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Top 6 Pet Stories of 2013!

1. Puppy Mill Closes and Inspires Reform

Puppy mills are oft accused of putting profit above the well-being of their dogs; however, there are specific requirements each mill must meet to continue operation. Or at least, that's what we would hope- but for the past few years the Pratt puppy mill has been accumulating countless violations while operating well below the standards demanded by the Department of Agriculture.

Only this year, in 2013, was the mill finally closed with an unusual, but likely necessary, life-long suspension of Prattís USDA license to own and operate a facility associated with the breeding of companion animals. However, there are still many other mills operating under similar conditions that are flying beneath the radar of the USDA's limited capacity to inspect institutions and enforce their policies. Even with the Pratt puppy mill, 17 puppies were left quarantined in the building after its closure.

2. Project Rescue

Dog fighting is illegal, but that doesn't stop miscreants from viciously pitting dogs against one another and often abandoning injured dogs who have managed to survive a brutal brawl. These dogs are left needing medical attention without a place to stay or a chance at a better life. To rescue these dogs, one couple set out on a mission.

After rescuing and adopting the first victim they encountered, Project Precious Rescue was born. The non-profit organization is an incorporated non-profit that aims to rescue and rehabilitate abused dogs. After the dogs are back on their feet, PPR works to ensure that the dogs find a loving home.

Cats Really Don't Care

Two recent studies on cat behavior seem to indicate that although cats may like their owners, they donít feel meaningfully attached or obligated to obey us. The studies examined the behavior of cats in isolated situations and closely studied their movements to determine what the cat was feeling or thinking.

The first study used recordings of different individuals calling a cat by its name. Only one recording belonged to the owner of the cat. The catís responses indicated that cats can recognize the voice of their owners, but do not feel obligated to respond to a command.

The second study placed cats in the famous Strange Situation experiment. The cat is placed in an unfamiliar room and exposed to their primary caregiver and a stranger in varying combinations. The study, originally intended to determine the attachment level of children, interprets certain behaviors to indicate limited attachment. Almost every cat in the study indicated this behavior when they immediately approached the stranger and ignored their owner upon first introduction.

Strange Virus Scares Dog Owners Witless

A series of infected pets caused quite a commotion as dogs throughout the country seemed to be experiencing cases of an unidentified disease. The disease was confirmed the presence of circovirus which became the leading suspect in further investigation. It was later discovered that some of the victims suffered from an unrelated illness.

Though not many pets were affected with the virus during its spread, it was a frightening time for dog owners, as the disease can quickly turn deadly. The cases of circovirus since declined though further efforts to develop treatments for the disease continue.

City Leads Charge in Caring for Pet Store Pets

Pet stores currently tend to sell pets that have been purchased from puppy mills or commercial breeders. However, one city is working to change this practice- Fairfield, Connecticut, is attempting to pass legislation that would require pet stores to sell only cats and dogs that come from in-state breeders or rescue organizations and shelters.

To further develop this legislation, the city has formed a task force to further study the situation. Currently they have deemed USDA regulations insufficient to ensure that animals are treated humanely by current pet shop suppliers. If more regulating legislation is passed, it could reduce the amount of homeless pets in the city and even inspire similar legislation elsewhere.

Dogs Think and Love Like People

Unlike with cats, experiments featuring dogs have some good news for pet owners. Two experiments were performed that examined the relationship between dogs and their caregivers. The first experiment used an fMRI to examine the brain activity of dogs when exposed to particular stimuli.

Through witnessing the brainís physical response to varying stimuli, they were able to draw analogies between canine and human consciousness. The study determined that dogs are at least as sentient as a human child. Another study seems to show that dogs love their owners in a way similar to the way a human child loves his mother.

A Year in Review