PetLetter Winter 2015

A Year in ReviewMake Attending T2T Conference
A New Year's Resolution
The Benefits of PIJAC MembershipNew Member Benefit Gains Traction With Members, Exceeds Benchmarks
How a Bill Becomes a Law (Or Doesn't) Everywhere2013-2014 Legislative Session Snapshot
Education News

January 2015 | Volume 36, Number 1

A Year in Review
By: President & CEO, Ed Sayres


Since joining PIJAC in September, I have traveled the country meeting with PIJAC members representing all types of businesses serving pets and pet owners. I have listened carefully and learned a tremendous amount.

Among the many highlights of my itinerary were:

  • Visiting with pet product manufacturers, distributors and retailers at Total Pet Expo, leaving Chicago appreciating our industry’s vast animal care expertise and the poignant personal reasons people choose to go into the pet trade.
  • Attending my first breeder education conference with dog breeders from across the Midwest, who take their profession seriously, are highly engaged and invest a great deal of time and effort in managing their breeding programs, 24/7, 365.
  • Traveling to Florida to tour ornamental fish distributor Segrest Farms, seeing for myself why the company is widely known for high-quality aquatics care, expertise and customer service.
  • Returning to Chicago for Aquatics Experience, where, alongside enthusiasts of all ages, I spoke with many exhibitors – expert aquarium keepers, devoted hobbyists, livestock and equipment specialists and manufacturers – while preparing to start a home aquarium of my own.
  • Flying to Ohio to visit with John Mack, an authority on breeding and keeping reptiles, learning how Reptiles by Mack’s exacting animal care standards reflect John’s passion for reptiles and his lifetime of experience caring for them.
  • Meeting with Steve Huggins, head of operations for Petland, who became a passionate fish hobbyist as a boy and who, years ago, started as a pet counselor in a Petland store while still a teenager.

I know animal care. I first learned it from my father, a dog trainer and handler known for his well-run, meticulously clean kennels, and caring for animals properly has always been a central tenet in my work and life. That’s why I know that these folks are leading the way.

Perhaps the most important, and motivating, lesson I take away from the last four months is this: All of us are in the business of animal welfare. The pet world – spanning dogs, cats, other small mammals and countless varieties of fish, reptiles and birds – is large and diverse. So too is the community of people that truly cares about, and cares for, our country’s roughly 150 million pets. That surely includes the people of the pet industry who work hard every day to make sure that we have animals available to meet Americans’ desire for pets of all types, help care for the animals throughout their lives and promote responsible pet ownership.

I look forward to many more visits with members of the PIJAC community, and to our continued conversation and work together in 2015.

Best wishes for a happy holiday and a healthy, prosperous 2015..

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Make Attending the Top2Top Conference A New Year's Resolution
By: Rebekah Milford


As 2014 has quickly come to a close, PIJAC encourages industry leaders to invest in the future of their business. We at PIJAC invite pet industry executives and entrepreneurs to resolve to be a leader of the pack and attend this year’s Top2Top Conference as part of their New Year’s resolution.

This year’s Top2Top Conference will take place at the luxurious Omni La Costa Resort & Spa from April 28-30, 2015 in Carlsbad, CA.

The conference is an opportunity for executives, entrepreneurs, elected officials, journalists and advocates to come together, network, and discuss current and future issues. With a lineup of presentations including keynote speaker Jim Myers, CEO of Petco. Other speakers this year include Kevin Pedrotti, who will speak on Past, Present and Future of Ferret Legalization Efforts in California, Dr. Susan Clubb, the owner of Rainforest Clinic for Birds & Exotics and Hurricane Aviaries in Loxahatchee, Florida, Brian Donahue, a digital strategist who will be speaking on Digital Presence and Brand Representation, Nathan Richter, partner at Wakefield Research will speak on The Aging Pet Owner, Robyn Markland and Chad Brown, the founders of Reptile Report will speak on Reptile Politics, and Carlie Campesi and Pam Juba, modern-tech interior designers and owners of HLW, will speak on Designing for the Consumer. In addition, PJAC’s President and CEO, ED Sayres will give the highly anticipated “State of The Industry” address to report on what lies ahead for the future of the Pet Industry.

Top2Top will focus on your bottom line with the theme “Lead the Pack.” PIJAC has successfully secured some of the industry’s most successful business minds to speak about ways to improve your business and to discuss the overall future of the pet industry.

Top2Top is always a great time to interact with others who are just as dedicated to the pets, pet parents and communities we serve every day. This event will also offer an amazing networking opportunity and a golf tournament on California’s only Gold Medal golf course.

Should you be interested in promoting your business to the conference’s attendees, there are multiple sponsorship opportunities available. Email Mike Bober at mbober@pijac.org for more information regarding early bird registration, which closes January 15th

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The Benefits of PIJAC Membership
By: Bob Likins

Membership in PIJAC has its benefits, including the new FirstLook newsletter.  But the most valuable benefit is and always has been intangible; it is having someone to intervene on your behalf when legislation or regulations threaten your business.  Paradoxically, the better this service is performed, the less likely you are to even know that it’s happening, and the less likely you are to appreciate its value. 

Sometimes we’re asked what it would take for PIJAC to do even more: public education campaigns, lobbying days in state capitals, political advertising.  The answer is pretty simple: more members.  Membership provides the two resources needed most in a legislative battle: numbers and money. 

The larger the membership rolls, the stronger our voice.  Legislators may not care what a PIJAC staffer from Washington has to say, but they care deeply what a PIJAC staffer representing hundreds of their constituents thinks.  We speak on your behalf and help to prepare you to speak for yourself. 

Although much less expensive than fighting things out in the courts, fighting legislation still takes time and money.  It costs money to send PIJAC staff to meet with legislators and prepare local businesses to testify.  The research, reports and other documents needed to fight legislation cost time and money to produce.  Supporting the candidacies of those who support our industry would cost money.  That money comes from membership dues and member contributions.  The size of our membership will continue to determine the scope of the fight that we can mount.

Trade associations always struggle with a free rider problem; it is easy to sit on the sidelines and benefit from the efforts of others.  Our industry is also fragmented which makes communicating the benefits, or even existence, of PIJAC challenging.  To address these challenges we need the help of our membership.  You, by virtue of your membership, understand the threats that the pet industry faces.  The PIJAC staff is exploring proposals to make membership more accessible and to recognize recruitment excellence.  Our members, however, are our best ambassadors.  Take the time to reach out and explain the benefits of membership to those that you do business with.  Tell others about the threats that our industry faces from retail sales bans of puppies to breeding restrictions to snake ownership restrictions to the federal government using coral bans to score political points.  Every member we add makes us stronger and the stronger we are, the better we can protect you and your business.

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How a Bill Becomes a Law (or Doesn't) with PIJAC's Help
By: Mike Bober


By now you know the drill.  When you receive a PetAlert, it means we’re asking you to take a few moments and send a message to your elected officials regarding a piece of imminent legislation.  But what happens before that?

PIJAC staff are constantly monitoring local, state and national governments with an eye out for any proposed legislation or regulations that might affect our members and the pet industry as a whole.  We receive alerts when any of 80+ key words and phrases appear in laws and rules proposed at the federal and state levels.  Our new media monitoring service - which also provides the material we pass along to you via FirstLook -calls our attention to local ordinances we might otherwise miss.  Thankfully, not all of the thousands of proposals we review require our active attention.  The real number ends up being a relatively manageable 1500+ bills and ordinances every two years.

When staff flags a bill for further action, our follow up can take multiple forms.  We reach out to bill sponsors to discuss their proposals directly, giving us a chance to discuss our concerns or offer our assistance to amend well-meaning but flawed bills.  We submit written testimony based on our decades of experience and that of our members. We work to find or, where necessary, develop coalitions of allies to amplify our efforts.  And we encourage affected grassroots contacts to engage via communications with legislators and participation in public comment periods.

At times, it is necessary for us to respond to misconceptions - and outright falsehoods – about the pet industry.  To do so effectively, we rely on sound science, data provided by our membership and anecdotal evidence.  Thanks to the generous support of the WPA, PIJAC conducted a broad-scope issues survey this year to help us better understand public opinion and responses to certain ways of talking about what we do.  In the near future, we will be undertaking a survey to determine the economic impact of our industry at the federal and state levels. These tools bolster our credibility and ensure that we’re not simply asking elected officials to “trust us.”

And our work doesn’t necessarily end with the passage of a bill.  When a good bill passes, we thank our supporters and urge executive signatures.  When something injurious to the industry makes it to a governor’s desk, we’re quick to educate on why it should be vetoed, regardless of the vote count.  And when the public is invited to comment as part of a rulemaking or regulation, we help spread the word to ensure our views are heard loud and clear.

It is this multi-step approach to legislation that helps PIJAC shape the discussion, instead of simply responding to it.  At all times, our focus is on representing the views and interests of the pet trade to lawmakers whose experience with the industry is often limited to their own pet purchases.  We are grateful to our members for your continued support – we really cannot do it without your help.

For more information on how to get involved or for any questions about how we track and respond to legislation, please contact Mike Bober at mbober@pijac.org

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New Member Benefit Gains Traction with Members, Exceeds Benchmarks
By: Josh Jones


Data reveals that our newest member benefit—PIJAC FirstLook: The Daily Executive News Brief for Members—is providing a valuable service to PIJAC members.

With FirstLook, PIJAC members are able to stay informed of the latest pet-related news and information with daily articles from local, regional, and national news outlets. These articles cover the latest legislative and regulatory issues, pet business news, and pet interest stories every morning, Monday through Friday.

Recently, major email marketing service provider MailChimp compiled average tracking figures for the billions of emails they send for more than 7 million users. MailChimp then organized that data by size and type of organization. 


MailChimp Benchmarks for similar orgs

PIJAC FirstLook (Oct. 1- Dec. 15, 2014)

Avg. Unique Open Rate



Avg. Unique CTR



When comparing these benchmarks with FirstLook’s figures for October through December, FirstLook averages higher unique open rates and unique click-through rates than similar messages sent by organizations of the same type and size.

While there many variables that make identifying a typical open rate or click-through rate difficult, this comparison helps demonstrate that members are actively, and repeatedly, engaging with the content shared through PIJAC’s daily executive news brief.  As a result, more PIJAC members are better informed about what is being said within, and about, the pet industry.

To learn more about PIJAC FirstLook or to place an ad, please contact Josh Jones via josh@pijac.org or 202/452-1424 ext. 1040 for more information.


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2013-2014 Legislative Session Snapshot
By: Jeff Plummer

As most State legislative sessions and U.S. Congress have officially adjourned, PIJAC saw a 19% increase in the number of pet industry-related bills introduced in 2013-14 as compared to the previous 2-year period.  It is also worth noting that there was a 59% increase in the number of city and county ordinances PIJAC tracked.

Below is a topical breakdown of the 1,500+ pet industry-related issues PIJAC tracked during the 2013-14 session:

Pet Breeder/Kennel (Issue tracked in 36 States + Federal)
Facility inspection requirements, standards of care, recordkeeping, licensing, transporting/importing, and zoning.

Pet Dealer/Groomer (Issue tracked in 37 States + Federal)
Inspection requirements, standards of care, licensing, recordkeeping, breeder sourcing, import restrictions, and consumer protection.

Retail Pet Sale Bans (Issue tracked in 14 States)
State legislation and local ordinances banning the retail sale of pets (mostly dog, cats and rabbits).

Fees/Surcharges/Special Taxes (Issue tracked in 38 States + Federal)
Legislation, regulations and ordinances providing for licensing/registration fees and for special taxes imposed on pet breeders, pet dealers, pet food manufacturers, groomers and pet consumers.

Animal Abuse Registries (Issue tracked in 23 States)
Legislation and local ordinances establishing online registries of convicted animal abusers.  Some bills mandate pet dealers/animal shelters to check registry prior to sale or adoption and provide for penalties.

Humane Society/ASPCA/Animal Rights (Issue tracked in 21 States)
Involvement and inclusion of humane groups in animal control, animal facility inspections, search and seizure and education curriculum.

Breed-Specific  (Issue tracked in 28 States)
State and local legislation banning ownership of certain dog breeds and providing for dangerous dog definitions, licensing, penalties and liability.

Reptile/Amphibian (Issue tracked in 27 States + Federal)
Legislation providing for regulation, permits, standards of care, and caging requirements for reptiles and amphibians.

Exotic/Dangerous Wild Animals (Issue tracked in 30 States + Federal)
Legislation and regulations providing for the regulation, permitting or ban on ownership or sale of certain exotic or dangerous wild animals.

Endangered Species (Issue tracked in 13 States + Federal)
Legislation providing for the listing of and penalties for possession of non-game endangered wild animals.

Invasive Species (Issue tracked in 7 States + Federal)
Legislation regulating the possession and trade of invasive animals and plants, some of which could be in the pet trade.

Aquatics/Marine Life (Issue tracked in 14 States + Federal)
Legislation regulating the possession and trade of aquarium fish, genetically-engineered fish, and corals.

Visit the Government Affairs page of the PIJAC website to stay informed during the upcoming 2015-16 legislative session.

Click here to view a State Session Calendar for the upcoming 2015-16 session.

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Education News
By: Nancy Knutson

www.pijac.orgCongratulations to the following individuals who recently received their PIJAC Avian Specialist (CAS) credentials!





Traci Carroll, Omaha, NE

Roxann Caracristi, Janesville, WI

Michael S. Chaitin, Waterford, MI

Sy Coletto/Clayton, CA

Dennis A. Davis, Bakersfield, CA

Jeff Forbes/Clayton, CA

Elena Galbraith, Wilkeson, WA

Phillip T. Gillies, Clayton, CA

Sharon L. Garsee, Sacramento, CA

Brianna Latino, Sacramento, CA

Tiffany Latino, Sacramento, CA

Lorrie-Jeane Marinas, Daly City, CA

Amanda Moss, Bridgeton, NJ

Sarah N. Oliveira, Clayton, CA

Berlant Peppard, El Cajon, CA

Jaqueline Sacks, Cambridge, MA

Deborah A. Sylva, Montague, CA

Joseph Szymusik, Auburn, CA

Jennifer Watkins, Elburn, IL

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