One pet owner made the gut wrenching decision to have his ten year old family dog euthanized. The pet owner watched as Mia was given two injections and declared deceased. He took her home, wrapped in a blanket and laid her in the garage for burial the next day. When he entered the garage the next morning, there was Mia, sitting in front of her food bowl – alive. The absolute worst scenario and horrible implications.
From HuffingtonPost.com, “As any pet owner can attest to, it was no easy task for Matt Olivarez to end the life of his 10-year-old family dog, Mia. But with spinal problems that left her barely able to walk, the veterinarian told Olivarez that there were no better options to ease her pain.
Olivarez watched as Mia was given two shots and declared deceased. He wrapped her in a blanket and took her home so the family could give her a burial. But the next day, Olivarez found Mia sitting in front of her food bowl, wide awake and obviously alive.
In this video from WXYZ News (via CNN), Olivarez expresses his frustration with the baffling situation: “What if I would have buried my dog alive? What if I had her cremated? She would’ve got burnt alive.”
Now he is faced with the tough choice of if he should try to have her put down again, and witness the death of his beloved companion once more. “How do I explain to my kids I have to kill Mia twice?”
Here is a video regarding Mia from YouTube:
I can’t even imagine. In fact, as I read this horrifying story, I wondered about all of my own pets I was forced to euthanize. How could this happen?
Going on the assumption that the veterinarian that performed Mia’s euthanisia did it properly (no statement has been issued), my first thoughts went to pet food and the FDA.
The following is a statement from the FDA website regarding the FDA’s pentobarbital testing of dog food…(bold font added)
“During the 1990s, FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) received reports from veterinarians that pentobarbital, an anesthetizing agent used for dogs and other animals, seemed to be losing its effectiveness in dogs. Based on these reports, CVM officials decided to investigate a plausible theory that the dogs were exposed to pentobarbital through dog food, and that this exposure was making them less responsive to pentobarbital when it was used as a drug.“
For those unaware, FDA testing found pentobarbital – a euthanizing drug – in many dog foods purchased right off store shelves (cat food was not tested). FDA linked the common pet food ingredients “animal fat, meat and bone meal, beef and bone meal, and animal digest” to be the source of the drug (and thus the ingredients to be sourced from euthanized animals). FDA testing concluded “that it is highly unlikely a dog consuming dry dog food will experience any adverse effects from exposures to the low levels of pentobarbital found in CVM’s dog food surveys.” I doubt this pet owner would agree with the FDA on no “adverse effects”.
Are dogs and cats still consuming pet foods that contain pentobarbital (euthanized animals)? Of course they are. Why/how can I say that? Because the FDA allows it. FDA Compliance policy allows euthanized animals (animals that have died other than by slaughter) to become rendered pet food ingredients.
“CPG Sec. 675.400 Rendered Animal Feed Ingredients
POLICY: No regulatory action will be considered for animal feed ingredients resulting from the ordinary rendering process of industry, including those using animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, provided they are not otherwise in violation of the law.
CPG Sec. 690.300 Canned Pet Food
“Policy: Pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, which is in violation of 402(a)(5) will not ordinarily be actionable, if it is not otherwise in violation of the law. It will be considered fit for animal consumption.” http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074710.htm
This is horrible, unimaginable, and something that NO Pet Owner should EVER have to experience! Practicing Veterinarians alerted the FDA almost 20 years ago their fears of dogs consuming a euthanizing drug was causing the drug to lose its effectiveness. Yet the FDA did nothing to change the outcome. Nothing to protect future pets. Back in the late 1990’s when FDA testing proved a lethal drug was included in some dog foods, the FDA should have forced a recall of all pet foods that tested positive. They didn’t. Nor has anything changed since.
Pentobarbital in a dog food or cat food, a euthanized animal becoming a rendered ingredient in pet food violates Federal law. No ifs, ands, buts, or gray area. It is nothing short of a crime; a Federal Crime. Of course dogs and cats consuming rendered ingredients containing euthanized animals and the lethal drug pentobarbital are being effected. In my (very biased) opinion, Mia’s story above is evidence of such; horrible evidence.
If I was Mia’s owner, I would have a difficult time deciding when/if Mia should be euthanized again. Mia is clearly in pain, but to be forced to watch your beloved dog be euthanized twice seems unbearable. And now, Mia’s family will forever wonder; forever doubt. This family has been incredibly scarred.
However, if I were Mia’s owner there would be no difficult decision to my picking up the phone and calling the best attorney I could find. My legal aim would be taken on the FDA; not the veterinarian, not the pet food company. My target would be the government agency that allowed this horrible event to happen in the first place (that is again assuming the veterinarian performing the euthanasia performed it properly). In my very biased opinion, I believe this horrible incident was indeed caused by a lifetime of exposure to pentobarbital in the dogs food. The devastation suffered by this family should be paid for by the government agency that allows pet food ingredients to contain euthanized animals and pentobarbital; the FDA. And in my book, they should pay dearly.
Yes, I am assuming Mia consumed a dog food that contained a pentobarbital linked ingredient. That’s not a far stretch however. Considering there are over 74 million homes in the U.S. that own pets, considering only a small percentage of these pet owners know the dark side of pet food, the assumption Mia was a pet that ate a highly marketed dog food containing a rendered euthanized animals is easily made. It is an assumption, however a very plausible assumption.
Until illegal FDA Compliance Policies are removed from the books, until the FDA actually enforces the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act as it is written, Mia’s horrible story could repeat itself time and time again.
I hope everyone of you that are as horrified as I was at this story will take action. Call or write the FDA; call or write your State Department of Agriculture. Call or write your Representative in Congress. Tell them about Mia. Tell them practicing veterinarians warned the FDA about this almost 20 years ago. Tell them about FDA’s ridiculous Compliance Policies allowing euthanized animals to become pet food ingredients. Dog foods, cat foods, and pet treats should NOT contain even the tiniest amount of a euthanized animal or the lethal drug pentobarbital. It’s illegal. It has to change.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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