Animal Radio® Show #425 January 26, 2008


Where Do Our Candidates Stand on Animal Issues?
Michael Markarian, President of the Humane Society Legislative Fund
Michael Markarian is the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that lobbies for animal welfare legislation and works to elect humane-minded candidates to public office. In almost 15 years in the animal protection movement, Markarian has worked for the passage of countless state laws and federal statutes to protect animals, in addition to helping defeat some of the strongest anti-animal welfare politicians in the United States.

Michael returns once again to Animal Radio® to discuss where our front-running candidates stand on animal welfare issues.

Evaluating the Elephants:
I want to provide an overview of the Republican presidential candidates. Mike Huckabee has a terrible approach to animal cruelty issues and panders to the sport-hunting lobby and Ron Paul's has a philosophical opposition to even the most modest animal welfare policies in Congress. Here's what we know about the other presidential hopefuls in the party of the elephants:

Rudy Giuliani: As mayor, Giuliani did not have as many opportunities to take a position on animal issues as those who served as governor or a member of Congress, but he did take some proactive measures in America's largest city. In 2000, he proposed and signed a bill to promote the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats and open an animal shelter in each borough in order to help curb New York's pet overpopulation. He is the first Republican candidate to release a public statement on animal issues, which is reproduced here in its entirety: "Animals play an important part in the lives of many Americans. We should all work to reduce animal suffering by advocating for sensible public policies, investigating animal cruelty and strongly enforcing the laws that are already on the books. I will continue to support efforts to educate the public about animal issues, and work with corporations to develop animal-friendly policies."

John McCain: In the U.S. Senate, McCain has been a strong supporter of numerous animal welfare issues, earning scores of up to 75 percent on the Humane Scorecard. He has voted for and co-sponsored legislation to stop horse slaughter, and voted to eliminate a $2 million subsidy for the mink industry. He has co-sponsored bills to stop the interstate shipment of birds for cockfighting and to stop the poaching of bears by ending the trade in their gall bladders and other viscera. He took an anti-animal position by supporting an amendment to the California Desert Protection Act, which would have allowed sport hunting in the Mojave National Park. Senator McCain has been a leader in the effort to stop global warming, and he opposes drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to many wildlife species.

Mitt Romney: Romney attracted the ire of animal advocates when they learned that during a 1983 vacation, he put the family's Irish setter, Seamus, in a carrier and strapped him to the roof rack of the station wagon. When the terrified dog urinated and defecated during the twelve-hour drive, Romney pulled over, hosed down the dog, and continued the voyage from Boston to Ontario. As chief executive of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Romney also came under fire from animal protection groups for allowing a rodeo exhibition that included calf roping. His term as governor didn't exactly inspire confidence in his judgment on animal issues, either. He appointed a raft of animal-unfriendly people to the state Fisheries and Wildlife Board. He did, however, leave the governor's mansion on a high note by signing a bill passed in 2006 to strengthen the Massachusetts animal fighting law and prevent a convicted animal abuser from getting the animal back.

Mike Huckabee: Huckabee has been in the news recently for his son's alleged history of animal cruelty. Huckabee was the state's chief executive for more than a decade, and was largely viewed by animal advocates as an impediment to moderate reforms, or at the very least, someone who never lifted a finger to advance animal welfare. The governor's record on animal issues was further tarnished in 1998 when the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that Huckabee's 17-year-old son, David, was fired from his job as a Boy Scout camp counselor because he and another teen allegedly killed a stray dog. Animal protection groups reported that the boys hanged the dog, slit his throat, and stoned him to death-but the teens were never charged with any crime. Huckabee reportedly stood in the way of the investigation.

Discussing the Donkeys:
I've been introducing you to the candidates from both sides of the political spectrum. I provided a round-up of where the Republican presidential candidates stand on animal issues, and now it's time to summarize the Democrats. It's a tougher task, because there are not as many clear distinctions. All of the Democratic contenders have been friends of animal welfare, and have received high marks year after year on the Humane Scorecard. I've attempted to highlight some of the things that stand out.

Hillary Rodham Clinton: In the current session of Congress, Sen. Clinton is a co-sponsor of legislation dealing with horse slaughter and animal fighting, and she previously co-sponsored legislation to stop the processing of "downer" livestock and to crack down on abusive puppy mills where dogs are treated like production machines. She led efforts in the 108th and 109th Congresses to stop the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals, which allow them to be crammed in overcrowded, stressful, unsanitary conditions on factory farms. She had a perfect 100 percent score on the Humane Scorecard in the 108th and 109th Congresses.

John Edwards: A leader on the issue of factory farming, Sen. Edwards has called for a moratorium on the construction or expansion of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). His campaign has released a positive statement on animal welfare, and you can read more about his record in my longer entry, "John Edwards on Animals and Rural America."

Dennis Kucinich: An ethical vegetarian, Rep. Kucinich has been one of the true leaders on animal protection issues in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is currently a co-sponsor of 14 animal protection measures in the 110th Congress, one of the highest numbers among all 435 members. He led the effort in 2001 and 2002 to secure more funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act at puppy mills, research laboratories, zoos, circuses, and other facilities. When animal issues are considered on the House floor, Rep. Kucinich can often be found speaking in favor of the animal protection position. In November, he hosted an online forum to discuss animal issues.

Barack Obama: In the current session of Congress, Sen. Obama is a co-sponsor of measures to stop horse slaughter, upgrade the penalties for animal fighting, and crack down on dogfighting. He has had a strong record for animals in both the Illinois State Senate and the U.S. Senate. Read more about his responses to the Humane Society Legislative Fund's questionnaire in my longer entry, "Barack Obama and the Dog-acity of Hope."

To sum it up, the Democrats have received higher marks on the Humane Scorecard with regard to animal protection, with Mike Huckabee having the lowest score and Hillary Clinton scoring 100%.

Animal protection advocates should take advantage of this opportunity and query the candidates on their stands on animal issues. You should call their campaign offices in the states and ask where they stand if they have not already staked out positions. Let them know that the humane treatment of animals is an important policy issue. You can inject animal protection into the presidential debate, and let the candidates and the media know it's important to voters of all political stripes.

This increasing level of support makes it clearer than ever that animal protection is being taken seriously as a public policy issue. We built our record and grew our ranks in a major way in 2007. Now, it's time to push these reforms for animals over the finish line in 2008. Contact your federal lawmakers and thank them for supporting animal protection bills-and urge them to forge ahead for animals in the New Year.

To read more on how the candidates scored on the Humane Presidential Questionnaire, visit

Presidential Race or Dogfight?
Vladae, The Russian Dog Wizard
If your candidate were a dog, what type of dog would they be? Vladae, who knows dogs better than anyone, gives us that answer.


Mitt Romney ­ Mitt would be a Great Dane, which is tall, calm, stable, full of dignity and handsome. However the Great Dane also can be very aggressive with other males and chases small animals (in other words lower ranking human people). He would be an authoritarian leader, so to balance him; he would need another (Democrat) dog like a Labrador Retriever or a Golden Retriever.



Mike Huckabee ­ Mike would be a Foxhound because a Foxhound likes everyone, they think everyone is a good guy and they want to be buddies with everyone. But, as with all hounds, they only focus on one task at a time. To become a good president, he would need some muscle, like that of a German Shepherd to act as vice president.



John McCain ­ John would be a German Shepherd which is loyal and smart. On the down side, the German Shepherd also can be nasty if not properly socialized and very aggressive. He needs to also have some type of a more diplomatic dog like a Poodle to go along with him.



Rudy Giuliani ­ Before the race, Rudy was a Neapolitan Mastiff but now he is an Italian Greyhound, which is manipulative but faithful, but also lacks loyalty. They also have an attitude of a big dog. If they see something attractive, they will break away and chase it with the speed of a Russian Satellite Guided Missile.




John Edwards ­ John would be a Standard Poodle, which is smart and playful. On the down side, the Standard Poodle is too noisy and too hyper and needs some muscle from a dog like a Boxer, a Pit Bull or a Great Dane for balance.



Dennis Kucinich ­ Dennis would be a Chihuahua, which is loyal and has an attitude of a big dog. But, since he has no strength, he would need to get it from another dog, like an Irish Wolfhound.




Barack Obama ­ Barack would be an Afghan Hound Puppy, because like a puppy, he is full of hope and believes that every puppy should have a meaty bone and not just scraps. The Afghan Hound is also a rare breed, so he needs another dog, which is more familiar and acceptable, to win.



Hillary Clinton ­ Hillary would be a mutt, perhaps a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Pit Bull, sort of like a wolf in sheep's clothing. Cocker Spaniels are cocky and snappy. Pit Bulls are attack dogs. She doesn't care what her gender is nor if she is in the minority. She is not submissive and is very dominant, and will show every other dog where their fence line is, because she knows if she doesn't, they will show it to her.


And, just for fun:

Bill Clinton ­ Bill would be a Poodle, smart but also manipulative like a Pit Bull, but together with Hillary, they are a great combination. Hillary was always a Pit Bull and Bill was always a poodle.



Vladae believes that when it comes down to the end, it will be the Great Dane (Mitt Romney) and the Pit Bull (Hillary Clinton). He also believes the final "dog fight" winner will be the Pit Bull (Hillary) because no one can win in a fight against a Pit Bull!


NEWS UPDATE: Car Wash Adds Pet Wash
This time of year, dogs can get really dirty. It's too cold to wash them outside, so you put them in your tub and deal with the mess.

Well, Michael Seale of the Adirondack Pet Wash has solved this problem. He already had a car wash, so he thought why not add a pet wash!

People are lining up to not only wash their cars, but also wash their dogs. There is nothing else like it in the community, and the pet wash provides everything you need from shampoo, flea and tick products, and deodorizers. You don't have to go out to buy any products, nor bring your products from home.

For $5 you get eight minutes to use a system that comes equipped with all the products - even including blow dryers. But don't worry if you run out of time, you can add money before the timer runs out. And if you run out of cash, they also take credit cards.

NEWS UPDATE Brought To You By Simple Solution Natural Line Of Products


Genius Dog
Barbara Smuts, Prof. of Psychology, Univ. MI
Barbara Smuts, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan who studies canine social behavior, thought this dog owner must be a crackpot. The woman from Maryland kept insisting her dog was going into the backyard and arranging his many plush toys into geometric shapes of circles, parallel lines and triangles. Come on, you must be helping him, responded Smuts. And if you're not, the neighbors must be playing a trick on you, she said. The woman steadfastly ruled out Smuts's reservations, and the professor eventually flew to Maryland to visit the woman and her dog, Donnie.

Smuts now believes Donnie is, in fact, creating the displays. Donnie, a male Doberman, was at first reluctant to perform for Smuts, probably because he was more excited about having a new person in the house. So she suggested the woman install a few security cameras, which recorded Donnie in the act, moving his more than 80 plush toys into geometric shapes and creating social vignettes with them. "She actually got some significant footage of him,'' Smuts said. "Not as much as I would like, but enough to show that he's doing it, and it's not something he has been trained to do, and it's completely spontaneous.''

Cable TV viewers will be able to make up their minds themselves when the National Geographic Channel will once again air "Genius Dogs" at 1 p.m. Dec. 30, 7 p.m. Feb. 1 and 2 a.m. Feb. 2.

"Donnie can't be the only dog in the world who does this,'' Smuts said. "I'm hoping that people will see this show and say, 'Hey, that's like my dog, or I know a dog that does that,' and e-mail me. We need a larger sample to find out what's going on.'' Smuts has a Web site at You can also e-mail her at

Can Dogs Talk?
Kay Cox, Animal Behaviorist
Surprisingly, yes. "As people become more conversational with their dogs, it happens," says Arizona-based animal behaviorist Kay Cox. "Dogs want so desperately to communicate with their owners that they try to speak in our language instead of their own when they need something." Dogs also feel we are not intelligent enough to speak their language, so they attempt to speak ours, even though ours is a much harder language to learn.

While Cox states some scientists claim that a dog's larynx is incapable of mimicking the human voice, she says that's not true: "I've heard dogs say 'Alpo' and 'I want to go out." Kay states the easiest dogs for her to understand are the Doberman and the Tibetan Terrier.

Dogs also speak to us in different ways. Some dogs are visual or tactile, not auditory. That means they will try to get our attention by standing by items such as the door when they want to go out, or even coming over to us and touching us so we will notice them.

Smart Dog Bites Dumb Man
Britt Savage
Who's the alpha dog? Well, it turns out one man was not! A German man, wanting to be the alpha male, tried to show a dog who was boss by eating out of the dog's dish. The man is now in the hospital.

A 47-year-old man in the northwestern German city had apparently had one too many when he decided to show his friend's dog who was boss. He got down on all fours in his friend's apartment and, with the large mutt presumably watching in disbelief, began to munch out of the dog dish.

As the man had hoped, the question as to which of the two should be considered alpha male was quickly answered. The dog attacked the man and bit him in the face. The severely injured wannabe mutt was rushed to the hospital.

"I have no information that he is missing any body parts," police spokesman Klaus Laackman stated, "but you can imagine the damage. The face is a very sensitive part of the body."


NEWS UPDATE: Pets Dictate Major Lifestyle Decisions
Not sure which sofa to buy? Don't ask your spouse ­ let your pet decide!

It is not surprising to find that our pets, as they become family members, are influencing our purchasing decisions from where to go on vacation to what type of carß to buy and even how to furnish our homes.

The number one decision influenced by our pets is where to go on vacation. We want to make sure we can take Fido along where he will not only be accepted, but where there are activities he can participate it.

The next decision is on what type of furniture we buy and what type of flooring we install. We want to make sure the couch is pet friendly (easy to clean ­ hair doesn't show too much) and the flooring can also be easily cleaned when Fido has an accident.

Lastly, we are now basing our vehicle purchases on pet friendly autos. Fido goes with us much more often, instead of just local trips, and we want to make sure that there is plenty of room for him and that he is comfortable.

NEWS UPDATE Brought To You By Simple Solution Natural Line Of Products


Pet Dental Health
Dr. Debbie White, Lone Mountain Animal Hospital
Pet guardians don't understand that dental health is much more than bad breath or something that we think just looks bad. We know that the mouth is a source of bacteria, and if we have a lot of dental issues present, then that bacteria spreads throughout the blood system. Those bacteria can go to the heart, the kidneys, or other internal organs and end up causing other metabolic problems. So you want to keep these problems from developing in the first place.

To prevent these problems from developing, please see your veterinarian regularly. If they detect any dental issues that need to be dealt with, they may need to do a dental procedure.

Routinely your veterinarian will do what is called "Flipping the Lip." This essentially is picking up the lip and looking for anything other than clean, pearly whites. He is looking for any color change, tartar buildup, gum redness, or masses.

There is also a new dental vaccine called the Porphyromonas bacteria dental vaccine, which targets the three kinds of Porphyromonas bacteria that cause most of the dental disease in dogs. This vaccine intervenes in the pet's immune system so that they don't have an exaggerated reaction to those bacteria. It may still be there and your pet may still have bad teeth, but we may hopefully prevent the tooth loss for some of these pets, especially the small breed dogs, where we see early tooth loss, sometimes at 2-3 years of age. The vaccine is given as two doses, three weeks apart, then repeated as recommended by the vet.

You might also look at a dental diet for your pet. This may decrease the rate of tarter buildup.

There are also dental sealants. One is called OraVet, for both cats and dogs, which a veterinarian may apply to your pet's teeth after they are scaled and polished. This is something you can maintain at home as well. You can apply it to the outside of their teeth weekly, using your finger and applicator, and it helps to create an invisible barrier so that bacteria don't attract to the teeth and stick there.

Annual dental cleanings and regular home dental care are important in keeping your pet's mouth healthy. No one-approach is going to do the job alone. It's very important to try multiple approaches to get to the heart of the problem.

New Drug for Separation Anxiety
Dr. Marty Becker, Good Morning America
Dr. Becker states that in more than 10 million homes in America, pet owners leave home in the morning only to return to a pet that has chewed shoes, torn pillows, soiled the carpeting or worse. Often times, pet owners assume the dog is "just being a dog" or the owner feels guilt for leaving the pet home alone. Other times, the pet is sent to an animal shelter when the behaviors become intolerable.

The bad behavior may actually be the result of a medical condition known as separation anxiety and it affects an estimated 17 percent of dogs. In 2007, Eli Lilly and Co. introduced Reconcile, the first selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) approved by the FDA for treatment of canine separation anxiety in conjunction with a behavior modification plan.

Reconcile is a once-daily, chewable, flavored tablet that reduces inappropriate behaviors, minimizes the pet's distress and increases receptivity to the BOND at-home behavior modification training program. The BOND behavior modification program is an easy-to-implement, at-home training plan developed by Lilly and a team of veterinary behaviorists as well as veterinarians.

The simple plan allows pet owners to take an active role in the treatment of their dog's separation anxiety. Dog owners whose dogs have been prescribed Reconcile receive educational materials to enable them to follow an easy four-step training plan to reinforce positive pet behavior, which helps to reduce or eliminate inappropriate responses to anxiety.

With the BOND™ training program, there are four simple things to remember:

* Be positive
* Only reward calm behavior
* No more drama when coming and going
* Develop the dog's independence

This process may take a week or more, depending on the individual dog. Remember to stick with it, be positive and reward your dog for good behavior. Consistent training, along with the daily dose of Reconcile™, will help you manage separation anxiety and restore the positive emotional bond you have with your pet.


Why I Married My Cat
Carol Turner, Tom Cat Towers
I never believed in love at first sight until April 16, 2001, when I was bowled over by the saddest orange eyes in the world gazing deeply into mine. They belonged to a tabby Persian cat crying on his doorstep. He then ran across the road and jumped through a window into my car as we were visiting someone on his street. He was starving, just a bag of bones, under a massive lump of ungroomed fur riddled with fleas. I instantly fell in love with him so I begged and bought him from his owner, who couldn't cope with him, for a bottle of cheap champagne.

I named him Tushtots, and wanted to show him just how much he is loved and adored by me. I also wanted to give him a very special day, as he just loves being the center of attention, so I married him!

Tushtots and I had a "Catmitment Ceremony" rather like a wedding service, and it really was a fabulous thing to do! I put on a posh frock and tiara to get into the spirit of things. My other cats, Willi Whizkas and Little Dumpty Roo, were "best-mog" and "bride-mog" respectively. Little Dumpty Roo was even complete with a catnip bouquet, which she later ate! My husband also participated by giving me away, while the bridal march "Love Cats" by The Cure played on.

During the ceremony, I promised to love him unreservedly and to ensure his tubby tummy was filled with the very finest foods a feline could wish for. I also promised to cuddle and kiss him on demand and to tickle his tummy whenever he rolled over with his fat furry legs in the air.

Tushtots vowed not to snore, hog the bed, fidget or scratch when he cuddles up to me at night. He also swore not to burp tuna breath over me and not to put muddy pawprints on my white duvet cover.

Some people, understandably, think I am barking mad! (Well, we Brits are made about our pets ­ to the point of eccentricity!) But those with cats think that every cat and its guardian should have a "Catmitment Ceremony"! It was just a bit of fun and an excuse for some cake and champagne and to let Tushtots know just how much he is loved and adored.

We have just learned that Tushtots has chronic kidney failure. As the love affair of the century, we don't know how long we have together and my heart is shattered at this. Also, he has not been keeping his vows! He has started hogging the bed again, snoring like a Vietnamese Pot Bellied Pig with bad breath all night, so very soon we could be having another ceremony to renew our "Catmitment" vows!

Please check out the book, Willi Whizkas, about the cats at Tom Cat Towers.


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