UK Bans Use of Shock Collars for Pets

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs announced new legislation banning the use of electronic training collars for dogs and cats.

These devices, commonly called shock collars or e-collars, send an electronic pulse to your pet, with the idea of correcting unwanted behaviors.  Animal welfare experts note that the devices cause unnecessary harm and suffering and may even worsen a pet’s aggression or anxiety problems.

The Department reports that the ban on e-collars will not extend to invisible fencing systems, because they believe these are useful in keeping dogs and cats away from roads and traffic.

Secretary of State Michael Grove says of the ban, “We are a nation of animal lovers and the use of punitive shock collars cause harm and suffering to our pets. This ban will improve the welfare of animals and I urge pet owners to instead use positive reward training methods.”

The Department notes that members of the public are evenly divided over the use of invisible fencing, with 50% still in favor of the fences.  They also report that many citizens have expressed concern over people’s lack of knowledge and training when it comes to the proper use of electronic devices.

 

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Vets Warn that People are Hurting their Pets to Get Opioids

A recent editorial in the American Journal of Public Health has been getting a lot of attention in the news, as it points to a disturbing new trend among drug users.

Researchers at the University of Colorado conducted a survey of veterinarians and discovered a growing concern among vets that their clients are intentionally hurting their pets to obtain prescription painkillers.

Substance abuse experts note that people who suffer from opioid addiction will go to great lengths to obtain drugs, and the use of veterinarians is a little-known part of the problem.

According to the survey of nearly 200 veterinarians, 13% reported that they suspected a client had intentionally hurt a pet to obtain drugs.

45% of the vets said that they knew of either clients or staff members who abused opioids.  12% knew that a staff member was either diverting or using veterinary painkillers.

Concerned veterinary professionals can enroll in an online course about prescription drug abuse and veterinary practice, created by the Colorado School of Public Health.  Click HERE for more information.

 

Summer Pet Safety – Dogs and Hot Cars

With the Memorial Day holiday weekend just around the corner, now is the perfect time to share an important reminder with all pet owners:  Dogs and hot cars don’t mix!

According to the ASPCA, leaving pets alone in a hot car is animal cruelty.  Pets can die from overheating in a parked car very quickly.  Certain dogs are at higher risk for heat-related illness, including:

  • Puppies
  • Senior dogs
  • Short-muzzled breeds
  • Dogs with dark and/or thick coats

Remember that on a day that feels comfortable to you, the temperature inside a car can be 20 degrees higher than the outdoor air temperature, even with the windows cracked open.

Don’t take your dog with you when you’re out running errands in your car on hot summer days.  If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, be sure to call local law enforcement or animal control right away.

 

May 6-12 is Be Kind to Animals Week!

According to American Humane, Be Kind to Animals Week is the oldest commemorative week in U.S. history!  What better way to celebrate this important humane awareness event than with these easy ways to show your kindness to all animals?

  • Adopt a homeless pet from an animal shelter or rescue group.
  • Volunteer your time and talents at a non-profit animal welfare organization.
  • Report suspected animal abuse to local police or animal welfare organizations.
  • Enjoy wildlife from a distance and avoid touching or picking up wild animals.

  • Create safe and welcoming outdoor spaces for pets and other animals like birds and insects.
  • Remember to take your pet to the vet for regular wellness exams.
  • Consider buying cruelty-free cosmetic brands on your next shopping trip.

  • Donate to a local low-cost spay/neuter organization to reduce the homeless pet population in your area.
  • Clean up plastic litter than can be harmful to birds and animals if eaten.
  • Teach kids how to safely and gently interact with animals.

  • Be aware of wildlife and free-roaming pets while driving.  Report animals hit by cars to local authorities.
  • Put down your phone and spend more quality time interacting with your pets.

 

Local Jurisdictions Continue the Fight Against Puppy Mills

A recent blog post by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) highlights the leading role that cities and counties across the U.S. are taking to ban puppy mills—despite opposition at the state and federal levels.

While many local jurisdictions are banning the sale of pet store animals bred in large-scale, for-profit breeding operations known as puppy mills, the industry is fighting back.  The ALDF reports that “pet store lobbyists are pressuring state legislatures to pass preemption laws blocking cities’ and counties’ right to adopt retail pet sale bans.”

This means that the state law will take precedence over any local law that seeks to ban puppy mill dogs from being sold in pet stores.  The ALDF notes that Arizona and Ohio have already passed preemption laws.

In addition to state-level push back on the fight against inhumane puppy mills, recently enacted federal measures have also made the effort to regulate puppy mills more difficult.  In early 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture removed public access to animal welfare records, including those relating to USDA licensed puppy mills.

What’s the good news?  Efforts to pass state preemption bills failed in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Illinois.

As the ALDF notes, “retail pet sale bans are a powerful way for people to fight puppy mills in their own communities…instead of passing preemption laws, states should ban the sale of commercially-bred animals statewide.”

Currently, California is the only state to have enacted a retail pet sale ban.  The ALDF says that concerned animal lovers in other states should be aware of any preemption laws in the works.  States currently considering such laws include Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

Be sure to keep up to date on the state of animal welfare legislation in your state by following the work of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.