Donald Cleary of the National Canine Research Council writes that bans on certain breeds don't prevent dog bites and actually exacerbate the problem by punishing responsible owners and letting irresponsible owners off the hook. Instead, Cleary calls for embracing the rational approach to safety advocated by the AVMA and the CDC that prioritizes responsible pet ownership practices.
According to the AVMA, devocalization of dogs should be a last resort in cases where behavioral modification has not been effective, and it should be performed only by a qualified, licensed veterinarian. "Barking is a normal behavior for animals, and that's how they communicate," said Dr. Sheilah Robertson, assistant director of the AVMA's animal welfare division. "Nuisance barking or excessive barking usually has an underlying social issue." The procedure may be the only option for families facing eviction or euthanasia of their pet, Dr. Robertson points out. AVMA is reviewing recommendations on devocalization as part of a regular review of all its policies.
The AVMA recommends against feeding raw animal protein diets to pets because of scientific evidence indicating such diets pose a health risk to both pets and their humans. The policy was overwhelmingly approved last month at AVMA's convention, where a preview of AVMA's 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook was also presented.
According to the AVMA's 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, discussed by veterinarian Karen Felsted at the AVMA Convention, pet ownership is down for the first time since 1991, slipping by 2.4%. Economics may play a role as people may not acquire a new pet after losing one because they can't afford it, noted Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA's CEO. Also, as the makeup of households shifts away from the traditional two parents plus children, pet ownership declines, experts say.
Rabies continues to pose a threat globally, with at least 55,000 people worldwide dying from the disease each year, according to this article, which cites AVMA. World Rabies Day, observed today, highlights the importance of having pets vaccinated against the disease.