Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chromosomes-Get Yer Genes On!


by Geneva Coats

Why is Spot larger than Rover? Why does Trixie have a golden coat while Muffie’s is black? And why are Muffie’s ears floppy while Rover’s stand upright?

Specific characteristics of living organisms are determined by their “GENES”. Genes are “coding” segments made up of a substance called DNA. The DNA in your genes is arranged in specific patterns. Different genes are strung together in long rows to form a rope-like chain called a “chromosome”. Each chromosome contains thousands of genes.

Chromosomes are instruction panels; they provide the blueprint to make an organism what it is. They carry all of the information necessary to help living things grow, survive and reproduce. Chromosomes are located inside the cells of the body in a central control area called a “nucleus”. These chromosomes determine not only what you look like, but also how your body functions and, to a large extent, how you act, think and feel.

The DNA that makes up genes and chromosomes is like a computer code of instructions. Chromosomes in the nucleus build an instruction copy of themselves and send that instructions to other parts of the cell, the ribosomes, and the ribosomes in turn manufacture proteins according to instructions provided. These proteins might be enzymes for body metabolism, or proteins for building body tissues.

During normal cell division for growth or cell replacement and repair, chromosomes double and then split apart to form two cells form from one. Now both of these cells will end up with identical chromosomes within their nuclei. However, there is a special type of cell division that happens to produce the unique reproductive or “germinal” cells. Instead of doubling, the germinal cells are produced by by splitting up the original chromosomes. These reproductive germinal cells, the sperm and the eggs (ova), therefore will contain only HALF the number of chromosomes as do the other cells of the body. When a sperm cell combines with an ovum, VOILA! there is then a complete set of genes with a full set of instructions to create a new living being. This new creature will have half his genes originating from his father’s sperm, and the other half will have been contributed by his mother’s ovum.

This process involves something known as “random fertilization”. What does that mean?

The chromosome combination contributed by a sire to his offspring is random, and can vary considerably. Half his chromosomes will end up in that sperm cell…but how many different possible combinations of chromosomes can there be in any one sperm cell?

Let’s check it out. Humans have 46 chromosomes, arranged in 23 pairs, that divide and split up to form germinal cells, and they assort independently. To form a germinal cell, there are 2^23, or 8 million, possible different assortments of chromosomes that could be inherited for each individual cell!! The ovum also has 8 million possible different chromosome combinations. 8 million X 8 million = 64 trillion possible unique combinations of chromosomes for every human offspring created from any given mating! See how unique you are! Even your siblings may have quite a different genetic makeup than you do!

A human cell has 46 chromosomes, arranged in 23 pairs. A dog cell, however, has 78 chromosomes, arranged in 39 pairs. Each sire can produce roughly 550 BILLION different assortments of chromosomes in their sperm cells. Multiply that by the 550 billion possible combinations of chromosomes in the dam’s ova, and there is a possible 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 DIFFERENT combinations of chromosomes that can be produced for any individual dog created from any specific pairing.

WOW! that’s a lot of zeros. How do you read such a number? It is 30 billion trillion....roughly the same number as the estimate of the number of stars in the visible universe! Each dog from any certain mating is as unique in his genetic makeup as a star! That's a very nice comparison, I think.

But wait! There is another factor that can further increase genetic variety in offspring. This is the phenomenon known as “genetic crossover”. Crossover commonly happens during cell division to produce sperm and ova. What does “crossover” mean? Let’s see….remember we said that each chromosome has a partner chromosome with similar genes on it. During cell division, part of one chromosome may break off and swap material with its partner. This means that sometimes the chromosome that you inherit is totally different from the original one your parent has. The crossover process “shuffles the deck” so to speak, to produce even more variety in offspring. It would be impossible to estimate how much more variety this effect produces! But we would need millions more universes filled with billions more stars to get close to the number of unique combinations of chromosomes possible to achieve with any specific mating.

This vastly inconceivable number implies a rich potential to produce dogs who have a very unique and highly individualized genetic makeup. This inherent variety in the dog genome is how man has been able to create so many different breeds with characteristics as different as those noted between a Chihuahua and an Irish Wolfhound. Compare the variety in dogs to that of humans, who all look remarkably similar….even people of different races. We have fewer chromosomes to reassort and recombine, and less chance of isolating and promoting different specific traits.

Now do you still think that one or two litters is enough to judge what your dog can produce? Although, I am sure there are animal rights “overpopulation” handwringers out there who believe that every intact dog will produce billions of puppies in just seven years. Hmmm, I only wish I could get more than three or four in a litter to select from!

And just think, each and every chromosome contains thousands of individual genes!

Diagram of a chromosome, (looks like an "X"). It's looks chubby because it is composed of tightly coiled strands of DNA (see detail portion showing unravelled strand of DNA)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

SB 250. This duck is lame.

Yesterday, Dean Florez claimed that SB250 was necessary because taxpayers
are footing a quarter- billion-dollar bill each year for rounding up and
euthanizing a million strays.

A MILLION stray dogs are wandering loose in California? A quarter BILLION
dollars a year expense? And we killed ALL of them – not ONE was adopted?

I realize hyperbole is a part of politics but that is absolutely ridiculous.

Putting aside the insanity of those claims, according to SB 250...

if my neighbor says my dog barks too much, I will have to have him neutered.

If I miss the expiration date on his license, I will have to have him

If I’m training him at the park and he’s heeling off leash, I will have to
have him neutered.

And in all of these cases, according to SB 250, the result of having my dog
sterilized for these or other minor infractions, none of which have to do
with his potential breeding capacity, will be fewer dogs euthanized in this

And this makes sense to you?

SB 250 is nothing but a carefully worded, devious and mean-spirited
mandatory spay/neuter bill.

Which, by the way, has NEVER worked ANYWHERE and has ALWAYS cost a fortune.
L. A. County, in the first year after instituting MSN, saw its budget go
from 6 million to 18 million a year – that’s a 269% increase.

L.A. City, which had been showing a continuing downward trend in euthanasia
figures despite a large increase in the human population, ignored all the
evidence and gave us our own MSN law, whereupon the numbers jacked right up
and continue to do so.

Your own Finance Committee says this bill will be hugely expensive. You
can’t even get a workable budget but you’re voting to ADD to it! And for
what? NOTHING!

In forty years of owning dogs, I have never bred a litter, accidentally or
otherwise. Yet my government seeks to punish my dogs, not me, by ripping
out their healthy organs, which, according to recent studies, is NOT good
for their health. Because I apparently am TOO STUPID to prevent my dogs
from having sex.

Even if I choose to breed, look around! There is a SHORTAGE of adoptable
animals in many parts of the country. Just because L.A. has a problem with
gangbangers’ pit bulls doesn’t mean Massachusetts has overcrowded shelters.

That’s why dogs are shipped cross country every day to fill the demand.

That’s why we have a smuggling problem with dogs flooding in from Mexico to
fill the void.

That’s why we have many more coming in from China, Romania and other third
world countries.

Yet Florez and other shortsighted politicians insist we need mandatory
spay/neuter laws, and in this case, nasty, vindictive, divisive ones.

At last count, 40 of your fellow legislators GOT IT. If Florez sneaks this
travesty of a bill back in on Monday, I hope you too will look at the facts,
reconsider and vote NO.

Put SB 250 in the trash where it belongs.

Friday, August 27, 2010

With "Best Friends" like this who needs enemies?

Here's an interesting post from Best Friends Animal Society online forum. Dogs were surrendered by a former rescuer turned "hoarder" in Kern County. Were they "rescued" by HSUS just so they could be turned over to Best Friends and subsequently killed by the SPCA?

That's not very 'Best Friendly', now, is it. 

Life with a so-called "hoarder" at least means you get to stay ALIVE.

But consider for a moment the unholy origins of this group. "Best Friends" is a group that used to be known as the Process Church. This is noted on their website under the information on their history. Just google them for information on that unholy group. Years ago, the Process Church discovered it was fairly easy to get donations for an animal charity. Great way to finance their covenstead! Hopefully the days of animal sacrifice are behind them, but who knows for sure?
Can we trust a group that has ties to Charlie Manson? Brrrr.... 

Here's the snip from their forum.

Sid(Sweet Pea), Petey, and Nancy, all pit bull terrier mixes, have until 6pm on Friday, August 27th to be saved. ......This picture shows their nervous behavior when they first came into SPCA after being rescued from the hoarder in Kern County. If you can help Sweet Pea, Petey or Nancy please contact.....

Gosh I'd be "nervous" too if I were taken to an unfamiliar location with strange people. What a crock.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Tail Wags The Dog!


National Pomeranian club adds new pattern description to breed standard based on minority vote

AKC suggests a 2/3 supermajority vote to approve any changes to important documents like a breed standard. Most clubs include such a stipulation in their by-laws. One would assume that to ADD a new pattern description into a standard, the membership would have to approve the measure with a 2/3 majority vote. Right?

Well, throw that assumption out the window. In this case, a very vocal minority was allowed to prevail. The American Pomeranian Club recently approved a revised breed standard. The club members are being told by the APC board of directors that the updated standard will include this statement in the pattern section:

Merle – Blue, Chocolate, Sable. A base color with contrasting lighter and darker areas giving a mottled appearance on allowed colors or patterns.
APC members are being TOLD, not ASKED, that this merle description will be added to the standard....without any vote of approval! This is in direct violation of the club's constitution and bylaws.

Since the beginning of the modern breed in the late 19th century, a merle pattern description has NEVER existed in any written standard; and there has NEVER been historical documentation to suggest that merle Pomeranians have existed until recent years. Neither is merle an allowed or described pattern for Pomeranians in any other country in the world!

In the recent standard revision balloting, a line-item vote was taken on the issue of a disqualification for merle. A whopping 59% of the club members voted for the disqualification for merle. A landslide! Not only do these members not wish to have merle described in the standard, but they felt strongly enough about this issue that they actually voted for merle to be a disqualification.

Ignoring the will of the overwhelming majority of club members, a minority opinion was apparently sufficient justification to add in new verbiage describing blue merle, chocolate merle and sable merle. (Sable merle? Which color class do I enter?) Claiming direction from AKC, the APC board of directors added a completely new pattern description into the Pomeranian breed standard WITHOUT a vote of approval! How was this accomplished? In fine print on the ballot we find:

PLEASE NOTE: If the Merle DQ does not pass the following will be added to Allowed Patterns: Merle: Blue, Chocolate, Sable and the merle description will be added to the pattern descriptions
Lack of disqualification does not equate to acceptable. A DQ that fails to attain supermajority vote status does not legitimize an existing problem, it merely spotlights the issue.Mari-Beth O'Neill is AKC's Assistant Vice President of Special Services and was the club's advisor for the standard revision process. When questioned regarding the legality of the addition of this pattern description, Ms. O'Neill responded:

'The membership was provided with the description of the merle pattern as it is what was voted on as the DQ on the ballot. The statement that followed explained if it failed that description would be added to the Pattern description. I realize what a controversial issue this is for the breed, and fully appreciate your concern.'

Supporters of merle Pomeranians observed what happened with the recent Chihuahua standard revision. They noticed how the DQ for merle was narrowly defeated by presenting it as a separate, line-item vote. The APC board polled its club members and discovered that they fell short of a 2/3 majority support for a DQ for merle...and so, "Monkey see, Monkey do".... the standard ballot was presented with separate line-item votes for ONLY the color section items. Seemingly the APC board wished to avert a very controversial DQ by presenting it as a separate item, as they were aware from polling that it was unlikely to attain a 2/3 vote as a stand-alone measure.

APC's board of directors is composed primarily of a group who ran as an independent slate in the last club elections. Proclaiming a "commitment to communicate", some of the current board members have instead revealed their true agenda....control of the standard revision that was in progress at the time of the club elections nearly two years ago.
This board has sliced, diced and served up a rather different recipe than the standard revision committee originally presented. Several membership polls were taken, but there was no poll regarding adding a completely new pattern to the standard! And now, nearly two years later, just as their term is about to expire, they present the standard for a vote....waiting as long as possible for newer, more "progressive" members to join the club. (There is no waiting period, new members may vote immediately.)

Thankfully, there is no other country that allows or describes merle Pomeranians in its breed standard; including all FCI countries, The Kennel Club of the UK, and the Canadian Kennel Club. Merle Pomeranians have only recently been seen in the breed, and even more recently in the show ring. The current AKC standard states that all colors, patterns and variations thereof are allowed. The patterns are then described in detail, but merle is not described. Thus, merle breeders and owners have "pushed the envelope", showing merle Pomeranians under a loophole in the current standard. Efforts to penalize the pattern were stalled by threats of lawsuits, and a parliamentarian was brought in by merle proponents to challenge a club election.

Merle brings with it several distinct health problems into the breed....the strong probability of eye defects and deafness when a dog is born with a "double dose" of the merle gene. While most caring and educated breeders would not intentionally breed merle to merle, the gene can be visually undetectable in some dogs with excessive white coat, or in the red, orange, cream or sable colored specimens who comprise the majority of the Pomeranian gene pool. Accidental or perhaps even intentional merle-to-merle breedings have already happened, as evidenced by double merle Poms recently entering Pomeranian rescue. We will likely see more of these cases in the future, particularly if the pattern is legitimized by inclusion in the breed standard.

The Pomeranian standard has always called for DARK eyes, not the light blue eyes that commonly accompany merle. In a move that preserves dark eyes as an essential component of breed type, 67% of the APC membership agreed that light blue eyes should be a disqualification. The newly approved standard includes a disqualification for "eye(s) light blue, blue marbled, blue flecked".

Citing concerns about crossbreeding that likely brought this new pattern into the Pomeranian breed, APC member Mari Iffland noted:
"This issue will not end with the vote. It has divided the club in half and it's unlikely things will ever be resolved. Regardless of how the vote went . . . it did not change my mind about where the merles originated, and I'm sure I am not alone in this. All it does is destroy our faith in the parent club and the AKC."
This revised standard has been submitted to AKC and is slated for discussion at the October board meeting. The voters have spoken and their voices should be heard. However, should the APC insert a merle description into the standard when the majority of club members are opposed? Such an addition should only be allowed upon approval by a 2/3 majority vote of the club members.

This standard revision represents years of hard work by many people. All that is needed to rectify the situation is an additional ballot on ONE item. The AKC board should direct the American Pomeranian Club to conduct a separate ballot on the merle pattern description issue prior to finalizing the new breed standard. Such action would exemplify the AKC motto:

"We're more than Champion dogs. We're the Dog's Champion".
Submitted by Geneva Coats

Monday, August 23, 2010


One more shot from Judie Mancuso, sponsor of SB 250. The bill is toxic; and for those politicians able to put the pieces together, a relationship with Mancuso is toxic. Here's what I suggest. Send your version of the included letter to the following:

1. your local media -- use the NRA-ILA tool at the following site:


2. the California Veterinary Medical Association -- Animal Rights means no animals left means no money for vets:

1400 River Park Drive, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 649-0599 -- TEL
(916) 646-9156 -- FAX

3. your Assembly Members and Senators -- (SEE PRIOR POST)

Here's the letter:
August 23, 2010

Re: Animal Rights infestation in Sacramento.

Dear [ ]:

As if the specter of bedbugs spreading throughout America weren’t enough, it appears that Sacramento has been infested with Animal Rights extremists. Or at least with one Animal Rights extremist in particular, Judie Mancuso. Mancuso, you may remember, is the founder and president of Social Compassion, the Animal Rights advocacy organization which has sponsored mandatory spay/neuter legislation in this state for the last few sessions. (You may also remember that Social Compassion was co-founded by Jane Garrison, often described as a PETA activist or HSUS employee – tomāto, tomäto.)

What’s Mancuso been up to? Well let’s see, Mancuso recently finagled an appointment from John Perez, Speaker of the California Assembly, to the California Veterinary Medical Board. It’s not clear what Mancuso, part of the “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy” *crowd, is doing on VMB, the state agency primarily responsible for licensing and regulating the practice of veterinary medicine in California. You might consider contacting the Speaker, himself, and asking him in your best imitation of Dr. Phil, “What were you thinking?” Perez can be reached as follows:

John Perez
Speaker of the Assembly
State Capitol
P. O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0046
(916) 319-2046 – TEL
(916) 319-2146 – FAX

Interestingly, the VMB has a link on its Web site pointing to The CA Spay and Neuter License Plate site. For a fee, Californians can buy a special spay and neuter license plate. The money generated by the sale of these plates is to be administered by the California Spay and Neuter License Plate Fund, Inc. Who’s the president of this organization? You guessed it, it’s “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy”* Mancuso. So let’s get this right, we have the Speaker of the Assembly appointing an Animal Rights extremist to a state agency, we have that state agency promoting a pet project of the Animal Rights extremist, we have the Animal Rights extremist in charge of the money raised by this project. Seems like a call to the VMB might be in order:

California Veterinary Medical Board
2005 Evergreen Street
Suite 2250
Sacramento, CA 95815-3831
(916) 263-2610 – TEL
(916) 263-2621 – FAX

Finally, we hear that Mancuso has hired the high-priced lobbyist firm, Platinum Advisors, to be her front men in the final hours of this legislative session. (These guys are the ultimate “hos” – they also represent Allergan, Pfizer and Estee Lauder, companies that just might not see eye-to-eye with Animal Rights extremists about animal testing.) Platinum doesn’t put out cheaply; so where’s Mancuso’s money coming from? SCIL, SC, PETA, HSUS, ALDF, LCA or some other organization in the Animal Rights extremist alphabet soup? (Some of the named organizations are tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organizations and not supposed to be engaged in substantial lobbying activities.)

As “Deep Throat” suggested, follow the money.



* “a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy” is a well known quote attributed to Ingrid Newkirk, head of PETA . It refers to the fact that animal rights cultists see no difference between a rat and your human child. It is also the title of an excellent new book by Wesley Smith on the animal rights extreme cults like Social Compassion in Legislation, PETA, the HSUS, In Defense of Animals and the well known terrorist group ALF .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SB 250.....Return of the Undead

SB 250 has been taken out of the inactive file and may go before the full assembly for a vote. The bill has minor amendments as of today, August 18th, that do not address the basic flaws of the bill. If the bill does pass the assembly, it must still be approved by the Senate once more due to being amended.

There is no need to reinvent a broken wheel. Mandatory spay and neuter laws do not work. Please contact your assembly member today and request a NO vote on SB 250. Some reasons for opposition are listed below.

Senate Bill 250 is a draconian measure that will mandate sterilization of nearly all dogs and cats statewide. All dogs and cats must be neutered or spayed unless the owner holds a special license. Under the language as introduced, any leash law, licensing, tethering or other animal law violation is sufficient to deny or revoke that license. There are no provisions for performance or competition animals. There are no provisions for travelers, tourists, visitors or other such temporary presence in the state. A new class of dog-owning criminals will be created. Leaving your dog in your car or motor home (however briefly) will make you a criminal. Taking off a collar or leash would automatically make you a criminal.

This law creates new crimes and imposes new state-mandated duties on local animal control agencies. Experience has shown that punitive animal control legislation is costly and ineffective. Additionally, such legislation is unnecessary since surveys show that most owned dogs and cats are ALREADY sterilized.

The California Department of Finance opposes SB 250 because it would increase costs to state and local areas. Animal control costs are likely to rise, euthanasia rates increase, and pet licensing drop off. Money will have to be taken from other vital local services. Experience has shown that local jurisdictions cannot recoup the costs to administer and enforce mandated sterilization laws from penalties and fees alone. To pay for the new bureaucracy, funds are taken from other city and county services, including law enforcement and public safety.

The ASPCA and the American Veterinary Medical Association are OPPOSED to mandatory sterilization laws because they don't work. Also, “Maddie’s funds” are not available to communities with sterilization mandates.

Veterinarians agree that surgery should be a decision made by pet owners and their veterinarians – not mandated by state government.

Dog impounds have fallen 86% over last 30 years. Dogs impounds in California have been falling steadily for decades because local shelters use programs that work: Pet owner education, rescue, foster programs, and subsidized low-cost spay/neuter services. NONE of these programs receive state funding under SB 250.

SB 250 does not help to reduce the numbers of feral cats, who comprise the majority of shelter intakes.

SB 250 is poorly drafted, cannot be enforced, and will be extremely costly to administer.

Animal control issues must be resolved at the local – not state – level. SB 250 will blanket all 58 counties in California with a mandate to enact, staff and administer a costly law that many local and community shelters don’t want or need. Currently, 12 California counties do not have an animal control department.

SB 250 will negatively impact the availability of pets, service dogs for the blind, deaf and disabled, police K9s, and working dogs. It will harm animals, punish millions of responsible pet owners, cost taxpayers billions, and increase both the abandoned pet population and euthanasia rates.

This bill imposes punishment for impounds of cats or dogs by mandating sterilization of pets before release. Add this to the other expenses involved in reclaiming a lost pet will result in dogs left behind instead of going home.

There are many reasons why a pet could be impounded by animal services such as fire, earthquake or other disasters. Such situations do not warrant a fine or punishment to the owner.

This bill allows the state to capriciously deprive owners of the reproductive values of show/breeding dogs or cats.

Complaints from disgruntled neighbors, or any person who wants to harass someone with an intact dog would be encouraged by this bill.

This is a bad bill, cobbled together without regard for existing laws or of the practical consequences. For example, it requires anyone who sells an intact animal to post the animal’s license number. But most local jurisdictions do not license cats. Further, most local jurisdictions do not provide for licensing an animal under the age of four months; but most puppies and kittens are sold before they reach that age.

Use of the term "custodian" in the bill, rather than being limited to pet owners, suggests this law would be used to unfairly target feral cat caretakers and other individuals feeding or caring for free-roaming cats. It punishes the people trying to help these unfortunate animals. Kindness becomes a crime. A person caring for a few free roaming/feral cats could be cited and subject to a civil penalty if over a local limit law, when ownership of these cats is not clearly defined.

Find your assemblymember contact information here:



Assembly Member-Party-District-Phone-Fax-Email

Adams, Anthony R 59 (916) 319-2059 (916) 319-2159 Assemblymember.Adams@assembly.ca.gov

Ammiano, Tom D 13 (916) 319-2013 (916) 319-2113 Assemblymember.Ammiano@assembly.ca.gov

Anderson, Joel R 77 (916) 319-2077 (916) 319-2177 Assemblymember.Anderson@assembly.ca.gov

Arambula, Juan D 31 (916) 319-2031 (916) 319-2131 Assemblymember.Arambula@assembly.ca.gov

Bass, Karen D 47 (916) 319-2047 (916) 319-2147 Assemblymember.Bass@assembly.ca.gov

Beall, Jim Jr. D 24 (916) 319-2024 (916) 319-2124 Assemblymember.Beall@assembly.ca.gov

Berryhill, Bill R 26 (916) 319-2026 (916) 319-2126 Assemblymember.Bill.Berryhill@assembly.ca.gov

Berryhill, Tom R 25 (916) 319-2025 (916) 319-2125 Assemblymember.Tom.Berryhill@assembly.ca.gov

Blakeslee, Sam R 33 (916) 319-2033 (916) 319-2133 Assemblymember.Blakeslee@assembly.ca.gov

Block, Marty D 78 (916) 319-2078 (916) 319-2178 Assemblymember.Block@assembly.ca.gov

Blumenfield, Bob D 40 (916) 319-2040 (916) 319-2140 Assemblymember.Blumenfield@assembly.ca.gov

Bradford, Steven D 51 (916) 319-2051 (916) 319-2151 Assemblymember.Bradford@assembly.ca.gov

Brownley, Julia D 41 (916) 319-2041 (916) 319-2141 Assemblymember.Brownley@assembly.ca.gov

Buchanan, Joan D 15 (916) 319-2015 (916) 319-2115 Assemblymember.Buchanan@assembly.ca.gov

Caballero, Anna M. D 28 (916) 319-2028 (916) 319-2128 Assemblymember.Caballero@assembly.ca.gov

Calderon, Charles M. D 58 (916) 319-2058 (916) 319-2158 Assemblymember.Calderon@assembly.ca.gov

Carter, Wilmer Amina D 62 (916) 319-2062 (916) 319-2162 Assemblymember.Carter@assembly.ca.gov

Chesbro, Wesley D 1 (916) 319-2001 (916) 319-2101 Assemblymember.Chesbro@assembly.ca.gov

Conway, Connie R 34 (916) 319-2034 (916) 319-2134 Assemblymember.Conway@assembly.ca.gov

Cook, Paul R 65 (916) 319-2065 (916) 319-2165 Assemblymember.Cook@assembly.ca.gov

Coto, Joe D 23 (916) 319-2023 (916) 319-2123 Assemblymember.Coto@assembly.ca.gov

Davis, Mike D 48 (916) 319-2048 (916) 319-2148 Assemblymember.Davis@assembly.ca.gov

De La Torre, Hector D 50 (916) 319-2050 (916) 319-2150 Assemblymember.DeLaTorre@assembly.ca.gov

de Leon, Kevin D 45 (916) 319-2045 (916) 319-2145 Assemblymember.deLeon@assembly.ca.gov

DeVore, Chuck R 70 (916) 319-2070 (916) 319-2170 Assemblymember.DeVore@assembly.ca.gov

Eng, Mike D 49 (916) 319-2049 (916) 319-2149 Assemblymember.Eng@assembly.ca.gov

Evans, Noreen D 7 (916) 319-2007 (916) 319-2107 Assemblymember.Evans@assembly.ca.gov

Feuer, Mike D 42 (916) 319-2042 (916) 319-2142 Assemblymember.Feuer@assembly.ca.gov

Fletcher, Nathan R 75 (916) 319-2075 (916) 319-2175 Assemblymember.Fletcher@assembly.ca.gov

Fong, Paul D 22 (916) 319-2022 (916) 319-2122 Assemblymember.Fong@assembly.ca.gov

Fuentes, Felipe D 39 (916) 319-2039 (916) 319-2139 Assemblymember.Fuentes@assembly.ca.gov

Fuller, Jean R 32 (916) 319-2032 (916) 319-2132 Assemblymember.Fuller@assembly.ca.gov

Furutani, Warren T. D 55 (916) 319-2055 (916) 319-2155 Assemblymember.Furutani@assembly.ca.gov

Gaines, Ted R 4 (916) 319-2004 (916) 319-2104 Assemblymember.Gaines@assembly.ca.gov

Galgiani, Cathleen D 17 (916) 319-2017 (916) 319-2117 Assemblymember.Galgiani@assembly.ca.gov

Garrick, Martin R 74 (916) 319-2074 (916) 319-2174 Assemblymember.Garrick@assembly.ca.gov

Gatto, Mike D 43 (916) 319-2043 (916) 319-2143 Assemblymember.Gatto@assembly.ca.gov

Gilmore, Danny D. R 30 (916) 319-2030 (916) 319-2130 Assemblymember.Gilmore@assembly.ca.gov

Hagman, Curt R 60 (916) 319-2060 (916) 319-2160 Assemblymember.Hagman@assembly.ca.gov

Hall, Isadore III D 52 (916) 319-2052 (916) 319-2152 Assemblymember.Hall@assembly.ca.gov

Harkey, Diane L. R 73 (916) 319-2073 (916) 319-2173 Assemblymember.Harkey@assembly.ca.gov

Hayashi, Mary D 18 (916) 319-2018 (916) 319-2118 Assemblymember.Hayashi@assembly.ca.gov

Hernandez, Edward P. D 57 (916) 319-2057 (916) 319-2157 Assemblymember.Hernandez@assembly.ca.gov

Hill, Jerry D 19 (916) 319-2019 (916) 319-2119 Assemblymember.Hill@assembly.ca.gov

Huber, Alyson D 10 (916) 319-2010 (916) 319-2110 Assemblymember.Huber@assembly.ca.gov

Huffman, Jared D 6 (916) 319-2006 (916) 319-2106 Assemblymember.Huffman@assembly.ca.gov

Jeffries, Kevin R 66 (916) 319-2066 (916) 319-2166 Assemblymember.Jeffries@assembly.ca.gov

Jones, Dave D 9 (916) 319-2009 (916) 319-2109 Assemblymember.Jones@assembly.ca.gov

Knight, Steve R 36 (916) 319-2036 (916) 319-2136 Assemblymember.Knight@assembly.ca.gov

Lieu, Ted W. D 53 (916) 319-2053 (916) 319-2153 Assemblymember.Lieu@assembly.ca.gov

Logue, Dan R 3 (916) 319-2003 (916) 319-2103 Assemblymember.Logue@assembly.ca.gov

Lowenthal, Bonnie D 54 (916) 319-2054 (916) 319-2154 Assemblymember.Lowenthal@assembly.ca.gov

Ma, Fiona D 12 (916) 319-2012 (916) 319-2112 Assemblymember.Ma@assembly.ca.gov

Mendoza, Tony D 56 (916) 319-2056 (916) 319-2156 Assemblymember.Mendoza@assembly.ca.gov

Miller, Jeff R 71 (916) 319-2071 (916) 319-2171 Assemblymember.Miller@assembly.ca.gov

Monning, William W. D 27 (916) 319-2027 (916) 319-2127 Assemblymember.Monning@assembly.ca.gov

Nava, Pedro D 35 (916) 319-2035 (916) 319-2135 Assemblymember.Nava@assembly.ca.gov

Nestande, Brian R 64 (916) 319-2064 (916) 319-2164 Assemblymember.Nestande@assembly.ca.gov

Niello, Roger R 5 (916) 319-2005 (916) 319-2105 Assemblymember.Niello@assembly.ca.gov

Nielsen, Jim R 2 (916) 319-2002 (916) 319-2102 Assemblymember.Nielsen@assembly.ca.gov

Norby, Chris R 72 (916) 319-2072 (916) 319-2172 Assemblymember.Duvall@assembly.ca.gov

Pérez, John A. D 46 (916) 319-2046 (916) 319-2146 Assemblymember.John.Perez@assembly.ca.gov

Pérez, V. Manuel D 80 (916) 319-2080 (916) 319-2180 Assemblymember.Manuel.Perez@assembly.ca.gov

Portantino, Anthony J. D 44 (916) 319-2044 (916) 319-2144 Assemblymember.Portantino@assembly.ca.gov

Ruskin, Ira D 21 (916) 319-2021 (916) 319-2121 Assemblymember.Ruskin@assembly.ca.gov

Salas, Mary D 79 (916) 319-2079 (916) 319-2179 Assemblymember.Salas@assembly.ca.gov

Saldaña, Lori D 76 (916) 319-2076 (916) 319-2176 Assemblymember.Saldana@assembly.ca.gov

Silva, Jim R 67 (916) 319-2067 (916) 319-2167 Assemblymember.Silva@assembly.ca.gov

Skinner, Nancy D 14 (916) 319-2014 (916) 319-2114 Assemblymember.Skinner@assembly.ca.gov

Smyth, Cameron R 38 (916) 319-2038 (916) 319-2138 Assemblymember.Smyth@assembly.ca.gov

Solorio, Jose D 69 (916) 319-2069 (916) 319-2169 Assemblymember.Solorio@assembly.ca.gov

Strickland, Audra R 37 (916) 319-2037 (916) 319-2137 Assemblymember.Strickland@assembly.ca.gov

Swanson, Sandre R. D 16 (916) 319-2016 (916) 319-2116 Assemblymember.Swanson@assembly.ca.gov

Torlakson, Tom D 11 (916) 319-2011 (916) 319-2111 Assemblymember.Torlakson@assembly.ca.gov

Torres, Norma J. D 61 (916) 319-2061 (916) 319-2161 Assemblymember.Torres@assembly.ca.gov

Torrico, Alberto D 20 (916) 319-2020 (916) 319-2120 Assemblymember.Torrico@assembly.ca.gov

Tran, Van R 68 (916) 319-2068 (916) 319-2168 Assemblymember.Tran@assembly.ca.gov

Villines, Michael N. R 29 (916) 319-2029 (916) 319-2129 Assemblymember.Villines@assembly.ca.gov

Yamada, Mariko D 8 (916) 319-2008 (916) 319-2108 Assemblymember.Yamada@assembly.ca.gov

Vacant 63 (916) 319-2063 (916) 319-2163

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Salmonella in DRY pet foods

Extruded under tremendous heat and pressure, dry dog food lacks the beneficial probiotic organisms that exist in fresh foods. Kibble are sort of a smorgasbord or petri dish; a rich, sterile field on which the first organism that happens to contact it after it is produced can flourish where there are no competing "good" organisms.

Now, we have a report of Salmonella outbreaks in humans linked to dry pet foods. Delta, how do you like them apples? Check this out:


The moral of the story? Just say NO to kibble. Fresh is best. Sorry to burst your bubble, Purina and Delta!

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?"


(Dog Trainer Version)

Pavlov: We fed the chicken on the opposite side of the road each day
at 4 p.m. until the chicken's autonomic system actually began causing
the chicken to cross the road at 4 p.m. without even questioning the why.

B.F. Skinner: On prior occasions when the chicken voluntarily crossed
the road, this behavior was followed immediately by a reinforcing consequence.

Cesar Milan: I bullied, chased, poked, and intimidated the chicken until
it raced across the road because I am a strong leader, damn it!

Barbara Woodhouse: You just say, "Walkies!" with the right accent
and place a crumpet on the other side of the road.

Karen Pryor: by associating R+ with road crossing and P+ with
standing still, with a VR schedule, and offering a reward in keeping
with the Premack principle, we increased the intensity and frequency
of the road crossing behavior.

Bill Koehler: a few well-timed pops on the choke chain and the chicken
was happy to cross the road and get away from me.

Nicholas Dodman: I gave the chicken fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine,
carbamazepine, and azapirone and then it just floated across the road.

Patti Ruzzo: I crossed the road, pausing every step to spit a treat out of
my mouth like a human pez dispenser and the chicken followed along
catching the treats, soon becoming morbidly obese.

Electric Collar Advocate: Whenever the chicken does not cross the road I
give it an electric shock. But do not worry, the shock is no more than you
would feel if you walked on a carpet
wearing socks and it does not bother
the chicken at all. The feathers standing
up and the smell of burning flesh mean nothing. In fact, they are happier having
nice clear communication than they would
be otherwise.

Yuppie: Chickens are just like little people in feather jackets, and if
you love them and give them diamonds and feel sorry for them all
the time, they will be happy to cross the road for you.

Paris Hilton: Because I put it in a Gucci bag and carried it.

Shelter director: Any chickens that do not cross the road will be
euthanized for their own good, and the others will be adopted out
tomorrow for 50 cents to anyone with a pulse, no questions asked.
Please send us money so we can keep doing more of this important work!

HSUS member: We passed a law mandating that chickens be kept
without cages because animals belong only in the wild and cannot be
happy coexisting with man, so now they are walking wherever they want.

PETA member: I do not know anything about animals, I have never been around animals, but chickens have the right to live in world without roads.
Any chicken that lives within a hundred miles of a road is suffering an inhumane existence and might eventually be hit by a car so we should
kill it today to ensure that it does not die tomorrow.

Do Vaccines Weaken the Health of a Breed?

Do vaccines affect the genetic diversity or strength of a breed?? Does vacccination and the protection provided by herd immunity produce a weaker population? Would it be better to allow "survival of the fittest"; avoiding vaccination completely and breeding only those who can survive infectious disease, with their presumed superior immune systems? Some proponents of natural rearing believe so. Here is another point of view from a canine genetics email list, reposted here by permission of the author. SB 

Is dying from a disease organism, adapted by its nature to try to overcome an animal’s immune system, a sign of “weakness” or “inferiority” of an organism? Is an animal immune-compromised if it dies of rabies? Since rabies is virtually 100% lethal in all mammals except bats (where it also apparently causes mortality, but not 100%), are we to assume that all mammals except bats have weak immune systems?

What about distemper or parvovirus? If dogs have become “weak” because vaccination has allowed the weaker individuals to live, then you might expect wild carnivores to be more resistant to these diseases. In reality, both distemper and parvo often cause high mortality among wild canids. Distemper affects many carnivore species other than canids and has been catastrophic for some of them. (I didn’t have much luck in a quick search for scientific articles accessible to the public without a university connection, but the Wikipedia article on distemper in dogs gives a few examples of wild species severely affected by dog distemper or strains of distemper that apparently evolved from dog distemper. I also found this interesting article in ScienceDaily http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071025094914.htm )

Distemper seems to be a recently evolved disease, maybe a few hundred years old. Parvovirus may be very recent, only a few decades old. Like many infectious diseases, I think these are both diseases that were aided in their evolution by the increasing population density of the affected organism (dogs, in this case, but also people because the distemper virus apparently mutated from the human measles virus). As population density increases, a disease organism has an easier time finding new individuals to infect. It has more individuals to provide a home to incubate in and undergo mutations that might help it be more successful, which to a disease organism means being better able to spread and overcome the victim’s defenses.

It was no accident that Europeans were the victims of so many more diseases than Native Americans prior to Columbus. Europeans had higher population densities that allowed the successive evolution of all sorts of infectious diseases (smallpox, measles, etc.) The Europeans didn’t have to face all these diseases all at once. They developed their resistance over many centuries of separate epidemics. The Native Americans got hit all at once with all these diseases that had forced Europeans to adapt (via massive high-mortality epidemics). By some estimates, 90% of Native Americans were wiped out by infectious diseases carried by Europeans in the decades following Columbus’s trips. Would you consider the pre-Columbus Native Americans genetically inferior or “weak” because they had been isolated from those diseases prior to Columbus? Would you consider Black-footed Ferrets (a species where dog distemper causes huge mortality) to be genetically “weak” compared to dogs that have had hundreds of years of exposure to distemper?

The point is, there will always be new, evolving diseases. All organisms are in an arms race with pathogens. Pathogens are constantly evolving new ways to overcome the immune defenses of organisms, which forces organisms to come up with new defenses against the pathogen. In some cases, the species cannot adapt fast enough and goes extinct.

All organisms face multiple challenges on all fronts: competition with other species, the need to survive the abiotic environment (heat, cold, storms, etc.), the need to find enough food, the need to find sufficient nutrients that may be difficult to get through their diet, and the need to defend against predators, parasites, and pathogens. What is most adaptive depends on the relative selective intensity of all these challenges. An arctic animal may face few challenges from infectious diseases but faces brutal environmental challenges, hence an arctic species may be more vulnerable to certain diseases it is rarely exposed to. A similar species adapted to a milder climate is probably better at disease resistance but could not survive the rigors of the arctic winter. So, a species ability to respond to challenges depends on how important those challenges are to them. No species can be good at all things. There is always some cost to an adaptation, even if it is only the cost in lost diversity of the animals that could not adapt.

So, the question for dog breeders is, how much value do you want to place on the ability of dogs to survive parvo or distemper without vaccination? Do you want to make that the first cut (very literally!) in your breeding selection by letting the puppies be exposed to see who lives or dies? If so, do you want to make sure they get exposed at their most vulnerable age to make it the best test possible? What about rabies? Surely, among the millions of living dogs, there must be a few that could survive rabies. After all, bats somehow evolved the ability to survive the disease. Shall we expose all unvaccinated dogs to rabies and breed from the 5 or 6 or so that survive? If none survive, well, then the weak dog species deserved to go extinct, right?

Also, a question for those that don’t vaccinate for parvo or distemper, but treat aggressively at the first sign of illness. If you want to select for stronger dogs, why do you treat at all?

Personally, I choose vaccination. To me, a weak immune system is NOT one that cannot fight every single new disease that evolves. It is one that cannot defend against non-pathogenic organisms that are always present or that is incapable of mounting a defense against most of the “normal” pathogens.

If you were to only select dogs resistant to distemper and parvo, then you would most likely be reducing diversity of the population, which would make it MORE vulnerable to the next completely new disease. The ability of a species (not an individual) to defend against a novel threat (one a species has never faced before) depends on the population having enough diversity that it increases the chances of some individuals having the adaptations they need to survive.

Kelly Cassidy, PhD
Curator, Vertebrate Museum
Washington State University