By now most of you have read the Unsafe Toy Alert e-mail that has been making the rounds on the internet. I've received copies from friends, it's been posted on the breed lists I subscribe to and it's shown up on a number of blogs. There are a few things about this particular warning and others like it that bother me.
If you've read my blogs you know that I love my dogs. I'm concerned for their health and safety. You also know that I buy stuffed toys at thrift stores for them to play with. When I first read the alert now circulating I was alarmed, but now that I've read it a dozen times, I have some concerns about the alert itself.
First, there are no specifics in the alert. Remember from high school writing classes, ask who, what, where and when? This alert addresses none of these. Who wrote the alert. Why on earth wouldn't you sign your e-mail if this was true? Who is this veterinarian you reference? Maybe my vet would like to contact him or her for more information on what to watch for, but you don't give a name or location. When did this happen? Was it last week or was it a few years ago? What was the toy exactly? You say a teddy bear. Was it a Beanie Baby or a big stuffed bear won at an amusement park or something in between? Who was the manufacturer. You say the vet contacted the manufacturer, so who was it? Why didn't this vet contact the appropriate agencies such as the Consumer Protection Agency or the FDA or anyone else about this safety threat?
I have trouble believing that the manufacturers of dog toys are being more careful than the manufacturers of childrens toys, especially since most of each type are manufactured in China. And what about the toys that are being marketed for children and pets?
I wouldn't want my toddlers playing with toys that have this very toxic filling, so should I now buy dog toys as baby gifts?
I have a lot of trouble believing these non-specific warnings that appear out of nowhere on the internet and spread like wildfire. I feel it's cowardly to put something like this out there to scare people with no specific information and no names attached. Whoever started this, if it's true, sign your name to it.
So what do we do now? I'm not taking the toys away from my dogs. Will I buy more in the future? Yes. I will watch them when they play with their toys, but then I always have. If and when someone comes up with specific answers to my questions, I'll reconsider, but till then I choose not to give in to this type of scare tactic.
The opinions expressed above are my own and I will take responsibility for them and sign my name to them.
Late Edition: You can read about this on Snopes site.