DEAR DR. FOX: I recently read the letter in which C.H. related the condition his Belgian shepherd was in when purchased from a breeder. The dog was in poor shape -- skinny, poor coat, bad teeth and her vocal cords had been cut. The writer said he reported it to the American Kennel Club shortly after he got her, but the AKC did nothing. Your reply cited AKC being a dog registry only, not an advocacy group.
From the writer's letter, it does not appear that he contacted the police or any other animal organizations to report animal cruelty and abuse. In your reply, you did not address the animal cruelty and his failure to report it and the breeders to the proper authorities. Failure to report these people allows the perpetrators to continue their vile practices with no repercussions.
Human beings need to stand up for dogs -- and ALL animals. People need to stop buying from breeders; adopt from shelters to put breeders out of business! -- K.K., St. Louis
DEAR K.K.: I agree with you that contacting local animal protection organizations and authorities is more likely to get an immediate response. (I will be writing a column about reporting to the American Kennel Club soon.)
One problem, though, is that local agencies are often not interested or reticent to prosecute and have few resources to seize and house neglected and abused animals, especially from the commercial puppy mill breeders.
Then there is the virtually unmonitored online market for purebred pups, which I vehemently oppose. I agree with you: Adopt from your local shelter first. Anyone wishing for a particular breed or mixed-breed might well find one there or on Petfinder.com. If you go to a local breeder, insist on seeing the parents and evaluating their temperaments and how well they are being cared for.
DEAR DR. FOX: I'm following the Fox Wood Wildlife Rescue protocol for treating a wild fox with mange, and the fox is growing fur again. The protocol consists of 11 doses of ivermectin in hot dogs. I use a very small amount of horse ivermectin, which I got from my daughter, who is a veterinarian, and it's working. Thanks for your advice. -- L.L.
DEAR L.L.: Yes, this product does work well and can help rid the fox of some other parasites, too.
It is heartbreaking to see wild animals afflicted with skin-destroying, infection-spreading, fur-removing and disfiguring sarcoptic mange -- known as scabies in humans. I call it the mad itch. However, in some states, you could be arrested for interfering with wildlife. Indeed, in wildlife circles, there is a debate going on about interfering and intervention, including treating wolves for mange and releasing a healthy pack on Isle Royale National Park, where the moose population is at risk from overcrowding, or letting nature take its course.
I am opposed, on ethical and humane grounds, to an across-the-board hands-off approach. In many places, wildlife needs our help more than ever. Here in Minnesota, there is no debate about planting feed for deer on private property and putting feed out for them in bad winters -- as much for the hunters as for the deer. Yet it is taboo to treat wolves, coyotes and foxes ravaged with the mange.
For too long, wildlife species under state and federal management have been managed from a human-centered perspective in terms of value for fur trapping, sport and trophy hunting or risk to livestock. So these animals are systematically exterminated with traps, cyanide guns and poison bait. The virtual extermination of the wolf across much of the U.S. has enabled the coyote population to explode, which has reduced the red fox and other small carnivore populations.
BOOK REVIEW: "Proboscidea -- The Emotional Lives of Elephants" by Hamish John Appleby
The beauty of this book is a reflection of the author's sensibilities as an artist and empathic spirit. The layout is engaging, and the high-quality images of the Asian elephants in Sri Lanka is captivating and riveting. To be able to seize such fleeting moments with evident consistency is a quality of photography calling for prescience: knowing, through careful observation and feeling, what the subject is going to do next. Hamish John Appleby is a rare master of that.
Appleby's skill in capturing the spirit and essence of being of these ancient, distant cousins of ours was enabled by his evident affection and respect.
This book is a call for liberation and safe sanctuaries for elephants. In itself, as a green, carbon-neutral print production, it is a beautiful collectible. "Proboscidea -- The Emotional Lives of Elephants" is a tribute to their living presence and a public appeal for much-needed funding of elephant CPR (conservation, preservation and recovery).
The book price is $80 plus shipping costs. The price tag is a result of a totally recycled paper book, made in Germany with nontoxic inks, under fair conditions, with a special climate-neutral stamp. All proceeds go to the Elephant Transit home. Visit proboscidea.elze.org/en/ for more information.
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.net.)