Sunday wag 2/06

PAWS needs your help. The Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society has been able to provide free spay/neuter services to 270 dogs and cats thanks to a generous ($20,000) donation from Tom's of Maine. But now the kitty is empty.

"The “Tom’s Fund” has already made a true difference here in Philadelphia, enabling people to keep their beloved pets, preventing the birth of unwanted litters, and kept countless dogs and cats from entering the shelters or living on the streets," says PAWS executive director Melissa Levy. "However, we have only scratched the surface in reaching the people and pets who need us most. We are inundated each day with phone calls asking for help. Information on how to donate here.

February 22 is the 17th annual Spay Day, designed to draw attention to the importance of spaying and neutering to reduce the overpopulation of cats and dogs. According to event sponsor HSUS, some 600 events are scheduled throughout the month including low and no-cost spay/neuter clinics, providing life-saving veterinary services for low-income families, fundraisers to benefit spay/neuter programs and educational programs. Here's a statistic to consider: four million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters each year.

A diabetes drug shortage on the horizon. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced last week an anticipated shortage of Vetsulin (porcine insulin zinc suspension), a product used to treat diabetes mellitus in dogs and cats. Vetsulin is manufactured by Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health and is only available to animals currently enrolled in the Vetsulin Critical Need Program. Last November, the drug failed critical manufacturing tests to ensure consistency and quality. The test showed that the current batch - which has not been released - may be compromised by bacterial contamination. The company will be contacting vets and pet owners. In the meantime, if you have a cat or dog on the drug you should contact your veterinarian about alternatives.

The Humane Society of the United States says the deaths of 85,000 egg-laying hensin the collapse of the shed at a large Connecticut egg factory farm last week is reason to end the overcrowding that defines factory farming.  The shed collapse under heavy snow in Bozrah, Conn. caused 85,000 egg-laying hens to be crushed or frozen to death. The Connecticut legislature in 2007 considered a bill to phase out what HSUS calls "extreme confinement systems" but it failed. California and Michigan have passed legislation to phase out this kind of chicken housing.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared war on feral catsin the Florida Keys. The federal agency claims cats living in the National Wildlife Refuges are "endangering" other species. The nation's leading feral cat defender, Alley Cat Allies ,is fighting back, saying their approach will result in the killing of cats and will not protect other species, nor will it eradicate the cats. “The plan is based on a deeply flawed interpretation of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) research and several studies were omitted. Similar plans by the agency have already killed feral, stray and pet cats, with no benefit whatsoever,” said Alley Cat president Becky Robinson. Alley Cat Allies also notes that the agency relies on highly biased sources in criticizing TNR, and that it ignores a successful and ongoing TNR program just miles from the refuges in Key Largo. The plan relies on “trap and remove” for cats—a costly and inefficient approach that has already failed in the Florida Keys and elsewhere. Because feral cats need socialization - and some are never fully socialized -virtually 100 percent of feral cats that are brought to shelters are put down.

Last stop for racing greyhounds: Philadelphia. Twenty-seven former racing greyhounds from Florida arrived at the National Greyhound Adoption Program facility yesterday. The group says it's been over 15 years since NGAP has brought this many greyhounds into the facility at one time.They will wait for new homes in comfort at the new, modern kennel complete with soothing music and cloud paintings on the ceilings. The center notes that its state-of-the-art vet clinic will soon offer affordable vet care for greyhounds and other animals.

Your Sunday bit of whimsy comes from a shelter in Winnipeg, Canada that borrowed a wacky page from the used car dealer playbook to "clear" its showroom of cats. (See video below.)

Coming soon, Will there be an open season on porcupines in Pennsylvania?