Pet News: Authorities Seize 600 Dogs, 80% Are Pregnant!

Pet Owners' Questions About Peanut Butter, Salmonella
By Steve Dale - Tribune Media Services

Some products for dogs, cats and birds contain peanut butter which has been linked to a salmonella outbreak. Here's what pet owners need to know about the salmonella outbreak and the related product recalls.

For more details about recalls, pets and the salmonella outbreak, see the following links:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Food and Drug Administration: or

FDA search page for peanut butter products:
Q: Do we need to throw out the dog peanut butter? Dog owners want to know if the salmonella potential is also for dogs.

— E.M., Chicago, IL

Q: You've told us to offer peanut butter stuffed in Kong toys to our dogs. What now?
— S.C., Steuben, ME

A: Stuffing low fat, low salt peanut butter into sturdy dog toys, such as sterilized bones or Kong toys offers canine "occupational therapy; working to get at the treat gives dogs something enjoyable to do.

Veterinary toxicologist Dr. Steven Hansen, director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in New York City, points out that dogs are generally pretty resistant to salmonella. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with public health officials in many states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an outbreak of human infections due to Salmonella serotype Typhimurium. The products recalled are peanut butter-related items (such as crackers with peanut butter). So far, peanut butter in jars is deemed safe.

Hansen explains that the ASPCA animal poison control center advises against giving any recalled product to dogs. Even if most dogs are not at risk for salmonella illness because they're far less susceptible than people, it's possible some dogs may become ill. An even greater concern are people giving dogs tainted peanut butter treats if they don't thoroughly wash their hands. Bottom line, if a product is recalled don't use it, for yourself or for your pets.

You can learn more and track the latest information on this issue at Check advice for pet owners related to the peanut butter salmonella outbreak at (click on the Animal Poison Control Center link).

(Editor's note: On Jan. 20, PetSmart recalled seven kinds of its Grreat Choice dog biscuits. For list of recalled peanut butter products, see the Food and Drug Administration site at

Steve Dale welcomes questions/comments from readers. Although he can't answer all of them individually, he'll answer those of general interest in his column. Write to Steve at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207. Send e-mail to petworld@steve

. Include your name, city and state. Steve's Web site is

Puppy Mill Probe Expands; More Dogs Seized
By Jackson Holtz - Herald Writer

Kennel in Skagit County raided and 150 dogs are seized

Another 150 dogs were seized as part of an expanding animal cruelty investigation that began last week near Gold Bar.

On Wednesday, Skagit County officials raided a home and found dozens of dogs lacking food and water and covered in excrement, said Will Rei­chardt, a spokesman for the Skagit County Sheriff's Office.

Seven dead dogs were found in a crate.

There were roughly 400 dogs at the Mount Vernon-area kennel; 150 were taken as evidence.

Last week, Snohomish County sheriff's deputies and animal control officers found 155 dogs in similar conditions at a Gold Bar-area home.

Several dead puppies were found in a freezer. The scent of urine and feces was so strong, it could be smelled outside the home.

Two properties in Snohomish also were searched but no additional animals were taken, Snohomish County animal control manager Vicki Lubrin said.

Officials believe some of the animals who lived at the Snohomish addresses may have been moved to the Skagit County kennels, Lubrin said.

Authorities are working across county lines to collect evidence.

"We're sharing information, whatever we can," she said.

The woman who owns the Skagit County kennel is the mother of the woman who owns the Snohomish property searched last week, Lubrin said.

Officials suspect the operation is an illegal breeding business known as a puppy mill.

No arrests have been made.

The kennels now being investigated have been on the radar of animal control officials for some time.

Snohomish County animal control officers investigated previous kennel complaints at the Snohomish location, Lubrin said.

Snohomish County Superior Court records show the Skagit County kennel operated for more than three years without a business license.

When the business owner filed a land-use permit, Skagit County officials opposed the operation, calling it a "puppy mill," according to a hearing examiner report included in the court file.

The owner of the Skagit County property is appealing the hearing examiner's decision in Snohomish County's courts.

The dogs seized in Snoho­mish County have been cared for at the Everett Animal Shelter.

Groomers have been helping to clean up the dogs. Many of the animals needed to have their coats shaved to remove matted excrement, officials said.

After one dog was shaved, veterinarians discovered that it required immediate surgery, Lubrin said. Most of the dogs were doing much better, she said.

On Tuesday, the dogs' owners were served with papers from Snohomish County requiring them to either surrender the animals to the county or post bond for each dog's care, as required by state law.

If the animals aren't claimed, the shelter may make them available for adoption.

The dogs seized in Skagit County now are being cared for by volunteers at the Skagit County Fairgrounds and in private homes, Reichardt said.

Reporter Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437 or

Get Rid of the Allergens, Not the Cats
Marie Hulett - OC Register

Q. My son was recently diagnosed with allergies to cats. He's 10 years old and we've had cats all of his life. For the past couple of years, he's had chronic mild congestion and itchy eyes. It's been nothing that has really bothered him. We just decided that we wanted to try and figure out what was going on once and for all. We were very surprised when the test results came out slightly positive for allergies to cats.

Long story short – my son's doctor basically told us to get rid of our cats! In fact, he went on to imply that if we didn't, we weren't very good parents because we weren't putting our son's health at the top of our priorities! I am furious with him – but at the same time, he really got to me. I am feeling guilty. The thing is, our cats our part of our family and I don't think he understands that, or he thinks it's just silly. My son would be devastated if we got rid of our cats. I remember you wrote something about allergies in the past. I am hoping you can talk about that again. There has to be a way that our son and our cats can be together.

A. It always amazes me that in this day and age, in which the human-animal bond is recognized by most experts as being important to health and well-being, that many doctors will tell newly diagnosed allergy patients to dump their pets! A child who has developed a bond with a pet would indeed be devastated if that advice is followed. Not only will he suffer grief as a result of the loss of his beloved companions, he will feel to blame for this drastic measure. That is a tremendous consequence and one that will cause far more harm than the allergy symptoms that you've described.

First, have your house steam cleaned. This is a safe, chemical-free way of eliminating allergens that are already in your home. Then, be diligent with vacuuming. This means carpet, furniture, all the corners of every room, walls, etc. You'll need to use the hand tools to get all the nooks and crannies. This is a big job if you haven't vacuumed this way before, but once you get past the first time, it will be much easier and quicker after that, especially if you vacuum on a daily basis.

Invest in a couple of high quality HEPA air purifiers. These devices work great and really do clean the air. You'll notice allergy relief in your son almost immediately once these are up and running. Be sure to change the filters according to the directions.

Teach your son to wash his hands frequently, especially after playing with or petting your cats. It's also important that he pays attention to what his hands are doing. A lot of kids will rub their eyes without thinking about it. Your son will want to keep his hands away from his face and eyes. This will take some practice and frequent reminders.

If your son sleeps with the kitties, this should probably stop. In fact, his bedroom should be a cat-free zone. I am not saying that he should not be around the cats or that he should stop handling them; but having at least one room in the house that remains mostly allergen-free is a very good thing – especially the room where your son spends all his sleeping hours.

Finally, the most important step involves the use of a product that I highly recommend. It's called Allerpet/C. It's a fairly inexpensive product and so easy to use. A lot of people think you need to bathe cats regularly if you are an allergy sufferer. But actually, all you need to do is regularly comb your cat and then apply the Allerpet/C with a microfiber cloth directly to your cats' coats. The application process is fairly enjoyable for the cat. It's like a massage. You'll want to use strokes that go both with and against the direction of the fur growth. You only need to apply the Allerpet/C weekly. But you should comb your cat daily with a fine-toothed comb and clean the comb after each use.

This seems like a lot of work, I'm sure. But allergy sufferers who love their pets have developed systems that work for them and become these systems become fairly simple routines. Anything new takes patience. But once you get your own system working, it will be worth it for everyone. Best of luck to you and your family.

Marie Hulett's column appears biweekly. If you have a question about animals, write to Marie Hulett, The Orange County Register, P.O. Box 11626, Santa Ana, CA 92711-1626 or email

Turn Leftover Bacon Fat into Dog Treats
By Heather Sperling - Planet Green

Don't throw away your bacon fat-save it to add to dishes, or even to homemade dog treats.

Bacon fat can add a little sumpin' sumpin' to a wide range of dishes. Assuming you're using all-natural bacon—ideally slab-cut, from a local farm (minimal transport involved and good for your taste buds)—the high-quality fat rendered from a breakfast-time crisping can make for an excellent addition to all sorts of savory, or even sweet, concoctions. Use it to add a last-minute bit of flavor to pastas, root vegetables, saut‚ed greens, etc.

Or use it to bring your dog to doggie heaven. Cooking Up a Story has a recipe for homemade dog treats featuring one cup of bacon fat—which could easily be gathered over the course of 3-4 bacony brunches.

The recipe can also be made with duck, chicken, or turkey fat. But if you're like me, you wouldn't squander duck fat on a furry friend. You'd put it right back on those roasted fingerling potatoes from the farmers' market, where it belongs.

The Blistering Dog Days of Winter
By: Stephanie Spencer -

Keeping your dog safe and warm during the coldest months of the year

Buck Dunn follows the postal worker's creed when deciding to walk his dog, Max, in the morning.
"Neither wind, nor rain, nor sleet ..."

And twice a day since Max can remember, he's walked alongside Buck, now in his 80s, to provide daily exercise for the both of them.

"It's a good excuse to get out of the house for a little while," Dunn said.

But as temperatures throughout Northwest Ohio dipped below zero last week, with wind-chills nearing -40 degrees, a dog's natural fur coat might not keep them warm and protected against harsh January weather.

Shelly Morlock, of the veterinary staff at Total Pet Care of Ohio, advises pet owners on several winter tips to make sure animals are kept sufficiently warm.

Unless dogs are litterbox trained - a pretty miraculous feat in itself - they have to go outside to, as Morlock says, "do their duty," or in college slang, "whiz." Shovel a path throughout the backyard so that they can go as quickly as possible.

"You don't want to expose them to anything you wouldn't do yourself," Morlock said.

This might mean tiny dog parkas are a cute necessity.

Shorter hair and smaller breeds are a little more sensitive to weather and most shiver or shake when uncomfortable.

Owner of Toledo Dog Training, Tonya Wilhelm, has apprehensions about dressing dogs in any clothing.

"I dislike the frou-frou stuff because it can block the way that dogs naturally signal to each other. They're not dogs," Wilhelm said. "But sometimes just a standard coat offers enough protection for the cold."

Dunn wouldn't even go that far for his tough-as-nails Pekinese, even at the good-natured nagging from his wife, Midge.

"Midge tries to get me to buy a little coat for him or something, but I think he just grows more hairs," Dunn said.

Maybe so.

Still, sometimes he notices Max licking his feet after a jaunt through the park that might have been just sprayed with salt.

And hands down, animal's tiny feet pads need extra care.

"The pads are thickened skin that can be sutured if they're cut," Morlock said.

If available, use a warm compress on their paws after they come in from outside and inspect them for cuts and abrasions, as well as keeping pet-friendly, non-toxic snow salt for the backyard.

Even so, it might be difficult and costly to salt the entire neighborhood.

Younger people often get stereotyped as not spending enough time, money or attention on their dogs because of heavy course-loads or busy schedules, but Wilhelm says she only thinks positively of student dog owners from Bowling Green.

"I see a lot of BGSU students (at Toledo Dog Training)," Wilhelm said. "My assistant is a student, and they really take care of their animals."

On the opposite side of age, no matter what anyone says, or whatever the weather and no matter what the advice, Buck will be bundled up and holding the leash that connects to Max's naked dog body, which hopefully for him, is slowly growing more hairs.

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Heloise: Your Pet Ought To Be in Pictures, So Share Them
Heloise - Ventura County Star

Dear readers: Anyone who shares his or her life with a pet knows there is a lot of personality behind those lovable eyes, playful antics and curious expressions. Pets know how to use every adorable trait to their best advantage! Most pets are wonderful to come home to after a long day.

My Saturday column is all about pets, and each week we also choose a cute or funny Pet Pal photo that readers have sent. You can see them all on my Web site,, by clicking on Pets, then checking out Pet of the Week.

This week we have a precious photo of Bailey, a schnauzer-looking puppy, staring straight into the camera with eyes open and ears perky. Arline Benes Nenni of Goffstown, N.H., says: “There’s nothing shy about him! He’s always ready, willing and able.”

Do you have a favorite photo of your pet “smiling”? Would you like to share it? Mail it to: Heloise/Pets, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000. Please include your pet’s name, age and breed or mix, if you can.

Dear Heloise: I live with two dogs and a cat, and all have multiple pet tags on their collars. It can get quite noisy, especially when they play and chase each other. I cut a piece of adhesive-backed felt to fit the tag and stuck it on the back of one tag that touches the other one. Everyone appreciates the quiet. — Brian, Levittown, N.Y.

Dear Heloise: There are so many pets in shelters that need our help. If you don’t have room for a rescue dog or cat but want to contribute, give to a local organization in your pet’s name.

My dogs have all had “adopted” shelter buddies, and now many of our friends and neighbors are doing the same. — Joanne, Spring Branch, Texas

Dear Heloise: To help our new puppy sleep soundly through the first few nights away from its litter mates and mother, we used an alarm clock, tucked in an old towel, in the puppy’s bed. The ticking sound simulated the mother’s heartbeat and helped the puppy calm down. — Avery in Virginia

— Hints can be sent to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; faxed to 210-HELOISE; or e-mailed to

Adhesive-Backed Felt Can Quiet Pet Tags
Hints from Heloise - Erie Times-News

Dear Heloise: I live with two dogs and a cat, and all three have multiple pet tags on their collars.

It can get quite noisy, especially when they play and chase each other. I cut a piece of adhesive-backed felt to fit the tag and stuck it on the back of one tag that touches the other one.

Everyone appreciates the quiet, even our pets. -- Brian, Levittown, N.Y.

Dear Heloise: There are so many pets in shelters that need our help, especially in today's tight economy. If you don't have room for a rescue dog or cat but want to contribute, give to a local pet-rescue organization in your pet's name.

My dogs have all had "adopted" shelter buddies. The feedback is great, and now many of our friends and neighbors are doing the same. -- Joanne, Spring Branch, Texas

Dear Heloise: To help our new puppy sleep soundly through the first few nights away from its littermates and mother, we used an alarm clock, tucked in an old towel, in the puppy's bed.

The ticking sound simulated the mother's heartbeat and helped the puppy calm down. An old watch could work, too. Just be sure it ticks loud enough to be heard. -- Avery in Virginia

Dear Heloise: First of all, my dog, Scruffy, is my baby. I've owned many dogs through the years, but this one is extra-special to me.

In addition to his regular walking leash, I keep an extra leash upstairs next to the bedroom door (just in case we should ever have to evacuate due to a fire) and downstairs behind the sofa.

This way, in case of an emergency, I don't have to run around looking for a way to keep him with me. -- Deb Leonard, Huntsville, Ala.

Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000. Fax: (210) 435-6473. E-mail:

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Pet Photographer Has Studio, Will Travel
By Bruce Colbert, Prescott Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - With the tweet of a whistle or the tickle of a feather, animal photographer Paul Montz coaxes rambunctious pets into posing for picture-perfect portraits.

"The most critical element to being a good animal photographer is to be an animal lover," Montz, owner of Noah's Ark Animal Photography in Chino Valley said.

Montz's motto could be "Have studio, will travel." He travels around the county with a self-contained portrait studio complete with lights, props, backdrops and tricks of the trade.

"Actually, there is no trick or secret weapon to getting dogs or cats to pose," he said. "It's just patience and luck."

To improve his luck with dogs, Montz straps on two waist pouches filled with doggie treats. For added insurance, he carries a small arsenal of wild kingdom sounds including birds, rabbits and deer.

"My best friend is a silent dog whistle," he said. To prove his point during a recent photo session at Chino Valley Animal Hospital, he blew a silent note and momentarily froze a nearby dog.

"I only need them to look at me for 1/250th of a second," he says with a smile.

Montz referred to his digital camera's shutter speed. For portrait sessions he uses one camera and one strobe light reflected off a studio umbrella.

"I always greet a dog with a calm, soothing voice to put them at ease," he said. "Animals have an uncanny ability to sense your mood."

Montz allows a pet's owner to help him settle the pet, but once he starts photographing he wants the pet to focus only on him. Out come the attention-grabbing props - whistles, squeaky toys, feathered sticks, rubber ducks and more.

"I try for a very relaxed, natural pose," Montz said. "For dogs, I look for a twinkle in the eye, ears natural and a nice shiny nose."

Montz, retired from the Department of Defense, launched his new career four years when he answered an advertisement for a pet photographer.

"After I started doing it, I thought, 'This is the truest form of portrait work,'" he remembers.

Montz uses different backdrops and seasonal props - beach umbrellas for summer, leaves for fall, a fireplace backdrop for winter and flowers for spring. He switched to canvas backdrops after a dog snuggled up to a "wall" and fell through the paper prop.

Montz' portfolio includes dogs, cats, guinea pigs, horses and iguanas. So far, no one has hired him to take a snake or fish portrait.

During a photo shoot, Montz connects his camera to a television monitor so that customers can see the images Montz is capturing. After Montz finishes photographing, customers review and choose the portraits they want to buy.

Montz is currently taking portraits of rescue dogs housed at Chino Valley Animal Shelter. The shelter is using the portraits to advertise for adoptions.

Two of the rescued dogs, Wishbone and Lulu, were so excited they could not sit still for a portrait.

"They are so starved for attention," he noted.

"I was raised around animals all my life," Montz said. "It's fortunate when you can do what you love to do in life."

Persons interested in talking to Montz may telephone him at 554-6838, or e-mail him at

U.S. Pet Groomer Charged With Piercing Kittens

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania — A woman who marketed "gothic kittens" with ear, neck and tail piercings over the Internet has been charged with animal cruelty and conspiracy.

Dog groomer Holly Crawford, 34, was charged Tuesday by humane officers. Her home outside Wilkes-Barre was raided Dec. 17 after the authorities received a tip from the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that she was marketing the animals online for hundreds of dollars.

Crawford has said she will plead not guilty.

Crawford told The Associated Press on Thursday that she didn't see any difference between piercing a cat and piercing a human. She said she used sterile needles and surgical soap and that she checked the kittens several times a day to make sure they were healing properly.

"When I did it, it wasn't with any cruel intentions," said Crawford. "They were definitely loved, well-fed, no fleas, clipped nails. And they were happy."

Daphna Nachminovitch, a vice president for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, called the piercings "barbaric."

"There's no excuse for inflicting such pain on an animal that's the size of your palm," she said.

Crawford, who sports her own body piercings, said she decided on a whim to pierce the ears and neck of a stray kitten she took in last fall and named Snarley Monster. She said she docked the cat's tail because it was badly damaged and that the animal was not intended for sale.

Morrison charged Crawford and William Blansett, 37, of Sweet Valley, each with three misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, three summary counts of cruelty and three counts of conspiracy.

Crawford said Blansett helped take calls about the kittens but that he had nothing to do with the piercings.

A number for Blansett could not be located.

Crawford said her dog-grooming business, Pawside Parlor, has plummeted since the raid and that she has received dozens of nasty phone calls.

"My name's ruined, my reputation's ruined, my business is ruined," she said. - AP

New Bedford Woman Finds Lost Dog After 17 Months
By Jennifer Lade - South Coast Today

FAIRHAVEN — A month ago, Karen Rego would have been crazy to think she would ever see her dog again. Shadow, a Min Pin, had run away in August 2007, and it seemed impossible he would even be alive.

But last week, the impossible happened. Ms. Rego was reunited with Shadow at the Fairhaven Animal Shelter, amid smiles and plenty of tail wagging.

"I was just ecstatic," Ms. Rego said.

It was 17 months earlier that she took Shadow from Fall River to her new home in the South End of New Bedford following a separation from her husband. Within his first few weeks at the new digs, however, the miniature pinscher escaped.

Ms. Rego did everything she could think of to find the dog, canvassing local animal shelters, putting an ad in the paper and posting flyers on utility poles. But after a while, she lost hope.

"I thought maybe he got killed somewhere out there," she said.

She tried to get over the loss of Shadow by adopting two new dogs, but she eventually returned them.

"They were so different from my dog," she said.

Then, on Jan. 18, she saw a newspaper ad saying two Min Pins had been found and were being held at the Fairhaven Animal Shelter. It was a long shot, but she decided to see if one of the dogs was Shadow.

She visited the shelter armed with photos of her lost dog. She looked at the dog that had been turned in. He had the same nick on his ear, the same stubby tail, the same light brown eyes. It definitely appeared to be Shadow, just with a slightly different personality.

"He's not the same, of course, because he's been gone for so long," Ms. Rego said of the 12-year-old dog. He was not thin, but he looked a little ragged and bitten up, as though he had been in a fight, she said.

"He's weathered after all this time. I think he's been on the street a lot."

Tiffany Tripp, the Fairhaven animal control officer, said Min Pins do not differ widely in appearance, but the dog they were holding was a similar age as Shadow and looked like the dog in the pictures. That was good enough for the shelter, Ms. Tripp said. She trusted that Ms. Rego would recognize her own dog.

"She believes it is, and I believe her," she said. "The dog was happy to see her."

Residents of Fairhave had turned in Shadow and another, younger Min Pin on Jan. 9 after finding them wandering on the street, Ms. Tripp said. According to the shelter's policy, an ad about the dogs was placed in the paper, and the dogs were to be kept for a 10-day period for the owner to claim them before they could be adopted out.

When Ms. Rego learned Shadow had been turned in with another Min Pin, a female, she decided there was room for one more dog in her life. She officially adopted her and brought both the dogs home on Wednesday. They appear to be friends, Ms. Rego said.

She hasn't been celebrating Shadow's return on her own.

"I called family right away. It was like having a new birth."

600 Rescued Dogs and 80% Are Pregnant
By Christine Clarridge - Seattle Times

After authorities seized nearly 600 dogs in raids in two counties over the past week, the number is only expected to climb higher since most of the animals are pregnant and the puppies just keep coming.

How to help

Donations of food, blankets, "pee pads" and money for medical care are being accepted for the rescued animals at:

The Humane Society of Skagit Valley, or 360-757-0445.

The Burlington-based Saving Pets One at a Time, or 360-336-5388.

Everett Animal Services Shelter, or 425-257-6000. Or contact animal-services director Bud Wessman at

People wishing to volunteer help or provide a foster home are asked to leave their contact information with the above organizations and be patient.
It's a puppy tsunami.

After authorities seized nearly 600 dogs in raids in two counties over the past week, the number is only expected to climb higher since most of the animals are pregnant and the puppies just keep coming.

"We've already had two litters born," said Bud Wessman, director of Everett Animal Services, which is caring for 155 dogs seized from a Snohomish County property on Jan. 16. "We have six that will give birth over the weekend and probably another 10 litters coming up in the next week."

The Snohomish County property has been linked to another property in Skagit County, where authorities seized another 135 dogs on Wednesday and returned Friday to seize the remaining 308. The owner of the Skagit County property, near Mount Vernon, is the mother of the woman who owns the Snohomish County property near Gold Bar.

The dog seizures in both counties have animal-control officials struggling to care for the crush of animals. Officials estimate about 80 percent of the 598 dogs are pregnant.

Most of the dogs are miniature Chihuahuas, shih tzus, poodles, Yorkshire terriers and so-called "designer" dogs, deputies said.

According to Chief Criminal Deputy Will Reichardt of the Skagit County Sheriff's Office, investigators believe a puppy mill was being run primarily out of the five-acre Skagit County property in the 16000 block of Mountain View Road under the name Mountain View Kennel.

The first batch of approximately 135 dogs was seized from Mountain View Kennel during the Wednesday raid. Those dogs — sick, matted, standing in their own feces and left without food and water — were deemed to be in need of immediate medical care, he said.

The second batch of 308 dogs was taken from the property on Friday after authorities determined they might be infected with a potentially deadly intestinal parasite, Reichardt said.

Most of the dogs taken from that property are being sheltered at the Skagit County Fairgrounds although some have been placed in foster homes, Reichardt said.

In the related raid in Snohomish County last week, deputies and animal-control officers rescued 155 dogs that were sick, filthy and covered with fleas, according to Snohomish County license manager Vicki Lubrin. Those animals are at the Everett Animal Shelter, she said.

According to Lubrin, the dogs were typically bred at the Gold Bar and Skagit County properties.

The dogs were sold from a third family property in the city of Snohomish, which was described as a "nice country house," according to Paula Helinski, who lives near the family's Skagit County property and has spent years collecting documents to expose the alleged puppy mill. Dogs also were sold through an Internet site called Wags & Wiggles Teacups, she said.

Authorities raided the Snohomish property on Jan. 16 and found 44 dogs. Although the number was in violation of the kennel permit, the dogs were left behind because they appeared to be in good shape, Lubrin said.

Law-enforcement and animal-control officers in the two counties say they are working together to investigate the case and that they expect animal-cruelty charges to be filed against the owners.

The Seattle Times is not naming the property owners because charges have not been filed.

At the Skagit County Fairgrounds on Friday, an army of animal-control officers, sheriff's deputies, rescue activists and volunteers worked to transport, sort, clean, bathe and medicate the animals.

It will take some time before the animals' fate is known, said Wessman, the director of Everett Animal Services.

According to Wessman, the dogs' owners have 15 days to either surrender the animals to the counties or post a bond that would cover the medical and boarding costs for the animals for the duration of their stay in the shelter, which, if criminal charges are filed, could be lengthy.

If they are turned over to the counties, Wessman said, the animals will have to give birth and then be spayed.

Wessman said he has spoken with officials from the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine about having the animals spayed and neutered en masse by students. He said this could be a great solution for the animals and a good learning experience for the students.

After that, a mass adopt-a-thon could be scheduled. He said the Academy of Canine Behavior in Bothell has offered to host one when the time is right, he said.

He and officials in Skagit County warn that it could take some time to restore the animals to health and prepare them to be fostered or adopted out.

Animal-control officers are additionally asking that anyone who purchased a dog from the Mountain View Kennel leave a message for animal-control officer JoHannah Deterding at 360-336-9450 or e-mail her at

Christine Clarridge: 206-464-8983 or

Book Reviews
A Rare Breed of Love
By Jimmy Orr - Christian Science Monitor

How a three-legged dog won the hearts of everyone from an angry homeless man to Barack Obama.

A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere By Jana Kohl Fireside 224 pp., $25.95

Monitor online editor Jimmy Orr speaks with author Jana Kohl about her book "A Rare Breed of Love."

America has a love affairs with dogs. I should know. As the director of the White House website during President George W. Bush’s first term, I couldn’t help but notice that, whenever we put first dog Barney on the website, traffic soared.

(In fact, the highest-trafficked day on the site was Dec. 17, 2003 – the day we released the second annual Barney Christmas video, “Barney II: Barney Reloaded.”)

So with President Obama now in the Oval Office, it isn’t a surprise to me that anytime I write about the Obama family’s search for a pet dog, it becomes one of the most visited stories on the Monitor’s website.

There’s even a dog who has enjoyed a resurgence in media attention as the result of Barack Obama’s election. That’s Baby, the star of A Rare Breed of Love, a book published last summer by Dr. Jana Kohl.

Baby, a small white poodle with only three legs, has a high-powered connection to the president of the United States. In fact, you may have seen a photograph of her in his arms.

So how did this little poodle – a three legged one at that – meet the most powerful man in the world? The story, of course, is in the book.

It all started when Kohl, who describes herself as a “one-time unlikely dog lover,” decided she wanted to buy a poodle. She went to see the dogs at a breeder – only to be horrified at the conditions under which the dogs lived.

So she decided to adopt a shelter dog instead. That’s where she found Baby – a 9-year-old toy poodle who had been imprisoned in a cage in a puppy mill for her entire life. She was useful to her owners only as long as she could produce puppies. No longer able to do this, she was thrown away, literally.

Baby’s leg had to be amputated due to the years of abuse.

What Kohl saw and learned through her experience with Baby has led her to devote her life to protecting dogs and shutting down puppy mills.

Before you dismiss the book as the rantings of an animal activist, know this: Once upon a time, Kohl wore fur and was basically indifferent toward animals. But her one experience at a puppy mill redefined her life.

She set out on the road with Baby, hoping to reach the highest profile people possible. So she took Baby to Capitol Hill and met with both Republicans and Democrats. Sens. Ted Kennedy, John Ensign, Dick Durbin, Maria Cantwell, Rick Santorum, Elizabeth Dole and many, many others met with Baby and Kohl and, as Kohl explains, there were many teary eyes during the meetings.

Little Baby melted the heart of Bill Mahrer. She made Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler sing. She went on the air with Paul Harvey. She palled around with Martina Navratilova’s dogs and hung out with Jim Cramer on the set of “Mad Money.” For star after star, politician after politician, the little dog put a face to dog abuse and made people stop and care.

And, as Kohl explains, her tours across the country also touched thousands of everyday people. Not to mention one homeless man whose rage all but stopped when he saw the three-legged poodle.

“He charged down the sidewalk toward us, screaming obscenities at the top of his lungs ranting unintelligibly,” Kohl wrote. But upon seeing Baby, the man stopped and questioned Kohl about the three-legged dog, before suddenly becoming an advocate for her.

“ ‘You’re taking good care of her, right,’ he asked looking at me squarely. ‘You aren’t going to hurt her,’ he added more as a statement than a question. I felt my throat tighten and my eyes well with tears for the empathy this troubled man was offering Baby, someone he identified with and wanted to protect, someone who, for that moment, inspired him to put aside his own agony and feel the pain of another. In the two years since I adopted her, I had never seen a clearer example of Baby’s transformational power to elicit love, kindness, and empathy even in the face of one’s own suffering. It is a power that animals singularly possess to heal the human soul.”

Baby’s story makes for a transformational book.

The pictures are priceless. The stories are touching. Some of it is not easy to read. Not only did Baby lose one leg, but her vocal chords were removed with scissors so she wouldn’t annoy her keepers by barking.

But it’s much easier to read it than to live it. Baby’s done the hard part.

“A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere” reads like a collection of articles interspersed with dozens of photos.

And that picture with the president? Back in 2005 when President Obama was a US senator, he was one of the politicians who agreed to meet with Kohl and Baby. He agreed to the photoshoot and pledged to Kohl that when he brought a dog home for his family, it would be a rescue dog – not one from a breeder. And now, it seems, the president is living up to his word.

If we believe Mahatma Gandhi had something to offer, we may want to listen to his words, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

Kohl, through her work and her book, is helping our country. And I’m glad she has the president’s ear.

Jimmy Orr is the Monitor’s online editor.

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