So Maryland ranks number 44 (in the bottom 10) for national pet ownership, with 52.3 percent of households owning a pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s just released U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook. The last time AVMA put together such a sourcebook in 2006, we ranked 48 (bottom 10, again). But what surprised me — a hardcore animal lover — far more were the freaky findings for D.C.
First, f.y.i., top 10 pet-owningest states are: Vermont (70.8 percent), New Mexico (67.6 percent), South Dakota (65.6 percent), Oregon (63.6 percent), Maine (62.9 percent), Washington (62.7 percent), Arkansas (62.4 percent), West Virginia (62.1 percent), Idaho (62 percent), and Wyoming (61.8 percent).
Bottom 10: Rhode Island (53 percent), Minnesota (53 percent), California (52.9 percent), Maryland (52.3 percent), Illinois (51.8 percent), Nebraska (51.3 percent), Utah (51.2 percent), New Jersey (50.7 percent), New York (50.6 percent), and Massachusetts (50.4 percent).
But D.C. “had a far lower rate of pet ownership at 21.9 percent,” where only 13.1 percent of people own a dog, and only 11.6 percent own a cat.
By the way, top dog-owning states are Arkansas, New Mexico, and Kentucky; top cat-owning states: Vermont, Maine and Oregon.
“This report reveals a tremendous amount of information about pets and their owners across the country; what’s constant and what has changed. One of the most important parameters that we look at is how well pet owners are doing at keeping their pets healthy,” says Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, president of the AVMA. “Unfortunately, the report reveals that fewer dogs and cats are seeing the veterinarian regularly, and that’s something that the AVMA and every companion animal veterinarian are concerned about. Pet owners across the country need to remember to bring their pets into the veterinarian – at least once a year – to maintain optimal health.”
After reading all about this report (which probably appeals only to extra-geeky animal rights supporters, I’m fully aware) and lamenting the news that fewer pet owners are getting their furry friends to the vet regularly each year, I asked myself, “What can all pet-loving Marylanders, the geeky and the non, do to improve the lives of local animals? How can we become a more pro-animal state, if not in ownership ranking, in ethical spirit?”
Here’s the fix I came up with: On Thursday, February 21, we’re invited to meet with state legislators to “discuss legislation that could significantly impact the lives of animals,” according to press materials from the Humane Society. An RSVP is required. Register here, if you love your own pet, or your neighbor’s chocolate poodle. I mean, it sounds pretty doggone easy.
“Meeting with your state legislators can seem scary — but don’t stress, we’ve got you covered!” continues the invite. “Join our HSUS Maryland State Director Tami Santelli, animal advocates, and other leaders in the state at this year’s Maryland Humane Lobby Day and you’ll be provided tips for citizen lobbying and an overview of pending animal legislation. Then, you’ll get to meet directly with your elected officials…”
Date: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Location: 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401
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