Rabbit Ridge: of Starving Dogs and Extreme Heat

The USDA has released a relatively complete set of inspections for Rabbit Ridge including the missing August 2nd inspection, as well as newer ones at the end of November. However, they did remove the inspection for November 29, but not before I got a copy (pages twothreefour, and five).

Though the inspections state that the USDA APHIS inspector was accompanied by a VMO, which I believe is a representative from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, the MDA shows no new inspections since August, 2011.

From the August 2 inspection:

There was a black Schnauzer puppy (with no ID, DOB 6-2-2011) who had recently had his ears cropped. The licensee stated that he cropped the ears himself in the Whelping Building when the dog was 3 weeks old. He said he gave the puppies a shot to put them down. He stated it was the same stuff the vet uses. He stated he used Rompun at a dose of 0.1cc/pound but no pain-relieving drugs. He stated he waited 10 minutes after injection before performing the surgery. He stated if bleeding occurred, he used blood stop sticks. The licensee showed the inspectors the table and equipment he used to conduct the surgery. The table was a wooden counter in a room containing a variety of items such as dog food, trash bins, a refrigerator, and medications. The walls, floors, and ceilings in that room were dirty and grimy, The licensee stated he dipped the equipment in rubbing alcohol prior to use. The bottle of alcohol he showed the inspectors contained a liquid that was discolored and yellow in appearance, did not smell like alcohol, containing a dead floating insect, and no cap. The licensee showed the inspectors the clamps and the razor blades used to cut the ears. The licensee is not a veterinarian and is not trained or qualified to safely conduct painful, surgical procedures involving the amputation of tissue.

But wait…there’s more…

The whelping building had a temperature of 98.8F with a heat index of 120.5F at approximately 1730 hours. There were 15 puppies showing signs such as: excessive wide mouths, panting, vocalizing, and/or tongue lolling. The puppies were lying separated from one another rather than close together. All of the puppies were lethargic and some did not respond to being stepped on by their littermates. One male Daschund puppy (DOB 21 June 2011) was propped against his water bowl, wobbling his head and then suddenly slumped over and fell on his side.

A heat index of 120.5 F. What could possibly exceed this?

Unfortunately, we found out in November. On November 29:

A black male poodle (identification number 143) is emaciated. There is virtually no fleshy covering over his ribs, hip bones, or back bone. The muscle mass over his thighs and shoulders is greatly reduced. His shoulder structures, including his scapulas, are very prominent with virtually no fleshy covering. The licensee stated that the dog has been moved from an outdoor enclosure to its current sheltered enclosure one week ago and was “normal” at that time. He stated that this dog has not previously been housed with its two current cage mates. One food receptacle with dog food was located in the outside half of the enclosure; the dog was in the sheltered part of the enclosure at the time of the inspection. The licensee stated he knew that the dog had difficulty going in and out of the dog door to move between the indoor and outdoor portions of the enclosure. He stated he had been trying to teach the dog to use the door and had propped it open slightly. Dogs can lose large amounts of weight due to poor nutrition, lack of access to food, or a variety of serious medical conditions.

From a follow up inspection, on November 30.

The non-compliant item has been corrected: the dog was euthanized by the Attending Veterinarian.

What more is there for me to say? To the USDA and MDA, what amounts to starving a dog to death is acceptable.

This is the “compromise” arranged by Governor Nixon. This, the result from the state legislature overriding the vote of the people to undermine Proposition B.

So Happy New Year Governor Nixon, MDA Director Jon Hagler, and Missouri representatives, such as Brian Munzlinger, who has complained because we in the animal welfare community have been harassing this fine upstanding breeder. Happy New Year, AG Koster, who seems to have found only four bad breeders among all the thousands in Missouri (and only seems interested in unlicensed breeders).

Congratulations on a job well done in 2011.


Cattlemen, all in a dither

The Missouri Cattlemen got together, and worked themselves up into a froth of anxiety about HSUS.

You know that HSUS has to be doing something right when a meeting of cattlemen talks more about HSUS than cattle.

Michael Parson was doing his usual: using his elected position to bully non-profits because he doesn’t agree with them.

Anyway, as I wrote in a comment to the post:

I find it disturbing that an elected official, Michael Parson, would advocate government investigation of a non-profit, solely because he disagrees with the non-profit.

Point of fact, I find such attitude to be chilling, in its disregard of the fundamental freedoms on which this country was based.

How far will this man go to protect large agribusiness in this state?

As for the comment about HSUS and grassroots, I remind the people at this event that the people of this state voted for Proposition B. It was legislators who overrode the will of the people, in order to further corporate agribusiness agenda.

You can pretend to be on the side of the people–but the facts speak otherwise.

The agribusiness folks are frenzied because of the Your Vote Counts campaign. After all: can’t have us uppity people in the urban areas having a say in how this state is run. And how dare we voters in Missouri actually disagree with the legislators?


Puppies may be going away

I am considering discontinuing this site. I want to focus more generally on animal issues, rather than only puppy mills in the state of Missouri. I’m also running into difficulties with getting records from the state and the USDA. Especially, and surprisingly, the USDA.

Without the power of a team of lawyers behind you, it’s sometimes difficult to kick through the walls agencies put up to prevent access to data. The USDA has not been helpful lately. At all. Without the information, though, I can’t really expose bad breeders. Plus I just can’t afford to pay for more inspection reports from the state.

I am starting up a new site devoted to issues related to animals, but it’s more general and not specific to just Missouri. I guess we’ll see if I post again whether I maintain this site or not. Trying to do both probably means I do neither well.


This week in HTML5 in verse

This week in HTML5…in verse.

So <time> is saved
though it may be changed,
and <data> is on the horizon.

<hgroup> is going,
you can hear it moaning,
as HTML5 continues to wizen.

Draft ACFA Rules

I have a draft of the ACFA rules after the modification by the “Missouri Solution”. These are draft until vetted by the Secretary of State.

The Humane Society of the US, the ASPCA, and the Best Friends Society had mixed reviews of the new rules. On the plus side, a veterinarian annual exam must be physical, not visual. In addition, the new rules do at least address some of the original concerns, such as providing a definition of what a “severe” illness or injury is, and what is meant by “extreme” weather conditions.

HSUS, ASPCA, and Best Friends still have their concerns, such as crowded housing, insufficient floor requirements, and the fact that so much of the animal medical care is still under the breeders’ interpretation. I’m concerned about the fact that the new rules demand that housing for the animals ensure they’re not subjected to lower temperature unless acclimated. Well, again, open to interpretation. However, the rules do say that the ambient temperature can’t fall below 45 degrees in indoor enclosures, period. Of course, this doesn’t say anything about the dogs in outdoor enclosures. Again, how the dogs are housed is too frequently left up to the interpretation of the breeder.

The space requirements are not good. The single cage spaces are fine, but then as you look at the space requirements table, you can see that the cages can become quite crowded when adding more dogs. And yes, the breeders will add more dogs.

In addition, the rules were weakened to allow for large groupings in cages, which are going to cause problems no matter how compatible the dogs are.

The draft does not cover the licensing fees, but according to our understanding, rescues and shelters are still being charged the same amount as commercial dog breeders. Nothing like providing a service for the community and being charged for the privilege. I would expect if this continues that communities pay this fee. After all, shelters and rescues taking care of stray, homeless, or rescued dogs means that many less dogs the communities have to deal with.

Yes, I’m talking about you, St. Louis.