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Author Wayne Pacelle explores 'The Bond' between humans and animals

by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on April 25, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 25 at 6:41 PM

PHOENIX -- For many people, the bond they have with their pets is stronger than ever.

There are still those, however, who do not treats their animals well.

Wayne Pacelle, the head of The Humane Society of the United States, has written a book that explores the unique bond between humans and animals. "The Bond" appeared on the best-seller lists of both the Washington Post and The New York Times last week.

"If the animals knew about this book, they would, without doubt, confer on Wayne Pacelle, their highest honor," said world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall of "The Bond."

Pacelle sat down with Tara Hitchcock Monday morning to talk about his book.

"Two-thirds of American households have pets," Pacelle said. "We have 171 million dogs and cats in our households. ... There are 70 million of us who are wildlife watchers. Animals are in our lives. They're around us."

For all of the animals who are loved and cared for, there is an astounding number that are neglected and abused. It's a dichotomy Pacelle explores in his book.

"How do we have this schizophrenia when it comes to so much love for animals, but also so much cruelty?" he asked.

The issues that capture much of Pacelle's attention are big ones -- dog fighting, cock fighting, puppy mills, and factory farming.

"Every time [measures to deal with] these issues come to the ballot, voters approve them, but we have to do thins in our daily lives to kind of make the world better," Pacelle said. "Getting our pets from shelters is one great way to do it."

According to Pacelle, only 25 percent of dogs in our homes comes from shelters and legitimate rescue organization. The other 75 percent come from somewhere else.

"That's the reason we have puppy mills," Pacelle said. He and the HSUS urge people to resist the temptation of the cute puppy in the window of the pet store. Chances are he came from an out-of-state puppy mill.

While many people are add pets to their families, others are having trouble keeping and properly caring for the pets they already have.

The foundering economy has made it extremely difficult for many pet owners. That's one reason Arizona's shelters are so full.

"People love their animals ..., but there are circumstances that really test that bond," Pacelle said. "We've got to really try to make the right decisions."

Pacelle will be signing copies of his book, "The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them" at Changing Hands Bookstore Friday at 7 p.m. 

For more information, visit www.humanesociety.org.

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