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Pet Owners Being Warned of ‘Zombie Raccoons’

They may carry a dangerous virus.

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Police in the Chicago area are telling pet owners to beware of “zombie raccoons.”

They’re referring to raccoons with the distemper virus, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The animals sometimes “walk on their hind legs, stagger and bare their teeth,” according to the newspaper. That gives them a zombie-like appearance.

There have been three reports in Riverside, according to that community’s police department.

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Distemper is a serious disease for dogs. Dogs are routinely vaccinated against the virus, but unvaccinated canines can experience a variety of symptoms, from sneezing to lethargy to seizures.

The American Kennel Club describes distemper as “highly contagious and potentially lethal.”

Read more at Chicago Tribune

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 11 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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Pet Food Company Moves HQ and Warehouse to Pittsburgh

It also announced a new partnership.

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PetGuard, a maker of food and care products for dogs and cats, announced that its corporate headquarters has moved to Sewickley, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh.

Additionally, the company stated that it has joined forces with Erie-based Team Hardinger, a third-party logistics provider that offers trucking, warehousing and brokerage services backed by industry-leading technology and processes.

“We partnered with PetGuard to customize a warehousing and distribution solution that supports their immediate business and enables their growth,” said Barry Sherman, director of business development and marketing at Team Hardinger.

“Our ability to scale our solution and integrate with their software platform allows PetGuard to focus on product development, production, and their customers. We’re proud and excited to be a part of their journey.”

Since 1979, PetGuard has been developing and marketing products such as food, treats and supplements. As one of the first brands to offer consumers limited-ingredient, all-natural diets made with real meat and no artificial preservatives, the company plans on expanding its retail distribution and brand offerings.

PetGuard recently hired four business and operations executives to play key roles in supporting its growth.

Cameron Palmer, vice president of supply chain at PetGuard, said, “This move reflects our dedication to significantly expand our company’s footprint.

“The northeast location improves our supply chain and logistics footprint, while affording us the opportunity to attract top management talent who will help us dramatically increase our sales growth. We are committed to continuing the great legacy of this brand and making our unique product offerings available to more consumers throughout the United States.”

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Biotech Firm Raises $16M for Vegan Dog Food

The food is made from an ‘eco-friendly and renewably sourced fungi.’

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BERKELEY, CA – Wild Earth Inc., a biotech startup company focused on pet food, has closed on $16 million funding.

The company announced this week that it had closed its Series A with an investment of $11 million led by VegInvest, a venture capital firm supporting early-stage companies striving to replace the use of animals in the food system and other industries. This is VegInvest’s second investment in Wild Earth.

Other current investors include Mark Cuban’s Radical Investments, Felicis Ventures, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and Mars Petcare, bringing total funding to $16 million.

The investment is being used to accelerate Wild Earth’s development of its no-meat food for dogs made from an eco-friendly and renewably sourced fungi, a “complete protein containing all ten essential amino acids,” according to a press release. The company expects the dry kibble formula to be available in the second half of 2019.

Wild Earth also announced it has moved into its new headquarters in Southwest Berkeley at Outermost House, significantly expanding its R&D and business facilities. Outermost House, located in a historic space of a former chocolate factory, was envisioned by VegInvest in 2017 as a global innovation hub for vegan food tech companies.

“Wild Earth and VegInvest share a foundation of values and innovation in this effort to achieve a food system that works better for people, the planet, and animals,” said Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt. “Their experience helping future-of-food companies reach the market will absolutely increase our timeline for commercial availability of our dog food with fungi protein.”

Amy Trakinski, managing director of VegInvest, who joins Wild Earth’s board of directors, said,
“Given the shocking amount of animal farming required for pet food, and the environmental strain caused by feeding companion animals, Wild Earth represents an important component of a more sustainable and humane food system. We’re investing in Wild Earth not only to impact this market but because Ryan and his team can provide valuable leadership to other companies in the plant-based innovation space.”

New York-based VegInvest provides early-stage capital and guidance to companies in industries like vegan food products and food technology, alternatives to animal testing, and restaurant chains. By replacing the use of animals, VegInvest sees financial opportunities as well as more sustainable and scalable solutions. Current investments include JUST and Veggie Grill.

Wild Earth also welcomed global investors in its funding round. Shanghai-based Bits x Bites is China’s first future-of-food fund. VECTR is a private equity group based in Hong Kong. Berlin-based P.O.V. is one of Germany’s leading food funds.

Wild Earth said its fungi-based products require fewer resources than farming animals to produce the same nutritional value. In addition to a complete protein without animal ingredients, the veterinarian-developed formula offers omega fatty acids, digestion-boosting enzymes and prebiotics to support gastrointestinal microbiomes. Since 25-30 percent of meat’s environmental impact in the U.S. is attributed to pet food, Wild Earth believes its Koji protein “is necessary if we hope to sustainably feed more than a billion pets expected by 2050.”

Wild Earth treats are available online at WildEarth.com, Amazon.com, PupJoy.com, select brick-and-mortar retail stores, and wholesale to pet food retailers.

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Journalist Gives ‘Human-Grade’ Dog Food a Try

He and his pet performed a taste test.

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A New York Post writer recounted his experience trying “human-grade” dog food alongside his canine companion.

Journalist Eric Hegedus and his Maltipoo, Duncan, tried out a Just Food For Dogs takeout spot located within a Petco store in New York.

Hegedus notes that Just Food’s kitchen staff uses U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved ingredients, meaning the company’s recipes are “technically OK for humans to eat.”

He tried a venison dish made with sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cranberries and brussels sprouts. He found it to be “a mushy gruel in need of seasoning — maybe some garlic, a handful of basil, definitely a generous sprinkle from Salt Bae.”

The company’s recipes tend to be bland because spices aren’t necessarily good for dogs.

Duncan, age 11, loved the venison dish, and he was fond of a chicken-and-rice recipe, as well.

“[Dogs’] taste buds and preferences are designed to enjoy eating a real cut of meat,” said Dr. Oscar Chavez, the company’s chief medical officer.

Many pet owners are saying, “I want to feed my four-legged family members the same quality food that I feed my two-legged family members,” he noted.

Read more at New York Post

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