PETA alleges mistreatment at California canine blood bank

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. — The animal rights group PETA alleges dogs at one of the nation’s largest canine blood banks are mistreated, but the non-profit that runs the Southern California facility says the retired racing greyhounds are well-cared for and save other dogs’ lives.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent complaints this week to California and local authorities alleging the 200 greyhounds kept at Hemopet don’t receive proper care and are cooped up nearly all day in pens too small for their size. The group contends confining dogs in a facility to draw their blood is wrong and says they should be placed in homes and only donate blood if their owners opt to bring them in.

Hemopet, which has operated for decades, said the dogs are well-cared for and get regular walks and outdoor play time at its 1.5 acre Orange County campus. The organization said the greyhounds participate in a state-regulated canine blood donor program for about 10 months before they are placed in well-screened adoptive homes.

Veterinary experts said there is a demand for canine blood to treat ill pets and those in need of emergency surgery. How to meet this need, however, is subject to debate.

“Community” blood banks rely on walk-in pet donors while “closed” banks such as Hemopet require dogs to live on-site while giving blood. The controlled setting ensures blood is free of diseases.

California requires the closed model be used for commercial canine blood banks, said Hemopet’s president Dr. Jean Dodds. She said she believes pets living in people’s homes would need to be retested for disease before each blood donation to provide a comparable level of safety, and even then it might not be possible to safeguard the supply.

Hemopet supplies about 40 per cent of the commercial blood bank products sold in the United …read more

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