Deborah Howard, founder of Companion Animal Protection Society

Deborah Howard–founder and president of the Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS), the only national nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy mills–discusses the pivotal visit to the Atlanta pet store more than 22 years ago that set Howard on the path to launching CAPS. deborahhoward_1309660193_36She also recounts her formative years, growing up not only in a house full of animals, but also in a family where activism was prized and regularly practiced–so her CAPS work may reflect almost a genetic bent. Howard defines and describes puppy mills, how they function and, geographically, where there tend to be clusters of these operations–particularly, for example, in Amish country. She also addresses the way, over the 23-year history of CAPS, the advent of the internet (and people buying dogs online) has complicated the puppy mill landscape, magnifying the challenges of protecting–both animals and people–against these operations, and investigating them. Howard underscores the importance of educating people about the perils of puppy mills, and dogs purchased from them, and toward that end CAPS has unveiled a new campaign built around models–and outlines the rationale behind the campaign. (, 
ALSO: The show was “co-hosted” by nine-year-old Mike Strauss.
COMEDY CORNER: Paul Varghese’s “Pets” (portion) (

MUSIC: Bela Fleck’s “The Bullfrog Shuffle,” Patty Griffin’s “I Smell A Rat,” instrumentals  

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London”
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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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