Monday, January 26, 2009

Pooch politicking

In today's Washington Post, Western Carolina University psychology professor Hal Herzog attempts to make a case for geographical balance in Presidential appointments, and argues that such a balancing effort should include the Obamas' ongoing search for a new dog.

To be sure, Herzog falls prey to the mainstream media's ongoing temptation to cutesy-poo the new First Family's acquisition of a canine family member, not to mention most matters pet-related. That said, he illuminates two not-so-well known issues: that spay-neuter campaigns have worked a lot better than is generally realized in the northern half of the United States, but that plenty of adoptable pets languish in animal shelters across the southern half.

Because of this imbalance, says Herzog, "the animal rescue group in my rural North Carolina county ships 200 dogs a year up to shelters in Connecticut, where they find loving homes with
dog-craving suburbanites. And that's small potatoes. Since 2004, the Rescue Waggin' program operated by PetSmart, the national chain of pet product superstores, has transported 20,000 abandoned dogs from states such as Tennessee and Kentucky to places where they are snapped up by grateful owners. "

The rest of the essay is here.

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