Friday, February 29, 2008

Hamden, CT Dog Dumping Controversy

I have been holding off on posting about this subject since it's had both regional and national coverage. Plus, it's somewhat of a morbid subject. However, since I grew up in this town, I have been following this story and it is just disgusting.

A story was revealed by a cyber paper called the, which brought to light the fact that dead dogs and cats were being thrown into the town dump. Not buried, not cremated, not even hidden...just there, dumped in plain view at the local transfer station.

As the story has unfolded, it was revealed that a change in policy was made....all in the name of saving money. Apparently it was costing the town over $2,000 a year to cremate and dispose of the dead animals. Dumping them, of course, would be free. The blame game started and no one really knew who changed the policy, or when, or how. It just suddenly changed. Plus, it's still unclear where these dogs are coming from....are they dogs found on the side of the road? Or are they homeless dogs that are being euthanized after not finding a home? There is also rumor that the town doesn't go above and beyond in trying to find the owners of lost dogs. They keep the dog for the minimum amount of time (1 week), and then have them put to sleep if no owner comes forward.

I would hate to think that if my dogs ever got loose, that any town would not do the best they could to find the owner of the pet....especially that of a tax paying citizen.

After much public outcry, the policy was changed back to cremation. But, there are still plenty of letters to the editor and public war of words, since there are some people who spoke out in favor the town dog dumping, caring more about a measly $2K.

You can read the original article at There are plenty of other articles and letters to the editor -- just go back to the home page.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

LA Pets Must Be Spayed or Neutered

A new law in LA requires all pets to be spayed or neutered before reachine four months of age.

The ordinance is aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating the thousands of euthanizations conducted in Los Angeles’ animal shelters every year.

The ordinance does exempt some animals, including those that have competed in shows or sporting competitions, guide dogs, animals used by police agencies and those belonging to professional breeders.

The average pet owner, however, must have their dog or cat spayed or neutered by the time it reaches 4 months of age (as late as 6 months with a letter from a veterinarian).

First-time offenders will receive information on subsidized sterilization services and be given an additional 60 days. If they still fail to comply they could be fined $100 and ordered to serve eight hours of community service. A subsequent offense could result in a $500 fine or 40 hours of community service.

--- My question: How does this get enforced? Is it up to the vets to enforce it? The stores? The groomers? The town when you try to register your dog? The police?

The full text of the article can be found here:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Acclimating You New Fish

For those you enjoy the fish hobby, it's always exciting to take home that new fish. Assuming you've done your research and the fish you are adding to your tank is compatible with your current inhabitants, the next step to making sure your fish is healthy is properly acclimating the fish to the tank.

The best thing to do when you get a new fish, is to put it in a "quarantine" tank for two weeks. This is a totally separate tank with no other fish, but with the same water parameters as the main tank. However, it is often difficult for many fish keepers to have an extra quarantine tank hanging around.

Any pet store that is half-way decent will put your fish in a plastic bag. Take the bag and float it in your tank for at least 15 - 20 minutes. This will allow the water that is in the bag to become the same temperature as the tank water.

The next step is to get a bucket and a fish net. Open the bag, and pour the fish out in a net over the bucket, so that the water in the bag doesn't get into the tank. This helps prevent any impurities in the tank water from the the store from getting into your tank. Drop the fish in your tank, and watch it swim about!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pet Oral Care Product

In continuing the theme of pet dental awareness month, the Healthy Pet Company ( mentioned a relatively new oral care product to the market. It's called PetzLife Oral Care and comes in sprays and gels.

According to the company, PetzLife Oral Care Spray & Gel
"are revolutionary award winning products that
thousands of satisfied customers agree not only remove
plaque and tartar but also kill bacteria on contact,
the main cause of bad breath in cats and dogs!"

The products "kill bacteria on contact" while improving kitty and dog breath. There is also a version that contains omega-3 fish oils to not only clean teeth, but help promote a healthy coat.

The convenience of the gel is that if you have dogs (like mine) who don't let you touch their teeth, you can put the gel on their lips and they'll lick it up.

Now if they could just make one like that for humans, I'd be all set :-)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Take the Poll!

Since February is considered dog dental health month, I'm interested in how often, if at all, dog lovers brush their dog's teeth. Take a second to click your response and feel free to leave any other comments here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Raid Busts Up Nation's Largest Dog Fighting Rings

"TUCSON, Ariz. – A year long investigation ended Tuesday night with six people arrested and more than a 100 dogs seized in what is being called the nation’s largest dog fighting and dog-fight breeding ring.

The raid took place near Tucson, Ariz., where Pima County sheriff’s deputies served warrants and the Humane Society of the United States took custody of 150 dogs. Ninety-nine percent of the animals were pit bulls.

Authorities also found more than 50 weapons, thousands of dollars in cash, training materials and a rape stand used for breeding female pit bulls."
Here's the link to the full article.\

--- I understand there is big money to be made in all forms of gambling, but I couldn't imagine making my dogs fight. In fact, my two were both cranky last night and starting fighting a bit...which is unusual for them...but made us a bit worried and upset. So, the thought of making any dogs fight just for fun is just unthinkable.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Creating Bad Habits?

I might be guilt! I think I'm creating bad habits in my dogs. I'm an enabler. You see, when my oldest dog, Rocco, doesn't particularly like his dinner (he has allergies, so I have to be careful what I feed), he usually goes to bed hungry. Until 3am, when he wakes me up and whines.

Rocco isn't the type that usually goes to the bathroom at that hour, so I knew something else was bothering him a couple of weeks ago the first time he woke me up whining. I got up, gave him a treat, and he begged for more. Then a I realized that he didn't really eat his dinner, so he must be hungry. I got him some dry food, and he eat it up.

A few days later, the same thing happens. He doesn't eat dinner (which was a nice mix of a high quality canned food and a dry food), and then gets hungry at 3am. He wakes me, I feed him. We both go to bed happy. But, as Mrs. Pet Haven points out, now Rocco knows that he can wake me up whenever he wants and I'll feed him....not something I want to have happen every night.

So, now I must analyze what's going on here. Am I creating a bad habit? Am I basically saying that it's ok not to eat your dinner, because I'll be at your beck and call to feed you? Or am I just over-analyzing the whole thing? Obviously if he doesn't like a particular kind of food, I should try another (that he hopefully won't be allergic to!).

Has anyone else created an annoying habbit with their dogs? Would love to hear other stories. In the meantime, I have to pay extra attention to Rocco to make sure he finishes his meal and doesn't get distracted so that he'll sleep through the night.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Animal CSI: Solving horrendous pet crimes

Interesting article on how pet crimes are being solved using the latest in crime solving technology.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Behind The Scenes at Dog Show

Thanks to Petside for sharing this clip..some behind the scenes grooming at the Westminster Dog show.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pet Travel by Air

Traveling by Air
Air travel is often the most convenient way to get to your destination, but if you plan to take Fluffy on board, you need to be aware of the extra procedures and dangers headed your way.
Here are some tips sent to me by Travel Hacker. Their site can be found at

Tips for Safe Pet Air Travel: Visit the Human Society’s website for tips on keeping your pet comfortable and safe during a planet trip.
Stow your pet under the seat in front of you: If your dog or cat is small enough to comfortably fit in a carrier the size of most carry-on items, you may be able to keep your pet under the seat in front of you for the entire plane trip. That way, your furry friend won’t be subjected to riding alone in the back with everyone’s heavy suitcases.

Put identification information everywhere: First, make sure your pet’s ID tags are securely attached to his or her collar. Go ahead and clip another ID tag or luggage tag onto the carrier door, and consider writing your contact information directly on the animal’s carrier to avoid mistakes and theft.
Research companies that specialize in transporting pets: Companies like Pet Air specialize in transporting pets, taking care of everything from booking flights to selling kennels and carriers. Travel Tips: This guide from suggests trimming your animal’s nails to minimize the injury it can cause to itself, you and other animals or people.

Pack a toy or favorite comfort item in your pet’s carrier: To make the trip more comfortable for your pet, pack a familiar toy or blanket inside your pet’s carrier to ease their anxiety. Rawhides aren’t always a good idea, though, as they can cause upset stomachs.

Bring a photo of your pet: In case you have trouble finding your pet after landing, have a recent photo ready to show airport security and baggage claim attendants to prove you’re the owner and help locate your pet.
Pack pet meds in accordance with TSA carry-on regulations: Make sure you pack your pet’s medications in a TSA-approved system, which requires that liquids and gels 3 oz. or less be packed in a quart-sized plastic zip-top bag. If you have to dump out your pet’s medicine or take a later flight to have time to stick it in your check bags, you could be in for a disaster.

Pack a small bowl for water: Dogs and cats can get dehydrated easily, so bring a small bowl or collapsible container so that your pet has water as soon as you land or retrieve it from the baggage claim.

Be familiar with airline travel restrictions and guidelines: Before booking a flight for your pet, make sure you are prepared to deal with all travel restrictions set forth by the airline. Many airlines like Delta require pets to be at least 8 weeks old, restrict the destinations where pets can fly to, and charge a fee for in-cabin carriers.

Pet Air Travel: publishes this guide to taking pets on an airplane, including a list of pet regulations for several major airlines.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope everyone enjoy's their day. I always hated this holiday, since it was another way to make me spend money on stuff I don't need. But, now that I have a mini family, I can understand the point of it....still, I'm not spending any money! No flowers for Mrs. Pet Haven until next week, when the price for roses goes back down to a normal level. And no exotic dinners until next week, when the restaurants go back to their 'regular' menus, rather then the ones with the prices jacked up for tonight. I know, this sounds a bit crass, but she would kill me if I overspent on flowers and food.

The dogs enjoy the holiday as well; and they don't care how much I spend either, as long as they get their doggie treats. But I'm extra careful not to drop any of the chocolates that are in my house. If it's near their noses, they'll find it and eat it!

As for the fish, they're getting their regular weekly water changes. So, they'll be happy.

And, for us baseball fans, it's the official start of spring training, as pitchers and catchers report to camp.

I'm starting to like Feb. 14th afterall!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Rent a Dog?

I saw a report on ABC News about a company that rents out dogs. You can go there, rent a dog for a day, and then bring it back and move on. It's available at FlexPet in San Diego, LA, and New York. After paying a $150 initiation fee and monthly dues, people who are approved by the place can then rent a dog for a fee of $40 a day...but here's the best part, a person interviewed representing the company said that they don't consider it a rental....they like to think of it more like a time share!

Animal rights activists aren't pleased...and as one person said in the story, it's kind of like doggie prostitution. I couldn't agree more. Dogs are companion animals and need a consistent companion. In somes ways, this is like torture to the dogs, not being able to bond to any one peson.

Think of how confused the dogs are? They really don't have a home to go to. They just live at a doggie day-care type of place with a bunch of other dogs and are taken out by renters. Every day, a different person is taking them home, treating them differently then the person the day before, and then bringing back to the rental place.

If animals are considered property under the law, then in this situation, the dogs are treated like it. If you want to view the piece, here is the link.

I'm interested to hear everyone's opinion.

Monday, February 11, 2008

U.S. Attorney Indicts U.S. and Chinese Companies in Pet Food Scandal

According to a report by Pet Product News International, three companies are facing federal charges in relation to the distribution of a contaminated pet food ingredient that might have cost more than 4,000 dogs and cats their lives.

Recently, a federal grand jury indicted a U.S. food importer and two Chinese firms for their roles in manufacturing and distributing contaminated wheat gluten that sickened thousands of pets. ChemNutra of Las Vegas and its executives, husband and wife team Steve and Sally Miller, are facing 27 charges, including 13 misdemeanor charges alleging they "delivered adulterated food, which contained melamine," 13 misdemeanor charges alleging they "introduced misbranded foods into interstate commerce," and a felony wire fraud conspiracy charge alleging that the Millers and ChemNutra participated in a conspiracy to defraud the companies that purchased some of the Chinese-firm manufactured wheat gluten by "concealing material facts from those purchasers."

The full story can be found:

Personally, I think the more that is done to help prevent this crisis from happening again, the better. The fact that they are accused of concealing material facts from purchasers tells you right there the intent.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Pet Shop Lemon Law

I saw this on News Channel 8 in Connecticut. It's an interesting discussion (and a sad story) based on the "Pet shop lemon law." Basically, you can only get your money back within 15 days of purchase. And most stores will only give you money back if give them the dog. And of course, we can guess what will happen to that poor puppy in most cases.

For those interested, check out the text of the stories:

My thoughts on this are wide ranging, as I can understand both sides of the arguement. I'm very familiar with this particular store, and their dogs are very well-treated, clean, and come with their first vaccines. However, the store doesn't make a point to x-ray each dog to search for all the minute problems. I don't think we could really expect any store, or even every shelter, to go that far.

Hopefully the community can come together to help the people and dogs who are mentioned in this story.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why Dogs Burrow

Does your dog like to burrow under the covers? There is actually an explanation of why according to an article in their dog central section.

Dogs are denning animals, they love small spaces. In the same way that humans like to fluff up their pillows before settling in for the night, some dogs like to create comfy beds and hide under clothes and sheets to make themselves feel safe, warm and comfortable. All breeds may do this, but terriers, hounds and huskies are more predisposed to burrowing than others.

There’s no downside or risk to letting your dog burrow, unless you don’t want dog hair under the covers. A separate dog bed might be handy to keep the hair out of yours. An additional bonus of your dog having the instinct to burrow is that it can make crate training easier, since being in a crate can mimic that denlike environment.

So the next the time your dog wants to get under your covers, just know that she's just trying to find a safe place to sleep.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Canine Obesity Check

February is National Canine Weight Check (NCWC) month, according to a site called

Here are some facts as provided by the site:
In the meantime, here's more info on NCWC:

The National Canine Weight Check is an effort to raise awareness about the health complications that may be faced by overweight dogs and help owners determine if their dogs are at risk.

Throughout the month of February, we're encouraging owners to get a free weight check for their dogs at a participating vet's office. To find a local vet, visit

The event is supported by the American Kennel Club Humane Fund and by thousands of veterinarians across the country, through a sponsorship by Pfizer Animal Health.

You can find out more information about the program at .

We've also provided you with the BARC (Body Assessment Rating for Canines) quiz, an easy tool to help identify if your dog is a prime candidate for a weight check,

Monday, February 4, 2008

Misleading Pet Sales Tactic

I always advocate doing your homework before making any major purchase; and a pet is a major purchase. The beauty of the internet is that you can search for anything you need. Not all the info will be totally accurate, but if you read enough stuff, you'll find that many sites will basically tell you the same things...and the ones that don't are probably the ones that aren't accurate.

With this being said, I was somewhat surprised with a sign posted at a pet store I visited over the weekend. In their attempts to "upsell" everything, there was a sign that said "buy a tank today, take home a fish today." Basically saying that if you're buying the tank, you might as well buy the fish too.

Now, for those that are doing their research before purchasing, they would know that a new tank set-up takes time. You should never put a fish in a new tank until the water is in, the filter is running, and the decorations are settled. Plus, the water should circulate for at least a few days before adding any fish. This allows for the colonies of the so-called 'good' bacteria to grow. I won't go into the complexities of why this needs to occur (though it's covered in many of my other posts), but it does bother me that this sign was posted.

As consumers, we look to our local pet stores, especially the ones that aren't big chains, to provide us with knowledge about our potential purchases. We expect them to be honest and do what it best for the pets, before doing what is best for their bottom lines. There is an expectation of responsibility when you're buying live animals, and this sign was far beyond irresponsible.

Hopefully, no one fell for the trap and overspent on a fish that most likely died if they took it home the same day the tank was set up.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

I know, it's not really a national holiday, but maybe it should be! It's the big game, with parties, celebrations, and of course, what we've all been waiting for...the new commercials.

Don't forget to keep your pets safe. The basic tips apply here too, such as making sure the pets aren't getting too scared or getting harassed by your guests. Don't feed them anything you wouldn't normally give them and make sure they aren't close to anything you don't want knocked over.

Enjoy the game. Here's hoping that some day, Congress will make the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Salmonella from pet turtles sickens 103 in '07

Ok, so I've wanted a turtle for some time now. But Mrs. Pet Haven always cautioned me that you could get diseases from turtles. I never really knew if she was making that up, but as it turns out, she's right. According to a recent report, contact with small pet turtles was to blame for 103 Salmonella infections that occurred in 33 states between May and December 2007, according to federal health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.

Salmonella infections can be severe, leading to hospitalization and, in some cases, death, the CDC notes.

Turtles and other reptiles are well-known reservoirs for Salmonella and while the sale and distribution of small turtles — measuring less than 4 inches — was officially outlawed in the U.S. in 1975, cases of turtle-associated Salmonella infection continue to occur.

Roughly half of the Salmonella infections documented in the 2007 outbreak occurred in young children, who are at greater risk for severe illness from Salmonella infection.

The CDC's investigation into the outbreak also revealed that in a subset of 60 infected individuals interviewed, only one fifth were aware of the link between Salmonella infection and contact with reptiles.

According to the CDC, direct or indirect contact with reptiles causes an estimated 6 percent of all human Salmonella infections in the U.S. People who come in contact with reptiles, reptile habitats, or surfaces contaminated with reptile feces need to remember that they risk Salmonella infection, CDC officials caution.