Oprah’s Puppy Dies Of Parvovirus
Came From Extremist Chicago Animal Rights Shelter
by John Yates - CHICAGO (March 13, 2009)
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
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
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.
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