Salmonella Outbreak Triggers Dog Food Recall
A dog food recall is underway after people in at least nine states were sickened by salmonella from handling tainted dog food produced at a South Carolina plant. As a result, since April 6 Diamond Pet Foods has voluntarily recalled several dry dog food products.
The recall covers a number of pet food brands made at the Gaston plant, including Canidae, Natural Balance, Apex, Kirkland, Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul, Country Value, Diamond, Diamond Naturals, Premium Edge, Professional, 4Health, and Taste of the Wild. A complete list of recalled brands is available online at diamondpetrecall.com.
At least 14 people were infected and five people hospitalized because of the dog food, made by Diamond Pet Foods at its plant in Gaston, SC, the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. No illness was reported among dogs who ate the food.
“The thing that was common among [the people who became ill] was that they had fed their pets Diamond Pet Foods,” said CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell. People can be infected with salmonella through handling infected dog food, then not washing their hands before eating or handling their own food, health officials said.
See the CDC website for full details.
SF/SPCA Puppy Mills Education Campaign
A recent survey of San Francisco dog owners by the San Francisco SPCA showed that nearly a third had bought from puppy mills, usually unaware that this was the case, especially if the dogs were purchased online. 51% of respondents said they would not willingly purchase a dog from a puppy mill yet it is still regularly happening, which indicates a great deal of ignorance on the buyers’ part about the dogs’ origins.
The SF SPCA campaign wants to challenge this gap and educate potential purchasers about the problems with puppy mills. “Puppy mill dogs are raised in deplorable conditions; they do not receive basic veterinary care, are undersocialized, and often lack access to adequate food and water. We want to change that,” said Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, veterinarian and SF SPCA co-president. “Many people buy puppies from these mills without even knowing it, perpetuating a cycle of misery that benefits only the mill owners and puppy wholesalers.” She went on to say that even the most expensive dogs purchased online are almost always from large-scale puppy mills.
So where should you turn when you want to add a dog to the family?
Says SF/SPCA Co-president Jason Walthall, “Don’t buy online, but buy or adopt locally instead… there are thousands of dogs a year waiting in shelters for good homes.”
For more information please visit sfspca.org.
USDA To Regulate Internet Puppy Sales
In related news, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced its intention to regulate dog breeders who sell puppies over the Internet. The proposed rule change would subject dog sellers who breed more than four females and sell puppies via the web, by mail, or over the phone to the same oversight and inspection as wholesale dealers, spelled out in the Animal Welfare Act originally established in 1966.
The Act originally applied to dogs bred for research and commercial sales, with the exception of retail sales, since it was assumed that buyers could readily inspect puppies themselves before buying. Internet and other non-direct sales methods do not allow for this, so USDA wants to require such sellers to either open their doors to the public or obtain a license and be subject to inspections by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
Animal advocates applaud the change, since it would close a loophole in the law that allows large-scale breeders to breed puppies in deplorable conditions, often passing sick and traumatized animals on to unaware consumers. The change would not impact backyard breeders who sell puppies from their home or other physical locations that allow buyers to meet and inspect puppies before purchase.
The USDA will accept comments on the proposed rule change until the end of July.