Rick Kriseman—the mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida, who, a year ago, signed a proclamation declaring St. Petersburg a pet-friendly city—recounts growing up loving animals, dogs in particular. Mayor Kriseman describes how he and his family got started as puppy raisers for Southeastern Guide Dogs, bringing home their first assigned puppy, Jim, when he was 12 weeks old, and returning him at 14 months. The process worked out pretty well for the family, Mayor Kriseman, notes, in that, not long ago, they welcomed their 10thpuppy to raise. Mainly, though, Mayor Kriseman joined us to discuss his proclamation and the initiative—St. Pete PAWS—he has since unfurled. He recalls that the idea for taking these steps was spurred by discussions while attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors, yet Mayor Kriseman believes he and St. Petersburg were the first nationwide to introduce such a program. He outlines some of the key tenets of the St. Pete PAWS, including reducing pet homelessness in the city (and what measures are in place in order to achieve that), encouraging business to become more pet-friendly (ditto), among others. We also address a related art exhibit, “Woof, Meow, Chirp, and Slither: Artists Interpret The World of Pets,” which opened in early June at Florida CraftArt in St. Petersburg, and is on view there through Aug. 10 (and where Mayor Kriseman was due to give a talk the day after our interview.) Mayor Kriseman also fielded a handful of listener questions and comments via phone calls, emails, and texts. (http://StPete.org/PAWS, https://floridacraftart.org)
The interview with Mayor Kriseman streamed on Facebook Live. See below.
ALSO: I spoke with Dr. Jennifer Conrad, veterinarian and founder of The Paw Project, which played a pivotal role in the momentous news recently that New York lawmakers had passed a ban on declawing cats. If Governor Cuomo signs the bill, New York will become the first state to outlaw the procedure. If you’ve tracked this issue for a few years—I first interviewed Dr. Conrad about it on “Talking Animals” in 2005—you know that nothing of consequence gets done legislatively to ban cat declaw surgery without her. New York state Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, at left with Dr. Conrad, sponsored this bill. (https://pawproject.org)
COMEDY CORNER: Greg Fitzsimmons’ “Adopting A Dog” (https://gregfitzsimmons.com)
MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals
NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.
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