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Wow!!! I was going to get my little havanese certified with Delta for therapy work, but I will pass on them now. Is it just me, or does it sound like the dog food industry had gotten to Delta???
 

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Thats really too bad. I am not sure their article offers much scientific data either. I hope this does not affect timely placement for people needing this. It takes a while as it is.
 

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what bothers me most is why does Delta even have a say in how dogs are fed by their owners?? Shouldn't that be a personal choice and shouldn't the only thing that matters is that the dog has been cleared for health by a vet?

How would you go about proving that any type of infection a person got came from contact with a dog being fed raw food. Whats with the shedding comments?? I've always seen skin and coat improvements feeding raw, maybe I missed something? Also how on earth do they plan on enforcing this? I can say I feed my dog one thing and go right on ahead and feed it something else. Why stop at raw feeding restrictions how about they go ahead and just tell people exactly what brands of food their dogs may eat. I'm SURE there are some Delta pets that eat crappy food (I know one, she graduated my training class last year).

Just my thoughts... but, hey... only been playing this dog game for how many years now.., what do I know ? :p

I am glad I didn't go with them I is a TDI dog owner. I was going to have Jazz delta'ed but now maybe I won't. I don't really need it I have developed a lot of contacts over the year we were visiting frequently and they could care less so long as your dog is vaccinated. :)
 

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This isn't anything new with Delta. I just got the email today too, but it's been "suggested" policy for a long time. I think that if someone was feeding raw, and a client got an infection that could possibly be traced to the animal, this gives Delta an out from covering them with their insurance coverage (which only kicks in after the homeowner's insurance anyway.)

They aren't concerned with shedding fur, they're concerned with shedding pathogenic bacteria. Because the teams visit people who are immunocompromised, they consider that bacteria a risk.
 

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Quote "While many animals fed raw protein diets appear healthy, some do get ill." Does that mean the pets fed commercial diets never get ill? News to me.
I'm not involved in any way with this organization but this just sounds strange to me. And how are the animals 'shedding' pathogens? Through their skin flakes dropping on the ground? Hair, exhaled breath...HOW?
 

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I never even heard of shedding pathogens -they said that even if fed commercial food they could shed them - now am I at risk cause I live in two rooms with two spoos? they don't eat raw - they eat chicken soup for the dog lovers soul - something else to worry about? lol
 

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I understand completely why they would do this, even in the absence of solid scientific evidence. Put on your lawyer hats for a moment and think of it this way: If an immune compromised patient gets an infection and dies, and the family of this patient gets it in their heads that the only way the patient could have obtained this infection is from the therapy dog who visited a day or so ago, they're going to get on the phone and contact a personal injury lawyer (who will work on a contingent fee basis, meaning the more his/her client is awarded, the more he/she makes off the case). These lawyers are bulldogs (no offense meant to actual bulldogs, btw) and they don't care if your dog is healthier because it eats raw meat; all they know is that raw meat has bacteria, their client's loved one succumbed to a bacterial infection, ergo, the dog was the proximate cause. They only have to convince a jury that any reasonable person would draw the same conclusion. Most "reasonable" people have not researched raw canine diets to the extent that some of you have.

Because the Delta Society is an organization that carries liability insurance on their Pet Partners, they might be viewed as a "deep pockets" target for a personal injury lawyer. Not that they are--it's actually the insurance carrier who is viewed as having lots of money.

And, if we imagine that this hypothetical deceased patient was under the age of 20, and did not have a terminal illness, the potential award could be in the millions. So, the policy may not be coming directly from the Delta Society, but from their insurance carrier. Litigating these types of cases can cost more than the settlement itself, and a verdict for the plaintiff could prove to set a dangerous precedent for future cases. It could ultimately have consequences for all therapy dogs, not just the Delta ones, especially since the facilities the dogs are visiting may be at risk of a lawsuit as well. This is why it is their business what therapy dog owners are feeding their animals.
 

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but the question still remains Marian, how do you inforce this. What stops a dog owner from visiting under the delta program name and decided to give Delta the finger and feed raw anyway. Sure you can tell pet partners they cannot feed raw food but you cannot go into their homes and verify that they are feeding commerical food.

Another thing, ( and I completely get what you're saying in your post) HOW would the family get the info that the dog was being fed raw food in the first place? So where would the law suit come, it would most likely stop at verification of the dog's health records and maybe a request for an additional exam? It would be a bear IMO to prove the infection came from a dog in the first place and would be especially hard to prove it was the result of being fed raw and not from a nurse who wasn't observing proper sanitation. Any raw feeding dog owner worth their salt would be able to call in "experts" to verify that raw feeding is not only OK but actually a healthy diet and be able to educate a jury in spite of thier ignorance. Reasonable doubt would be established and in that case they would not be able to award a settlement to the grieving but greedy family. You may as well file suit against the wind unless you could PROVE that the only place the infection could have come from was the dog.

You are probably more likely to get an infection say staph maybe from a dog developing a skin condition that maybe isn't obvious yet than you are getting sick from a dog based on his diet. And anyway I don't know what training programs that other people go through are like but I was always taught to not allow the dogs to lick the good ol' veterans that we visit and to help them pet either on her head and neck or on her back, not around her face.

I should also mention that I do not raw feed :)
 

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yigcenuren,
I think they mean shedding of bacteria through feces. Whenever the dog sits down, there is the potential for transfer of bacteria.
 

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It would be a bear IMO to prove the infection came from a dog in the first place and would be especially hard to prove it was the result of being fed raw and not from a nurse who wasn't observing proper sanitation. Any raw feeding dog owner worth their salt would be able to call in "experts" to verify that raw feeding is not only OK but actually a healthy diet and be able to educate a jury in spite of thier ignorance. Reasonable doubt would be established and in that case they would not be able to award a settlement to the grieving but greedy family. You may as well file suit against the wind unless you could PROVE that the only place the infection could have come from was the dog.
This is my only issue with this. There is NO scientific data. They pretty much state this.
 

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Wonderpup - The standard for winning a civil lawsuit is not reasonable doubt; it's much, much lower than that. The only thing a personal injury lawsuit has to demonstrate is that the possibility that the infection came from the dog is great enough that jurors might go, "Hmmm, I can see where that might be possible". The standard for proving a civil suit is a "preponderance of evidence"--meaning having more evidence saying it did happen than the other side has saying it didn't). In the lack of scientific evidence and data, a good personal injury lawyer will work on the emotions of the jury. It's not fair, but that's the way the system works. These lawyers have made a career out of exploiting the loopholes.

In addition, they also know that quite frequently, an insurance carrier will throw a couple thousand dollars their way just to make the issue go away. This is called "nuisance value" and is intended to avoid paying potentially hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars defending a suit that does not have real merit or is not worth defending. It's a judgement call on the part of the insurance carrier, and also on the part of the plaintiff attorney whether or not to accept it. If the attorney knows that he does not have a strong case, he may just accept the first offer the insurance company throws out. It's more often than not a win-win for personal injury lawyers. That's why they're so successful, even if their clients are not. The only definite outcome is that the insurance carrier will either increase the Delta Society's premiums, or drop them altogether.

There is nothing to stop owners from lying to Delta Society about it, however, if they lie, and if something like the hypothetical situation we're talking about were to arise, the Delta Society could then shift blame to the dog owner, if it is discovered that they were deceitful. I'm sure there's language tucked away somewhere in the contract you sign with them that indemnifies them in such cases. If you own any assets at all, you are opening yourself up to what could potentially be an expensive lawsuit (even if you ultimately win it).

Forget what's right or wrong here. That has nothing to do with it. Maybe I've been in this business too long. ;)

ETA: I think the official term for all of this is CYA.
 

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I can put on my attorney hat for a minute - Marian is right about the standard for a civil suit. The Delta society is probably not concerned about enforcing the new policy, but protecting themselves from liability. Now if a dog owner misrepresents what they are feeding a dog and a patient were to contract a bacterial infection (I have no idea about the likelihood of this "bacterial shedding" raw food connection) the Delta Society can disclaim responsibility and it will be the dog owner who faces liability.

I do have one slight quibble - an attorney cannot just talk to an insurance company and accept a deal - they must first present it to their clients and get their consent to accept. Now I am not going to defend slimeball personal injury attorneys (there are many), but there are also some great personal injury attorneys as well. (Disclaimer: I worked at the Public Defenders office for a year and we are generally reviled as much as personal injury attorneys haha).

I am of two minds about the problem of personal injury suits. There are way to many suits being filed (caused by greedy attorneys and an overly litigious society) but some incredibly important regulations have come from such suits (think asbestos regulations, the requirement for chemical waste companies to disclose what materials are being dumped/and where, and many consumer protection laws)

Anywho, I think Marian is generally right on in this situation - and I am sorry that this policy (which seems unfounded) may dissuade dog owners from therapy work.

Cindy
 

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I do have one slight quibble - an attorney cannot just talk to an insurance company and accept a deal - they must first present it to their clients and get their consent to accept. Now I am not going to defend slimeball personal injury attorneys (there are many), but there are also some great personal injury attorneys as well. (Disclaimer: I worked at the Public Defenders office for a year and we are generally reviled as much as personal injury attorneys haha).
My bad. :)

I'm a little jaded after working for insurance companies for the past 20 years.

...and I am sorry that this policy (which seems unfounded) may dissuade dog owners from therapy work.
Me too.
 

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No problem Marian! I don't blame you for being jaded - I imagine you have seen some truly egregious behavior in the past 20 years.
 

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You nailed it Marian and 1Jurisdiva. That's exactly why they're doing this, and you both said it so much better than I could. There is a whole page of Delta policies and procedures. If you're not following those policies and procedures, your 1 million dollars coverage is null and void.

Believe it or not, this is pretty middle of the road. It's been suggested that animals not be allowed on beds, not be allowed to give kisses, that people shouldn't be allowed to give them treats, that they not visit immunocompromised patients at all, that every client we visit have a dr's note before we're allowed in their room, and the list could go on and on. I've heard some people go off on this stuff, and it's ridiculous. If all the suggestions given were taken, we'd be visiting behind a glass wall and the client would only be able to look at them! :) Fortunately, Delta hasn't acted on any of these suggestions, as obviously, the benefits of getting up close and personal with an animal outweigh the risks.

I look at this new policy as another casualty of a sue-happy society.
 

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It was an extremely bold and dumb (IMO) move on their part. It does not suprise me either. Thanks for sharing.
 
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