it?

Now’s your chance. On our California State Tax form, along with various voluntary contributions you can donate a piece of your tax refund to, there’s a box for the Municipal Shelter Spay-Neuter Fund ( However, if we don’t get on the ball and check that box this year, we might not get the chance again.

The Municipal Shelter Spay-Neuter Fund uses the voluntary contributions they receive to help fund low-cost spay/neuter programs run by municipal shelters in California. Last year the program received $190,000 in contributions from citizens, but if the amount received this year is less than $250,000, the option to donate will be dropped from our tax form in the future.

Here’s my proposal. If each person rounded their tax refund amount down the nearest $0 or $5 increment, we could easily bank enough donations to keep the program going. Really, does it matter all that much if you get $83 or $80 back? Maybe not. But if everyone kicked back a few dollars, we can insure that funds are available for spay-neuter programs. I would far rather see a few of my dollars covering that than paying for the needles we taxpayers provide when the number of homeless animals exceeds our shelters’ abilities to care for them. Wouldn’t you?

Do the pets in Kern County, and throughout California a favor this year. When filing your taxes, check the Municipal Shelter Spay-Neuter Fund. Help us work towards an end to our pet overpopulation problem.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bakersfield Pet Pantry now has drop-off locations

The folks at the Bakersfield Pet Pantry were kind enough to send along the following update and annoucement of their new drop-off locations for pet food. For more information on the Bakersfield Pet Pantry, click the link located in our links section.

Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry, located in Bakersfield has reached its first milestone --- more than 2,700 pounds of pet food has so far been donated by citizens from the Bakersfield area. The concept of the pet food pantry was started in April 2009 when one of our directors started purchasing and delivering pet food to help financially challenged folks in Oildale at a place called “Church Without Walls.”

With the kind hearts of others, Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry, an all volunteer non-profit organization was born. We are thrilled to say we have expanded our pet food distribution to include Meals on Wheels - NOR. The BPFP is reaching out to various services and organizations like Senior Living Coordinators, Medical Offices and our local Animal Shelters, who may know first hand of individuals and families that have pets in need.

Our mission is to provide pet food assistance to low income disabled/homebound seniors and indigent community members who are struggling to feed their pets. Our purpose is to help pet owners keep their beloved pets, as pets are usually viewed as part of the family and often offer emotional support, which is essential to a person’s well being.

Because of the generosity of donated pet food by the citizens of Bakersfield and surrounding communities, the pantry is in need of a donated storage facility, space in a warehouse, or a business where we can store pet food.

We are always in need of pet food and will accept any unopened brand of dog or cat food whether it’s bagged or canned. If you would like to donate pet food we have “Barrel Buddy” donation drop-off site, listed below. These generous businesses have agreed to collect pet food donations on our behalf.

Biscuit Boutique & Doggie Spa - 1617 19th St.
CLS Pet Food - 3105 “F” Street
Self Serve Pet Spa - 2816 Calloway Dr. Ste 103
Valley Feed - 12905 Hageman Rd.

For more information about the pantry, please visit our website at or call (661) 619-2029 or (661) 316-8265.

Mine - A film about the pets of Katrina

I caught this trailer earlier this week and immediately decided it needed to go on my must-see list.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nearly half of all people who acquired unsterilized pets in the past year haven't altered them

That's just one statistic of an unsettling article recently featured in USA Today. The survey, commissioned by PetSmart Charities, shows that despite the fact that many of us knee-deep in critterland feel like broken records on the subject of spay/neuter, there's still a wealth of misinformation in the general public.

Read the entire article here: Sterilizing pets isn't a priority for new pet owners.

One step closer to owning the joint...

Bo's first foray at being under the covers...and he likes it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New low-cost spay/neuter program for Pitties in Bakersfield: Fix Your Pit program

Some people, when faced with situations they find untenable, throw their hands in the air and wonder when things might change. Others, like Joann Davies Keller and her husband, Larry, decide to take matters into their own hands.

Seeing the seemingly unending number of pit bulls being euthanized in our shelters, the Kellers, owners of Fortress Self Storage, decided to try and take matters into their own hands. Said Joann, “We want to make a difference and believe the only solution to reduce the number of dogs euthanized at shelters and animal control facilities is through affordable spay/neuter programs.”

Working with Alpha Canine and AngelDogs Foundation, the Kellers are offering the Fix Your Pit program, where people can have their pit bulls spayed or neutered for only $40. The program is simple. Interested individuals go to Fortress Self Storage, at 3813 Mesa Grande, Bakersfield, and prepay $40 (cash only) for a voucher for the spay or neuter, a rabies vaccination and a microchip. The person in receipt of the voucher then calls AngelDogs Foundation toll-free at (888) 504-7729 or goes to their web site, and schedules the appointment for the surgery. On surgery day, take the dog and the voucher to AngelDogs Foundation’s Mobile Clinic for his or her appointment and, presto, one less pit bull breeding puppies in Bakersfield.

AngelDogs Foundation will bill Fortress Self Storage for the cost of the procedure ($110) for each voucher redeemed. At this time there are no income restrictions and the Kellers have not set a limit on the number of pit bulls they are willing to underwrite. To help fund the program, Fortress Self Storage is donating 25 percent of all new space rentals to the Fix Your Pit program.
Fortress is also issuing a challenge to other local business owners to sponsor the breed of their choice in the same or a similar spay/neuter program. “Bakersfield is a very giving community and we know there are a lot of people and businesses that have a breed that is special to them.” Joann continued, “To help others get their program going, we are offering to handle the management of the program at no cost.”

“We would like to see this program grow so AngelDogs Foundation can not only continue to come to Bakersfield, but come more often.”

For more information about the Fix Your Pit program call Fortress Self Storage at (661) 831-0923.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What if there were a veterinary drug recall, and the veterinarians were almost the last to know?

Check out this stunning article by Christie Keith, of the San Francisco Chronicle about the recall of drugs used for anesthesia for pets, and the lack of information given to veterinarians about the recalls themselves.

Major veterinary drug recall gets bigger

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pedigree gives away food to those who adopt

Pedigree's Adopt Free Food campaign is giving away a free 20 pound bag of food to anyone who adopted a shelter dog in 2009. Completed forms must arrive to Pedigree by January 31, 2010, so get your form turned in today.

For complete details, click here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dog Food Grading Scale

Here's an interesting tidbit I received in my email and thought I'd share:

How to grade your dog’s food: Start with a grade of 100
1. For every listing of “by-product,” subtract 10 points
2. For every non-specific animal source (meat, poultry, meal, or fat) reference, subtract 10 points
3. If the food contains BHA, BHT, or ethoxyquin, subtract 10 points
4. For every grain mill run or non-specific grain source, subtract 5 points
5. If the same grain ingredient is used 2 or more times in the first five ingredients
(i.e. ground brown rice, brewers rice, rice flour are all the same grain), subtract 5 points
6. If the protein sources are not meat meal and there are less than 2 meats in the top 3 ingredients, subtract 3 points
7. If it contains any artificial colorants, subtract 3 points
8. If it contains ground corn or whole grain corn, subtract 3 points
9. If corn is listed in the top 5 ingredients, subtract 2 more points
10. If the food contains any animal fat other than fish oil, subtract 2 points
11. If lamb is the only animal protein source (unless your dog is allergic to other protein sources), subtract 2 points
12. If it contains soy or soybeans, subtract 2 points
13. If it contains wheat (unless you know that your dog is not allergic to wheat), subtract 2 points
14. If it contains beef (unless you know that you dog is not allergic to beef), subtract 1 point
15. If it contains salt, subtract 1 point

Extra Credit:
1. If any of the meat sources are organic, add 5 points
2. If the food is endorsed by any major breed group or nutritionist, add 5 points
3. If the food is baked not extruded, add 5 points
4. If the food contains probiotics, add 3 points
5. If the food contains fruit, add 3 points
6. If the food contains vegetables (NOT corn or other grains), add 3 points
7. If the animal sources are hormone-free and antibiotic-free, add 2 points
8. If the food contains barley, add 2 points
9. If the food contains flax seed oil (not just the seeds), add 2 points
10. If the food contains oats or oatmeal, add 1 point
11. If the food contains sunflower oil, add 1 point
12. For every different specific animal protein source (other than the first one; count chicken and chicken meal as only one protein source), add 1 point
13. If it contains glucosamine and chondroitin, add 1 point
14. If the vegetables have been tested for pesticides and are pesticide-free, add 1 point

94-100+ = A The best!
86-93 = B Still good!
78-85 = C May need to change or add additives.
70-77 = D
Need to think about changing.
0-69 = F Awful! Make a change!

Some Dog Food Scores:
Alpo Prime Cuts. . . . . . . . 81 C
Artemis large/medium breed puppy
. . . . . . . .114 A+
Authority Harvest Baked
. . . . . . . .116 A+
Bil-Jac Select
. . . . . . . .68 F
Blackwood 3000 Lamb and Rice
. . . . . . . .83 C
. . . . . . . .112 A+
Chicken Soup Senior
. . . . . . . .115 A+
Diamond Maintenance
. . . . . . . .64 F
Diamond Lamp Meal and Rice
. . . . . . . .92 B
Diamond Large Breed 60+ Formula
. . . . . . . .99 A
Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Ultra Premium
. . . . . . . .122 A+
Dick Van Patten’s Duck and Potato
. . . . . . . .106 A+
Eukanuba Large Breed Adult
. . . . . . . .83 C
Eukanuba Natural Lamb and Rice
. . . . 87 B
. . . . . . . .106 A+
Hund-n-Flocken Adult Dog (lamb) by Solid Gold
. . . . . . . .93 B
Iams Lamb Meal and Rice Formula Premium
. . . . . . . .73 D
Innova Dog
. . . . . . . .114 A+
Innova Evo
. . . . . . . .114 A+
Kirkland Signature Chicken, Rice, and Vegetables
. . . . . . . .110 A+ COSTCO / Price Club
Nutrisource Lamb and Rice
. . . . . . . .87 B
Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy
. . . . . . . .87 B
Ol Roy
. . . . . . . .9 F Wal-Mart
Pedigree Adult Complete
. . . . . . . .14 F
Pedigree Complete Nutrition
. . . . . . . .42 F
Pet Gold Adult with Lamb and Rice
. . . . . . . .23 F
ProPlan Natural Turkey and Barley
. . . . . . . .103 A+
Purina Beneful
. . . . . . . .17 F ***
Purina Dog
. . . . . . . .62 F
Purina Come-n-Get It
. . . . . . . .16 F
Royal Canin Boxer
. . . . . . . .103 A +
Royal Canin Bulldog
. . . . . . . .100 A+
Royal Canin Natural Blend Adult
. . . . . . . .106 A+
Sensible Choice Chicken and Rice
. . . . . . . .97 A
Science Diet Advanced Protein Senior 7+
. . . . . . . . 63 F PetsMart
Science Diet for Large Breed Puppies
. . . . . . . . 69 F
Solid Gold
. . . . . . . .99 A
Timberwolf Organics Lamb and Venison
. . . . . . . . 136 A+
Wellness Super5 Mix Chicken
. . . . . . . .110 A+
Wolfking Adult Dog (bison) by Solid Gold
. . . . . . . .97 A

More info is available at Dog Food Analysis.
Some foods may have been reformulated since this initial evaluation and their values may have changed.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Coalition forming to address cat overpopulation issue

Kern County is no different from many other communities in America when it comes to cats. There are far, far too many free-roaming cats in the community. Some are true ferals, others feeder-friendly ferals and a third group of abandoned former pets.

Regardless of their designation, the numbers of free-roaming cats seem to be all but out of control.

This year appears to be the year that Kern County is ready to try and address the issue. A coalition is in the beginning planning stages, one that bring together groups of animal rescuers, animal-related nonprofits and animal agencies to work together to try and come up with a plan to (finally) bring down the number of homeless cats.

It was heartening to see so many groups at the initial meeting; The Bakersfield SPCA, Kern Humane Society, Friends of the Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation, Bakersfield Cat Control, Orphaned Kitten Rescue, Kern County Animal Control, The Cat People and some folks managing feral colonies (whom I will not name as to not give away the location of the colonies). Forgive me if I missed anyone, as I did not have my notes with me as I was writing this. A dozen of so individuals all well-versed in the problem, all knowing that no one group will ever be large enough to tackle the issue on their own.

Thanks go to the Bakersfield SPCA for hosting this meeting. It was a great start.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wishes for pets in the new year

With the new year rushing up to greet us like a little of lab puppies, I’d like to share my wishes for the pets of Kern as we head into 2010.

First and foremost, I wish everyone would get their pets licensed. Licensing your pets helps to address so many of the issues people have with Animal Control that it’s difficult for me to see why people don’t embrace taking this action. The funds generated through licensing allow for programs like low-cost spay and neuter vouchers, additional staff to respond to nuisance animal calls, upgrades to the shelter to make the animals more comfortable and an increase in the number of people whoa re reunited with their lost pets. Cat owners, you’re not exempt on this one, either. Animal Control also offers a cat identification tag for only $5 per year. Let’s make 2010 the year people get serious about licensing their pets.

Next on my wish list is increased activity on behalf of pets in Kern County. If you’ve ever been frustrated about the current pet ownership rules, wondered how you could do more to support spay/neuter programs, been curious about what shelter volunteers do or want to know more about the factors that our county Animal Control department deals with on a regular basis, it’s time for you to attend the Animal Control Commission meetings. The meetings are held on the third Wednesday of the month at the Kern County Public Services Building, 2700 M Street, at 6 p.m. Concerned pet owners may develop a whole new perspective on the issues in play surrounding pets in Kern County and how vital a role residents have in creating change.

Now, there are those who make an active effort to avoid anything to do with Animal Control, simply because the idea of being a part of a group where so many animals are euthanized is too emotionally traumatic for them, and I can certainly respect that viewpoint. For you folks, my wish is that you will step up to the plate and do more for those local organizations who do not euthanize health, adoptable animals.

The Cat People, Alpha Canine, Kern Humane Society, and the Bakersfield SPCA are all local organizations who can use all the support they can get, especially during these difficult economic times when the number of surrendered pets increases while the number of donations decreases. The Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry is another recent addition to the list, as a nonprofit organization that collects pet food to distribute to the needy and to disabled or homebound seniors.

Any of these organizations will happily accept financial donations or membership requests, but you can also help by becoming a foster parent to a pet in need or by donating office supplies, cleaning supplies, blankets or food to these groups. You can also encourage the company you work for to become a corporate sponsor of one of more of these groups, knowing that more homes have pets than ever before and pet owners love doing business with businesses who value pets and the human-pet connection.

So, there you have it. Let’s see if we can make 2010 the best year yet for pets in Kern County.

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