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USDA Licensed and Inspected Dog Kennel

USDA Inspected Kennel Kills 1,000+ Dogs

As some you might remember, I wrote a while back about the CFIA’s requirement that any puppies under eight months of age which are imported into Canada for “commercial purposes” must come from a USDA Licensed breeder.

Here’s a link to the original article:

http://bullmarketfrogs.com/blog/2010/01/cfia-partners-canadian-breeders-with-usda/

CFIA defines ‘commercial purposes’ as a dog imported by anyone who has ever bred a litter, shown a dog, judged a dog, trained a dog or trialed a dog – in other words, any dog OTHER than one imported by an individual as ‘just a pet’ (By the way, if you are wondering how the CFIA determines if the person you are importing a dog from is “USDA approved”, they use this on line USDA Search tool, which can be accessed by anyone – http://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASearch/faces/LPASearch.jspx )

CFIA seems to believe that forcing Canadians to import only USDA inspected dogs will somehow ensure that the dogs being imported into are healthier than just ‘random’ bred dogs. The rationale might be sound – after all, CFIA likely feels that, if we only allow meat and poultry that has passed USDA inspections into Canada, why not apply the same restrictions to puppies?

The problem is that almost any kennel can pass a USDA inspection – or, if they fail one, they’ll be given almost unlimited chances to get their facility up to par.

In this most recent incident, as reported on Pet Connection, a mass distemper outbreak illustrates just how much of a fallacy the USDA “stamp of approval” really is:

More than 1000 dogs were euthanized as a last resort to thwart a canine distemper virus (CDV) outbreak at a USDA-licensed Kansas kennel, reports Dr. Bill Brown, Kansas’ Livestock Commissioner.

Am I supposed to feel better because the U.S. Department of Agriculture was “riding shotgun”? No, in fact their involvement makes the situation all the more deplorable. Canine distemper is completely preventable. How did the lethal combination of overcrowded, unclean conditions and inadequate vaccinations — the only way canine distemper can run rampant –  manage to slip under the USDA radar?

Are Canadian breeders supposed to feel better knowing that the CFIA has now limited us to importing dogs which have come from conditions like these? It’s clear to all of us that a “USDA Inspected” label means nothing more than a verification of the fact that this breeder just has too many Goddamned dogs. You don’t see a lot of three or four dog hobby kennels rushing out to get USDA certified – that’s reserved for the forty, fifty, one hundred dog or more breeders, the ones who raise their dogs, as the Pet Connection article says, like livestock. And USDA inspections might work just fine for livestock, but they are failing for puppies over and over and over again.

The CBSA border guard who confronted my friend when she didn’t have the appropriate paperwork for her Scottish bred, expensively imported puppy said that they are paying close attention to breeder imports, because “Breeders lie”. Given a choice between being limited to my future breeding stock coming from a USDA Kennel that churns out puppies like widgets from a factory, or being a big old liar, I know what I choose.

The better question is, what does CFIA choose – and what do we, as Canadians, allow them to get away with choosing for us?

Distemper Outbreak in Toronto’s Wildlife

Raccoon nests like this one inside homes can spread Canine Distemper

Raccoon nests inside homes can spread Canine Distemper

An outbreak of distemper has killed off hundreds of Toronto’s raccoons and skunks – and has put dogs at risk.

From the Toronto Star

If you see a raccoon lying on a sidewalk in the middle of the day, call Toronto Animal Services – and keep your dog on a tight leash.

The animal is likely sick and dying, and could infect your pet with a lethal strain of distemper, an epidemic that has killed hundreds of raccoons and skunks in the GTA since May.

“It’s not transferable to humans but there is definitely a high risk to unvaccinated cats and dogs,” said Eletta Purdy, manager of Toronto Animal Services. “It’s not rabies but it kills quickly.”

Distemper is a highly contagious, highly lethal virus. The same virus affects dogs, skunks, ferrets, weasels, raccoons and possibly opossums.

It’s hugely irresponsible to not use the readily available, virtually risk free distemper vaccination to protect your pets from distemper. Prior to the invention of the canine distemper vaccine in the 1960’s, distemper ravaged thousands of kennels world wide, wiping out entire lines. A trip to the dog show could result in the death of all of a breeder’s puppies, and sometimes their older dogs, as well.

Advocates of no vaccinations often argue that it is only puppies with weak immune systems who develop viruses like distemper. They point to raw feeding and homeopathic remedies as a method to prevent and cure distemper. Raccoons and skunks are hardly surviving on a diet of take out food, and yet they still are highly susceptible to distemper.

The other argument made by no vaccine advocates is that their puppies only end up contracting distemper when  they come into contact with other puppies which have received the distemper vaccine, and are ‘shedding’ the virus. Ignoring the fact that modern distemper vaccines are made from killed forms of the virus, it’s an incontrovertible fact that any puppy not living in a bubble stands a good chance of encountering a raccoon, a fox or a skunk, even in the most urban environment. Your dog doesn’t even have to have a face to face run in with a wild animal to become infected with distemper – it can be spread via feces of infected animals just as easily (and who among us hasn’t seen our dogs snuffling up something gross and unknown on our daily walks?).

Please, get your dogs and puppies vaccinated. It’s such a simple preventative, for such a horrible disease.