Unifying and Protecting the Responsible Pet Industry

The Pet Industry Leadership Council has tackled a variety of important issues facing companion animals and those who care for them, demonstrating the industry’s commitment to doing the right thing and earning the public’s trust along the way.


Streamlined disaster relief efforts for pets in the wake of the most devastating hurricanes and wildfires in history. Exhaustive studies to determine the need for, and availability of, dogs in shelters and other sources. Supporting service dogs for our nation’s veterans. Increasing pet-friendly housing in cities and states across the country. Better understanding consumer perceptions of the pet industry and all of us who comprise it. These are just a few of the recent initiatives The Pet Leadership Council (PLC) has undertaken and there are many more positive efforts on the horizon to grow and protect our vibrant industry.

Over the past few years, the PLC has made tremendous strides in coming together as a unified voice to advocate for pets and those that serve and support them. We started 2017 off strong with a comprehensive study on the availability of shelter dogs in our country, showing that far fewer than previously thought are actually available for adoption. In fact, shelters alone cannot meet the annual demand for dogs—more than eight million and rising. This research commissioned by the PLC and conducted by Mississippi State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine was even recently quoted in The Washington Post, showing positive signs that distribution of the research is gaining significant traction. This year, we plan to further add to that study and look at rescues as well—data that was not included in the first round of research.  

Helping Pets in Need
The PLC also came together in such a truly remarkable way to assist in crises, combining efforts and strengths in order to save pets. The group tackled hurricanes, wildfires and more. Partnership with GreaterGood.org was critical in streamlining the 2018 crisis relief efforts, most notably to provide aid to those impacted by the devastation brought by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. After significant coordination of logistics and support from pet suppliers for those affected by the hurricanes, this partnership further streamlined the delivery of donations to the shelters and rescues impacted.  

Together, we funded first responders on the ground, providing critical aid to those in need. We helped transport adoptable shelter animals out of harm’s way, funding flights and sending hundreds of pet crates to make the journey possible.  Over 1,000 bottles of dog and cat shampoo were provided to clean animals caught in the storm and vaccines were donated to keep pets in the shelters healthy. Beds, toys and other accessories were provided to help soothe pets during their stay in strange, and often loud, crowded and stressful environments. Thousands of meals were provided to the dogs and cats needing them most. We even helped award thousands of dollars in grants to repair damaged shelters and provided additional resources to operational shelters to help care for lost and injured pets waiting to be reunited with their families.

Supporting Veterans
Members of the PLC also took special interest this past year, to pay greater attention to the important issue surrounding veterans—both by advocating for the pairing of service dogs with veterans and supporting our veteran canines. The pet industry is coming together to support increased research and education on the important role animals play in the military and on the health and well being of our current and former service members. Service dogs can make a difference for veterans by helping them overcome trauma and reintegrate into civilian life. 

The PAWS Act has been introduced in the United States Senate (S. 1014) and House of Representatives (H.R. 2327) to fund a pilot program that covers the cost of pairing service dogs with veterans who have been treated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and for whom the VA determines that a service dog may be beneficial. PLC supporters and others within the industry are providing testimony in support of this legislation, donating funds to organizations pairing veterans and service dogs, and supporting and advancing more scientific research on the health benefits of pets.

This year, the PLC will continue to tackle vital issues facing companion animals and those who care for them by further delving into pet-friendly housing issues, the availability of pets and more. The PLC will also conduct qualitative and quantitative research to establish a baseline understanding around the perceptions of the pet industry. These baseline findings with help guide the PLC’s messaging and communication efforts to better align the pet care community around shared messaging that demonstrates our commitment to  doing the right thing, and ensuring trust and loyalty from the general public.

Bob Vetere is chairman of the Pet Leadership Council. For more information on the PLC’s efforts and how you can help support the many issues and causes it addresses, please contact him at bvetere@petleadershipcouncil.org.  


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