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Ralston Purina Company Donates Purina® Dog Chow® to Starving Alaskan Sled Dogs

Ralston Purina has donated more than 22 tons of Purina® Dog Chow® brand dog food to help Alaska's Senator Ted Stevens in his efforts to save Alaskan sled dogs that are in danger of starving. The donation is composed of 55-pound bags of Purina Dog Chow.

Sen. Stevens requested help from Ralston Purina after mushers in Yukon River villages reported their dogs were in danger of starvation because of a depressed chum salmon run in the river. Salmon is the primary diet for the sled dogs, which help haul water and wood and provide transportation in rural Alaskan communities.

"When Ralston Purina learned of Senator Stevens' concern, it was clear we needed to work quickly," said James R. von der Heydt, Ralston Purina's Executive Vice President of R&D and Worldwide Product Innovation. "We are pleased to be able to respond with a donation of more than 22 tons of Purina Dog Chow. Purina Dog Chow provides 100 percent complete and balanced nutrition for dogs, which means these dogs can thrive on a diet consisting exclusively of Purina Dog Chow and water."

The Purina Dog Chow was shipped from Ralston Purina's production facility in Clinton, Iowa, Oct. 11, and should arrive in Alaska for distribution Tuesday, Oct. 17. Transportation is being provided by Lynden Transport and Totem Ocean Trailer Express (TOTE). Alaska West Express, A Lynden Company, picked up the food in Iowa and will truck it to Washington. TOTE will transport the dog food to Anchorage. Alaska Railroad will provide transportation to Fairbanks. Transportation was arranged with the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Senator Stevens' office is working with the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) and AFN President Julie Kitka to distribute the dog food when it reaches Alaska.

Sen. Stevens noted that for the second time in as many years, Ralston Purina and its Purina Dog Chow brand have stepped forward with a donation of more than 20 tons of dog food: "We appreciate the efforts of this company in assisting the dog owners affected by the reduced runs of salmon in the Yukon drainage." Stevens also thanked Lynden's President, Jim Jansen, and Robert Magee, President and CEO of TOTE for their help.

In 1999, an extremely low salmon run along the Yukon River left isolated villages in short supply, and Ralston donated 20 tons of Purina Dog Chow to mushers in villages surrounding Bethel at that time.

Ralston Purina Pet Products is the world's largest producer of dry dog and dry and soft-moist cat foods and a leading manufacturer of cat box filler in the United States. Its flagship Purina brand is the leading brand of dry pet food in North America.

SOURCE: Ralston Purina Company

Contact: Jill Winte of Ralston Purina Public Relations, 314-982-2261; or
Wayne Maloney of Office of Sen. Ted Stevens, 202-224-8479