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. She 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. (www.caps-web.org,
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ALSO: The show was “co-hosted” by nine-year-old Mike Strauss.
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”