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Talkin' Pets News Featured

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Talkin' Pets News

August, 4, 2018

Host - Jon Patch

Co-Host - Maria Ryan - DogGone Positive

Producer - Lexi Lapp

Network Producer - Quin McCarthy

Executive Producer / Social Media - Bob Page

Since 2010, the Humane Society of the United States Pets for Life program has addressed lack of access to pet resources in underserved communities around the country through outreach and support services to pet owners. The program operates in 36 markets, and has provided over 400,000 essential veterinary services, supplies and medications to people and pets who otherwise might not have received them. Last week, Pets for Life reached a major milestone: its 100,000 spay/neuter surgery performed at no cost to pet owners.  

Amanda Arrington, director of Pets for Life says, “No one should ever be denied the opportunity to experience the benefits and joy that comes from the human-animal bond.  Our program does everything possible to keep pets where they belong – with their families, by providing necessary services to keep animal healthy, including spay and neuter, at no charge to people in underserved areas.  We are proud of the trust we and our partners have built in communities around the country, and for the collaboration with countless veterinarians and local groups that have made it possible to perform these critical 100,000 procedures.”  Through door-to-door outreach most every day, Pets for Life establishes a consistent on-going community presence and support, and provides a comprehensive follow-up process for every pet met. 

A few examples suggest the life-changing benefits of Pets for Life for families. Pets for Life started working with Patricia, her husband, their three dogs and five cats in Los Angeles in 2014 to provide free spay/neuter for their pets. In 2017, evicted from their home, they moved to a motor home with no electricity, running water or gas. Despite their struggle, their pets remain their priority, and Pets for Life continues to help – with medicine for dermatitis, antibiotics for an infection, flea/tick preventative, shampoo, carriers, and food. Arrington says, “Patricia and her husband are part of the PFL family and we will always be there for them to honor their love for their pets, even when we can’t help with the larger challenges they face.  PFL has never viewed them as anything but a couple providing a wonderful, loving home for their pets.” 

Granville, who also lives in Los Angeles, not only cares for community cats in his neighborhood but also supports homeless people in the community by helping them with food, blankets and access to resources. When the Los Angeles Pets for Life team met him in 2015 they were pleased to support spay/neuter and vaccinations for the cats for which Granville cares  – over 30 to date.  He recently built an area where they can go in and out as they please and stay warm at night. “It is obvious the cats love him as much as he does them,” Arrington said.  

Betty in Philadelphia, a client since 2012, has become an extended member of the Pets for Life team, as a community ambassador.  Before meeting the team from Pets for Life, Betty always helped neighborhood dogs and cats however she could. After Pets for Life provided spay/neuter services at no cost for her seven dogs and five cats, she found a true mission: sharing information on free spay/neuter and pet wellness care in her community. Arrington says, “Betty is responsible for introducing us to over 100 people and for helping more than 150 cats around her neighborhood. She now has her own traps and has standing, open spay/neuter appointments with the program anytime she needs them. She is tireless in advocating for both people and pets in her community.”

In addition to inspiring similar initiatives by local humane societies across the United States, the Pets for Life model has been the subject of several studies and professional journals. The program was recently part of a University of Denver research study, “Race and ethnicity are not primary determinants in utilizing veterinary services in underserved communities in the United States” published in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (Sept. 29, 2017).  In addition, the work was featured in the Development Law & Policy journal (Fall 2017), published by American University College of Law – “Serving Pets in Poverty: A New Frontier for the Animal Welfare Movement.”


Americans shelled out close to $800 million on pet products on in the second quarter of this year, according to new data from One Click Retail.

That number represents an increase of 30 percent of versus the same period a year prior, writes Mike Corry, One Click Retail's director of North America sales.

Corry explains that on Amazon, pet food accounts for close to 50 percent of all pet product sales. That's a lower share than in the market at large, where pet food makes up two-thirds of all pet product sales.

Thirty-pound bags of dry dog food "remain the biggest hit among Amazon’s pet products, Corry writes.

"Pet owners were early adopters of ecommerce, primarily influenced by the inconvenience of having to lug big bags of food around," he says.

Earlier this year, Amazon has launched its own pet product brand called Wag. The first product made available was dry dog food.

In general terms, Corry says, the fact that Americans see their pets more and more as family members has been a boon the pet products category. The trend "not only causes us to spend more on food, supplies and health care, but also encourages us to invest more in better quality products and more nutritious food," he says.

Citing the American Pet Products Association, he notes that the U.S. pet products market has grown 50 percent over the past five years to about $70 billion.


The Publix grocery chain has posted signs noting that service animals are not allowed to ride in shopping carts, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The signs, which are posted at entrances and exits, are a reminder of an existing policy, a spokesman told the newspaper. They note that "only service animals that are specifically trained to aid a person with disabilities are permitted within the store."

"Service pets are not permitted to sit or ride in shopping carts," the signs read.

The Associated Press reports that with the signs, Public is cracking down on the trend of people passing off their pets as "service animals" in order to take them places where pets are prohibited.

Airlines, in particular, have been dealing with the issue. In response, Airlines for America, a lobbying group for several airlines, has requested that the federal government ban all emotional support animals except dogs from flights. And in May, American Airlines said it would no longer allow certain animals, including insects, hedgehogs and goats, under its emotional support animal policy.


Phase Genomics, a company specializing in cutting-edge technology for microbial discovery, AnimalBiome, an emerging microbial assessment and supplement company focused on companion animals, and Lil BUB, a celebrity cat with more than 3 million Facebook followers, teamed up to explore and unveil a new level of microbial diversity living in domestic cats. This collaboration led to the discovery of 22 new microorganisms found in the microbial samples of just two cats. The effort spun out of the KittyBiome Kickstarter campaign launched in 2015, involving a poop sample from Lil BUB and poop samples from nearly 500 other cats for a KittyBiome microbial census. 

This project utilized new microbiome analysis technology, pioneered by Phase Genomics. The cutting-edge platform, ProxiMeta™ Hi-C, enables microbiome research to reach a new frontier of microbial discovery. This platform sequenced the DNA of hundreds of microbes living inside the poop of Lil BUB and Danny, the cat owned by microbiologist and science television host, Jennifer Gardy. In addition to finding numerous known bacteria living in these samples, the researchers were able to extract high-quality genomes for 22 bacteria that were previously not identified or sequenced by the scientific community. Lil BUB’s sample provided 13 new species, while Danny provided nine new species of bacteria.

“Most of the new species we identified belong to the same order of bacteria that’s responsible for colitis, gangrene, and tetanus,” said Dr. Ivan Liachko, CEO and Co-founder of Phase Genomics, “But inside an animal’s microbial ecosystem they may play a significant role in the health of the animal. To further our understanding, we’ll continue to build out a comprehensive database of gut microbiomes of diverse animals, including humans. This is just the beginning.”

The goal is to help identify what microbes are associated with healthy animals and work towards helping treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), diabetes and other ailments likely to be associated with the microbiome.

“There’s an entire universe of undiscovered microbial life in our companion animals that could offer insights for new ways to support and improve the health of our pets,” said Holly Ganz, PhD, Founder and CEO of AnimalBiome. “If we discovered 22 potentially novel species in only two cats, imagine what we could discover tomorrow that could significantly impact a number of health-related ailments affected by the microbiome. ”

Phase Genomics and AnimalBiome are inviting people to help name the newly discovered bacteria and will reward one person by sequencing the DNA of their cat’s poo. The data of the newly discovered bacteria will be publicly available for free at Scientists and students are invited to help further analyze the data and use it for educational purposes. For more information follow Phase Genomics @PhaseGenomics and @AnimalBiome on Twitter.


Dogs may be man’s (and woman's) best friend, but cats are king when it comes to professional pet-care services, a new survey has found. 

Data released by Pet Sitters International, an educational association for professional pet sitters, reveals that more professional pet sitting businesses are now offering services for cats than for dogs.

PSI found in its 2018 State of the Industry Survey that 97.3 percent of responding pet sitters offer services for cats, while 96.2 percent offer services for dogs. In 2016, 96.1 percent indicated they serviced dogs and 95.5 percent indicated they serviced cats.

“Because the pet-services industry is often depicted as very dog-focused, new cat owners may wonder who they can rely on for their pet-care needs,” said Beth Stultz-Hairston, PSI’s vice president of marketing and operations. “However, the majority of PSI’s member businesses offer care for both cats and dogs, as well as many other pet types.”

Stultz-Hairston says there are some professional pet sitters who choose to focus exclusively on cats.

“We’ve seen some long-time pet-sitting business owners transition to cats only, but we also see many newcomers to the industry choosing to make their businesses feline-focused from the beginning,” she said.

PSI conducted its survey online from Jan. to Feb. 26. Just over 28 percent of the nearly 6,000 member businesses contacted completed the survey.

“We are glad more and more pet owners are recognizing the benefit of securing professional pet-sitting services—whether they need care for their cats or other pets,” said PSI President Patti Moran. “With the growth of the pet-sitting industry, pet owners are able to leave their pets at home when they travel and do not have to rely on untrained or unwilling friends, family members or neighbors for their care.”


A man who broke a car window to help two dogs in Parma, OH, stands accused of criminal damaging, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Richard Hill shattered the car window using a hammer, according to the newspaper. In a post on Facebook, Hill said he saw the dogs while on a trip to Walmart.

He posted a photo of the police complaint and a lengthy explanation of the situation. The post has been shared more than 8,000 times.

"This right here is why so many people are afraid to do anything," Hill wrote.

He said he plans to defend himself agains the charge.

Police said the temperature that day was 78 degrees.

"We believe his heart may have been in the right place, but he should have waited a little more," Police Sgt. Dan Ciryak told

The owner of the dogs reportedly came back after about 15 minutes.


Firefighters battling a wildfire in California found an "unlikely pair" of animals sheltering from the flames together -- a cat and a chicken.

The Grass Valley Fire Department said in a Facebook post that the Office of Emergency Services Engine 334 crew, assigned to the OES Strike Team 4806A, was patrolling structures affected by the Carr fire when they found "an unlikely pair of animals impacted by the fire."

"In the doorway of a home, they found a cat and a chicken huddled together for safety and support," the post said.

The department said firefighters were able to coax both animals into sharing a carrier and they were taken to the SPCA, where veterinarians treated their burn wounds.

"The firefighters checked on the pair a day later, both the cat and chicken are expected to make full recoveries from their injuries," the post said.


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