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 Featured On This Week's Program

Animal Radio for December 29, 2018  

Legislation To License Groomers
Rosemary Marchetto, Bijou's Bill

Rosemary Marchetti with Picture of BijouShortly after Rosemary Marchetto's Shih Tzu was dropped at a chain store groomer, she was informed that her dog had died. She feels the groomer was negligent and that the profession needs regulation. Bijou's Bill, named after Rosemary's dog, is being spearheaded by New Jersey Senator Valerie Huttle. The law would require pet groomers to be licensed, at least 18 years old, and tested by the State Board of Veterinary Examiners. Rosemary joins us this week to tell her story. Animal Radio's Joey Villani is also on the forefront of this groundbreaking legislation and he says there is some push-back from many groomers.

Rosemary Marchetto was the guardian of Bijou. She told us that she had taken Bijou to a very well known chain store for a routine grooming. She was surprised when the groomer said to her, "I hope this dog doesn't give me a hard time. I had a bad day." However, Rosemary didn't expect the outcome to be what it became.

Within 45 minutes, Rosemary got a call from the grooming salon and was told that Bijou was dead. Rosemary tells us that they would not disclose to her what happened and they would not let her speak to the groomer nor the store manager.

At that point, Rosemary called the police to come and make a police report, because she needed some kind of documentation as to what was happening.

Rosemary says she eventually took the matter into her own hands after she found out that dog groomers aren't licensed. She felt that she did the right thing by bringing Bijou to a very well known pet store chain, thinking if anything, she was protected by them.

Clearly that wasn't the case and that's how Bijou's Bill started to come together. Rosemary went to her local Assemblywoman, Valerie Huttle. Rosemary had a conversation with her and told her what had happened to Bijou. She then explained to Valerie that there are no laws that require dog groomers to be licensed.

Valerie was appalled. Rosemary states that everyone she tells story to invariably responds right away saying, "Oh, dog groomers aren't licensed?"

In the world we live in today, your nail technician is licensed, your locksmith is licensed and it's hard to believe that people who groom your dogs do not require any type of license. As a matter of fact, not only in New Jersey, but also in most of the country, Rosemary thinks there are only two states that require licenses for dog groomers.

BijouIf a groomer was in one of these two states and wanted to be a licensed groomer, they would have to take a practical and written test that given by their state. Upon completion, they would apply for a license that would cost about $50, depending on the state. They would then be a licensed professional, like a nurse or anybody else who requires a license to practice their craft.

Hindsight's is 20/20 and Rosemary knows that the statement made by the groomer of having a bad day and saying they hoped Bijou didn't give them any trouble, should have been a red flag. We've all been there, and you just think that this person is just blowing off a little steam, as we all have bad days. You're not really thinking they are going to kill your dog.

Bijou died January 11th, 2012 and Rosemary started pursuing legislation in 2014, with the Bill making it through the assembly once before. Rosemary has to give some credit where credit is due to, who put out an investigative report where they found the deaths of 47 dogs at some of these big box chains. This sort of lit the fire under the Bill for the Bill to start coming back into focus again and to get it through to the General Assembly in New Jersey.

Joey Villani tells us he's been working closely with Rosemary and the Assembly and is a big supporter of this Bill. Joey hopes that it goes through the final stages, and as of right now he doesn't see anything that's going to stop it. It went through the Assembly like a freight train and there was no one that was against it. However, Joey's big issue is, because his claim to fame in the industry is owning schools, he went through the proper process and did everything he needed to do to make sure that pets were safe and were groomed properly. It always bothered him that somebody would open up a salon and do it properly, while the next-door neighbor could open up a salon and call themselves a groomer, because there are no safeguards in place.

Joey explains that licensing a groomer is not a straight jacket for them. What it's going to do is to make them an educated professional. They will learn things like how to properly use the equipment and even how to properly pick a dog up.

In Joey's school, they had to teach the proper way to pick a dog up and put it on the table. Something that sounds so meaningless is so important. They are also taught not to walk away or turn your back on a dog when they are on the table. These may be little things, but if you don't practice them and you don't study them, you won't know them. No one wants anything to happen to a pet, but because groomers not educated and there are no safeguards in place, things happen.

Rosemary is now pioneering something that that could be wonderful for everyone's dogs. Think of all the pet owners out there who didn't know what was going on in grooming salons. Joey tells us he was an advocate from the very beginning as there was a need for some sort of safeguard. Now it's out there, and unfortunately while bijou passed away, he did not pass in vain because this is going to protect so many other pets and it's well needed.

Surprisingly, Rosemary has been under attack since pursuing this Bill. There's a good majority of people in the grooming industry that are not looking at the big picture. Joey says that a lot of these groomers are probably very good groomers and are safe. However, they're the ones that are saying that this is going to be a hardship on them. Joey explains that it's not going to be a hardship at all. It's just a change in how you do things.

For example, Joey says look at the seatbelt law. No one liked wearing a seatbelt. Now, if we don't, we feel naked. So the pet groomers that are against this just need to rethink it. This is about keeping pets safe. That's it. Let's remember that that is the issue on hand. Groomers are still going to make money, they're still going do what they do every day and they are still going to love it, for the people who love it. And the people who don't like it, they shouldn't be doing it anyway because it's not for everyone. You have to be a pet lover and if you're a pet lover, you want them safe.

Currently this Bill is just in New Jersey. However, Rosemary tells us she actually has it on Assemblyman Low's desk out in California and that North Carolina is also looking at it at the moment.

Bijou's BillboardRosemary tells us that she was able to get Bijou's body back after his passing, but due to a lawsuit she filed, she can't talk about the case. However, she does state the fact that the grooming chain took complete liability after the groomer made that disparaging remark, made it all seem a little suspect to Rosemary. She still doesn't don't know exactly what happened to Bijou, because nobody completely explained it to her.

Rosemary said she sued for the maximum amount, which right now in the state of New Jersey is $10,000. That's the maximum, because they currently consider dogs property and that's the cap. Another Bill that Rosemary is trying to pass is called the Sentiment Being Act. Surprisingly, the Sentiment Being Act is actually enacted in several countries right now. That would remove ownership. In other words, a dog wouldn't be seen as a piece of furniture, but rather as a living being.

If this can change and something happens, then you have a different way of going about this. Rosemary says this isn't really about suing, this is about preventing dogs from dying so that we don't get to that stage and everybody can take a lesson from what she's been through and whatever the other 47 people that lost their pets have been through. This is preventing this from happening going forward.

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Do You Have The Right Car Seat For Your Fur Baby?
Tim Spell, Automotive Columnist

Tim SpellA recent Harris Poll indicates that many dog owners don't restrain their animals while driving with them. Many admit to allowing their dog to roam freely about the car, sit on their lap or stick their head out the window. Award-winning car columnist Tim Spell tells us the dangers behind unrestrained pets in the car and how to find the right restraining system and use it properly.

First off, Tim tells us that there should never be any dogs in the front seat at all, especially on your lap while you're driving with them hanging head out the window. The problem with this is that both the dogs and the carriers can, if they're not properly attached and tethered to the vehicle, become projectiles. This is especially true if you have a large dog. That loose dog could then fly and hit another person or they can hit the dash and they can even go right through the windshield. A dogs need to be in the backseat properly tethered or in a carrier. The tether and carrier should also be also crash proof and crash worthy.

So what is safer for your pet - a tether or a carrier? Tim explains that a carrier is always better. The carriers should be made of a really a high strength material. They should be made of roto molded plastic, luggage grade plastic or ballistic nylon.

If you have a carrier that you normally put you dog in and it has a plastic case with a wire door, that is not a roto molded carrier. Roto molding is a process that they use where the melted plastic continually rotates and it forms a really strong single piece. An example of this is a kayak. Carriers made this way are much stronger than the regular plastic ones with a wire door. There's also a luggage grade plastic that's good. And if you wanted a softer fabric tether that would work, you can use a ballistic nylon with industrial grade stitching.

Dog Crash Test DummyYou need to understand that there's a lot of force in a collision. If you are driving a car and hit a stationary object at 35 miles an hour and you have a 60-pound dog, that dog becomes like a 3,000-pound projectile. The dog can go right through the windshield or it could hit another passenger. So it's really important that you never use a wire crate.

Now that you have the right carrier, you should also know that placement of the carrier is critical. You should put them down on the floor behind the driver or passenger seat. If you have a three row SUV, and you have a small dog 20-pounds or less, you can put the carrier on captain's chair in the middle. If you have a larger dog, you should put them in the backseat, but never put them on the tunnel in between rows.

Tim has three dogs that he sometimes travels with. He has a crate in the rear compartment of his SUV. However, he states that he has been guilty in the past of not restraining them in the car.

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What's Your Vet-iquette - How to Be a Good Veterinary Client - Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie WhiteSure you think your vet visits go off without a hitch, but do you know how to be a good veterinary client, the kind veterinarians rave about? Follow these suggestions to participate as a vital part of your pet's medical care, to ensure your pet gets the most efficient care, and to always be greeted with beaming smiles.

Be Prepared
Before you arrive at the office with a sick pet, know your pet's ins and outs. Without a pertinent history from you, your veterinarian may need more diagnostic tests to sleuth out the answer to the problem. That takes time and can cost you more in veterinary bills.

Expect the questions your vet is likely to ask you. Has your pet been eating? What types and brand of food do you feed him? Is there diarrhea or constipation?

Bring Evidence
Nothing is more useful to your veterinarian as seeing something with her own eyes. Bring evidence like stool samples, vomited material, and medications your pet is receiving. Has your pet chewed on some unusual plant in the backyard? By all means bring a sprig of that plant.

Document video on your smart phone. This can be immensely helpful to your veterinarian to witness behaviors that may be intermittent. I've been thankful when owners bring smart phone video of seizures, separation anxiety behaviors, and respiratory ailments.

Video eliminates misinterpretation by pet owners, and can permit a quick veterinary diagnosis. Vomiting and regurgitating may look similar, but are caused by different disorders. Pets strain to defecate with both diarrhea and constipation. Inspiratory wheezing, coughing, congestion and reverse sneezing are often described similarly by owners.

Trust Valid Resources
By all means do your research in advance of your veterinary visit. Know what questions to ask. But remember that the internet is abounding with both good and blazingly incorrect information, some based on opinions and conjecture without any sound medical basis. Pet owners who value Dr. Google's opinion over their veterinarian, who has examined their pet, could put their pet's health care in jeopardy.

Confine Your Pet
Make sure your pet is secure before entering the veterinary hospital. Don't underestimate the unpredictable things pets do in a noisy, crowded waiting room. Birds fly off shoulders landing in snack zone of nearby dogs. Dogs instigate fights, and cats flee the waiting veterinary staff's arms. Pay attention to where your pet is and don't allow your pet to approach other animals without the owner's consent. Some animals are there because they are sick, and could bite in unfamiliar surroundings.

Dogs should be on a secure leash. Flexi leashes are dangerous in the veterinary hospital allowing dogs to bolt quickly toward another dog, or to entangle limbs of humans or other animals in the waiting room. Cats and exotic pets should be secured in an appropriate pet carrier.

If you have a pet that has been or could be aggressive to veterinary staff…absolutely share that information before the visit starts. Veterinarians look out for the safety of people in their employment and appreciate a heads-up in advance to avoid potential staff injury.

Cat at Vet OfficeOptimize Your Face Time
So now you are in the exam room with the doc, so make the most of it. Put the cell phone away and, by all means, don't waste time taking a phone call if medical staff is standing in front of you.

Avoid distractions that will limit your ability to communicate with your veterinarian. This might include a roomful of boisterous children or other pets. If possible, arrange child care or pet sitting so your sick pet gets prime attention and you don't miss any details of the visit.

Emergencies Happen
At the vet office, we recognize how valuable pet owner's time is and try to minimize the wait. But recognize that emergencies are unforeseen and create delays for other pet owners. Most folks understand that emergencies happen and are accommodating during situations as this.

But making a scene or outburst about your wait time, while the veterinary staff tends to a critical pet is just inconsiderate. Recognize that one day your pet could be in that same place and you would be appreciative that your pet's medical emergency was triaged ahead of the waiting routine appointments.

Don't Attack the Messenger
Emotions can run high when you have a sick or injured pet, but it isn't an excuse to be abusive to hospital staff. Obscene language and overly aggressive behavior doesn't help your pet get the care she needs, nor does it endear yourself to those people working hard for your pet's health.

Own Your Own Reality
Pet owners have the daunting responsibility for the health and well-being of pets in their care. That means accepting the level of veterinary care you can pursue, and recognizing choices if finances are limited. Pet insurance can help defer the cost of veterinary care, but there isn't government sponsored Obamacare for pets.

Don't blame your veterinarian for your pet's health maladies, or expect her to cover the costs of treatment. People in the veterinary field do what they do because they love animals, but they shouldn't be expected to take financial responsibility for everyone's pets. I once heard a veterinary colleague respond to an client's question, "Doc, why can't you just do my Sasha's surgery for free?" His response was, "Because my staff needs to get paid and my kids need shoes." Recognize that veterinary offices aren't lending institutions, but rather are small businesses with pressing bills, just as anyone.

Share Your Feedback
Share feedback with the hospital management about service excellence or shortcomings. Every hospital appreciates the opportunity to improve, or the chance to pat staff on the back.

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.

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Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks

Lori and Flo BearDogs Get SAD
During the shorter days of winter we, and our pets, get less sun. Guess what? This can affect pets the same way it does humans, causing SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Starting in fall, as the days get shorter and sunlight levels decline, many people notice their mood begins to dip. It's believed that lower light levels prompt a decline in the feel-good brain hormone serotonin and boost the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. No surprise then that pets, with their similar brain chemistry, may also suffer from the same kind of seasonal hormonal havoc. A survey by a British veterinary organization found that 1 in 3 dog owners notice their pet becoming less playful and appearing down or depressed during dreary winter months. Some symptoms that may indicate your pet is experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder include: aggressive behavior or soiling inappropriately; clawing at furniture; demanding more attention or appearing withdrawn; frequent barking; lethargy - sleeping more than usual; less interest in going for walks or playing; and reduced appetite and weight loss. So how do you combat Seasonal Affective Disorder in your dog? The same way some humans find relief - with artificial sunlight in the form of a light box. You should also open your drapes or shades and take more walks with your dogs.

It's Illegal To Threaten Pets
The federal stalking law is getting an update to include threats made against a pets and emotional support animals. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan managed to get his proposal, which adds threats and violence against a person's pets to the stalking statute, included in this year's Farm Bill. Under the law, threatening or harming a pet as a way to harass or intimidate a victim is punishable by up to five years in prison. Experts say that victims of abuse often remain in a threatening situation because they fear what could happen to their pets. The measure also authorizes spending $3 million a year for the next five years to help shelters for victims of domestic violence that include facilities for pets. Right now, only 3-percent of women's shelters across the U.S. accept pets. After a study in Wisconsin, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found that more than two-thirds of domestic violence survivors said their abusers had also been violent toward their pets or service animals. Other studies say as many as 25-percent of domestic violence survivors returned to abusive partners out of concern for their pets.

RingoPolice Dog Dumped In Shelter
A former police dog named Ringo, who was thought to be living in retirement with his handler, was dumped at a Mississippi animal shelter. However, because Ringo was micro chipped, the shelter called the dog's trainer who was not happy with the situation. Ringo had worked nine years for the Jackson Police Department. The Department has looked into the matter and has since re-assigned Ringo's former handler to patrol duty, which is thought of as a demotion. The good news is the trainer went to the shelter right away and adopted Ringo after he got the call.

Pet Scams On The Rise
The Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker has seen an increase in people losing money to pet scams. They're not surprised, as it's typical around the holidays. Here's how the scams usually work: you find an adorable puppy on a website or online ad. Scammers claim they are breeders or act like a pet owner who has to find a new home for their pet. Then, once you've fallen in love with the pictures and videos, they ask you to wire money to make the purchase. Once the purchase is complete, the "owner" promises your dog or cat will be shipped right away. But there are always "unexpected" problems with airlines, vets, pet insurance, etc. With each problem, scammers promise that they will refund the unexpected costs as soon as your pet is delivered. It never happens. Experts say never wire money to anyone you don't know and make sure you see the pet in person before paying for anything.

AlexaAlexa Now Answers Pet Medical Questions
Vet24seven has launched MyPetDoc, an Alexa skill that is the world's first artificial intelligence "SmartVet." Now, pet parents with a pet health question can talk with MyPetDoc on Alexa and get veterinarian-backed answers to their concerns. Once MyPetDoc has answered the pet parents' questions, they can then choose to speak immediately with a licensed veterinarian for more guidance and advice for a $25 charge.

2018 Most Popular Dog Names has listed the most popular dog names of the year. Starting with male dog names and going backwards to number one: in 5th place is Jack, 4th place is Buddy, 3rd place is Cooper, 2nd place is Charlie and the most popular male dog name of the year is Max once again. Now for the females: in 5th place is Lola, 4th place is Daisy, 3rd place is Luna, 2nd place is Lucy and the most popular female dog name of the year is Bella once again.

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