Praises and Piddles
Here's where we give our honest opinion about all kinds of things dealing with companion animals. Whether you agree or disagree, drop us a note and tell us how you feel.
eBay Inc.'s No Live Pets Sales Policy
The online auction giant has scrapped plans to start allowing free-pet auction listings from rescue groups and pet-for-sale ads from breeders. They've long since prohibited the sale of live animals, except fish and snails, but recently toyed with the idea of allowing pet ads. Their "idea" however, was met with stiff opposition from people like us who feel it would only promote puppy mills and suffering. You can read our opinion about puppy mills further down this page.
These folks give time, effort, money and hearts to help animals in need. If you are looking for a new best friend, check out the many Florida rescue groups we've listed on FloridaPets.
We'll be brief, but clear. Declawing is amputation, period. No way around it. And yes, we know veterinarians perform onychectomies (declawing surgery) all the time, so how could it be bad, right?
First of all, it's pricey, sometimes costing several hundred dollars. Spaying and neutering is less expensive, but people will often complain about the cost of that. Then there's the actual procedure: declawing a cat is a grotesque, maiming sort of surgery. Kitty's toes are actually amputated, at the last joint. It can cause a cat to have chronic pain for the rest of his/her life.
And if those things don't deter someone from demanding the declawing surgery, it's worth noting that declawed cats are more likely to develop litter box, biting or other behavioral issues, sometimes the very reasons people decide to have a cat declawed in the first place!
But don't just take our word for it, educate yourself on this topic. For some terrific resources, check out De-clawing.com, a clearinghouse to online information about declawing.
They're also known as "designer dogs" and the American Canine Hybrid Club (ACHC) is pushing them like they're the latest Lexus model. Dogs called "shepadoddle", a German Shepard-standard poodle mix are, according to the ACHC, "bred deliberately in hopes of duplicating the best traits of each within a single dog."
In a day where hundreds of thousands of animals are killed every year in animal shelters because there are not enough homes for all of them, we find "breeding deliberately" to be irresponsible and that's our tactful way of putting it!
You want a Schnoodle - a miniature schnauzer-poodle? How about a labradoodle - a Labrador-poodle, or a goldendoodle - a golden retriever-poodle? There's always the St. Berdoodle - a St. Bernard-poodle or a Yorki-poo - a Yorkshire terrier-poodle, or even a Shocker - a Shiba Inu-cocker spaniel.
Advocates of this "deliberate breeding" say about 500 litters of over 200 types of hybrids are registered each month, compared with about 100 a month two years ago. Those are disturbing statistics.
News flash! Yu can also find most of the above named "hybrids" at most animal shelters or rescues. Supposedly, the puggle, which is a cross between a pug and a beagle, is currently the most popular hybrid. We actually have one of those dogs in our family -we found him at our local human society shelter more than three years ago.
Not surprising, the Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America is against the whole hybrid rage. They call it "disgusting." The American Kennel Club is against it too and has issued a terse warning that the mixes are not recognized as "official breeds," a bummer if your snob factor is high. They do, however, make a good point when they state that crossing two different breeds could bring forth the worst physical or behavioral characteristics in both.
If you're looking for an example, we think the images called forth if you're breeding a "Pitdoodle", a mix of poodle and pit bull, form a perfect example. Our bottom line? Don't pay thousands of dollars for animals being deliberatly bred for profit! Instead, spend just a few bucks at your local animal shelter or rescue group and find the genuine deal, a true hybrid if you will, a furry little he or she who is already here and who could really use a good home and plenty of food and love.
Classifieds That Allow
"Free to a good home" Pet Listings
We have opposed this practice for decades and it still goes on. Often people are actually profiting from these listings! While we try and educate those we personally come in contact with, it's a constant challenge.
Recently, a moderator of a for-free-stuff board defiantly informed us she thought having free pets on the board gave people a chance to get a "good" pet and anything was better than ending up at the "pound." Well, here at FloridaPets.net, we're more concerned with pets getting good people and there certainly are worse fates than an animal shelter.
When many people want a dog, or cat, or other pet GONE so badly they'll give the poor thing away, they usually want it gone YESTERDAY and concern for the animal isn't going to be too high on their list.
And for many, many unwanted animals, being taken to a "pound" is a far better outcome than being placed with people who will exploit them again, or worse, because they were considered nothing more than a freebie "thing", a piece of property, on an internet listing board, no better than a futon or a trumpet.
There are people out there, checking out the "Free Pet" ads, looking for animals for experimentation, illegal fights with other animals, free food for other animals, etc., etc...the list goes on! Why should they pay for a dog, cat, etc., when these classifieds advertise plenty of free animals?
I could reference TONS of great Web sites that could help me explain the problem with free pet ads, but the following one is probably one of the best. It talks about dangers already mentioned, but it's even more specific: Why "Free To Good Home" Ads Are A Bad Idea!
This is why we'll always work to not allow "free pet" ads or classifieds on FloridaPets.net or on our message board. We are not going to permit "free pet" postings and then simply hope for the best for the animals involved.
Ads for a version of this product are showing up on the internet and television. The vent is made by a manfacturer we won't name here because we don't want to give them any publicity. This type product has made our "Piddles" list because it's being touted as something unique, operated by solar power, that can take the heat out of your car when it's been left sitting in the sun all day and the ad copy doesn't warn you that it's dangerous to animals.
A Tampa television station tried it out and found it did not decrease the temperature inside a car, rather it did the opposite: the temperature inside the car actually rose when the product was used! Warning: do not use such a product thinking you can "more safely" leave your pet inside your car, even for a minute.
In the Florida heat, year-around, there is no safe amount of time - heat inside a vehicle can climb to 120� in a matter of minutes, even with the windows partially open. High temperatures can cause pets to suffer from brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation.
A poster on an animal rescue group recently left the following message: "The millers will soon be culling so that they do not have to feed the dogs through the winter time." You see, dogs over 8 years of age and dogs that can't breed repeatedly are no longer profitable for the puppy mill people. Once deemed no longer useful, many dogs "working" at puppy mills will be killed by the same people who've made money breeding them over and over and over again - those people are known as the "millers."
The most important thing we can do to help end the misery that is life for these animals is to never buy an animal from a pet store. Only when the demand for so-called "pure breed puppies" ends will the suffering of the animals end. If you'd like to learn more about puppy mills and/or how to help a puppy mill dog, check out the following resources:
Prisoners of Greed
Details the life of puppy mill dogs - in words and photographs - showing the greed of the industry.
Small Paws Rescue
A group that works a lot with finding homes for former puppy mill dogs and therefore, has lots of info about the puppy mill situation.
We weren't really aware very many people still used these, but after a recent tragedy at a Florida dog park which involved a metal choke collar, we felt we'd better place them on our piddles list and tell you why.
Some people will tell you choke collars are only to be worn for training, that they should not be worn all the time as a regular collar because of the risk of injury to the dog's neck. We don't really think they should be used at all!
Gentle Leader� Headcollars
We used to think these collars might be OK for training purposes with larger dogs. You've probably seen these around. These collars have a neck strap and a nose loop. But we have recently learned these too are not recommended by the experts. While these collars are not muzzles, nor do they "choke" an animal, they do apply pressure to the back of the dog's neck, effectively tilting the neck sideways and causing a dog discomfort and often creating the formation of "rub lines" across a dog's nose...not cool!
One trainer we talked to said they also give other people the impression that your dog is "vicious." If you're taking your dog out in public, into dog parks, around children, etc., why would you want to make your dog seem mean and out of control? One of the Web sites we found that sell the Gentle Leader� collars calls them the, "Ten Minute Attitude Adjuster" and frankly, that attitude from humans makes us wince!
Deemed a wonder drug for arthritic animals, this is really poison in a handy prescription. Here's a Study About Rimadyl you should read.
Fortunately, there are natural alternatives like Syn-flex Liquid and you can read about our own first hand experience with it at J.R.'s Story.
For a while now, we've heard distressing news about ProHeart 6, a fairly new injectable heartworm preventative that lasts for six months at a time. The FDA has documented over 375 deaths and 4000 reactions associated with the use of this drug. The FDA says this represents only about 10% of the actual totals. Many do not report. Read the following. Educate yourself about this product!
Visit Dogs Adverse Reactions before allowing your vet to administer -- or continue to administer if already started -- ProHeart 6 to your companion animal. Feel free to download the flyer below (right click on the flyer and save) and pass it around to other pet guardians so they too, can do some research. As with anything, "knowledge is power."
UPDATE 06-04-04: We have learned from one of our readers that there has been a massive recall of the ProHeart 6. We are attempting to learn more about this matter and will post the info here as we learn more.
UPDATE 06-10-04: Another reader has provided a link to read more about the ProHeart6 recall. For more information, please go here.
UPDATE 07-01-04: Second Recall!
For more information about the recalls and to read a letter that was sent to vets regarding the recalls and the warning letter issued by FDA, go here.
09-04-04 Great News!At the request of the FDA, Fort Dodge Animal Health of has agreed to immediately cease production and recall its heartworm medication ProHeart�6 from the market until the FDA's concerns about adverse reaction reports associated with the product can be resolved.
Read more about this wonderful development at the Paws for Progress Newsletter. This is wonderful proof of how just a few persistent voices in the wilderness CAN and DO make a difference in the lives of animals. Good job!
Not Staying Informed About
Animal Health Issues
Speaking of warnings and recalls, there's a whole controversy brewing over the dangers of all kinds of vaccinations for pets. Immunization protocol is being reviewed, people are asking questions, change is in the air. There is an ever-growing number of resources for concerned pet guardians about the dangers of vaccinations.
We at FloridaPets.net advocate everyone conducting their own investigation and educating themselves about this issue. Knowledge is power and you can put that power to use for your animal by checking out the following links:
Our heartfelt mission will always be "Education Before Vaccination."
Canine Health Concern
This organization gathers and shares survey and research information concerning vaccine risks for dogs. You can participate in their ongoing surveys & research reporting.
This non-profit group's mission is to education pet guardians owners and care-takers and includes up to date consumer warnings.
According to this veterinarian, when you take your pet to the vet for his or her annual shots, you may be "wasting a lot of money (and, as we'll see later, risking your animals' health) without much likelihood that your animal is actually becoming "boosted" each year."
Rabies Vaccinosis Alert
Animal Vaccines, Think Twice!
Dr. Jeffrey Levy DVM, PCH
An article from this veterinary homeopath about the dangers of vaccinations.
This report comes from Best Friends. A group of IKEA and Gap executives have decided to open a chain of stores in malls where they can sell puppies like they've been selling jeans and furniture.
Woof & Co. has already opened two stores in Boston malls, and plans to add six more there this year before "going national." They say they're hoping to carve out a niche in the "upscale market."
The company gets its puppies from Hunte Corp., a Missouri-based broker for puppy mills. They say their breeders don't keep their dogs in the kind of tiny cages and appalling conditions for which most puppy mills are known. But when Best Friends called them for an interview to ask more about this, they never returned their calls.
"We're a lifestyle store," says one of the executives in a press release. But what kind of "lifestyle" are they selling when millions of homeless dogs and cats are still being killed in shelters every year? The real lifestyle stores are mall adoption centers like Furburbia and other businesses that welcome rescue groups with adoptable animals, and where people can adopt not just a new pet but a new way of life -- saving animals, rather than adding to the numbers of the homeless and unwanted.
To read more about the plight of dogs raised in puppy mills, visit No Puppy Mills.
If you think "yuppie puppies" are ridiculous and hate puppy mills as we do, here are a number of ways to voice your concerns about Woof & Co. puppy stores:
1. Call DC Retailers, which owns Woof & Co., at their toll-free number (888-243-1988.)
2. Write and/or call the manager of the South Shore Plaza, the mall where the Woof & Co. store is located:
Joe Koechel, Manager, South Shore Plaza
250 Granite Street
Braintree, MA 02184
3. Note: On April 5, 2004, Best Friends reported South Shore Plaza owners were reachable via email through a Web site at Simon. But we found this to be a bad link. However, the owners were probably receiving quite a few emails and decided to temporarily disable the page, so check the link from time to time. If/when you are able to get to the page, click "Find a Mall" then, under "Select a Mall", scroll to "South Shore Plaza", and click "contact the mall" so you can email them.
4. Write to Don Jones, CEO
Woof & Company
55 Carter Drive
Edison, NJ 08817
5. Write to Robert E. Brown, Jr., President
Meridian Venture Partners
201 King of Prussia Road, Suite 240
Radnor, PA 19087
UPDATE 04-27-04: According to a reader of FloridaPets.net, The Woof & Co. pet store in Saugus, Massachusetts, has been banned from selling puppies because of an outbreak of giardia among the puppies. Giardia is an intestinal infection that causes diarrhea. It is contagious to humans, so customers and workers at the store are being tested. People who have purchased puppies from Woof & Co. are threatening to sue the company.
We feel horrible for the pain the puppies are having to endure. Further, we feel the problems now being experienced by Woof & Co. could have been prevented if they had not decided to jump in and help promote the puppy mill industry.
Note of 04-16-05: We received an email from a reader of FloridaPets.net who used to work for Family Pet Center, the company that Woof took over a few years back. Here is what she said:
"I just wanted to let you know that Woof IS as bad as everyone says they are. When I worked at FPC we had primarily small animals and some puppies, when Woof took over they forced us to stop carrying small animals, fish and birds (they didn't make enough of a profit we were told) and they began over-loading us with puppies.
"I had never seen as many sick puppies go into that store as I did when Woof took over. All in all it's a horrible store that they are trying to turn into the Gap. Puppy prices went through the roof so they aren't going home for weeks on end, they sit in the cages and get sick, so they go to the back room and get treated, go out on the floor and they are past their 'cute puppy stage' so they sit for even longer until someone FINALLY approved a markdown. I think they should be keeping their hands OUT of the puppy business! I am SO glad y'all gave them piddles!"
Note of 08-26-05: One of our readers reported she had bought an puppy from Woof & Co. who fell ill as noted above. She said the store is now gone and the company (Companion Care) in Edison NJ who were supposed to be responsible for the reimbursement of claims/warranties is also gone. Phone and fax numbers are disconnected.
"This is from a letter I recently received and I wanted to pass it along," she said. 'On August 10, 2005, Rufus, Inc., AKA Retail 1, Family Pet Centers, Woof & Co., Maixie Biggz and Rufus & Company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware.'
"So I am pretty sure the reimbursement company of Companion Care located in Edison NJ is defunct also. Too bad for all of us who had claims and would have loved the warranty."
Electronic Pet Containment and Behavior Training Devices
We get asked once in a while why we are not interested in trading links with companies who make or market electronic pet containment and behavior training devices. There's all kind of information out there about how inhumane these devices really are. Try this link for one: HelpingAnimals.com.
PETA and many other animal welfare groups say electronic training devices such as "invisible fences" and anti-barking collars are cruel tools relying on painful punishment and negative reinforcement that make dogs live in fear of being electrocuted when they cross invisible lines, bark, or jump. Positive training methods, in which dogs are rewarded for what they do right, rather than physically harmed for what they do wrong, are more humane, more effective alternatives.
Plus, while these containment devices may "babysit" your dog, so you can leave him or her unattended out in your yard, they will not keep another animal or human intruder out of your yard. Your dog is then left defenseless and could easily be attacked by another animal (including alligators) -- or a dangerous individual.
And all those opinions aside, I will tell you of my own experience. I was once at a trade show where these "invisible fences" were being sold. I mentioned to the person working the table that I had concerns about the product. He assured me a dog "wouldn't feel much at all." To prove his point, he hooked me up to the little device he had there, adding a lead to my right index finger. He then gave me a "little shock" he said was at about the level to be used for a miniature poodle that weighed 12-14 pounds.
The jolt I received was anything but "a little shock" and my finger and nearby thumb hurt the rest of the day! And I have a pretty high threshold to pain, my friends. I left his booth "shocked" in more than one way and he was still laughing as I walked away. So no amount of "salesmanship" will ever convince me these devices are humane. Before considering such horrible devices, please check out the Web site given above and remember my little story. Our companion animals are precious additions to our lives, not to be hurt or harmed in any fashion, for any reason, certainly not by our own hands!