On October 5, The New York Times published an opinion piece by Gregory Berns, a professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University, about his two-year study of brain activity in conscious pet canines. (Rest assured, no dogs were harmed: “We used only positive training methods. No sedation. No restraints. If the dogs didn’t want to be in the M.R.I. scanner, they could leave.”)
For Berns, who found that positive anticipation (of food or familiar people, etc.) stems from the same part of the brain in both humans and dogs, the study’s takeaway is “Dogs are people, too.” This leads him to question the righteousness of dogs’ current legal status: “[We] can no longer hide from the evidence. Dogs, and probably many other animals (especially our closest primate relatives), seem to have emotions just like us. And this means we must reconsider their treatment as property.”
This week the website huffingtonpost.com posted a great follow-up article that expands on the concept of “personhood” for animals and quotes the ASPCA’s own Stacy Wolf, Senior Vice President, Anti-Cruelty Group—read it here.
What Do You Think? We want to hear your take on this debate. Should dogs be given the same legal protections as people, or is it right to continue to categorize them as “property”? In what ways have your own dogs shown you that they have emotions? Have your say in our comments section, below.
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We loathe giving Aflac any more media attention than they have already received, but we can’t keep our mouths shut about the recent PR stunt they pulled. If you haven’t yet heard, Aflac recently let a duck loose into a busy New York City subway station and began tweeting about it, ruffling our feathers in the process! The duck, representing their famed mascot, drew quite a bit of attention—but at what cost?
NYC subway stations are noisy, crowded, and let’s face it, pretty dirty places. The hazards that could have harmed our small feathered friend are too numerous to count. We’re appalled that Aflac would pull such a stunt.
Do you think this PR stunt went too far? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
A disturbing new trend—“pet flipping”—has been getting a lot of attention this week.
Pet flipping involves a criminal picking up a pet, either by stealing the animal or claiming to be the pet parent of a missing pet, and then quickly selling the animal for a profit. Is your blood boiling yet? It gets worse!
According to Time, pet flipping is on the rise in cities including Kansas City, St. Louis and Indianapolis. The stolen dogs are often purebred and very valuable. In March, an Indianapolis man was arrested after a three-month investigation found he had been stealing dogs for years, mostly purebred German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls.
“Many of these pets are housed in puppy mill-like conditions until they can be flipped—no food or water, caged and sick,” Dawn Contos, of Indianapolis Animal Care and Control, said in an interview following the arrest.
Jack F. has accomplished a great deal for animals in his lifetime, and he is just in middle school! Over the past three years, this dedicated young animal-lover has worked to raise money for the ASPCA’s life-saving mission by hosting a lemonade and brownie stand each May, and has raised more than $600 for our cause. This past winter he also organized a towel drive—a much-needed supply at our Adoption Center in Manhattan!
We can’t express how much we appreciate Jack’s commitment to helping animals. His efforts are truly inspirational!
We can’t wait to see the parade of pooches that will walk through our office doors. If your workplace is participating in this fur-filled occasion, we hope you’ll join the fun and consider bringing your pup along with you. But, before you head to work, take a look at these tips for preparing your dog for the 9 to 5 workaday:
1. Dog-proof your workspace. Make sure there are no loose cords hanging from your desk, and that you stow any potentially toxic substances such as plants, markers, and other office supplies. It’s also a good idea to empty any trash cans near your desk so your pooch won’t attempt to sniff out any tasty leftovers from yesterday’s lunch.
2. Brush up on manners. Go over Sit, Stay and Come, and you should be off to a great start. Check out the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center for a full list of training tips.
3. Pack your bags. Bring food, treats, bowls, a leash, and paper towels to clean up any accidents. You might also want to bring a dog bed or blanket and your dog’s favorite chew toys. If you’ll be away from your pup at any point; you may wish to bring an ex-pen or baby gate for your doggie area. And as always, make sure your four-legged intern is wearing a sturdy collar with an ID tag.
4. Take it easy. Keep in mind that even the best-behaved dog might feel overwhelmed by the new environment of your office, or by your co-worker’s furry friends. Ease your dog into the workday by keeping him close to your desk, and by taking a few ten-minute breaks to give your dog some fresh air and exercise.
5. Get your cameras ready! If you bring your dog to work tomorrow, snap plenty of photos—we’d love to see them! Tweet us your pictures @ASPCA using the hashtag #takeyourdog, and we’ll share our favorites!