The City of Berkeley, by casually, sans permit, allowing Milo Foundation to introduce, in a deliberate and concerted effort, unknown and diseased animals to our neighborhood, has exhibited gross negligence in the administration of their duties to protect and serve the residents of our community. This community includes neighbors, volunteers and visiting public to the locations surrounding the 1575 Solano and 1572 Capistrano Ave. addresses. The cavalier and uninformed lack of control over these conditions puts the City of Berkeley at great risk for potential lawsuits from individual and groups most at risk for these diseases, that is, the entire public.
The widespread deposit of fecal matter and urine on our neighborhood streets, in the use of the shared driveway, and across the public sidewalk, presents a legitimate risk to our neighborhood dogs, children, and adult populations. More than 400 dogs a year, by Milo’s estimate, are rescued from throughout Northern California shelters (and elsewhere) and quickly brought to the Solano Avenue store. This has been occurring at this location for at least a year or more, without a permit, and in violation of the BMC limit on four dogs per address.
Milo has no facilities or manner for properly disinfecting publicly exposed areas of the driveway and sidewalk due to the adjacency of nearby storm drains, an inability to properly manage disposal of outside wastewater, and the risk of contaminating Bay water and killing fish. So they have not been using veterinarian or CDC prescribed agents to clean these areas. We think this is unacceptable and puts our community at risk.
Until Milo can create the functional means to maintain their facility as other professional shelters (City of Berkeley, East Bay Humane Society) do, they should not house animals, bring them in numbers exceeding the existing zoning laws (four), or walk them in our neighborhoods. Since Milo’s founder houses four of her own dogs at these premises, most likely with known immunizations, we think the number of dogs should be limited to this. Elsewhere in this document, we will address other viable options for rescue efforts at this location. We are not trying to shut Milo down or limit their positive effect on our community.
Dogs fall ill
“Dogs get sick from parasites, viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and fungus. In some cases, these diseases and infestations are fatal unless caught early and treated. Sometimes they sow the seeds of death or debilitation years down the road by causing chronic illness or damaging organs. Fortunately, veterinary researchers have developed drugs and treatments that reduce the occurrence and effects of many diseases and parasites, but they do not eradicate the scoundrels—they only hold them at bay. Rabies, distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and coronavirus are major viral diseases affecting dogs. Lyme disease, leptospirosis, and a type of kennel cough are bacterial diseases. These infections are not limited to dogs—all are found in other animal populations and rabies, Lyme, and lepto also infect people. ”
Since some of these diseases can be prevented with vaccinations, it is important to isolate dogs with unknown histories until administered vaccines can be proven effective. Even if Milo Foundation administers vaccines to newly arriving animals at the Solano location, the efficacy of these immunizations cannot be demonstrated in some cases for several weeks or months. In the interim, the animals are being walked and housed in areas frequented by the public and volunteers, including small children, immuno-suppressed adults, seniors, and others at risk. Older neighborhood dogs, and dogs at the end of the effective periods of their own immunizations, are also at risk.
Roundworm and ringworm are persistent parasites that routinely break out, usually on average yearly, at our local Berkeley and Oakland animal shelters. This occurs despite these facilities following prescribed protocols for disease prevention and control, administered by professional staff, in settings that are designed for cleaning and waste disposal. These diseases are very transmissible to humans, especially children, who lack effective hygiene and cannot be supervised at all times by adults, to prevent transmission. This is especially critical in areas where animals, such as Milo’s storefront and rear driveway area, are in direct contact with the public. In areas such as these, the American Association of Veterinarians and the CDC prescribe very exacting standards of space design interface for areas that transition between public and animal housing, work, and exhibit areas for public and volunteer contact.
E.Coli: Transmission of extra-intestinal and enteral pathogenic E. coli between dogs and humans has been reported. “Data demonstrate that canine ExPEC strains are similar to, and in some instances essentially indistinguishable from, human ExPEC strains, which implicates dogs and their feces as potential reservoirs of E. coli with infectious potential for humans. ” Fingers, feces, food and flies are the vectors for the spread of disease. All of these are routinely present in the 25-foot radius of Milo’s Solano Ave. locations. E. Coli has been tested as communicable from deposits made three to six months prior to transmission to humans. The only efficacious barrier to this transmission is the use of prescribed protocols, such as the use of bleach, left on all contaminated surfaces, for 10 minutes or longer, prior to further rinsing. Since this methodology is simply impossible, given Milo’s current configuration and reliance on outdoor space, all housing of animals at this location should be discontinued until proper protocols for wastewater and waste elimination can be controlled in the manners prescribed by the CDC.
Milo Foundation, until now, has not had the professional experience, training or setting, to encounter these issues, prior to their opening for business on Solano Ave. It is this newly established physical durable public setting that creates these new public health risks.
Jane Tierney is a Berkeley resident.