Sunday Wag April 25

Squawking in the legal hen house...Recently released documents that are part of a large-scale price-fixing suit against egg producers show an industry group called for farmers to slow production to boost prices, according to an Associated Press report.

A class-action lawsuit, filed in 2008 in the U.S. district court in Philadelphia, alleges that egg producers who blamed rising feed costs for price increases were actually covering up an orchestrated hen kill-off to reduce supplies. United Egg Producers said they were reducing their stock as part of an animal-welfare effort to increase cages sizes. Among the egg producers named in the suit is industry giant Eggland's Best, based Jeffersonville, Montgomery County.

Butchers hold that doggy bone... The Food and Drug Administration says real meat bones are unsafe at any size. "Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian's office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death," says Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian with the Food and Drug Administration. The agency in its warning last week, said that bones can result in broken teeth and harm mouths and jaws, or end up as potentially fatal obstructions to a dog's windpipe, esophogas or stomach. The FDA recommends bone substitutes instead.

Add Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Kathleen Parker to the list of voices urging Congress to swiftly pass legislation outlawing so-called "crush videos." The 1999 law was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last week on First Amendment grounds. In a recent column Parker asks: how can a form of torture - killing kittens and other small animals under stiletto heels for sexual gratification - be illegal, but the filming of it not be? Leaders of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus have already introduced a bill (HR 5092) that would deal with the "crush" video issue.

Once again proving that animal hoarding is a tough - if not impossible - disease to cure... Animal services agents in Los Angeles raided the home of the former Beverly Hills mayor and removed 34 animals - 24 dogs, some suffering from malnutrition and mange, a cat and her four kittens. Several rusted cages covered in feces were discovered on the property, along with piles of rotten food and trash. A dead dog was found in a dilapidated trailer housing more than a dozen puppies, according to KTLA-TV. Charlotte Spadaro, who describes herself as an animal rescuer, was the subject of an investigation in 2005 that led to the removal of 135 dogs and 30 cats. At that time the body of a dead dog was found in her freezer. 

The ASPCA has fired its marquee employee but won't say why. Humane officer Annmarie Lucas, star of TV's "Animal Precinct" was terminated by the national non-profit, reports the New York Daily News. However, the Daily News says, she is a defendant in a suit that claims her humane law enforcement unit performed illegal searches and seizures. Some animal welfare advocates were distressed to learn of Lucas's untimely departure and say has served as a role model for a generation of young animal lovers and encouraging children - particularly girls - to pursue careers in humane law enforcement.

Queer eye for the Aussie guy? A restaurant in Sydney, Australia has been ordered to apologize to a blind customer and pay him restitution after refusing to serve him because his waiter thought the man's dog was "gay." More here.