Treats on the Internets

In TN, the group Cleveland for a No Kill City says it has reached its 5 year goal of saving at least 90% of the shelter’s pets, 4 years early.  (Thanks Clarice, as always.)

A pregnant woman in Charlotte says a Char-Meck police officer shot one of her dogs to death while a bullet grazed her other dog’s mouth and came within inches of her and her unborn child.  As usual, the police department is investigating itself.  (Thanks April for the link.)

The Animal Rescue League in Pittsburgh is running an adoption promotion for the end of the world.  (Thank you Melissa for sending me this link.)

It’s not just dogs offering comfort to the residents of Newtown, CT – cats are helping people too.  (Thanks Sandi for the link.)

Another group of kids benefiting from the presence of a pet to help ease trauma: Brooke the Golden Retriever goes to work with her dentist owner every Thursday. (Thank you Claire for this link.)

Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Co in IL was fined $1050 for a rancid smell which disturbed neighbors and created a public nuisance in September.  The company is fighting the fine and has filed a lawsuit claiming the witnesses who testified about the offensive odor did not explain how they were inconvenienced by it.

A CA woman who cares for blind and injured ravens and crows says she was in the process of applying for a wildlife rehabilitation license when state and federal wildlife officials seized her birds alleging a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Hard Time for Evanger’s?

The owners of the troubled Evanger’s pet food company are in the pokey:

A Lincolnwood couple has been charged with money laundering and theft for illegally diverting about $2 million worth of natural gas and electricity over the past several years to their Wheeling pet food company, prosecutors say.

[...]

Bail was set at $250,000 for Joel Sher and $200,000 for [Holly Sher] in a hearing midday today.

If Holly Sher is released on bail, she will be allowed to travel to Orlando, Florida, for a trade show, and to Los Angeles for a Seder celebration for cats and dogs, according to the conditions of bail.

They were reportedly turned in by an ex-employee.  While they are presumed innocent until proven otherwise I do wonder, given the nature of the charges, if I’d want to be manning the booth at a trade show for my company right now.  If I was innocent, I’d probably want to focus on my defense to clear my name.  And if I was guilty well, I think I’d still want to focus on my defense.  There is such a thing as bad publicity.

Evanger’s Still in Trouble with FDA, Still Denying Food Problems

The most popular post on my blog right now seems to be this one from a year ago about the FDA telling Evanger’s pet food company to get it together on the botulism thing (I paraphrase, heh). So an update is probably in order. Apparently Evanger’s has not made satisfactory changes and the FDA (a government org which, inexplicably, lacks the authority to mandate recalls of anything but baby milk) has recently, in effect, shut the company down:

When the FDA announced its latest enforcement against Evanger’s, the agency’s Dr. Bernette Dunham said: “The FDA is stopping Evanger’s ability to ship pet food in interstate commerce. 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.”

Before Evanger’s can resume shipping products, the FDA said, it must prove that corrective actions and processing procedures have been made to ensure the company’s finished product will not present a health hazard.

Botulism is a toxin that affects the nervous system and can be fatal, the FDA said. Symptoms of botulism in dogs and cat include progressive muscle paralysis, disturbed vision, trouble chewing and swallowing, and progressive weakness to the body. Death is usually caused by paralysis of the heart or the muscles used in breathing.

He Said, She Said – FDA vs. Evanger’s

Update on April 29, 2008:  Over on the Itchmo Forums, a consumer posted a response from the FDA on the back and forth between Evanger’s and the FDA.

Original post:

On April 24, 2008 FDA issued a press release stating in part:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an order requiring that Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co., Inc., in Wheeling, Ill., obtain an emergency permit from the FDA before its canned pet food products enter interstate commerce.

A recent inspection revealed significant deviations from prescribed documentation of processes, equipment, and recordkeeping in the production of the company’s thermally processed low acid canned food (LACF) products. These problems 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.

Pet owners who feed Evanger’s or any of the companies Evanger’s cans for, would seem to have reason to be concerned.

But then -

On April 25, 2008 Evanger’s responded with a release on its website, stating in part:

Contrary to a news release issued by the FDA Thursday, April 24, 2008, Evanger’s continues to make and distribute its products with FDA approval. Evanger’s is working closely with the FDA and already has addressed many of the FDA’s questions. Evanger’s expects to have the few remaining FDA queries fully satisfied shortly.

No Evanger’s product has been recalled, nor is there any indication that any Evanger’s product is under-processed, unsafe, or contaminated in any way.

And the owners, Joel and Holly Sher, made the rounds to the pet blogs, posting comments that the FDA release is “highly inaccurate”.

So -

What’s a pet owner to do? Believe the FDA whose track record on protecting consumers (and their pets) leaves something to be desired? Believe the owners of the pet food company who obviously would like you to buy their products? This is a dilemma pet owners should not have to face. Evanger’s does not work for me so I can’t influence their behavior except with my wallet. But the FDA does work for me. And I want an FDA with enough funding, qualified staff, and enforcement powers (not to mention a complete overhaul so that even the appearance of the agency’s “fondness” for big business is eradicated) that can do its job right. I want an FDA that protects me and my pets and has a good record of doing so. I want an FDA that has gotten it right enough times for me to have confidence that if they say X, I can believe X.

For now, I will continue to grocery shop with caution and prepare my pets’ food at home. Because the FDA I want and the FDA I have seem to be far, far apart.

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