There are many moments in Rescue... Wonderful Story!
Yes Virginia there is a
We are part of miracles every day. While we might not recognize them as such, or toss it off as an anomaly, our lives are enriched all around us.
As an animal rescuer for many decades, I (as I know others in my field also) have all these experiences with animals that can not be explained any other way. But rarely do we get...
This year I was part of a Christmas Miracle, to witness all the dots being connected until the Eureka moment.
Several months ago a stray kitty showed up in NE Florida, pregnant and homeless. She was taken in by a wonderfully kind family and she gave birth to 5 kittens. When the kittens were old enough we spayed the mama cat and put the kittens up for adoption. All except one, Oreo.
Oreo was special said his pet guardian and she was going to keep him. Several other people also wanted to adopt Oreo, but no, he was her keeper. So we put the other four siblings up for adoption at the Lake Mary PetSmart. All were adopted right away except Unique who had also been Oreo's best friend. Unique went back home to live with Oreo. End of story.
Well not quite.
At about the same time the mama cat was rescued, a letter was written to Santa describing a kitten that Abigail, who lives in Seminole County, wanted for Christmas. She described her kitty in great detail and told Santa that she was a very responsible little girl of eight now. That she would get all the necessary things her future kitty would need and wait for Santa to find just the right kitten for her.
Oreo's mom called Angel Paws Animal Friends about a month after Unique went home and due to some issues in her life that had come up she wanted to know if we could take Unique and Oreo in for adoption. Surprisingly, We had space because some other kitties had to be held back.
We only leave our kitties at PetSmart three weeks before we rotate them out. Three days before Oreo's scheduled departure we got the call that Santa had found the right kitten for Abigail and we needed to hold him.
Yes it was Oreo!!
Sweet, shy, and lovable Oreo had been saved for Abigail all along. When Abigail came to meet Oreo and he was taken from his cage along with Unique to interact with the family, well he promptly walked over to Abigail, who was sitting on the floor, and curled up in her lap like he had been waiting for her his whole life.
Yes, Oreo was Special.
He was adopted along with Oreo. Now Oreo will never be without his best kitty friend ever!
Our miracle was we were able to see all the dots being connected and our gift? Being part of the true Magic of Christmas and a little girl who believes in it too.
PetSmart Charities® to Americans: Put Aside "Pawlitics"PetSmart
Let’s stop fighting like cats and dogs and come together to save homeless pets
PHOENIX (September 24, 2012) —
“We believe all pets are created equal. Whether they’re dog or cat, purebred or mixed breed, every pet deserves a lifelong, loving home,” said Laura Ingalls, “Campaign Manager” at PetSmart Charities, Inc. “The 8 million pets in shelters each year are counting on Americans to stop the hissing and barking and support one life-saving policy: pet adoption.”
The latest “water dish” poll indicates that pet lovers are ready to come together. Though 41 percent of pet lovers say they lean toward dogs and 21 percent lean toward cats, 38 percent consider themselves independent – that they love both. Most important, 76 percent are planning to adopt instead of buy their next pet – be it a dog or a cat.*
Stand Up for Four-Legged Friends
No matter your “pawreference,” you can lend support to save homeless pets today. Download and share the United for Adopted Pets badge at www.facebook.com/PetSmartCharities. Then don’t forget to cast your vote for pet adoption by taking the online poll. Final results will be announced on October 25.
PetSmart Charities is the largest funder of animal welfare efforts in North America, supporting more than 2,000 local animal welfare organizations in the United States and Canada. The independent nonprofit finds adoptive homes for nearly 400,000 dogs and cats every year. With
* Based on a Facebook
About PetSmart Charities®
Established in 1994, PetSmart Charities, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that creates and supports programs that save the lives of homeless pets, raise awareness of companion animal welfare issues and promote healthy relationships between people and pets. The largest funder of animal-welfare efforts in North America, PetSmart Charities has provided more than $165 million in grants and programs benefiting animal-welfare organizations and has helped save the lives of more than 5 million pets through its in-store adoption program. To learn more about how PetSmart Charities is working toward its vision of a lifelong, loving home for every pet, visit petsmartcharities.org or call 1-800-423-PETS (7387).
Posted: 30 May 2012 10:27 AM PDT
A few follow-up items related to my past couple of posts: the first sheds some additional light on the Santa Ana typhus scare, while the second provides a little historical context to The Sacramento Bee’s recent reporting on Wildlife Services..
1. Typhus, Fleas, and Cats
Somehow I missed press releases from both Stray Cat Alliance and Alley Cat Allies, both issued yesterday in response to the Santa Ana typhus scare. (My apologies!) Below is the SCA release in its entirety (as I’ve been unable to find a link). The ACA release can be found here.
Epidemiologist Deborah Ackerman and Stray Cat Alliance urge flea control to prevent typhus outbreak; opposes trapping, killing neighborhood cats
LOS ANGELES, Calif., May 29, 2012 – Responding to a case of typhus reported in Santa Ana, epidemiologist Deborah L. Ackerman, MS, PhD, advises local residents to take preventive measures focusing on flea control and urges people to ensure that dogs and cats as well as their homes and premises are treated for fleas.
Ackerman, who is a member of the board of advisors of www..StrayCatAlliance.org, a national nonprofit advocacy organization for the humane care, rescue and protection of cats, opposes local authorities’ plan to trap and kill stray, feral and free-roaming cats in the area.
“Several investigations of outbreaks of flea-born typhus in Los Angeles County have demonstrated that pet ownership is a more significant risk factor than exposure to free-roaming cats,” said Ackerman. “Fleas live on cats, dogs, opossums, rats, mice, and so on. If we remove cats that host fleas, the fleas will find another host.”
Ackerman cited the following research (references below):
- In Texas, where outbreaks of flea-born typhus also occur, officials have found that fleas on pet dogs rather than on cats are more likely to harbor the infection.
- An investigation of an outbreak of typhus in Los Angeles County found that of 30 people who contracted murine typhus, 87 percent had cats and dogs; only 50 percent were exposed to free-roaming neighborhood cats.. 90 percent of pet cats were found seropositive for typhus but only 11.5 percent of neighborhood cats. No cats from control areas (such as impounds at local animal shelters) were seropositive. Thus, pet cats were the most likely source of infected fleas rather than neighborhood cats or cats that had been impounded in the local animal shelter.
- A 2005 investigation of an outbreak of six cases of flea-borne typhus on one block in Pasadena found that three out of four households representing four out of six cases had indoor/outdoor cats, and reported the presence of opossums.
“It is misguided and ineffective to target the free-roaming cats rather than advise the public, especially pet owners, to eliminate fleas from their own pets and premises,” said Ackerman.
“We have ample evidence and documentation that free-roaming community cats are not a human health risk,” said Christi Metropole, Stray Cat Alliance executive director. “Santa Ana is making a deadly mistake by trapping and killing cats rather than humane care and control, including flea treatments if necessary.”
About Stray Cat Alliance
Stray Cat Alliance works for a no-kill nation, where every cat has a right to be safe, healthy and valued. Since 2000, it has empowered hundreds of volunteers and thousands of community members to care for more than 75,000 cats in need. Stray Cat Alliance performs no-cost Trap/Neuter/Return (T/N/R), advocacy, and other health services, and runs an adoption program in Southern California, and has placed thousands of cats in homes. Stray Cat Alliance advocates humane care and protection of free roaming community cats, supports the reduction of kill rates for cats in shelters today, and helps communities develop cost-effective spay/neuter programs of their own. See www.StrayCatAlliance.org for more information.
Boostrom A, Beier MS, Macaluso JA et al. Geographic association of Rickettsia felis-Infected opossums with human murine typhus, Texas. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2002; 8(6): 549-554.
Campbell J. Typhus in Travis County, 2008. Epidemiology & Surveillance Quarterly Newsletter 2009; 2(4): 4-6.
Robinson LE. Murine typhus in Texas. The EpiLink 2008; 65:3, 1-3
Rust W, Dryden M. The biology, ecology and management of the cat flea. Ann. Rev. Entomol. 1997; 42:451-473
Sorvillo FJ, Gondo B, Emmons R et al. A suburban focus of endemic typhus in Los Angeles County: association with seropositive domestic cats and opossums. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1993;48(2):269-73.
Suburban Outbreak of Murine Typhus South Pasadena, May 2005. Acute Communicable Disease Control, 2005 Special Reports, LA County Dept. of PH, 2005
2. Wildlife Services
In response to Tuesday’s post about a possible Congressional investigation into Wildlife Services, Animal People editor Merritt Clifton contacted me, noting that Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) “has been gunning for USDA Wildlife Services for quite a while.”
Clifton included a story that appeared in the June 2000 issue of the paper. Among the highlights:
“Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Charles Bass (R-New Hampshire) announced in mid-May that they would seek an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal 2001 which would cap the USDA Wildlife Services budget at $28.7 million.
This would eliminate subsidized predator control for ranchers, consisting chiefly of killing coyotes, but would not interfere with killing wildlife under contract from other government agencies—for instance, to protect airports, endangered species, and golf greens on public land.
DeFazio and Bass sought a cut of $10 million from the Wildlife Services budget in 1998, when their bill was approved on first reading, 229–193. The vote was reversed the next day, however, after a night of frantic lobbying by Wildlife Services senior staff and representatives of the livestock industry. It stood little chance of passage by the U.S. Senate in any event, where members friendly to western ranchers chair all the key committees it would have to clear.”
It’s not clear that any elected officials are “gunning for” the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just yet. But perhaps it’s only a matter of time. As Clifton’s story points out, the connection between the two agencies goes beyond their remarkably similar names. (To clarify: Wildlife Services is part of the Department of Agriculture, while USFWS is part of the Department of the Interior.)
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service often hires Wildlife Services, and routinely approves killings of so-called nuisance animals, no matter how futile the effort—like the fall 1999 massacre of more than 17,000 starlings at the Knott Landfill in Deschutes, Oregon. After a brief lull, while researchers noted that the local starling population seemed undiminished, the killing resumed in February 2000.
Still, the Fish and Wildlife Service on March 31 rejected a USDA Wildlife Services application to kill 2.2 million blackbirds this year in the Dakotas. Unable to prevent an estimated $5 million to $10 million worth of bird damage each fall to a sunflower crop which fetches between $330 million and $500 million per year, Wildlife Services staff theorized in 1994 that they might accomplish more by poisoning the birds as they migrate north each spring, so that fewer would join the fall migrations southward. Because the Migratory Bird Treaty Act prohibits killing birds who are not actually damaging crops, Wildlife Services poisoned 250,000 blackbirds in 1994 as the purported beginning of a five-year ‘scientific experiment.’”
As always, my sincere thanks to Merritt Clifton, whose knowledge and perspective (and generosity) I admire greatly.
Posted: 25 May 2012 01:23 AM PDT
According to a recent story in The Charleston Gazette, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has, in recent years, made great strides in stopping the westward spread of the raccoon variant of the rabies virus. And a promising new vaccine, typically distributed in packets dropped from airplanes, may eliminate raccoon rabies altogether.
The news came via a presentation by Richard Chipman, Assistant National Rabies Management Coordinator for USDA’s Wildlife Services (yes, that Wildlife Services), and several of his colleagues at the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Conference in April.
“Chipman said the vaccine, called ONRAB, has helped eliminate raccoon rabies in the Canadian province of Quebec. He also said that tests last year in southern West Virginia showed it to be even more effective than V-RG, the vaccine currently being used.” 
According to an abstract posted on the NEAFWA website, field trials began last September and Wildlife Services “anticipate[s] expanding trials in FY 2012 to strategic areas for further evaluation toward broader geographic use of this vaccine in the future.”
This is big news for TNR advocates, as a report of 2010 rabies surveillance data complied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (from which the map below was taken) explains: “Most (82.2 percent) of the 303 rabid cats were reported from states where raccoon rabies was enzootic, with two states (Pennsylvania and New York) accounting for nearly a third of rabid cats reported during 2010.” 
[Note: As the report makes clear, “because of difference in protocols and submission rates among species and states, comparisons of the percentages of rabid animals between species or states are inappropriate.”  Unfortunately, TNR opponents often overlook or ignore this important caveat.]
Diamond Plant #2, Salmonella
- Categorized in: Pet Food Recall
TruthaboutPetFood.com has the sharpest followers! In a rush this morning to get this latest pet food recall announcement out (had a radio interview Critter Conversations at 9 AM), I didn't read it closely. But you guys did! It is confirmed, this latest recall of Diamond Naturals Small Breed Adult Dog Lamb & Rice Formula dry dog food was made at the Meta, Missouri plant not the Gaston, SC plant (where all the other recalls originated). Plus there is another significant piece of information stated in this latest release...
A second Diamond Pet Food manufacturing plant has now had a product recalled due to Salmonella. All previous recalls were manufactured in one plant located in Gaston, South Carolina. This most recent recall, announced late Friday 5/18/12 evening, was from a second Diamond manufacturing facility in Meta, Missouri (confirmed by Deanna of Diamond Customer Service).
Will more foods made in Missouri be recalled?
I don't know, but I would assume so. If this follows the pattern of the Gaston plant, other products made at the Missouri plant will be recalled.
What foods were made at the Missouri plant?
I don't know. I have left a message with the media office asking what other foods are manufactured at the Missouri plant. I don't know if they will respond.
Another little snippet of information on this latest pet food recall press release that leaves us with questions is...(bold added)
"Production Code & Best Before Date
DSL0801, 27-Sept- 2012 (Product manufactured on Aug. 26, and packaged on Sept. 27)
DSL0801, 18-Oct- 2012 (Product manufactured on Aug. 26, and packaged on Oct. 18)"
'Product manufactured on August 26' but not packaged until 'September 27' and 'October 18'? How was that pet food stored?
For starters, with the last production code listed above, the pet food was made on August 26, 2011. Yet the 'Best Before' date on the package was listed as October 18, 2012 (the packaging date seven weeks later)? Isn't this misleading to a consumer? Shouldn't the 'Best Before' date coincide with the manufacturing date?
Next, this food was manufactured in 2011, yet is only being recalled now (due to potential Salmonella contamination). Were there no reports of sick pets related to this food during the last seven months it has been on the market?
The Diamond Customer Service Rep I spoke with this morning did not know how the product was stored after packaging. If the food was not stored in an air tight environment, that pet food was losing nutritional value over the four to seven weeks it sat around waiting to be packaged; never the less the consideration of Salmonella growing during this time frame.
I do not believe it is standard in the pet food industry to manufacture a batch of pet food and hold it before packaging. But my guess would be this is not a new trick invented by Diamond either. I'd have to guess that if a manufacturer gets a bulk of ingredients - perhaps more raw ingredients than what demand of finished pet food is - many go ahead and process the food and hold it until the need (orders) arrive. But what about the 'best by' date? Should the 'best by' date on pet foods link to the date the food was manufactured or is it linking to the date the food was packaged? Could pet owners, striving to purchase a fresh pet food, be actually buying pet food that sat around for weeks/months (in unknown conditions) before it was packaged?
I'll be taking these questions to regulatory authorities for answers.
By the way, for anyone that has been feeding a Diamond manufactured product, Mollie Morrissette of PoisonedPets.com has published a great Q&A article on this recall with important facts for pet owners and their veterinarians. Click Here to read.
Thank you wonderful readers! Your attention to details (when I was rushed and wasn't attending to details) is fantastic!
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Written By: Susan Thixton
- Categorized in: Pet Food Recall
When the Center for Disease Control announced 14 people (up to 16 now) had become ill linked to Diamond manufactured pet foods on May 4, questions arose. Further information provided by the Michigan Department of Agriculture causes some serious questions to arise about these recent Salmonella recalls.
It all began with a recall announced by Diamond Pet Food on April 6, 2012. This initial recall notice was for one variety of dog food, Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice stating it had the "poteintial for Salmonella contamination."
About a month later - May 4, 2012 - we learned that the 'potential' of salmonella contamination was much more than potential; the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced that 14 people had been infected with a strain of Salmonella linked to the dog food produced by Diamond Pet Food. Plus, we learned that four days prior to Diamond's announcement of this first recall - April 2, 2012 - Michigan Department of Agriculture detected Salmonella in a bag of Diamond Naturals Lamb & Rice dog food.
But the CDC announcement did not provide information as to when Diamond was alerted to the news that one of their foods tested positive for Salmonella and when Diamond was alerted to the news that human illness was linked to their pet food.
So, I picked up the phone and called the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. April Hunt promptly returned my call (by the way April Hunt is a member of AAFCO). I explained that the CDC report stated Michigan Department of Agriculture found the Salmonella positive in the Diamond Naturals Lamb & Rice dog food. Ms. Hunt confirmed this. She shared that under a grant provided by the FDA, Michigan is now testing pet food for pathogens (such as Salmonella) instead of only testing for nutritional content. As part of this new testing program, random testing of dog food provided a positive Salmonella result on April 2, 2012 in the Diamond Naturals dog food.
When was Diamond Pet Foods notified? Ms. Hunt told me the same day, April 2, 2012. The positive Salmonella was also reported to FDA on April 2, 2012.
Within a day or two, the connection was made to the South Carolina manufacturing plant.
Although we concerned petsumers wish we could be notified immediately, recall procedure must be followed and it certainly appears that this first recall announcement was done in a relatively timely fashion. However, the first Diamond Recall press release stated they were "voluntarily recalling Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice...as a precautionary measure, as the product has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella." The 'voluntary' statement was not completely accurate; Michigan Department of Agriculture had the positive Salmonella test - there was no option but to recall the dog food.
Ms. Hunt of the Michigan Department of Agriculture also shared that the connection to consumer illness was linked to this dog food on or about April 5, 2012; Diamond Pet Food was alerted to the connection of human illness to their pet food at the same time - on or about April 5, 2012.
This on or about April 5th connection to human illness appears to tie into the notice that manufacturing had shut down at the South Carolina pet food plant (which we learned later occurred on April 8th).
The very first recall notice sent out by Diamond clearly stated no illness is connected with this recall. By the second recall notice - April 26, 2012 - Diamond had altered their press release to state "no dog illnesses have been reported." However Diamond had not issued the warning that human illness had been confirmed to this pet food.
When Michigan Department of Agriculture confirmed the connection to the strain of salmonella to the Diamond dog food, they learned one of the sick humans reported with Salmonella Infantis was a Michigan resident. Follow up communication with this individual, they learned that this person was feeding three types of pet food - two of which were manufactured by Diamond. Neither of the two manufactured by Diamond pet foods that caused this person to become ill were Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal and Rice dog food (the original food found positive for Salmonella). Thus at this point, the same strain of Salmonella that was found in the Lamb Meal and Rice dog food was confirmed to cause illness in a human who fed their dog another Diamond brand and a private label brand manufactured by Diamond. Michigan Department of Agriculture told me this information was determined around "week of April 9th" and was provided to Diamond in the same time frame.
From the information provided to me by the Michigan Department of Agriculture, early on in this recall (week of April 9th) Diamond was aware that two of their products (Lamb Meal & Rice Naturals dog food and a Chicken Soup variety) had tested positive for Salmonella, at least one human illness was linked to another of their foods and to another brand they manufacture. Yet, it wasn't until weeks later - end of April to early May - that the remaining recalls were announced.
April 26 - Chicken Soup recall (confirmed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture testing)
April 30 - Diamond Puppy recall
May 4 - Extended Diamond pet food recall including Kirkland, Taste of the Wild, and Natural Balance
May 5 - Wellness recall
May 5 - Canidae recall
May 8 - Solid Gold recall
Why was there such a delay?
I can't help but wonder, would this recall have taken place at all if Michigan Department of Agriculture hadn't found the initial positive for Salmonella in random testing. Since early this year, I have heard from numerous pet owners sharing instances of sick pets - many/most of which fed their dog and/or cat a Diamond manufactured pet food. Most all of these pet owners shared with me the pet illness was reported to Diamond and to FDA. Why does it appear that no one paid any attention (such as recalling the pet food) based on reports of pet illness? Why does it appear that a recall only occurred when a state government authority had a positive Salmonella test on the pet food and then connected the Salmonella strain to human illness?
I can't thank the Michigan Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Agriculture enough (Ohio is who found the positive in Chicken Soup pet food). Please, if you are a resident of either of these states send them a quick email thanking them for investigating and playing a significant role in getting numerous pet foods recalled. For US residents in all other states, please write, call, or email your State Department of Agriculture and ask them to implement random pet food pathogen testing.
Ms. Hunt of Michigan Department of Agriculture shared two other significant pieces of information. One, that the exact cause of the Salmonella contamination has not been determined to date for these previous recalls. Two, her department is now busy with pet food investigations not related to these recalls. When I asked for explanation of what that investigation is, she shared that they are receiving "numerous reports daily" of sick pets that appear to be linked to Diamond manufactured pet foods not made at the South Carolina plant. Michigan is investigating these numerous reports and is working closely with FDA, other State Department of Agricultures, and the Michigan State Veterinary School lab. While I certainly hope nothing of recall significance is discovered - if there are health concerns let us hope they determine the cause quickly.
Again, thank you so much April Hunt for your openness and transparency in sharing information with me/pet owners!
One final note...to Diamond and to all pet food manufacturers that experience a recall...
Please, please, please - tell us everything you know as soon as FDA allows you to. While it might not be your preference to disclose pet illness or human illness linked to your pet food, the days of hiding this information are long gone. If we learn the facts from sources other than you - the pet food manufacturer - nothing can improve. Diamond, your website states that 151 checks are performed on the pet foods you produce; "141 ingredient tests and 10 final product checks." Is Salmonella testing one of the final product checks? You owe your previous, existing, and potential customers a complete and full explanation. It certainly won't be pleasant, but nothing less than full disclosure is what your customers deserve.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Diamond Pet Food Updates
#1 The letter from Diamond Pet Food to retailers dated February 2012 regarding production delays (to read full article Click Here), Diamond Pet Food Media Rep Janine Smiley assured me there is no connection of this production delay to the recent Diamond recalls. She assured me the reason for the production delay cited in the February letter was as stated Diamond had "exceed our production capabilities causing product shortages".
#2 Diamond Pet Food has confirmed that production at the South Carolina plant has been stopped. Information provided to me from Diamond originally stated they were suspending delivery - not suspending production. It is now confirmed that production was suspended on April 8, 2012.
#3 Janine Smiley was unable to provide additional information as when the plant will be back in production. "We do not know when the Gaston plant will resume production and delivery, but it will not do so until all quality issues are resolved. An internal investigation continues at the plant to determine the cause of the salmonella contamination."
#4 Natural Balance - a pet food made at the South Carolina plant has laid-off in store representatives (part time employees that provide sales information to customers in national retail pet stores) until further notice.
#5 Artemis Pet Food, another brand manufactured by Diamond (though at their CA plant) sent a letter to retailers in March stating "Artemis Pet Food has been experiencing production delays for the last couple of months due to machinery maintenance and upgrades at our manufacturing facility. Due to those delays, this has caused a major back up in production scheduling." Janine Smiley (Diamond Media Rep) shared "to my knowledge there is no linkage with this Artemis production delay letter and the recent recalls."
#6 An independent pet food store owner shared with me late Monday (after my discussion with Diamond and after the latest recall update) that Diamond is picking up (removing) all product (all products they manufacture, not just Diamond brand) from distribution centers (not retail outlets...distribution centers).
Diamond Pet Food - specifically their media reps - have been very helpful and have tried to answer all of my questions. However, I am disappointed that within a few hours of speaking to Diamond they announced another recall; I cannot understand why they wouldn't have shared this with me during our conversation. As well, the Diamond media rep mentioned nothing about Diamond picking up all product from distribution centers.
It is almost as if they (most pet food manufacturers) don't believe we can handle the truth. To all pet food manufacturers including (but not limited to) Diamond, we can handle the truth. Just tell us, everything - don't leave any detail out. Trust can begin with honesty and transparency.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,