ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Banfield®, the Pet Hospital (formerly known as VetSmart–most of the chain’s offices are located in PetSmart stores) is the largest chain of veterinary hospitals in the United States.
Among most veterinarians I know, Banfield® has a bad reputation. Why is there such animosity? First, Banfield® is a big business. Most veterinary clinics are small businesses. Vets fear that Banfield®, with its economies of scale, will drive smaller practices out of business. Many vets also feel that Banfield® is bad for the profession. In the late 1990s the chain repeatedly sponsored measures (which thankfully failed) in California that would have made it easier for graduates of veterinary schools in developing countries to become licensed in the state. The word on the streets was that Banfield® wanted to bring in third-rate cheap labor for their clinics. To this day the chain sponsors “temporary licensing curricula” in California. (Screen capture is from an e-mail I received this week.) Many people think the purpose of this is to increase the number of vets available to the chain. Veterinarians fear that easing the requirements for licensing will allow a larger number of incompetent vets to practice in the state. This would adversely impact the profession’s integrity.
Rumors circulate that Banfield® exploits foreign graduates that it brings to this country on special visas. Many former employees deplore the working conditions at the chain.
A number of veterinarians fret that the medicine practiced at Banfield® is low quality and profit driven. They claim that Banfield® promotes over-vaccination of pets. (Several years ago Banfield® published a few quasi-scientific studies that supported annual vaccinations rather than the triennial vaccinations that are recommended by most respected authorities.) Banfield® uses an infamous proprietary computer system that supposedly guides veterinarians through recommended tests and treatments based on symptoms and physical exam findings. Many non-Banfield® vets worry that this leads to low quality cookie-cutter medicine, and to over-treatment of many conditions.
Banfield®’s medical records appear to put avoidance of lawsuits first and the patient’s needs last. I have seen medical records that contained 50 or more pages of material that is irrelevant to a veterinarian treating the pet but that would prove very useful to a lawyer defending the chain against a malpractice lawsuit. Finding truly important information in these records is like finding a needle in a haystack.
Banfield® has a reputation for strong-arming suppliers and for using products that nobody else uses if they can get a good deal on them. For a while the chain used microchips that could not be read by anyone else’s scanners. This led to concerns that owned pets would be euthanized by shelters after being mistaken for strays. The company currently promotes a flea preventative that in my opinion has a bad safety profile and is no better than the horrible products made by Hartz, Sargeant’s and BioSpot.
Banfield®’s supporters dispute the allegations of employee exploitation and cookie-cutter medicine. And I readily applaud the chain’s decision one year ago to stop docking tails and cropping ears. Banfield®’s anesthetic protocols appear to be good ones that are safer than those practiced by many old-school independent vets.
This week news of a lawsuit against the chain has started a great deal of chatter in the veterinary community. It also has added a new allegation to the list above: bill padding. A veterinarian in Oregon is suing Banfield®. He claims he was fired for complaining that the chain was putting profits above the needs of pets. The chain denies the allegations.
The veterinarian claims that the Banfield® hospital where he worked purchased an ultrasound machine and then began pressuring vets to use the machine (and charge clients for its use) in order to pay it off.
To be fair, I should remind readers that anything said by a potentially disgruntled former employee must be taken with a grain of salt. And I also should point out that many of the bad things that are said about Banfield® also could be said about many other veterinary hospitals. I think that a lot of the flack that is drawn by the chain is related to its enormous size.
The lawsuit has made headlines in veterinary news journals and has sparked a great deal of debate about the chain among veterinarians and veterinary technicians. If you want to read what veterinarians are saying about the matter, I recommend that you check out Jen Schori’s blog on Clinician’s Brief. The comments section is fascinating.
Meanwhile, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and feelings about Banfield® and the lawsuit.
A recent opinion letter from a very misinformed animal-rights activist clearly shows how misinformed some people really are. Her analogy of rodeo and jerking dogs to the ground by their necks, and cats riding dogs with ropes tied to their genitals is comical indeed, but hardly accurate. Her infatuation with constricted genitalia and raking spurs is surely meant to inflame the conscience of other misinformed individuals.
Here are the facts: The flank strap on a bucking animal must be fleece-lined, not overly tightened. It never touches the genitalia. In fact, some of the best bucking horses are mares. Spurs must be dull and the rowels loose so as to roll over the hide. The hide on horses and bulls is 5 to 7 times thicker than humans. Electronic cattle prods are not allowed. Perhaps if people would simply look up the PRCA rules governing animal welfare, we could move past all this hysteria and stop allowing the few to impact the free will of all. I urge the Fair Board again to get this right and bring on the rodeo.
JD Demeter, Soquel
A recent alert went around the email lists, Craigslist and Facebook about 1,300 dogs in Missouri that needed to be rescued immediately. Supposedly, a shelter manager in Missouri was distraught that 50% of 1,300 animals brought in had already been euthanized. She was pleading for rescues to come save the dogs since they just did not have the space for them. She said the shelter was not able to transport them, but they would vaccinate and deworm the dogs, asking only $10 per dog to cover costs. Health certificates, rabies shots and other services would cost more if they could even obtain them.
This is the post:
MO (Joplin) - (GASSING) 1,300 Animals Brought in (50% Gassed) - Please look at all these faces below . . . this is truly awful. [*Pictures of dogs that could be any dogs from anywhere] Need Massive Cross posting help.
You may contact me by e-mail for more information or to tag a dog for rescue. Please remember that I am the Shelter Manager; so don't think I am ignoring you if I do not respond immediately. ..I check most e-mails at night from home. Rescue is my “2nd job”! Rescues may also contact me via cell phone at 417-439-5143. E-mail pitbullangels@ yahoo.com
We need available dogs pulled NOW. We are not able to hold dogs at the shelter for rescue...we just do not have the space. It is often possible to board a dog in Joplin at Golden Paws for $8/day until you can pick up. It is CRUCIAL that all rescue pay their boarding fees....if we are not able to continue this partnership. ...more dogs will die due to lack of space. Please don't ask to have your dogs moved and then not pay the fees! We are not able to transport; we work with a very small staff and few volunteers.
Dogs will be vaccinated (Distemper Combo, Bordatella) and dewormed with pyrantel. We ask for $10 reimbursement per dog to cover our costs. Because it is so difficult to track costs and fees post release with so many dogs, we ask that you pay this via credit card or PayPal as soon as you tag your available dog....we have to pay the bills every month! Costs for stray dogs may be paid when dog is off stray time. If costs are not covered...we cannot continue up front services.... again...the dogs will suffer.
Health certs and rabies MAY be available-but this requires a trip to the vet as we do not have one on staff. It is preferred that rescues obtain this after picking up the dog. The cost if we get this done is $25. (This price has gone up) Heartworm testing is available for $10. We will treat with Frontline Plus if we see fleas/ticks, you can opt to have us treat all dogs you pull for $5.
Please understand that we take in between 1000-1300 (or more) animals per month. Getting special pictures and temperament testing may not be possible. Please consider all dogs and puppies potentially exposed to Kennel Cough and Parvo, and all cats to URI and take necessary precautions.
Information for Adopters
If you wish to adopt, you should call the shelter at (417) 623-3642.
You will need to fill out an pre-adoption survey
We are not able to transport; we work with a very small staff and few volunteers.
Adoption fee is $60 for small dogs and puppies and kittens. This includes vaccines and deworming. Adoption fee for large dogs, teenager pups and adult cats is $35 ...this will cover the spay/neuter to local adopters. ALL adopted pets must be neutered as per MISSOURI state law. Dogs and pets are adopted out as family pets and may not be chained out or penned.
Please ask us about our adoption requirements.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
An internet search revealed that the phone number to call, 417-439-5143, belongs to Michelle at the Joplin Humane Society Shelter. In January, she made a plea that 8 boxers needed to be rescued.
There were several variations of this alert. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary said there were 800 or so dogs, mostly pit bull puppies. Here is another variation of the recent plea: Urgent! Animals being gassed due to lack of space. The shelter in Joplin, MO took in 793 pets in 17 days. This is only some of the photos. Please help and please crosspost. Shelter# is 417-623-3642 or rescuers can contact cell phone for more info at 417-439-5143.
The July 28, 2010 email, as far as I can tell came from Linda Brandon (k9rescuer63) who claimed that in the month of June, 1,300 animals were brought into the Joplin Humane Society [Note: according to the first alert at the top of this page, that is nothing unusual since it was claimed the shelter took in that many dogs/animals a month] animal shelter and nearly 50% were euthanized. Spidey thinks that Missouri needs laws similar to the state of Michigan that would require, among other things, shelter registrations and annual shelter reports. In fact, I believe all states would benefit from such laws!
But back to the article cited in this alert. Executive director Karen Aquino denies these claims. "No animals have ever been euthanized that's [sic] been marked for rescue," Aquino says. "If they are marked for rescue we have a local kennel that we can take them to and she will hold them until the rescue can come down." [emphasis from Spidey]
Shelter employees [Michelle??? ... Lysa??? Sheila???] told the press that animals were being unjustly euthanized and Mary Ann Schlau, who stepped down as the secretary on the Board of Directors for the Joplin HS, backed those claims.. What is going on? Some internal political infighting and wrangling, perhaps?
Interestingly, the state of Missouri, claimed that since January 2009, it transferred more than 1,300 abused and neglected dogs from unlicensed breeders to various shelters. This plea for the lives of 1,300 dogs must be common to the Missouri rescue and shelter folk. I'm sure it is extremely successful for finding dogs new homes and also bringing in donations of cash and supplies.
However, did you know that surrendered or confiscated dogs in Missouri may be auctioned off to legitimate breeders? GASP! A fate worse than gassing?!? Of course, that option is NEVER mentioned in these emotional pleas. Apparently Missouri, as far as HSUS et all press releases go, is the new puppy mill capital of the United States - at least for this year. I remember when it used to be Pennsylvania. A quick search for MO puppy mill raids and seizures turned up quite a few hits as you can imagine. Spidey skimmed through them and saw numbers like 100 or 200 some odd dogs being seized, not thousands, and yet the Joplin Humane Society gets 1300 every month.
Something doesn't add up!
Spidey decided to do a search for "1,300 dogs" and discovered that this seems to be a common number in press releases regarding all types of dogs.
Over a year ago, this was posted to Facebook: Harlequin Haven Great Dane Rescue (in Ohio) Nearly 1,300 dogs adopted to loving and "forever" homes!
Misty Creek Dog Rescue in Calgary Canada has been operational since 1998. They have placed over 1300 dogs that were either at the pounds, SPCA's or unwanted by their owners. They are a not-for-profit/no-kill shelter that offers to find homes for all unwanted dogs and puppies and are also very actively involved in helping shelters across the USA. [Sending? or Receiving?]
2004 - 4th Graders in Dalhart, Texas start no-kill sanctuary, taking in more than 1,300 dogs in 19 months.
2005 Katrina. The airlifts -- each costing about $45,000 -- were sponsored by Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens and his wife, Madeleine, part of a larger effort by animal welfare groups to find homes across the country for animals in crowded shelters in Louisiana and Mississippi. More than 2,000 animals, including 1,300 dogs, 400 birds and several hundred cats, are at the main shelter in the New Orleans area. Rescue crews are picking up several hundred more daily. Officials say as many as 50,000 may still be stranded.
2007 Alaska A recent statistical study from the Mat-Su Animal Care and Regulation office shows that since January, nearly 3,400 animals have been brought to the shelter with 1,089 being adopted to new homes and 1,000 more returned to their original owners. The study also shows that more than 1,300 dogs and cats have been put down so far in 2007.
In 2008 - Dogs were taken from an alleged puppy mill in Wisconsin. Can you guess how many? Yep, 1300.
This seems to be some kind of magic number. Maybe it is a code of some kind.
2008. Animal Association International What does the AAI Foundation do?
AAI tries to find good homes in the Netherlands for discarded and disowned dogs, mostly from Southern Europe, and has been doing so since 1994. AAI became an official foundation in 1997. Since then, through responsible rehoming, well over 1300 dogs have found their way to a good home in the Netherlands. During the dogs life AAI keeps in contact with the new owners and also takes care of rehoming the dogs again in case of problems; no dog that has been previously rehomed through AAI in the Netherlands ever goes to an animal shelter. All dogs remain legal property of AAI.
2008 - ASPCA Helps Get Animal Cruelty Conviction at Puppy Mill
In March 2009, we gave testimony at the trial of Kathy Bauck, the operator of Pick of the Litter Kennels in New York Mills, Minnesota helped. And just how many dogs did she have on her property? Uh Huh. You know the answer - 1300. (PS In 2009, after a four and a half day trial which included six hours of jury deliberation, she was cleared of all felony charges.)
1300 Appears Globally as well. 2008 - GRANT AWARDED TO FADAB
Panama-- Fundación Amigos de Animales Boquete (FADAB) is excited to announce the receipt of its first ever grant – a generous contribution of $3,000 from the Marchig Animal Welfare Trust in Carnwath, Scotland. The grant will support the purchase of veterinary medications and supplies for FADAB's low-cost spay/neuter clinics. Marchig Animal Welfare Trust was established in 1989 by Madame Jeanne Marchig of Geneva. In 2008 alone, it has provided grants to more than 46 animal welfare organizations on virtually every continent. In the last three years, the FADAB clinics have sterilized over 1300 dogs and cats in Boquete and surrounding communities. [OK - they rescue 1300, adopt 1300, sterilize 1300, euthanize 1300 and sometimes 1300 are killed in one day!]
2008 Egypt. The Government in Egypt still insists on using strychnine poison to address stray dogs problems in Egypt. 1300 stray dogs were killed by shooting and poisoning and the massacre is continuing in Aswan.
2009 Contaminated pet food kills 1,300 stray dogs across Taiwan. How did they know? Did they autopsy them all? Did the contaminated pet food kill actual pets?
2010 - 8000th Dog Rehomed With Help Of DogsBlog.com
The UK’s number one dog adoption website DogsBlog.com has recently helped rehome it’s 8000th dog. DogsBlog.com is growing by the day and currently has over 1300 dogs listed on its pages looking for forever homes in over 240 rescues up and down the UK. There are currently 92 breeds and cross-breeds listed and there are dogs ranging from new born pups to golden oldies, Lhasa Apso to Labrador, Chihuahua to Collie.
This is from a May 2010 press release - As many as 1,300 dogs and cats in Fort Worth, Texas, will be saved every year thanks to a one-of-a-kind partnership between the City of Fort Worth, Texas, and nonprofit PetSmart Charities, Inc. The two have teamed up with support from community pet lovers and PetSmart, Inc. to open the first government animal-control pet-adoption center inside a PetSmart store.
The One-Two Punch
And now we come back, full circle to Missouri, and a press release from MOFAC, a coalition of mainstream agricultural and animal owner groups in the state. There is a ballot initiative which would establish mandates on kennel owners. (but of course, not rescues and shelters and other such non-profit organizations)
We are told that Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan verified signatures for the ballot proposal sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Humane Society of Missouri, ASPCA and the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation but they should double check her work to make sure.
“While the current HSUS effort is about stopping dog breeding and pet ownership, it’s simply another methodical move to accomplish their ultimate goal of ending animal agriculture and meat consumption,” MOFAC said in a press release.
HSUS is about ending all animal use and ownership - that is unless it is mandated and certified with their approval - and that, my dear readers, will be at a very high price.
The Number 13
NLP - Neuro Linguistic Programming
Foley - (08/09/10) city council met during a special called meeting to discuss the adoption of an ordinance for animal control. The police department had previously drawn up an ordinance based on similar city ordinances around the state for animal control and the enforcement with which police officials can address the problem of vicious animals within city limits. The original ordinance included punitive actions in the form of misdemeanors for owners who do not comply with the restrictions set forth and registration and insurance fees between $500 and $1,000 per vicious animal. Grandfathering is non-applicable if the ordinance is adopted.
Contra Costa County - Two County supervisors are working on an ordinance that would require owners of pit bulls to spay or neuter their pets. Supervisors John Gioia, of Richmond, and Mary Piepho, of Discovery Bay, want to model the ordinance after a 2006 San Francisco law. The measure will be aimed at reducing the number of unwanted, unclaimed or neglected pit bulls. Dogs that are spayed or neutered also tend to be less aggressive.
Hollister - proposed ordinance that would mandate the spaying or neutering of pit bulls and Chihuahuas. The ordinance, if adopted at the Aug. 16 City Council meeting, would require that owners of pure bred and mixed-breed pit bulls and Chihuahuas have their pets surgically altered within 30 days of obtaining them. City officials say the ordinance is necessary because of an increase in attacks by pit bulls and a spike in the number of un-adoptable stray dogs that must be euthanized.
San Bernardino - (08/13/10) new mandatory Pit Bull spay/neuter ordinance in the unincorporated areas of the county went to effect on Friday, August 13, by San Bernardino County Animal Care & Control.
Santa Clara County - County Supervisor Ken Yeager proposed requiring the owners of "pit bull-type dogs" to spay or neuter their pets as a way to limit the canines' potential for aggression and possibly prevent injuries to people and other animals. An ordinance, which would only apply in the county's unincorporated areas.
Maui - bill to regulate reef fish extraction for the aquarium trade has passed its first reading before Maui County Council with unanimous approval, 9-0. If the bill passes a second and final reading on Tuesday, August 24, it will require stringent permits and standards, including mortality reports, humane treatment, tax clearance and fees on all marine wildlife trafficking for the pet trade.
Worcester - City council never voted on proposed ordinance requiring pit bulls to be leashed and muzzled, or placed in a secure temporary enclosure, when taken off an owner's premises because Councilor-at-Large Michael J. Germain put a hold on the item in accordance with council rules. Mayor Joseph C. O'Brien said the council will take the item up at its Sept. 7 meeting.
(8/15/10) - Judge rejects challenge to ballot wording. A Missouri trial judge on Friday rejected a challenge to the ballot summary for an initiative petition that seeks to impose new restrictions on dog breeders. A critic of the ballot measure filed a lawsuit and argued that the proposed ballot summary was unfair, particularly its description of a violation of the proposed restrictions as a misdemeanor called "puppy mill cruelty." Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem upheld the ballot summary written by the secretary of state and the cost estimate prepared by the state auditor. Last week, the secretary of state's office determined the ballot measure had gotten enough signatures and qualified for the November ballot. Had Beetem ordered the ballot summary to be rewritten, however, opponents said they planned to file another lawsuit to keep the proposal off the ballot because people who signed the petitions read a different description. The lawsuit was filed by Karen Strange, who is the president of the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners. Strange said Friday opponents were working to oppose the proposal in November and declined to comment on whether she planned to appeal the court decision. Under the proposal, people could have only 50 breeding dogs and would be required to feed animals daily, provide annual veterinary care and not breed animals more than twice every 18 months. Breeders also would have to follow rules for the dogs' living space and house animals indoors with unfettered access to an outdoor exercise yard. It would apply to people with at least 10 female dogs for breeding. Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine. The measure calls that crime "puppy mill cruelty."
Reno - (08/10/10) A federal appeals court cleared the way for the roundup of more than 2,000 wild horses in California and Nevada, rejecting critics' claims that the free-roaming mustangs have a legal right to remain on the range. In an after-hours order, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco refused to grant an emergency stay sought by animal rights groups ahead of the scheduled roundup Wednesday.
Throop - (08/11/10) Town Board voted unanimously at its Wednesday night meeting to amend the town's five-year-old animal control laws to stiffen the penalties for pet owners who allow their animals to run wild. Instead of the $10 per day charged under the previous law to redeem a pet that is captured by the town's dog control warden and transported to the Cayuga County SPCA, owners now face housing charges of $25 for the first 24 hours and $10 for each subsequent 24-hour period the pet is housed at the SPCA. Owners whose pets are caught by the warden a second time in a five-year period will face a charge of $50 for the first day, followed by $10 for each day thereafter. Also under the new law, if a pet is captured a third time within five years, the owner faces a redemption charge of $75 for the first day and $10 for each following day.
Thank you Mahlon
Shadyside Village - (08/05/10) Council members have for months grappled with crafting a vicious dog ordinance. Council went as far as to form a special committee to deal with the issue. The ordinance calls for no one be allowed to own a pit bull in the village. To those already possessing them, they are being granted grandfather rights to maintain them, but not more than two. Rigid guidelines, such as registering the pit bulls within five days of the ordinance's adoption, the dogs must be always securely confined and they must be muzzled and harnessed when entering or exiting property. Liability insurance as well as spaying and neutering is being required.
Nashville - proposal would limit the number of cats and dogs a person can have based on the size of a resident’s property.
* There could be no more than five cats or dogs on an acre of land, according to the proposal.
* There could be no more than 10 cats and dogs on 1.5 to 2.5 acres of land.
* No more than 20 dogs and cats would be allowed to live on five acres.
* Land more than 5 acres would be allowed to have up to 21 dogs and cats.
Vets, kennels, boarding facilities and licensed pet breeders and dealers would be exempt from the proposed ordinance.
OF INTEREST IN OTHER COUNTRIES
New Delhi - new law proposed law, the environment ministry is likely to recommend measures for authorities and animal keepers to ensure their welfare. A few such regulation have already been intended through draft notification of rules on Breeding of dogs and fishes and regulations for pet shops.
Feltre/Siena - Michela Vittoria Brambilla Tourism Minister calling for the famous palio horse-racing seasoncompetitions to be outlawed on animal cruelty grounds. The medieval summer horse races, in which riders tear bareback through historic citycentres. The mayor of Siena, Maurizio Cenni, said: "It's incredible that an Italian minister can make declarations like these, completely without foundation," he said. "This is an embarrassment for the country and an attack on our city."
Wellington - Traditionally short tailed breeds will still be seen in Australasia now that New Zealand's National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) has found, after 2½ years of careful consideration and 238 submissions, that there is not enough evidence to ban the shortening of dogs' tails by neonatal tail banding.