Came From Extremist Chicago Animal Rights Shelter
by JOHN YATES
American Sporting Dog Alliance
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CHICAGO (March 13, 2009) – Paula Fasseas might have some explaining to do.
Yesterday, Fasseas testified before Chicago City Council and claimed that veterinarians who oppose a spay/neuter mandate are greedy. She said the veterinarians care only about protecting their business interests. Both the city and state veterinary medical associations have opposed the mandate because it enables government to make medical decisions for a pet that should be made only by medical professionals.
Her testimony came only hours before tragedy struck the home of talk show superstar Oprah Winfrey, who adopted two puppies from the Pets Are Worth Saving (PAWS) animal shelter that is operated by Fasseas. An outspoken disciple of the radical Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Fasseas founded the PAWS program and remains chairman of its board.
Winfrey lost one of those puppies to dreaded parvovirus, which apparently was contacted while it was living at the PAWS shelter, the American Sporting Dog Alliance (ASDA) has learned. In addition, PAWS shelter staff took some of the puppy’s littermates to the Oprah Show, and a beloved puppy previously obtained by Winfrey was exposed to the deadly disease and now shows symptoms of it.
Winfrey reportedly is fighting now to save the second puppy’s life. Emergency clinic veterinarians, whom Fasseas accused of being greedy, have fought round the clock to help Winfrey to try to save the two puppies.
PAWS recently completed a luxurious $9 million shelter to house only 20-plus animals in separate rooms, tour guides report. Crystal chandeliers adorn the lobby, and fund-raisers are diamond-studded black-tie affairs. It’s a pretty cushy set-up, and the PAWS board has been very successful in attracting large donations from wealthy people and companies. PAWS is known for taking the most desirable and easily adoptable dogs from local animal shelters, and then putting them up for adoption. So-called donations to purchase a puppy from PAWS reportedly range upward from $200.
Unfortunately, the PAWS staff and Fasseas apparently haven’t learned the basics of disease management and prevention in an animal shelter with a constant turnover of dogs from many different sources, and the puppies and Winfrey have paid the price.
It also is ironic that Fasseas has been critical of private breeders, commercial kennels and pet stores for allegedly selling many puppies that are seriously ill. Fasseas echoes animal rights movement propaganda that people who raise dogs sacrifice their dogs’ health for money and profit.
It is tragically ironic that Winfrey also has adopted this HSUS stance, and a special report she aired last year on “puppy mills” pointed to the disease allegations and touted rescue programs as a preferred alternative.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance has documented the trail of the sick puppies to Winfrey’s doorstep. This is the way the story unfolded.
Angela M. Brown, a Chicago woman who is active in the rescue movement, obtained an American cocker spaniel bitch from a relative in South Carolina. The dog was in poor shape, and Brown soon realized that the dog was pregnant.
Weeks later, eleven puppies were born. Brown took great care of the bitch and her puppies, and appears to have done everything right. One of the puppies died at a vey young age, three were adopted to private parties, and seven were relinquished to the PAWS shelter “in mid February when they were 9 weeks old,” according to the rescuer’s website.
Winfrey obtained one of those puppies from the PAWS shelter. She named the precious female puppy “Sadie,” and introduced her on the Oprah Show. Sadie apparently did not have parvovirus, but Winfrey reported that she was up all night with the puppy the day after she obtained it from the PAWS shelter. She said the puppy had “a little virus.”
Winfrey fell in love with Sadie and asked to adopt a second puppy, which was a male named Ivan. Ivan and some of his littermates appeared on the Oprah Show on March 6.
But Ivan came down with a serious illness at some point after Winfrey took him home, and she rushed him to an emergency veterinary clinic. Ivan was diagnosed with parvovirus and died last night. The disease is most often fatal to young puppies, which are very susceptible if they are exposed to it. Parvovirus is highly contagious and is spread very easily.
Based on the dates when the puppies were relinquished to PAWS and the appearance of the remaining littermates on the Oprah Show, it would appear that the puppies were exposed to parvovirus at the PAWS shelter. They would have clearly been at the PAWS shelter during the incubation period for the deadly disease.
During this period, PAWS personnel brought some remaining littermates to the Oprah Show for exposure to a national audience. As it turned out, at least some of the remaining littermates were infected with parvovirus. The infected puppies also came into contact with other guests on the show, and possibly with show staff members and people in the audience.
Winfrey’s beloved Sadie also was exposed to the litter on the TV show, and reportedly came down with the disease. Sadie’s fate remains uncertain.
It is not known if any of the puppies were vaccinated against parvovirus at the PAWS shelter, or if they were isolated from the general population of dogs. These are standard disease prevention and management practices for young puppies with undeveloped immune systems.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance offers our prayers for the speedy and full recovery of Sadie, and also for the continuation of the fine work done by many Chicago rescue and sheltering programs, which are among the finest in the nation. Our hearts go out to Winfrey.
Here is an example of the animal rights movement propaganda that is published on the PAWS website: “Inhumane ‘backyard breeders’ have found a profit-center in exploiting pets that are often used in dogfighting, other illegal activities or simply given up when no longer wanted…Many backyard breeders keep pets in inhumane conditions and are not registered or inspected. This ordinance will require registration of breeders and a mechanism to monitor that breeders engage in safe and humane practices.”
We have found that people who live in glass houses should be careful about throwing stones.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We also welcome people who work with other breeds, as legislative issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by your donations in order to maintain strict independence.