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Posted by MsTT on May 11, 2003 at 14:29:19:
In Reply to: Communist statements posted by snkkpr01 on May 11, 2003 at 02:03:23:
:Have you been there while he does the surgery, have any of you seen it first hand. If so then I will except the statements if not then take the playdough and ace hardware comments and throw them out the window.
Those two statements are clearly documented in Jeff Miller's article and photographs of Mr. Ritchey's "surgical" procedures.
:I know for a fact that many people out there dock tails on puppies and are not fined for it,most of the time it is on a back porch with a pocket knife.
Does the fact that most of these people never get caught make the practice ethically okay, or legal? If you absolutely insist on having unnecessary cosmetic surgery done on healthy animals, there are qualified veterinarians with sterile instruments and appropriate pain relieving drugs. Doing it at home to your pet with a pocket knife because you are too cheap to pay a vet is inhumane. Doing it at home to many healthy animals for profit is worse than that, ethically and in the eyes of the law.
: If you guys are so woried about the "animals" then open all your cages and set everything free. Then you have no reason to RAG on anyone about this.
That would be difficult given the number of the animals that are in my home because they required veterinary care or emergency intervention or both. I do frequently release nuisance removal snakes immediately near their capture site when I assess that release is possible and survivable. Every snake I take in costs work and money, so I prefer to release when I can. But the issues really aren't that simple. I'm reminded of an old TV show from the 80's where a space alien named Mork tossed some eggs up in the air and said, "Fly, be free!" Obviously the result was messily broken eggs. Poorly thought out releases have a similar effect.
I do wish that the wildlife trade would stop or be much more limited and better regulated, even if that meant giving up my chance to work with many of the imported species. But it isn't going to stop, so I do what I can on a case by case basis to mitigate its harmful effects and encourage exporters and importers to treat animals more humanely.
I am not convinced that just keeping a snake in a cage is harmful or even unpleasant to the animal in all cases, if the husbandry is good. I do agree that most WC snakes that turn up in the pet trade should not have been taken out of the wild and many of them have been hurt and stressed in the process. And a lot of them do end up with people who give them inadequate housing and care.
The harm that people do to wild animals because we love them and want to keep them in our homes can be really appalling. I think that inappropriate surgery definitely qualifies as harm. Responsibly keeping a snake in an adequate cage with good standards of care does not.
:Make up your mind is he a garage or kitchen table surgeon.
I don't know where in his home Mr. Ritchey performs his procedures, but you can see detailed photos of them here: http://www.venomousreptiles.org/articles/55 Described and shown among his instruments are old newspapers as an operating surface, colored modelling clay, a butane solder gun and an aquarium pump. He appears to be using plastic tubing in the mouth rather than intubation and IPPV (intermittent positive pressure ventilation) which would keep the animal properly oxygenated during surgery.
Venting sevoflourane gas into the room as well as into the snake is a violation of OSHA regulations. Anesthetic volatiles are not designed to be delivered out of milk bottles with aquarium pumps; the real machines have proper venting and don't present a hazard to the operator.
I don't see a pulse oximeter either, so undetected hypoxia seems a very likely consequence given the circumstances described in the article. Given that Mr. Ritchey claims to make $52,000 a year in job income alone, why in the world doesn't he spring for a $1,200 small animal ventilator?
This is absolutely not an appropriate setup for veterinary surgery. Nor is inhalant anesthesia alone adequate for post-operative pain relief. Appropriate and humane post-op pain medications for snakes are controlled substances (Buprenex, Buprenorphine, Torbutrol, etc) and unavailable outside a licensed veterinary clinic. As a private citizen Mr. Ritchey cannot legally have sevoflourane at home either, which means he is breaking the law at yet another point.
I guarantee that if you show this documentary article and photos about Mr. Ritchey's home surgery procedures to any experienced reptile veterinarian, their reaction will not be a happy one. In fact I strongly suggest you do so. There is no real reason you should believe something a stranger wrote on the Internet, so why not get the opinion of your trusted vet?