Browsing "Animal Welfare"

Another Day, Another Strain

Here’s another example of why NAIA has been working nonstop on the issue of irresponsible dog importation for nearly 20 years:

New Imported Distemper Strain in Dogs

This is not a long read, but to summarize: 12 week-old puppy (yes, 12 weeks!) was imported into North America from Korea by a rescue. The puppy showed signs of illness 12 days after arriving, grew sicker, and had to be euthanized. Tests indicate the imported pup had a new strain of distemper.

The excerpt below captures the dangers of irresponsible rescue importation (trafficking, if you don’t want to mince words), and its wanton disregard for the domestic dog population:

While we have been most concerned with the importation of canine influenza virus from Asia to North America by improper procedures by various “rescue” groups, the importation of CDV may be more significant in that CDV once it enters an ecosystem cannot be eradicated even with effective vaccines. Once again the North American dog population is being put at risk by those who have no regard for the importation of foreign animal diseases.

The threats to public, animal, and economic health that are posed by importing unscreened livestock into the country are generally understood. The fact that we have a reasonably strict screening process for importing livestock is evidence of this. Yet for the last two decades, rescues shipping in dogs from parts of the world that have not even gotten rabies under control has rarely elicited anything stronger than “but at least their hearts were in the right place” in response. Sadly, it seems to take incidents such as the canine flu, rabid puppies, and new (or reintroduced) diseases for the public to take notice, but awareness is spreading.

Dog Food Recalls and Now a Class Action Lawsuit

Less than three months after an FDA recall of several brands of dry pet food with potentially toxic levels of vitamin D, Hill’s Pet Nutrition is now facing a class action lawsuit claiming hundreds, if not thousands of pets were sickened or even killed after being exposed to toxic levels of Vitamin D in their canned food:

“The lethal nature of Hill’s Specialty Dog Foods has been compounded by Hill’s excessive and unwarranted delay in warning consumers and regulatory agencies of the dangers posed by these products and caused untold numbers of pet owners significant emotional distress and financial loss,” noted the court filing, which detailed the cases of three bereaved dog owners.

“As early as February of 2018, dog owners began to complain that Hill’s Specialty Dog Foods were causing their pets to display symptoms consistent with vitamin D poisoning, such as ‘daily diarrhea, excessive thirst and constant food begging,'” according to the suit.

Hill’s is facing an additional, unrelated lawsuit over the issue of “fake pharmacy” prescription foods, as well.

Production issues and legal actions against companies that make the food your pets eat is obviously something we should all be aware of. We will follow this story and post updates as they occur.

Given the recent spate of dog-food related recalls and lawsuits, you can’t blame your pet for being a little wary…

 

Jan 24, 2018 - Animal Welfare, Pet Care    No Comments

Have You Been Training Your Dog?

This January is the seventh annual National Train Your Dog Month… have you been training your dog(s)?

Perhaps you and your pal are wild for weave poles, or maybe you just want a companion who won’t yank your arm off every time you go for a walk? No matter your situation and goals, this is a good time* to remember that there are huge benefits to socializing and training your dogs — for both you and your pets.

 

It’s not just about teaching good manners. Training is a big part of building a strong, lifelong bond with your dog. How many dogs fitting the “energetic young dog with zero obedience training” profile that have been surrendered to shelters would be spared that experience if their owners had connected with them through training?

 

 

*really, it’s pretty much always a good time

 

Congrats, Kate!

Congratulations to Kate Eldredge, dog writer extraordinaire and contributor to NAIA’s Discover Animals, for winning the AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Public Service Award with her article The First 24 Hours with Your New Dog. Not only is her piece a great little read, it is full of helpful advice that lays the groundwork for a happy, lifelong bond with your dog. Hard to beat that combo!

Way to go, Kate, and to all of the Dog Writers Association of America nominees and winners.

 

 

 

 

NAIA at NCSL

For more than a decade, we have maintained a presence at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). NAIA board members attend to the booth, conversations are had, connections are made, and perceptions are changed. This year, the event was held in Boston, Massachusetts.

From left: NAIA Board members Patte Klecan, Dr. Cindy Buckmaster, Nancy Fisk.

Why is this event important? Because the entire conversation surrounding human-animal interaction — policy positions, philosophical perspectives, even the language we use — has long been dominated by the ideology of the animal rights movement. Those of us who live, love, and work with animals who have hands-on experience and more mainstream positions on animal welfare and conservation issues are often drowned out. So this event gives us an opportunity to share our perspective and let legislators know that there are organizations out there who not only care deeply about animals, but also the human-animal bond, and positive outcomes that are driven by data. If you work with animals, we are here for you.

Even after all these years, it never ceases to amuse us how curious passersby will breathe a sigh of relief after a conversation or reading a brochure. “Oh, sorry. I was worried you were one of those groups.”

No. No we are not.


 

Oh, and speaking of making new friends…

 

No “Sanctuary” for Chimpanzees: When Ideology Trumps Animal Welfare

If you follow animal issues, you probably know that invasive biomedical research with chimpanzees is no longer carried out unless:

  1. it is necessary to advance public health; and
  2. there are no other means for doing so.

 

You may also be aware of the fact that their has been a concerted effort, spearheaded by HSUS, to remove chimpanzees from research settings and place them in sanctuaries.

But did you know that 69% of Chimpanzees taken from the MD Anderson Keeling Center (MDAKC) to live in a sanctuary have died — most within a few months?

Sadly, the fact of the matter is a “good intention” is not enough, and no US sanctuary is staffed or equipped to care for chimpanzees like MDAKC.

This blog from Speaking of Research touches on this issue eloquently, using Dr. Cindy Buckmaster, NAIA Board Member and Chair of Americans for Medical Progress as a source.

In fact, many of our chimps would fare better if they were allowed to retire in place. And several of these precious creatures have already suffered and died because the NIH would not allow them to do so. The MD Anderson Keeling Center (MDAKC) in Texas has been home to the healthiest, happiest chimpanzees in America for decades. Their living quarters are comparable to, or better, than any US sanctuary, and none of these sanctuaries can compete with the level of care provided to chimpanzees at MDAKC. The MDAKC staff includes ten full-time veterinarians with a combined total of 92 years of experience caring for chimpanzees; 6 are specially boarded primate veterinarians, 3 are specially boarded veterinary pathologists, and 3 are specially certified to provide laser and acupuncture therapies to supplement traditional treatment regimens. There are also 22 specially trained, full-time technicians devoted to the chimps’ husbandry, health and behavioral needs, including 3 night technicians. MDAKC also has a full-service clinical pathology laboratory on site that allows for the immediate diagnosis and treatment of animals with health concerns. No US sanctuary is staffed or equipped to care for chimpanzees like MDAKC, not one! In fact, the sanctuary that the NIH is forcing us to send our chimpanzees to currently is not even equipped to carry out its own diagnostic lab work. This is concerning, given the advanced age of many research chimpanzees. Honestly, it would make more sense for Dr. Collins to retire the nation’s research chimps to MDAKC!

While we may disagree on the details, we all want to see the animals in our care safe, healthy, and happy. But in our view this is a tragic and clear case of ideology trumping animal welfare, and a story that needs to be told.

 

Maynard, who had a fatal heart attack in the sanctuary the day after he was introduced to a new group of chimpanzees

Maynard, removed from his family at MDAKC, had a fatal heart attack in the sanctuary the day after he was introduced to a new group of chimpanzees.
Photo credit: MDAKC

Dr. Buckmaster’s entire article can be found here, with a subscription.

Feb 27, 2015 - Animal Welfare    1 Comment

The Importance of Knowing Who You’re Getting Your Pet From

Disappointing news out of Arizona:

PetSmart has terminated their adoption partnership with a Valley animal rescue after an ABC15 Investigation uncovered troubling allegations about the group, called Woofs Wiggles n Wags.

According to the investigation, there were cramped cages, and dogs walking through their own waste, suffering from both physical and psychological neglect. Naturally, PetSmart terminated its adoption partnership with the animal rescue upon hearing the news report.

Whatever the reason for these conditions: understaffed and overwhelmed, forgetting or ignoring the needs of these animals due to out-of-balance priorities, or any of the other numerous reasons we see for sub-standard animal care, this serves as a reminder of the importance of getting to know the person or organization you get your pets from. Whatever breeder, rescue, business, or shelter you choose for your next pet, it is vital that you do your research, so can return home with your new companion confident you dealt with somebody who is competent and ethical. This is important for animals in general because you are supporting people who are doing it right — people who truly understand and care for animals; it is important for you and your pet specifically, because it increases your pet’s odds of a long, happy life with you and your family!

Owning a pet can be such a valuable, life-enriching experience; we talk so often about the importance of being a “responsible pet owner” because of the benefits this brings to your pet, to you, and to your community — but the focus is usually on the care and attention your pet receives after coming home. For potential pet owners and their communities, responsible pet ownership starts long before you get your pet!

Jan 23, 2015 - Animal Welfare    No Comments

Horse Rescue: No Fish Story

It’s always cool when somebody saves an animal from peril. And when that animal is a 1,200 pound horse trapped in the swimming pool, and it requires hours and the cooperation of firefighters, firefighters, a large animal rescue, and emergency management personnel… well, it’s not only cool, it’s the kind of story you can bug your children (and your children’s children) with for years to come.

Horse Rescued From Woodford County Pool

It’s great seeing so many people come together to help an animal like this. The cooperation, making sure both human and horse are safe, and in the end: success!

Definitely a nice way to ride out into the weekend.
Horse Riding

Jan 12, 2015 - Animal Welfare    6 Comments

Getting Help for Pet Owners Can Be the Most Humane Place to Start

Some unusual language and questions popped up in a recent article regarding the seizure of 71 dogs:

  • “Often when people get into trouble, animals get into trouble”
  • According to an obituary, Shirley Aguiar’s mother died in 2013, and, according to a customer of the couple, Ed Aguiar lost his job not long before that. But without hearing from the Aguiars directly, it’s impossible to say whether either of these events might have led to mistreatment of their dogs.
  • “I walked in and I said, ‘Shirley?'” Diane said. “It was so dirty, I didn’t even recognize her. It was like something happened and I don’t know if it was just a lack of money, but it was just unkempt.”
  • She said the puppy for the other customer was “covered in poo” and had to be washed. The difference between her two experiences with Aguiar, Diane said, was “so shocking.”

 

Oftentimes in animal seizures, the tone is sensationalist, focusing almost entirely on the treatment and conditions of the animals, painting the animal owner as some kind of heartless monster. Given the kind of clicks you can generate through heartbreak and outrage, it is easy to understand why so many news sources rely on that angle.

But the truth is often a lot more complicated. While there are people in the world who are simply cruel or careless toward animals, so often when you dig deeper into a case of animal abuse you find human beings who are in way over their heads: economic disaster, forced loss of or change in property, the onset of physical or mental illness, becoming caretakers to other family members, etc., etc.

When somebody who has always taken good care of their animals starts to slip up, it is easy to point fingers, to call them evil or greedy or incompetent. Taking the time to find out what has gone wrong, offering help and realistic solutions, and holding an intervention if necessary is more difficult, but can be the key to keeping animals happy, healthy, and in homes with the people they have bonded with.

It is so true that “when people get into trouble, animals get into trouble.” If somebody with a history of being a great caretaker for their animals is in trouble and you are concerned for their pets, seeing if you can get them help (as counter-intuitive as this may seem) should be the first step.

In some cases, getting help for the owners can be the most humane place to start.

 

Jan 5, 2015 - Animal Welfare    2 Comments

Animal Rescue & Shelter: NAIA Glossary Edition

With issues as complex and emotionally charged as animal welfare, simply having a meaningful conversation can be difficult at times. This is especially true in animal rescue and shelter issues, and it can be compounded when the words we use to discuss animal issues mean different things to different people.

So in the interest of clear communication, please take a few minutes to check out the NAIA Shelter Project website’s glossary — if there are ever any questions, it will let you know exactly what we mean when we say it!

Of course, there is more to the Shelter Project than the glossary! Dedicated to understanding shelter population trends, reducing euthanasia of adoptable pets, improving pet health and welfare, reducing infectious and zoonotic disease transmission, and fighting consumer fraud, it is the best source of animal shelter data around!

 

NAIA Shelter Project Glossary

 

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