PETA is accusing Disney of ignoring an animal crisis on a movie right now that has allegedly resulted in the deaths of at least four golden retriever puppies and the serious illness of dozens more. People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals tells me the problems are on the Vancouver set of the film Snow Buddies, a sequel to Disney’s Air Bud. The group urgently faxed Disney CEO Bob Iger about the situation yesterday afternoon and asked him to cancel the studio’s planned distribution of the Keystone Productions film. “Underage puppies from an unlicensed puppy mill in New York were illegally transported to Vancouver in apparent violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act,” PETA’s letter said. “Puppies who were being used for Snow Buddies fell ill with parvovirus, which is extremely contagious, and had to be taken to a veterinary hospital… Additional puppies were brought in to replace them. These puppies have reportedly fallen ill, too.” So far, Disney has ignored this letter and another PETA sent to Iger back on March 19 first alerting him to the situation. The previous letter said: “After receiving several complaints, PETA has determined that the Keystone production Snow Buddies has been using 25 underage golden retriever puppies. The puppies were shipped to Canada from an unlicensed New York breeder in apparent violation of the U.S. Animal Welfare Act. The breeder has admitted that the puppies were between the ages of 6 and 7 weeks when they were shipped. According to media reports, 15 puppies fell ill with giardia and coccidia and two were euthanized. A Washington state veterinary clinic tells PETA that another puppy, from a different breeder, tested positive for parvo and was euthanized.” Bob Chorush, PETA’s special projects coordinator on entertainment issues, sent that letter and Friday’s, which said: “We have since learned that almost all the puppies, perhaps as many as 40 or 50, are now sick, many with the deadly parvovirus. At least four have died already, and others likely will die in the next few days. In light of this disturbing information, we ask that Disney immediately drop distribution plans for this movie.” PETA says that it has received no response from Disney to either letter. As for Keystone Productions, Chorush tells me, “the production company initially misinformed us, and since has stopped talking to us.” PETA also is calling on the government of British Columbia to immediately halt the pic’s production and to “launch a criminal probe into the transportation, care, and treatment of these puppies by Snow Buddies Productions”. The pic is scheduled for the 2007 holiday season. I’ve written before about TV and movie animal issues.