Thursday, January 29, 2009


Actress and animal advocate Bernadette Peters lent her star-power last night to help raise money for the city's needy animals. The passionate animal advocate, who described her rescued pit bull Stella and mutt Kramer as her "rocks," was among the packed crowd of big-hearted supporters who came out to support Friends of Animal Rescue. The fledgling non-profit group, founded by Betsy Goldman, a former television producer who works in PR, raises money to help local animal rescue groups pay for medical and other costs needed to help find homes for adoptable animals.  Unlike other fundraising groups, FOAR pay the bills for a specific animal directly to the vendor - vet, kennel, etc. - so donors know exactly where their money is going. NYC Mayor's Alliance president Jane Hoffman was also among the overflowing crowd at STIR, an Upper East side lounge, along with this beautiful dog named Caymen, who is available for adoption at NYC Animal Care & Control.  If interested in Caymen contact Jennifer Panton at United Action for Animals.

Rachel Ray's Dog Food Helps Feeds the Needy

Celebrity chef Rachel Ray is now into dog food. The dog lover, who cooks for her pit bull Isaboo, has launched the Nutrish brand of "healthy" dog food and treats. The cool thing about her company is that through her non-profit Rachel's Rescue, Ray will donate 100 percent of the proceeds to animal rescue. Yesterday, at a PR lunch held in midtown, the company presented a check for $10,000 to the ASCPA. Ray's own veterinary consultant Dr. Ernie Ward was on hand to tout the benefits of Nutrish, which he says is all natural, based on a chicken and beef diet with no by-products or fillers, but is affordable and will be sold on the grocery store shelves. My dog Ruby scarfed down the Bacony Burger flavored chewy treats, which look like little hamburgers, and are supposedly low in calories. (While the first ingredient is beef - soy flour, corn flour and high-fructose corn syrup are the next ingredients so decide for yourself). The food is manufactured through Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, a privately-owned company and not part of the big conglomerate Menu Foods, which made most of the pet foods involved in last year's pet food recall.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

The 15-day Chinese New Year begins today, ushering in the Year of the Ox.

The Chinese calendar has a 12-year cycle and each year is named after an animal. People born in the Year of the Ox are said to be dependable, patient, methodical and calm, hardworking, materialistic, and ambitious. They are also honest, reliable and logical, that is why people go to them for advice. People born in this year are also said to be stubborn, narrow minded, and with low public relations skills.

President Obama is an Ox, born in the year 1961. The characteristics seem to suit him, although so far his public relations skills seem stellar. I am also an Ox (though I won't say which year), and initially thought that meant this would be MY year. But according to some Chinese predictions, it may not be so.

Here's today's gloomy report from the Associated Press:

If the global economy fails to recover in 2009, the housing bubble or credit crunch may not be to blame. It could be a lack of fire. Chinese fortunetellers say fire — one of the five elements mystics believe form the basis of the universe — is essential to financial well-being. And fire is nowhere to be found in the mythology of this coming Year of the Ox, the Chinese lunar year that begins Monday.

"Fire is the driving force behind economic growth. Without it, the market lacks momentum," said Raymond Lo, a Hong Kong master of feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of trying to achieve health, harmony and prosperity through building design, the placement of objects and auspicious dates and numbers.

Chinese soothsayers see a deepening recession, millions more losing their jobs, and stocks and home prices continuing to fall. That's more or less in line with what some economists are predicting, but some fortunetellers are throwing in other dire predictions — massive earthquakes, rising U.S.-Russian tensions and trouble for President Barack Obama.

Obama, born in the Year of the Ox, is taking office in a particularly bad year for his Chinese astrological sign. The ox sign is in direct conflict this year with a traditional Chinese divinity called the "God of Year," considered a bad omen. Obama also is the 44th president, a number the Chinese deem extremely unlucky, because "four" is pronounced the same as "death" in Chinese.

"The new U.S. president is not having good luck this year. His honeymoon will only be short-lived," said fortuneteller Alion Yeo, predicting Obama may even face impeachment in his first year in office. "The Year of the Ox looks slightly better and less dire than last year, but it will still be bumpy."

Yeo also predicted that the U.S. mortgage crisis would worsen and the stock market would plunge to new lows.
But Malaysian numerologist Weng Shi Ming suggested Obama's birth year would offset his bad luck. Weng said the symmetry of 1961 is "the perfect mix of ying and yang," rendering Obama "immune to the effects of 44."

The ox, one of 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, symbolizes calm, hard work, resolve and tenacity. According to legend, the ox allowed the cunning rat to ride on its head in a race to determine the animals' order. Shortly before the ox crossed the finish line, the rat leaped off to claim victory. The Year of the Rat was marked in 2008.
Among the world's luminaries born in the Year of the Ox: former U.S. President Richard Nixon (1913), former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1925), Princess Diana (1961), and Hollywood actors George Clooney (1961) and Richard Gere (1949).

The lunar new year is the biggest annual festival for ethnic Chinese, who make up about one-fifth of the world's population. It is a time of lavish spending, when loved ones exchange "hong bao," or red envelopes stuffed with money. But this year's festivities will likely be more subdued amid the economic slump.

"What's important is that the family has a good time. There's no need to overspend," said Ooi Lee Mui, a Malaysian housewife shopping in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown, where the season's gold lanterns and bright-hued flowers bedecked streets and stores.

Joey Yap, a feng shui expert in Malaysia, saw no economic recovery before 2010.

"It will be a daunting year. We haven't really reached the peak of the problems yet," Yap said. "We haven't tasted the main dish, and will most likely experience it during the second half of the year."

But feng shui master Lo saw a glimmer of hope. The combination of two elements changes every lunar year, and this time it's two earths, the element that represents harmony and peace. Not since 1949, when the world order was settling down after World War II, has an Ox Year seen two earth signs.
"It is a year for healing ... from the turbulent time the world has experienced," Lo said.

According to one Chinese prediction, a male Ox can look forward to new romances. Sadly, the female Ox may not be as lucky in love. The good news is the Ox will progress and developments will be recognized and achieved.

But the unlucky stars are also shining upon the Ox, could cause poor interpersonal relationships, financial disputes and blackmailing. These unlucky stars can cause turbulence to the Ox’s otherwise beautiful career path for the Year of the Ox 2009. It is advised that he should work on and improved his interpersonal relationships skill, as this is his weakest department, and the area he is likely to go wrong.

Despite the less than rosy outlook, I am hoping the Year of the Ox is a prosperous and happy one for all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

PetSmart Voluntarily Recalls Dog Biscuits

The peanut butter recall has gone to the dogs.

PetSmart Inc. is voluntarily recalling seven of its Grreat Choice-brand dog biscuit products that contain peanut paste made by the Peanut Corp. of America. That company is the focus of a FDA investigation into potential salmonella contamination of peanut butter and paste made at its Blakely, Ga., plant.

The recalled Grreat Choice dog biscuits were sold between Aug. 21 and Jan. 19. If you have the biscuits, you can return them to PetSmart for a full refund.

A list of treats involved in the recall can be found here.

While healthy adult dogs are fairly resistant to illness from Salmonella bacteria, pets with health issues, young puppies and elderly or pregnant dogs that may have compromised immune systems may be at greater risk for becoming ill. And it can pass between pets and humans, so wash your hands good!

Dr. Louise Murray, Director of Medicine of the ASPCA, says adult cats are relatively resistant and most dogs infected with the bacterium appear normal, but can pass Salmonella through their feces.

Dogs who do become ill from Salmonella may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, fever, lethargy, and drooling or panting—an indication of nausea. In severe cases, the bacterium may spread throughout the body resulting in death. Cats may develop high fever with vague non-specific clinical signs. If you suspect that your pet may have ingested a contaminated recalled product, please contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.

For a complete list of affected brands and more information on the recall, please visit FDA's recall page at As recall information can change rapidly, it is important to check information often.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rescued Goldendoodle for First Dog?

Now that President Obama (doesn't that sound sweet!) has been sworn in, it's time to settle one of the top orders of business . . . finding.the peftect First Dog. A rescued "golden doodle" might just be the answer to the doggie dilemma, says the Best Friends Animal Society.

Two golden doodle puppies from Missouri fit the Obama Family’s criteria, one that would be easy on allergies, and a pooch from a shelter. Described as having a “ridiculous amount of adorable,” the standard poodle, golden retriever mixes, who were rescued from a puppy mill, are patiently waiting at their foster home in Colorado Springs for a call from The White House.

“Our two Golden Doodle Girls—Stella and Susie—are only four months old and waiting for a loving home—and The White House would be just fine with them,” said Theresa Strader of National Mill Dog Rescue. “They were not in very good shape when we got them; they had various infections including pneumonia, which is common with dogs rescued from puppy mills. But now they are in perfect health and are ready to get on with the rest of their lives.

National Mill Dog Rescue often partners with Best Friends helping to find homes for dogs—usually purebred animals—rescued from puppy mills, large scale commercial mass breeding operations that supply pet shops across the United States.

“Puppy mills are out-of-sight, out-of-mind with the general public,” says Julie Castle, director of community programs for Best Friends Animal Society. “If the Obamas were to adopt Stella or Susie, it would go a long way toward educating Americans about the conditions in puppy mills, which will decrease the demand for these dogs in pet shops.”

Best Friends’ national campaign against puppy mills made the headlines recently when the management of the upscale mall, The Beverly Center, announced it was terminating the lease of “Pet Love,” a store that sold puppy mill dogs for thousands of dollars. This followed months of peaceful, informational protests by Best Friends and other animal welfare groups.

The adoption of Stella and/or Susie would go a long way toward sending a strong message to current and future pet owners: Adoption, coupled with effective spay-neuter programs, enables abused, abandoned dogs to obtain a new lease on life and helps control pet overpopulation.

Strader said, “After helping Stella and Susie to become healthy, their foster family here in Colorado Springs has taught them so many new things. They are both really smart, in just one week they have already learned the basic commands; come, sit, lie down and stay.”

Stella and Susie are housetrained (which should put White House housekeepers at ease). “Stella is more laid back with a very sweet and outgoing temperament but happy to have several naps a day,” Strader added. “Susie is a bit more of a wild child - very energetic and a bit nosy, but also very loving and sweet.”

“We truly believe that adopting either of these darling girls would be a great choice for the First Family,” Strader added. “They definitely had a very difficult beginning but are perfect models for what can be achieved when tender, loving care is given to animals in need.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Strap on some Cojones and Fix Your Dog

He may be tough as nails (or a staple gun) but actor Mickey Rourke is a softee when it comes to his animals. The once down-and-out screen star thanked his dogs for when accepting his Golden Globe award. "Sometimes when a man is alone, that's all you’ve got is your dog," he said. "They meant the world to me." Now he's putting his Hollywood comeback in "The Wrestler" to help combat animal overpopulation in a new spay neuter ad for PETA. Cradling his Chihuahua, Jaws, Rourke urges people to "have the cojones to fix your dog. When dogs get knocked up, puppies get put down because there aren't enough homes for them."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Stop the Army from Using Animal Cruelty in Training

Farm Sanctuary, in upstate NY, is reporting that the US Army plans to stab, shoot, and break the legs of pigs and goats this week as part of a training program at Fort Dix. The idea is to create combat injuries so that medics-in-training can fix them. Instead, animal advocates say it is an exercise in cruelty.

Better methods exist to ensure wounded soldiers get medical care. In fact, the Department of Defense has an animal welfare regulation that requires the use of non-animal methods when such methods are available. The training starts today and runs through Friday, so there is no time to waste. Farm Sanctuary is urging the public to write letters to Colonel Thaxton, the Installation Commander at Fort Dix immediately. Click here ">here to send a letter now.


The recall in China of an imported pet food that has reportedly sickened and killed dozens of dogs is raising many questions about the unregulated pet food industry.

Dozens of dogs are believed to have died due to aflatoxin poisoning after eating a U.S. brand pet food, Optima Puppy Lamb and Rice Dry Dog Food.   Unlike the 2007 massive pet food recall, which was blamed on melamine imported from China, this pet food recall is being blamed on quality control.

The "US-made" food was reportedly sitting in an overheated warehouse past its time limit due to logistics and restrictions during the Beijing Olympics.

CNN reported this week that Natural Pet Corporation, which is the distributor for Optima dog food from Australia, has ordered a recall.

A local Chinese paper reported that the food wasn't authorized to be imported from Australia.

Import records show the food came from Australian-based Doane International Pet Products. The food is made by U.S-based Doane Pet Care, in Nashville, TN.  Its web site doesn't mention the recall. Doane Pet Care is owned by Mars, Inc,, which makes the Sheba, Cesar, Pedigree brands, among others. In Novmeber, 2008, Mars recalled pet food that was tainted with Salmonella. Mars makes no mention of the Chinese recall, either.  

Sound familiar?  The largely unregulated pet food industry was responsible in 2007, for the recall of over 150 brands of foods after sickening an killing thousands of dogs and cats.   Pet owners and veterinarians alike were surprised to find that so many foods - from gourmet to grocery brands - were made by the same manufacturer, Menu Foods, in Canada.

Whether the recalls are blamed on quality control or tainted products, isn't this a big wake up call to feed our pets foods made with locally grown products? 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Cinci Freedom, a cow that escaped from a Cincinnati meatpacking plant in 2002 and ran free in a city park for 10 days, lived out the second half of her life in bucolic splendor at the Farm Sanctuary, in upstate New York, reports the Associated Press.

Cinci was euthanized Dec. 29 after losing one of her hind legs from spinal cancer.

Although she never lost her intense fear of humans, the 13-year-old Charolais put on as much as 800 pounds and found plenty of room for frolicking on a 175-acre animal sanctuary with a herd of feisty soul mates rescued from factory farms, stockyards and slaughterhouses.

Cinci, which had slimmed down to 1,200 pounds after years of breeding, jumped a 6-foot fence to elude slaughter in February 2002. In tracking her down, authorities searched a 57-acre park by foot, Jeep and helicopter, left out hay and even brought in other cows to lure the runaway.

She was eventually tranquilized and captured by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. On April 1 that year, she was presented with a key to the city. But she was kept out of a parade for the start of the baseball season when she became too balky and had to be tranquilized a second time.

In the meantime, animal-welfare activists stepped forward to guarantee her a new home. Artist Peter Max took custody after offering paintings to help in the expansion of the Cincinnati-area animal society.

"She arrived at the shelter with abscesses on her face," Coston said. "She was pretty thin and dirty and just didn't look healthy."

But she hadn't lost any of her high spirits.

"We usually quarantine animals for three to six weeks," Coston said. "She actually got out of the barn, smashed a gate and then another gate, and put herself in the herd within the first week. After being here for a year, she was close to 2,000 pounds, her coat was really clean and white and she was very muscled.

"She was always very aware of people present but she didn't have that constant fear because she was a part of a herd and that's the structure they live in" out on the pasture.

While dairy cattle can often live to 30 years, the age span for large breeds such as Charolais is typically 15 years to 20 years, Coston said.

As Cinci lay dying in a snowy field, the herd of 55 gathered around and some stepped forward to lick her face and back.
Her death was "sad and emotional" for those who cared for her, Coston said, but also a triumph for "anyone who feels that all beings should have the right to be free and to live out their lives in peace."

Monday, January 12, 2009


A brand of imported pet food has been linked to the deaths of dozens of dogs across the China, reports the China Daily.

Since the end of November, at least 30 dogs have died from liver complications after eating Optima dog food imported from Australia.

It is suspected of containing aflatoxin, an extremely toxic and carcinogenic fungus found on corn and other grains that can cause liver damage.

Aflatoxin contamination made the news in 2006 when a number of dogs died after eating the Diamond brand of dog food made in the United States. Read full story.


Saturday's NY Daily News "Critters" story, "Battle in the Garden," seems to have generated a lot of buzz, with most people sensitive to the feral cats Clarence and Betty, not the gardeners. Most readers believe Clarence and Betty, who have lived in the St. Marks Prospect Heights Community Garden for more than a year, are part of the community and deserve to stay in the garden.  Alexandra Bonacarti, who cares for the cats at the garden, says she was bombarded with calls and emails from as far as Ft. Lauderdale, by people willing to help relocate the feral duo.   She's hoping the story will create enough community support so the cats can stay right where they are.  What I didn't mention was that Bonacarti removed 10 other cats and kittens from the garden and had them adopted out.   Clarence and Betty are no longer adoptable, but they aren't a nuisance, Bonacarti says.  In fact, their presence keeps other critters and cats out of the garden.   Last week, Clarence and Betty were waiting for Bonacarti when she came with food, but after eating they scampered out of the garden into nearby yards. The photog managed to get this great shot of Clarence.
You can learn a lot more about feral cats at   


[AP} - Hard to believe a giant, pink lizard could be overlooked for almost two centuries.

Charles Darwin missed it during his 1835 study of the Galapagos Islands that led to his theory of evolution. Park rangers ignored the pink and black-striped reptiles after accidentally happening upon them in 1986. Some thought the stripes were just stains.

But scientists now have documented a new species, the iguana "rosada," which may be one of the archipelago's oldest, according to research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Blood and genetic tests on 36 pink iguanas - which average 3-5 feet in length - show the lizards belong to a previously undiscovered species that appears to live exclusively around Isabela Island's Wolf Volcano, an area Darwin never explored.

Researchers from the University of Rome Tor Vergata and Galapagos National Park began to investigate in 2001 whether the lizards were a different species or an adaptation for environmental or food reasons of the Galapagos' two known land iguanas: the Conolophus subcristatus and Conolophus pallidus.

But the pink iguana, it turns out, is older and likely the predecessor of the two, said Cruz Marquez, a biologist who is part of the research team. It dates back more than 5 million years, researchers say.

The pink iguana has not yet been given a scientific name.

"To discover a large vertebrate that was unknown in an area where there has been a lot of research is very special," Marquez told The Associated Press by telephone from the park.

The pink iguana population size, eating and reproductive habits are still unknown, and no young animals have been discovered, according to a park statement. Further research will determine what resources are needed to guarantee the lizards' survival.

"We need to clarify if reproduction is impeded and for what reasons," lead researcher Gabriele Gentile told the AP, noting that feral cats in the area may be eating the iguana's eggs.

The Galapagos islands, an archipelago located about 620 miles off Ecuador's Pacific coast, were protected as a UNESCO's Natural Heritage site in 1978. In 2007 UNESCO declared them at risk due to harm from invasive species, tourism and immigration.

The islands are known for their unique flora and fauna, including marine and land iguanas, blue-footed boobies and giant tortoises that live up to 150 years of age. The variety of finches on the islands inspired Darwin's theory of evolution.


The Obama family has narrowed their choice for First Dog to two breeds - a Labradoodle, a cross between a Lab and a poodle, and Portugese water dog, writes the NY Daily News. But will the First Family still be able to keep the promise to adopt from a shelter? A peek on shows only 10 Portugese Water dogs in the whole country, and most of them are mixed. Of the more than 18,000 labradors in shelters, it's likely many are a mix between a lab and a poodle.

So how to solve the ruf dilemma: How about a mix of a Portugese water dog and a Lab? Check out Gus, who's up for adoption at the Angels in Fur Dog Rescue, in Grenada Hills, CA.
Or Blackie - a mix between a Portugese water dog and a poodle.  She's 3 years old and looks like a labradoodle.   Either could be a good fit for Malia and Sasha.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


The New Year hasn't started off with a bang for New York's shelter animals.

Today, the NY Daily News' Lisa Colangelo reported that an outbreak of Strep Zoo, a rare and potential deadly bacterial infection, forced the Brooklyn Animal Care & Control Shelter to close its doors last week.  At least several dogs died and animal rescuers say many have been infected.  Read the story here.

On Long Island, 180 cats were removed from a Moriches home, reports Newsday.  The animals were taken to a vet to be spayed and neutered.

But here's a bright spot:  The League of Humane Voters of NYC is spreading its wings.  The non-profit animal welfare group announced yesterday it was going statewide and changing its name to New York League of Humane Voters (NYLHV). Stay tuned for the launch of the new web site at

Monday, January 5, 2009

Temple Grandin Discussed "Animals Make Us Human" on NPR

Animal advocate Temple Grandin was just on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, to discuss her new book, "Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals."  The book looks at common notions of animal happiness and concludes that dogs, cats, horses, cows and zoo animals, among others, have an emotional capacity similar to humans. Grandin explains how to fulfill their needs, such as how to keep pigs from being bored, or how to know if the lion pacing in the zoo is miserable or just exercising.

For those not familiar with her work, Grandin, who is autistic, is totally fascinating. As one of the nation's top designers of livestock facilities, she audits and advises company's, including McDonalds, on implementing humane conditions for housing animals - and for slaughtering them. 
Her previous books include Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior and Thinking in Pictures.

Grandin discussed the connections between animal behavior and autistic behavior. She also explained how overbreeding has lead to structural and emotional issues in farm animals. For example, manipulating chickens o produce more eggs has resulted in chickens that are hype-rexcitable. The result of over-breeding pigs so they produce more meat has caused leg deformities, such as legs that are too straight, and dew claws that are too long. She advises the industry how to breed the animals so they are structurally and mentally sound.

Grandin, who has written extensively on her life with autism as well as other books on animals, says she doesn't like physical contact with people, but enjoys physical contact with animals.  "I really enjoy stroking an animal," she said on NPR, describing them as firm strokes like mother's tongue, and enjoys stroking cattle on the neck. "I do get pleasure from stroking an animal and seeing that animal be happy."

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Underdog to Wonderdog Kicks off at Prohibition

"Underdog to Wonderdog" host Ryan Smith joined celeb dog trainer Andrea Arden at a kick-off party for the new Animal Planet series, held Saturday night at Prohibition, in Manhattan.  Each week, the series follows a shelter dog from its rescue and rehabilitation to the dog's first meeting with its new adoptive family and dream home.  Ryan and Arden make up half of the Wonder Team that helps the rescue dog find its second leash on life. The Critters column covered it in Saturday's NY Daily News

Creature Comforts

In case you missed it, check out Rebecca Skloot's story on service animals, from miniature pony's to parrots, in Sunday's NY Times Magazine right here.  

Friday, January 2, 2009

Advocates Protest Central Park Carriage Horses

A handful of animal advocates gathered in frigid temperatures at Central Park Thursday to protest horse-drawn-carriage rides as the City Council gets ready to consider a ban on the tourist attraction, writes the NY Daily News.

One advocate noted that as horses went to work in a snowstorm last month, and one slipped on an icy street.  The Council is set to debate a bill later this month that would shut down the industry.

The plight of NYC's carriage horses is highlighted in the one-hour award-winning documentary, "Blinders: The Truth Behind the Tradition."

A horse-drawn carriage rides around Central Park has long been a favorite activity of tourists from around the world. But the future of this industry is the subject of a debate being aired on the streets, in the press and at City Hall. Carriage operators say that horse-drawn carriages should stay because they are a cherished symbol of New York City that bring in tourist dollars. Advocates for animals say the industry should be banned because it's inhumane and unsafe. They believe Hollywood has romanticized horse-drawn carriages and claim that life on congested city streets is anything but romantic for these nervous animals that are easily spooked.

As a result of three dramatic and fatal accidents since 2006 that received international media attention, the plight of the beloved New York City carriage horses is now in the public eye more than ever before. But the public doesn't know much more than what they see on the streets and in the news.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Company that Went Bust Cloning Cats is Now Cloning Dogs

Today's NY Times story, "Beloved Pets Everlasting?" highlights Lou Hawthorne's "successful" attempt to clone his mother's dog Missy. It's not in the Science section, as one might imagine a cloning story would be, but in Home and Garden, under Living Together. That's strange in itself.

Animal lovers may remember Hawthorne from his last cloning company. He ran the Sausalito-based Genetic Savings and Clone, which was in the business of cloning cats.  That company was also founded as a result of the efforts to clone Missy.  But dog cloning proved more difficult than cats.

Instead of cloning Missy, Tabouli and Baba Ganoush were born after being cloned from Hawthorne's son's one-year-old female Bengal cat. In 2004, he delivered the world's first commercially cloned cat, Little Nicky, who was sold to a Texas woman for a $50,000. In 2006 the company went bust and Hawthorne was forced to notify all of the sad people that put out $50,000 that in fact, they would not be receiving a replica of their favorite kitty.

The company spurred widespread debate regarding the ethics and morality of pet cloning especially in light of the fact that animals are euthanized by their owners every day.

So now he has "successfully" cloned Missy. There is Mira and MissyToo, who don't really look or act exactly like the orignial Missy, he says. Hawthorne's mom has MissyToo, but the dog doesn't live in her home - after all, she had already adopted and fell in love with another puppy after Missy died. And anyway, MissyToo isn't really like her original Missy. So MissyToo is relegated to live with a handler in her very wealthy companion's pied-a-terre.

“It’s kind of weird,” Mr. Hawthorne says in the article. “They spent 10 years waiting for this to happen and then they don’t even want the dogs living with them."

Meanwhile, Nina and Ed Otto paid $155,000 to clone their labrador Lancelot. But the puppy has to be flown back from Korea before they can see him.

Is this weird or what? Isn't the memory of a beloved pet enough? And how long before we Hawthorne's new venture goes bust after dashing people's dreams?