Chicago, IL (PressExposure) March 26, 2009 -- PAWS Chicago provided Oprah with her puppy Ivan. Ivan was infected with a deadly virus called Parvo. This is a disease that good breeders can protect their puppies from. Did PAWS Chicago follow accepted protocols to protect the puppies?
The National Institute of Canine Experts extend our sympathy to Oprah Winfrey. Our hearts go out to Oprah Winfrey at this sad time after the loss of Ivan, knowing the pain of the loss of a beloved pet. Our prayers go out to her and to Sadie in the fight with parvovirus, a virus particularly devastating to young pups.
In the future, we hope that Oprah will go to a well educated, experienced professional dog breeder as she has done in the past for her next puppy. Professional dog breeders adhere to the highest standards and care for their puppies. Shelters, rescues and foster homes are often staffed by loving but inexperienced novices that are not aware of the finer points of dog health and welfare which can result in sick dogs and cats being released to the public.
The situation is doubly painful because it was totally avoidable. PAWS Chicago, an animal shelter that has a budget of millions of dollars a year, seems to have been unable to provide proper sanitation and isolation for these fragile cocker spaniel puppies.
Quarantine of young pups from strange dogs, environments and people until the minimum completion of parvovirus immunizations (typically at 9 & 12 weeks) is standard protocol of any responsible breeder and knowledgeable vet. This makes it a tragedy that PAWS Chicago did not advise Ms. Winfrey of this very basic requirement. Given that Ms. Winfrey is a well-known & conscientious dog owner, it is impossible to believe that she would knowingly have exposed Ivan & Sadie to such risks in the face of appropriate advice.
This sad case demonstrates why we believe that the current exemptions of veterinarians, shelters, rescues and foster caretakers from legislated care standards should not exist. If dog breeders must adhere to specific sanitation and husbandry standards, so should any person or organization such as PAWS Chicago that provides dogs, cats, puppies and kittens to the public. This is an issue of maintaining an appropriate level of public health, welfare and safety.
In the interest of health, safety and fiscal responsibility, any legislated care standards should be applied to all individuals and organizations involved in animal care especially in the case of publicly-funded and charitable shelters so as to make the most efficient use of the funds available and to safe guard the public welfare.
Please contact your legislator to indicate your support for the closure of this loophole, for Ivan's sake. For the sake of all innocent dogs. Please join the National Institute of Canine Experts, membership is free, and help us educate dog owners and politicians on fair and humane pet care.