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PIJAC Launches New Membership Campaign For Pet Owners

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) has borrowed a line from Texas with its new membership campaign “Don’t Mess With My Pet.”

By The SmallAnimalChannel News Division
Posted: September 16, 2009, 4:00 p.m. EDT

PIJAC staff at SuperZoo
© Stephanie Brown/BowTie Inc.
PIJAC’s staff, including President Pamela Stegeman (second from left), models “Don’t Mess With My Pet” T-shirts.

A new Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) initiative, unveiled Wednesday, September 16, 2009, aims to educate the public on legislation that could restrict pet ownership. It marks the first time individual pet owners will be able to join the Washington, D.C.-based organization.

“There are legislative actions out there that are trying to inhibit [the public’s] ability to own pets … we want them to learn about those and get engaged,” PIJAC President Pamela Stegeman said.

As the pet industry’s lobbying group, PIJAC tracks legislation that affects the pet industry, whether on a municipal, state or federal level. The number of pet-related proposals has increased this year, especially in the number of dog-related bills, according to Stegeman. For example, a number of states have introduced legislation that seeks to limit the number of intact dogs or type of breed an individual may own. Some states have proposed measures that seek to increase taxes on animal products or on the animals themselves, Stegeman said. In addition, there has been action on Capitol Hill with the introduction of HR 669, which could affect the importation of many nonnative animal species in the United States, including most birds, reptilesfish and several mammals — hamsters, gerbilsguinea pigs and ferrets — commonly kept as pets.

Stegeman said PIJAC believes the public wants to know about such measures and have their voices heard.

“They just need to know what’s going on, accurately — to get the truth about it,” she said.

The “Don’t Mess With My Pet. Protect Responsible Pet Owners” campaign is designed to provide the public with the information, education and resources to become active in issues affecting pet ownership.

The public can join PIJAC online for an annual membership fee of $25. Members will receive a “Don’t Mess With My Pet” T-shirt as well as alerts on pending legislation and access to PIJAC’s Legislative Action Center.

To raise awareness of the campaign, PIJAC plans to use word of mouth and viral marketing. In addition, Stegeman said the organization is seeking the assistance of those who mobilized to oppose HR 669. Plans will likely also include social marketing, such as using Facebook.

Including the public as members not only strengthens PIJAC’s grassroots efforts in supporting pet ownership, but also provides the organization with a source of funding, Stegeman said.

“The fundraising aspect is very important for PIJAC to be able to continue engaging in the way that it has been,” she said.

During Wednesday’s press conference, PIJAC’s board chairman Frank Koch said the new campaign will ultimately benefit the pet industry as a whole.

“Without animals, we don’t have a business … we’ve got to support PIJAC. We’ve got to support this program,” he said.

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PIJAC Launches New Membership Campaign For Pet Owners

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Reader Comments
Correction: instead of saying "the Humane Society of the United States, a leading opponent of HR 669..." I should have said "the Humane Society of the United States, a leading supporter of HR 669..."
David, Rockville, MD
Posted: 11/10/2009 1:03:22 PM
I have been assured by the Humane Society of the United States, a leading opponent of HR 669, that they do not object to including ferrets within the bill's exemption list prior to final passage. The relevant House committee is still working on the bill but ferret owners have nothing to worry about.

PIJAC is the trade group for the retail pet store industry and exists solely to protect that industry's revenue stream. PIJAC has opposed, and continues to oppose, numerous initiatives to improve the quality of life for ferrets and other animals who are mistreated and poorly cared for at, and on the way to, retail pet stores. I hope ferret owners will think twice before signing onto this typically self-serving propaganda campaign and allowing themselves to be used to promote an industry which is one of the biggest contributors to overcrowding at ferret shelters nationwide.
David, Rockville, MD
Posted: 10/27/2009 2:22:44 PM
sal, la, CA
Posted: 10/8/2009 2:23:14 AM
Thanks for the article!
Alina, Vero Beach, FL
Posted: 9/19/2009 7:02:49 AM
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