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The Ruff Report: A roundup of news about dogs Nov. 23 to Nov. 29, 2008

Nov. 23 to Nov. 29, 2008

Dogs are truly a nose above the rest

A dog's amazing ability to sniff out anything from drugs to cancer has been traced to the nerve cells in its nose.

A dog has many more nerve cells in its nasal cavity which account for its heightened sense of smell, New Scientist magazine reports.

Pennsylvania State University researchers found that a complex network of mucus-covered tubes in a dog's nose pre-sorts smells, making it easier for the brain to identify them. The researchers found that different smell molecules are first picked up by receptors at different locations in a dog's airway network. Until now, research has focused on how receptors pick up different chemicals.

"We've shown that the sorting out of the different odorants before they even get to the receptors is also important," said Brent Craven, head of the research team.

The researchers presented the results of their study at a recent meeting of the American Physical Society's division of fluid dynamics in San Antonio, Texas.

Pet rescue made a little easier in Kansas

The Kansas Humane Society has started a program that allows people to help a shelter animal even if they are unable to adopt one.

The "Sponsor Me" program allows people to make donation to help pay for surgeries or special care for animals, The Wichita Eagle reports.

"If you see an animal on our site and you want to help them, but you can't take them home, you can make a financial gift to help care for them," Jennifer Campbell, a shelter official, told the newspaper. "It's kind of a virtual adoption."

Every animal available for adoption at the humane society has a "Sponsor Me" button by its photo on the organization's web site, Campbell said. The average gift has been $25, but some donors have given as much as $300 or $400, she said.

The Kansas Humane Society needs new sources of donations to care for the animals, Campbell said. "We look to take in 18,000 animals this year," she said. "Two years ago it was 14,500."

Visit for more information about the program.

S.C. humane society has a thrifty idea

The economic slowdown has meant fewer donations for many animal welfare organizations, but a South Carolina humane society is hoping to cash in on the hard financial times.

The Humane Society of York County is planning to open a thrift store located behind the organization's office in Fort Mill.

"Donations are down, adoptions are down," Elaine Siegel, who's coordinating the opening, told the Fort Mill Times. "That's why we're so excited about the thrift store."

A recent yard sale at the Fort Mill office brought in $600, so the humane society realized a thrift shop has the potential to raise more money, Siegal said, because more people are using them in these difficult economic times.

"There are a lot of humane societies that have these shops," she said. "The one in Lake Wylie does about $1,500 every Saturday."

The store's opening day is Saturday, Dec. 6, the same day the humane society shelter is holding an open house, Siegel said. The store will be open on Saturdays, but it may expand hours if demand exists.

"We will do clothes, household goods, toys, baby stuff," Siegel said. "If it's decent, we'll take it," Siegel said.

The humane society costs $17,000 per month to maintain, and money raised through thrift store sales will be used to help fund its operations.

Visit for more information about the Humane Society of York County.

Canadian courts OK food recall settlement

Canadian courts have approved a $24 million class-action settlement for owners of dogs and cats whose pets became ill or died after eating food contaminated with an industrial ingredient.

The settlement, approved by U.S. courts in October, ends more than 100 lawsuits filed last year by U.S. and Canadian consumers against Menu Foods, Wal-Mart Stores and five other companies for selling melamine-tainted pet food.

Under the plan, Menu Foods and the other companies will create a fund allowing consumers to recover as much as 100 percent of their monetary damages if they can document their claims.
Jan. 2 is the deadline for Canadians to file claims. U.S. pet owners had until Nov. 24 to file a claim against the pet food manufacturers. They are expected to start receiving checks next year.

Nearly 6,000 claims have been filed in the class-action settlement stemming from the 2007 recall, the largest ever for the pet-food industry.

Menu Foods of Streetsville, Ontario, has already paid $8 million to consumers outside the litigation. The plaintiffs' lawyers will receive 25 percent, or $6 million, in fees and reimbursement for their costs from the $24 million settlement.

Other companies agreeing to the accord are Nestle Purina PetCare, a unit of Switzerland's Nestle SA ; Minneapolis-based Target Corp., Petco Animal Supplies of San Diego, Phoenix's PetSmart and Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co., maker of Iams products.

The dog and cat foods contained melamine-tainted wheat gluten that, if ingested, can cause kidney failure and death. The products were imported from China.

Claims from pet owners are reviewed by an independent administrator. Claimants may receive a 100 percent cash payment for all documented expenses deemed reasonable, including veterinary bills and burial costs. They may receive up to $900 for undocumented expenses.

The Food and Drug Administration never identified how many pets were affected by the tainted food, but it received more than 17,000 complaints. The recall began on March 16, 2007, with Menu Foods, a maker of many wet pet-food brands, and eventually grew to involve 180 brands of pet food and treats.

For more information about filing a claim, visit or call the claims administrator at 800-392-7785.

Mars Petcare extends pet food recall

Mars Petcare has announced an extension of a voluntary recall involving dry dog and cat food products because of potential Salmonella contamination.

The brands involved are Berkley & Jensen, Ol' Roy, ShopRite and Special Kitty. The food, manufactured at the company's Allentown, Pennsylvania, facility has "Best By" dates from Aug. 11, 2009, to Oct. 3, 2009, the Franklin, Tennessee-based company stated in a media release.

The food was sold at BJ's Wholesale Club, ShopRite Supermarkets, and Wal-Mart in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia.

No cases of human or pet illness caused by salmonella associated with the products have been reported, the company stated. Salmonella can cause serious infections in dogs and cats and in people if cross contamination occurs from handling of the pet food.

Mars Petcare issued a voluntary recall on Oct. 27 for all sizes of Special Kitty Gourmet Blend dry cat food produced at the Allentown facility on Aug. 11, but it learned of another sample of Special Kitty made on Sept. 25 at the Allentown facility that tested positive for salmonella.

Visit or call 1-877-568-4463 for more information.

The recall involves these products:

Berkley & Jensen

Bistro Blend Premium Cat Food 21.6# 00000 20052
Small Bites & Bones Dog Food 52# 00000 14958

Ol' Roy

Puppy Complete Premium Dog Food 4# 81131 79078
Puppy Complete Premium Dog Food 20# 81131 79080
Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 4# 81131 17550
Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 4.4# 81131 69377
Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 8# 05388 67144
Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 20# 81131 17549
Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 22# 05388 60342
Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 44.1# 81131 17551
Complete Nutrition Premium Dog Food 50# 78742 01022
High Performance Premium Dog Food 20# 05388 60345
High Performance Premium Dog Food 50# 78742 05815
Meaty Chunks & Gravy Premium Dog Food 22# 81131 69630
Meaty Chunks & Gravy Premium Dog Food 50# 81131 69631


Crunchy Bites, Bones and Healthy Squares Dog Food 20# 41190 04521

Special Kitty

Original Premium Cat Food 3.5# 81131 17557
Original Premium Cat Food 7# 81131 17562
Original Premium Cat Food 18# 81131 17559
Gourmet Blend Premium Cat Food 3.5# 81131 17546
Gourmet Blend Premium Cat Food 7# 81131 17547
Gourmet Blend Premium Cat Food 18# 81131 17548
Kitten Premium Cat Food 3.5# 81131 17553
Kitten Premium Cat Food 7# 81131 17554

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