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.

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