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Nutrients aside, pet food isn't great for people

I have looked at the ingredients listed on cat food containers, and they sound so much more nutritious than what you find in hot dogs and bologna. Why is it traditional that humans are not supposed to eat pet food? Is there a medical or health reason?

S.N.

Response: We don't doubt that some pet foods are more nutritious than some people foods. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that pet foods using terms appropriate to human foods _ dinner, stew or hash _ must contain the same percentage of the preferred ingredient as required for human foods. So that a can of "beef stew" must consist of at least 25 percent beef, and a can labeled "beef" must contain at least 95 percent beef.

And it would appear that eating a can of cat food or gnawing on a dog biscuit will not harm you, unless the food already has been contaminated in some way by mold or insect infestation (which would make it unsafe for pets, as well) or unless the food has been medicated.

But before you warm up a plate of Purina Moist & Meaty, you should know something else.

Pet food manufacturers are permitted to use so-called "4-D" animals _ dead, dying, diseased and disabled _ in pet food. USDA regulations prohibit the use of such animals in people food. Of course, pet food is processed in such a way that harmful bacteria and viruses are killed.

Still hungry? The meat byproducts listed on pet food labels include non-rendered, clean parts of animals other than meat, such as lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bones, stomach and intestines free of their contents (byproducts do not include hair, horns, teeth or hooves).

There are two other shortcomings to eating pet food. One is that these foods are nutritionally balanced to meet the needs of animals, not humans. The second is that, contrary to some stories you may have read, you can buy nutritional people food that is cheaper than most pet food.

"Stolen' rental car becomes costly

I rented a car from Clark Car Rental in November. The car was stolen from my residence, even though it was locked and the keys were in my house.

Clark Car Rental advised me that when a police report was made, my rental charges would stop. I contacted the police within the hour. A month later, I received a bill on my American Express for not only the one week, but for the entire month.

I immediately contacted Clark Car Rental. Company officials said that even though they told me the billings would stop once a police report was made, they were losing money because it was their best car and would charge me indefinitely!

Consequently, I am being charged a $598-a- month rental fee, which I believe is illegal.

Please see what you can do. It's not right, and it could happen to anyone.

S.P.

Response: According to V. E. Bibeault, president of Clark Car Rental, the company's investigation showed that the person who stole your car was your boyfriend.

The company says it took a private investigator two months to locate the car, a 1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88, in Las Vegas. It estimates that the costs of the investigator, storage, transportation to Las Vegas and return to St. Petersburg could run in excess of $1,500. It further estimates that an additional 5,000 miles have been put on it, and it does not know the running condition of the vehicle at this time.

Clark Car Rental is a small rental business, and this unexpected expense is putting it in a financial bind, Bibeault says. He feels that you are responsible for the rental fee if you were involved in any collusion or gave your boyfriend permission to use the car, because that would be in violation of the rental agreement.

We suggest you consult a lawyer.

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