THE BELLA Moss Foundation is a testament to one woman’s belief, determination – and her love for her pet. The Foundation was launched in 2005 to tackle one of the most worrying diseases to threaten the health of the UK’s pets.
Shocking evidence has emerged that the ‘superbug’ MRSA - Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus - that kills over 5,000 patients a year in British hospitals, due to lack of basic hygiene is now killing pets in the same way. Vets are being urged to clean up their surgeries and operating theatres after a heartbroken dog owner saw her beloved dog die of infection from the deadly bacteria.
Bella, a ten-year-old Samoyed dog is believed to be one of the first recorded cases of a dog dying of MRSA in the UK. Her owner, actress Jill Moss, 35, of Edgware, North London launched a campaign to educate pet owners and vets about the risks to animals.
Jill Moss believes that Bella may have picked up the infection while undergoing surgery for a routine knee operation.
Fired with a determination that no other animal should suffer unnecessarily as Bella had done, Jill set about bringing the issue to the attention of the veterinary profession and the public at large. In March 2005, together with her partner Mark Dosher, she launched the Bella Moss Foundation at Crufts dog show. The rest, as they say, is history.
Jill says: ’I cannot bring Bella back but I do hope that Bella’s story will go some way towards ensuring that no other animal or owner has to suffer as I have. I hope that people will be able to challenge the way their pet is treated, and use the knowledge of my experience to get better treatment in the future.’
Bella Moss Foundation milestones
• March 2005: Bella Moss Foundation (BMF) launched at Crufts Dogs Show
• May 2005: BMF attends the Cleaner Hospitals Summit at London’s Hilton Hotel where Jill raises the issue that MRSA affects pets in veterinary establishments too. Claire Raynor became patron of BMF
• June 2005: British Veterinary Association, having initially been sceptical of the high incidence of MRSA in pets, began working alongside BMF and issues vets with new guidelines in an attempt to fight the spread of MRSA.
• July 2005: Jill Moss became the only lay member of DEFRA’s (Darc subgroup) Committee on MRSA in animals which meets every 6 months.
• August 2005: Memorial tree planted in Bella’s memory hundreds of animals who had survived MRSA with the help of BMF attended.
• June 2006: Bella Moss Foundation Co-hosts first International Conference on MRSA in Pets with University of Liverpool – human and veterinarians attended from all over the world to present latest research.
• October 2006: Photo of Bella appears on a special E-Card for World Animal Day to highlight MRSA in Pets
• December 2006: BMF assists in developing website to help veterinary professionals access data on MRSA. Project co-developed by Petplan Charitable Trust in conjunction with College of animal Welfare and Royal Veterinary Queen mother animal hospital.
• December 2006 to March 2007: BMF launches a programme of professional development events for vets in association with Janssen Animal Health and Pet Plan and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, focussing on human, veterinary and microbiological aspects of MRSA and included eminent speakers including Professor David Lloyd, Anette Loeffler and Amanda Boag from the Royal Veterinary College and Dr Tim Nuttall of Liverpool University.
• March 2007: Bella Moss Foundation marks its second birthday with a stand at Crufts Dog Show
*** Websites: www.thebellamossfoundation.com
Press Contact: Jill Moss President and Founder of The Bella Moss Foundation 07860 879079 email: firstname.lastname@example.org