We love our pets. And many of our readers love their furry friends enough to want to see their photos in the paper.
The annual pet section in this issue features all the pet photos that we’ve received in the last six weeks. We seem to be a dog- and cat-loving group. No birds, fish, hamsters, reptiles or horses made their way into my inbox. And note the number of small fluffy dogs.
Some of our readers sent us photos of their own pets. Others were “granddogs” and “grandcats.” We hope we have all the captions correct. Please bear with us if we don’t. There were a lot of names and adorable faces to match up!
So, how do Rhode Islanders rate when compared with pet owners elsewhere? According to the “U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographic Sourcebook,” by the American Veterinary Medical Association, as of 2012, Rhode Island had the fewest pet-owning households in the United States! In our little state, only 53 percent of all households own a pet. In Vermont, the state with the largest percentage, 70.8 percent of all households own a pet. We are No. 7 in states with the fewest dog owners and No. 3 among states with the fewest cat owners.
But Rhode Island is also the ninth most pet-friendly state. That’s according to the Safewise Report, which advises on safety and home security. Safewise bases its findings on 2015 data from the Bureau of Labor, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and online pet resources like BringFido.com. Then, it ranks states based on the strictest anti-cruelty laws, highest percentage of no-kill shelters, most pet-friendly hotels and parks, and more. Apparently, Rhode Island has some of the most stringent anti-animal cruelty laws in the country and some of the best health and wellness factors.
A few more facts I found interesting:
In 2016, we spent $66.75 billion on our pets in the U.S., according to the American Pet Products Association. This included $28.23 billion on food and $5.73 billion on services like grooming and boarding.
Pet ownership is growing fast. According to this same group’s 2017-2018 National Pet Owner’s Survey, 68 percent of U.S. households own a pet. In 1988, the first year of the survey, 56 percent of households owned a pet.
Most popular pets? Dogs, cats and freshwater fish. But overall, more households own cats than dogs.
Many people I know adopted their “companion animals.” Did you know that 7.6 million of these pets enter animal shelters nationwide every year? Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs and 3.4 million are cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. And, according to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, less than 2 percent of cats and only 15 to 20 percent of dogs are returned to their owners.
So, keep those furry companions close by and tagged or chipped, as the ASPCA advises. There’s a lot to love there.
If you are not an animal lover, or you do not have a pet, you’ll probably still enjoy browsing through our photos of these adorable Fluffies and Fidos. If not, I’m hoping you’ve found something that does interest you in this issue. This is a busy time of year in our community, and you’ll learn about what’s going on in the pages of The Jewish Voice.
And please remember, if you want to keep seeing the news of your community, take a few minutes to contribute to our annual Patron Campaign. There’s a button online (www.jvhri.org) and an envelope in the newspaper.
Every little bit helps bring you pages of community news, features, and, yes, even pet photos.