FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KATHY BAUCK'S LICENSE PERMANENTLY REVOKED
Small national non-profit helps to permanently shut down a large and inhumane puppy mill operation.Kathy Bauck's license was permanently revoked on September 14, 2011. The agreement – known as a consent decision – also permanently disqualified Bauck from obtaining an Animal Welfare Act (AWA) license or registration. This decision effectively prevents her from engaging in the commercial production and resale of dogs to pet shops and Internet sellers.Members of her family – known to be involved in her many ventures – were also fined and permanently disqualified from licensing with the USDA. Her husband, Allan, was fined $100,000 (of which $5,000 was to be paid within 25 days of the order and $95,000 would be held in abeyance – in case of violation). Kathy's daughter, Corinne Peters, and her sister, Janet Jesuit, were fined $50,000 each (payment of $5,000 with $45,000 held in abeyance as well).They also agreed to a disbursement sale of most of the dogs under their custody or in their premises. They could only keep six dogs of which three may be unspayed females. All of the unsold dogs had to be donated to a shelter or rescue. On September 21, 2011 they had to file a notice with the hearing clerk corroborating their compliance with the ruling.In 1997, CAPS began investigating Kathy Bauck, the owner and operator of Pick of the Litter in Minnesota. Bauck, one of the largest USDA-licensed dog brokers and breeders in the U.S, sold thousands of dogs to pet shops and Internet buyers across the country. A CAPS undercover employment investigation in the spring of 2008 revealed Bauck’s facility held 900 adults dogs and approximately 400 puppies. The undercover video shot by the CAPS investigator showed sick, wounded, emaciated and dying dogs.Based on the evidence collected by the CAPS investigator, a jury convicted Bauck on March 24, 2009 of four misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and torture. However, the judge sentenced her on only one of the counts; she received a 90-day sentence, reduced to 20 days of work release; a $500 fine, reduced from $1,000; 80 hours of community service and one year of probation.On August 13, 2009, the USDA/APHIS filed a Motion for Summary Judgment requesting the termination of Bauck’s license. CAPS believes this judgment was due in part to our petition for rulemaking mandating automatic termination of license upon an animal cruelty conviction. Following Bauck’s appeal, APHIS’ response to her appeal, the Judicial Officer’s Order and Decision in December 2009 terminating Bauck’s license and a subsequent termination stay based on Bauck’s federal appeal, the USDA officially terminated Bauck’s license in June 2010, effective two months later.CAPS turned over evidence to the USDA and dealt directly with the lawyers for the USDA's Office of General Counsel who handled the Bauck investigation and case since 2008. The USDA filed a complaint on December 7, 2010 and an amended complaint on June 5, 2011 that incorporated the evidence provided by CAPS. The hearing in Fargo, ND was scheduled for the week of November 14.Despite all the evidence against Bauck, her conviction and license termination, CAPS received complaints in 2010 and 2011 about sick puppies purchased at pet shops in Long Island. The complaints showed that Bauck sold puppies to pet shops after her USDA license cancellation on August 16, 2010. Interstate health certificates proved that Bauck, using her maiden name and a business name, sold dogs to various Long Island pet shops. Some of these certificates even listed a fabricated pet shop in New York City – Canine Culture Center – as a consignee.With the help of a local Minnesota organization, CAPS kept Bauck under the spotlight. We tracked Bauck’s shipments for a number of years and uncovered that she sold nearly 1,400 puppies to locations in New York. CAPS own undercover investigations of these pet shops revealed stores that refused to disclose the source of their puppies – in violation of the New York pet shop lemon law – or provided limited information after putting down a deposit. Bauck told the investigator that she was “partnered with” and family friends with the owners of at least two of the pet shops. CAPS submitted their findings to the USDA and state agencies in New York, as formal complaints.For more information, photos and video visit www.caps-web.org or click on the links below.
|CAPS section dedicated to Kathy Bauck's case||Animal Folks MN section dedicated to Kathy Bauck's case|
|“CAPS vs. Bauck: How a Small Nonprofit Brought Down a Large Puppy Mill.”This professionally produced documentary follows the undercover employment of a CAPS investigator who compiled the evidence necessary for Bauck to be convicted of animal cruelty, the prosecution and conviction, and finally the termination of Bauck's USDA license.||USDA-APHIS Consent Decision (PDF) for Kathy and Alan BauckUSDA-APHIS Consent Decision (PDF) for Corinne Peters - Bauck's daughter - and Janet Jesuit - Bauck’s sister.|
- Aaron and Rhoda Martin -2006
- Aden Yoder - 2005
- Allen and Mary Yoder - 2007
- Alvin Kurtz - Kurtz Kennels - 2006
- Alvin Zimmerman - Fairview Kennel - 2007
- Alvin Zimmerman - Press Release - 2007
- Ammon Weaver - 2005
- Ammon Weaver - 2007
- Amos Slabaugh - 2010
- Amos Stoltzfus - 2005
- Andy Yoder - 2005
- Angie and Gerry Wensmann - Highdarling Cattery - 2005
- Atlee Miller - 2005
- Barb Crick - Crick's Kennels - 2010
- Bauck - Puppy Mill Pictures
- Bauck TV News Stories
- Betty Lorton - Lorton's Puppy Land - 2006
- Betty Lorton - Lorton's Puppy Land - 2007
- Betty Morris (report #2) - 2004
- Betty Morris - 2001
- Bill and Kathie Blomberg - Locust Creek Farm -
- Bonnie Vander Schaaf - Luvable Puppies Kennel - 2005
- Brian Mohrfeld - Mohrfeld Farms - 2007
- Carol Beyer - Iowa - 2006
- Cathy Mickelson - C G M Kennel - 2005
- Clayton and Laura Yoder - 2006
- Cliff and Linda Watts - Hillside Kennel - 2004
- Connie Corrigan - Corrigan Kennels - 2004
- Craig Fedler - Fedler Kennels - 2007
- Dan, Hattie, & Kim Pease - Rockin P Kennel - 2007
- Dan and Omar Kauffman - Kauffman Kennels - 2007
- Daniel Stoltzfus, Jr - Pine Hill Kennel - 2007
- Dateline Investigation of Commercial Dog Breeding System
- David Beiler - Creekview Kennels - 2005
- David Blank - 2005
- David Kauffman - 2006
- Dean and Karen Grell - Grell’s K-D Kennel - 2004
- Deb and Wayne Tschetter - 2005
- Debra Sandmeier - Sutley Kennel - 2005
- Delilah Jean Wagler - 2007
- Delmar Ray Yoder - 2006
- Delmar Ray Yoder - 2007
- Delton Martin - Shady Maple Kennel - 2005
- Dennis and Donna Van Wyk - Prairie Lane Kennel - 2006
- Dennis and Donna Van Wyk - Prairie Lane Kennel - 2007
- Dereck & Sarah Tuntland - Tuntland Kennels - 2004
- Dogs Rescued by CAPS from Lorton's Puppyland (Illinois) 2001 USDA Investigation
- Dora Adams - Briarpatch Kennel - 2004
- Dwayne Craig - D & G Kennels - 2004
- Dwayne Craig - D & G Kennels - 2007
- Earl and David Miller - 2004
- Ed Van Doorn - Squaw Creek Kennels - 2006
- Edna Martin - 2005
- Ervin Raber - Golden View Kennels - 2005
- Eugene L. Wenger - 2005
- Everett Kauffman - 2006
- Ezra Zimmerman - Zimmerman Kennel - 2007
- Frank Mitzel - Mitzel Kennel - 2005
- Gary and Wanda McDuffee - Happy Tails Kennel - 2005
- Ginger Johnson - Cute and Cuddly Canines - 2004
- Glenn Brooke - Brookglen Kennel - 2004
- Harold Headings - Woodland Kennels - 2004
- Hunte Corporation - From Puppy Mill to Pet Shop - 2004
- Hunte - Undercover at the Hunte Corporation
- Ivan and Ada Horning - Farm-Pal Kennels - 2007
- Ivan and Katie Mast - Mini-Mountain Kennel - 2005
- Ivan Stoltzfus - 2005
- James & Ruth Mullet - J & R Kennel - 2005
- James & Ruth Mullet - J & R Kennel - 2005
- James & Ruth Mullet - J & R Kennel - report #2 - 2006
- James and Mary Asmussen - 2003
- James and Mary Asmussen - 2005
- Jane Hawk - 2007
- Janet Wear - Wear Kennels - 2004
- Jeffrey Boston and Gail Gonnella - 2006
- Joe McVeigh - 1998
- John Henry Miller - 2007
- Jordan Kruse - 2006
- Joseph and Irene Schwartz - J & I Kennels - 2005
- Joy Hicks - Hicks Kennel/Happy Hollow - 2007
- Joyce Burkhart - Shady Valley Kennel - 2007
- Joyce Stoltzfus - Puppy Love Kennel - 2005
- Kathy Bauck
- Kathy Bauck - Pick of the Litter Kennels - 2008
- Keith and Marlene Burkholder - Conestoga Kennel - 2005
- Ken Raber - 2007
- Larry & Carole Harries - Harries K-9 Ranch - 2007
- Larry & Cindy Hibbard - Hibbard Farm - 2004
- Larry and Tony Watts - Watts Kennel - 2004
- Larry Harries - Harries' K-9 Ranch - 2001
- Larry Moeller (report #2) - 2006
- Larry Moeller - 2004
- Leroy and Gertrude Kruse - 2006
- Les Knust - L&C Kennels - 2007
- Linda and Craig Kleven - 2001
- Linda and Craig Kleven - Fair View Kennels - 2005
- Linda Spies - P.S. Pups - 2004
- Marcus Kauffman - 2006
- Marjorie Walker (Hunte Booking Agent) - Lin Creek Kennels - 2004
- Marsha Cox - Mar Don Kennel - 2007
- Marvin Kauffman - Kauffman Kennel - 2004
- Marvin Van Maanen - 2005
- Mary Ann Susalski - Fletcher Creek Kennel, Inc. - 2003
- Mel-Rene Kennel - 2007
- Melvin and Bonnie Parker - Parker's Pet Puppys - 2004
- Melvin and Brent Uitermarkt - 2006
- Melvin and Brent Uitermarkt - 2007
- Melvin and Dean Moeller - 2007
- Michael and Lisa Willey - Shiloh Kennel - 2004
- Mose Yoder - Triple Creek Farm - 2005
- Naomi and Myron Yoder - Redoy Kennel - 2005
- Paul Plank (report #2) - Kaskaskia Creek Kennel - 2004
- Paul Plank - Kaskaskia Creek Kennel - 2003
- Petland Undercover Expose
- Raymond and Betty Lorton - Lorton's Puppy Land - 2004
- Reuben and Vera Martin - Meadow Lane Kennels - 2007
- Reuben Schlabach - Investigation #2 - Sharp Run Kennels - 2006
- Reuben Schlabach - Sharp Run Kennels - 2005
- Reuben Wee (report #3) - 2005
- Reuben Wee - 2001
- Reuben Wee Dogs R Wee - 2002
- Reuben Yoder - 2006
- Rick, Dennis, and Virginia - Mittleider Ohae Kennels - 2005
- Robert L. Taylor - 2007
- Ronald Beach - 2005
- Ronald Beach - 2006
- Ronnie and Patricia Cooper - 2004
- Ruth Johnson - Luva-Pup's Kennel - 2004
- Ryan and Leann Brotherton - 2004
- Ryan and Leann Brotherton - Twin Cedar Kennels - 2004
- Samuel Miller - Miller Kennels - 2004
- Samuel Miller (report #2) - 2006
- Sandy Van Zee - Van Zee's Hi-Vu Dog Patch - 2006
- Sharon Lanz - 2005
- Shirley Osterman (Shirley Brown) Osterman, Shirley (last name is now Brown) - Osterman Farms - 2004
- Steve Kruse - Stonehenge Kennel - 2004
- Stone Barn Kennel - 2007
- Stoney Brook Kennel - 2007
- Tom and Jody Vande Weerd - Riverside Kennels - 2005
- USDA Investigation in Minnesota: Fall 2001
- USDA Investigation in Missouri: Spring 2001
- Vera and Abe Graber - 2007
- Vernon Yoder - 2005
- Virginia Obermark (report #2) - Obermark’s Kennel - 2004
- Virginia Obermark - Obermark Kennels - 2002
- Whispering Oaks Kennel - 2007
- Wilma Harris - Harris Country Kennel - 2004
Home Care for Vomiting and/or Diarrhea
If our gastrointestinal system is upset, for whatever reason (virus, stress, foods), the first thing it needs is rest. No solid food of any kind should be given for 24 hours. Staying hydrated is important, however, especially for small animals. Pick up a bottle or two of generic pediatric electrolyte water at the drug store and offer this instead of your pet's regular water. I usually get the unflavored variety. If your companion animal doesn't like it, offer bottled or filtered water instead. It's important that they continue drinking to avoid dehydration.
It's nearly always safe to give your dog Pepto-BismolÂ®; a teaspoon three times a day for a small dog and a tablespoon for a large dog. Tablets are just as effective, and it does soothe the stomach. This product has aspirin-like qualities, so do not use it for cats. KaopectateÂ® can be used in both dogs and cats, using the infant dosage.
Since there is inflammation of the stomach or intestines in many cases, an injection is often helpful to reduce the turmoil and settle things down. We prefer a combination of penicillin, dexamethasone, CentrineÂ®, and vitamin C. This gives an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmotic, and vitamin C for recovery. For dogs we also may send home an antispasmotic tablet to be given three times a day. If there is diarrhea, you'll want to use these tablets until the stool is formed, then stop.
After the 24 hours, you can offer your pet small amounts or their regular food. In severe cases, you might want to cook some rice and hamburger (pour off the fat), and just offer a small amount of half rice and half hamburger for a couple days, gradually adding their regular food. Don't push the food too soon or too fast. Remember the last time you had intestinal flu. You probably only wanted toast and soup when you started getting better.
If your pet is not obviously better within two or three days, don't hesitate to call your veterinarian. These things usually pass quickly, but if prolonged, there may be another problem.
Dr. Don Allen Takes Stand Against Pet Shop Industry
CAPS Board Member Urges Other Vets to Follow His Lead
The "Dateline" story featured CAPS board member Dr. Donald Allen. He has been active in educating his veterinary clients about the pet shop industry for 15 years. Chris Hansen of "Dateline" showed Dr. Allen hidden camera footage of Nielsen Farms, a breeding/brokering facility in Kansas. Dr. Allen agreed with Mr. Hansen that the footage showed dogs with open wounds, mange and eye problems. Dr. Allen noted that these dogs are "[s]till popping out puppies."
Dr. Allen went undercover with Mr. Hansen to three Petlands in Ohio. Although he couldn't examine every puppy, in just one day, Dr. Allen spotted some potentially serious problems that he said are likely linked to how the puppies were bred. He saw one puppy with demodectic mange. According to Dr. Allen, this condition is hereditary, and it was likely that all of the puppies in this litter had it. Dr. Allen also examined a Chihuahua with an open fontanel, a hereditary condition in which the skull hasn't closed around the dog's brain and a bop on the head could be fatal.
Dr. Allen noted that pet shop warranties are pretty much worthless. He told Mr. Hansen that he has seen three-year-old puppies develop epilepsy, hip dysplasia and luxating patellas -- conditions that are not always readily apparent in the first year. State puppy lemon laws usually provide just one-year warranties for hereditary defects.
Dr. Allen's companion animal practice in Youngstown, Ohio cares for dogs, cats, reptiles, birds and exotic animals. Prior to starting his own veterinary clinic in 1992, Dr. Allen was Medical Director of Animal Charity, a nonprofit private humane society and veterinary facility in Youngstown. During his five years at Animal Charity, he discovered that a number of sick puppies requiring treatment had been purchased at a local Docktor Pet Center.
After Dr. Allen went to the Docktor Pet Center and questioned the source of the puppies -- an employee denied the puppies were from mills -- he received a call from the franchise owner. The owner stated that he did not buy dogs from puppy mills and asked Dr. Allen not to visit the store.
Animal Charity then filed a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's office against the Youngstown Docktor Pet Center for misrepresenting the source of its puppies. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Allen visited six puppy mills and a broker's facility in Missouri to verify the conditions under which some of his clients' dogs had been raised.
At Dr. Allen's instigation, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) stopped running a Docktor advertisement seeking veterinarians as franchisees. Dr. Allen then wrote a letter to JAVMA encouraging veterinarians to "unite against the ongoing atrocity of puppy mills." This letter prompted negative responses from veterinarians in puppy mill states, including one from a staff veterinarian for Honeydew, a Missouri brokerage facility owned by The Hunte Corporation.
After the "Dateline" story aired, Dr. Allen wrote another letter to JAVMA in which he again called on other veterinarians and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to take a stand against the pet shop industry. JAVMA printed the letter in the June 15, 2000 issue. Here is a reprint of his letter:
As the April 26, 2000 "NBC Dateline" program and the February 1999 issue of "Reader's Digest" pointed out, THERE IS NO READY SOURCE OF PUPPIES FOR THE PET STORE INDUSTRY OTHER THAN PUPPY MILLS. For over 15 years I have known this fact, and have counseled my clients to avoid pet stores when shopping for a puppy. Likewise, when I have a client with a new puppy present me with a Petland warranty, I explain to them that their newest family member has a shady origin, very likely a puppy mill.
Not all clients are happy with this news, especially those who feel they have been swindled. For this reason, the vast majority of veterinarians do not discuss the puppy mill-pet store connection. Some vets want their clients to have a "happy-happy" visit, and not leave their clinic with anything but good feelings. For the same reason, some veterinarians won't mention that a client's pet is overweight; don't forget, staff, we want a "happy-happy" visit experience!
As the most authoritative source of pet-related information available to the public, the veterinary profession should be championing the fight to eradicate puppy mills. It does not. Some vets may feel that stopping pet store sales of puppies would hurt their practice income. Those same vets probably don't push spaying and neutering for the same reason. They are wrong.
No state in this nation has a shortage of dogs. Millions of dogs are euthanized every year because there are too many of them. Puppy mills and pet stores are primarily to blame for this tragedy. And so are we. When someone buys a puppy in a pet store: 1. They are perpetuating the cycle of misery and suffering for the mother of that puppy, and all those to follow. 2. They have paid a tremendously inflated price and believe they have a "high-quality puppy with a pedigree and 'papers' from AKC." 3. Many believe they can recoup their purchase cost by breeding their dog and selling the puppies. 4. Because their puppy is such a fine example of the breed, and is registered, they SHOULD breed it.
Our part in this problem is that most vets do not discourage 3 and 4 or educate the client about 1 and 2. Failure to do so promotes the problem by default. But then, I'm sure some of my colleagues don't see this as a problem at all.
The AVMA won't take significant, constructive steps toward eliminating puppy mills because it abhors the thought of harming the practice of ANY member, i.e. those working for brokers or allied with pet stores. Instead it formulates a politically correct, carefully worded "position statement" (AVMA Policy Statements and Guidelines section I, paragraph F) which allows the AVMA to look like it has done something.
It is up to every conscientious, caring vet in this country to do something themselves every day in their practices. If you are an employed vet and the boss only wants "happy-happy," then it's time for you to start your own practice, preferably just up the street. The public will soon forget about Dateline and Reader's Digest. The majority probably didn't see or read it. The pet store industry knows this. They also believe in P.T. Barnum and the fact that there is a new generation ready to buy a puppy every year. All they have to do is keep quiet. This will all blow over, and everything will remain status quo. They've been through this all before and nothing changed.
Donald K. Allen, MS, DVM (ILL '80)
CAPS encourages veterinarians to follow Dr. Allen's lead. Please write a letter to the journal in support of his position.
Blood Chemistry Profile and CBC
At times when your companion animal is ill, and when they reach middle age (5-7 years old) a blood sample will be taken to aid with diagnosis and prognosis. The blood sample is analyzed by a medical laboratory to find levels of certain enzymes, electrolytes, and other factors. If these levels are above or below their normal ranges, they may indicate a disease process. A complete blood count (CBC) may also be run on part of the sample to check for anemia, infection, and abnormalities.
The blood chemistry profile, also called a "SMAC," provides information on kidney and liver function, sugar or glucose level (pancreas), and other factors that indicate metabolic or nutritional disorders. Early signs of kidney failure will warn of a need to reduce protein levels in the diet. High sugar values may confirm diabetes mellitus, and a need to start insulin therapy. Liver enzymes above the normal range may be due to inflammation, infection, or degeneration, and steps can be taken to arrest or reverse the problem. There are also several blood factors that indicate heart disease.
In addition to the SMAC and CBC, there are other specific tests that can be run on the blood sample. Amylase and lipase levels are also indicators of pancreas function and if inadequate can cause digestive disorders. A thyroid profile can reveal hypo- or hyperthyroidism, both of which are treatable. The presence of several infectious diseases can also be checked through a blood sample.
Many problems that develop in our pets can benefit from special prescription diets. Dr. Jack Mara, Huntington, NY, says, "There is no disease that does not depend on nutrition in its treatment." Hills Prescription DietsÂ® have helped many pets live longer lives by adjusting the nutrition to minimize disease processes. They are available only through veterinarians.
The initial expense of doing a blood profile may prevent much higher costs down the road, and can definitely help to discover and treat potential problems before they get out of hand. Your pet will benefit and feel better on a Prescription DietÂ® designed for its problem.
Children's Self-Esteem and Companion Animals
Children's positive self-esteem will affect just about every aspect of their lives. It will influence how they gets along with others, how they handle school and studying, how they deal with pressure and stress and everything they do as children, adolescents and adults. Bright children with poor self-esteem may do poorly in school, but average children who believe in themselves can excel. Children with high self-esteem are more willing to accept challenges in life and are more apt to try something new. They even tend to be healthier.
The Delta Society is an organization devoted to the study of the human-animal bond. This bonding we do can be with just about any species of animal that isn't trying to eat you, from a pet cricket to the bond that develops between a zookeeper and her elephant. But the majority of cases are, of course, between humans, dogs and cats.
When I was growing up I can't remember when we didn't have a companion animal in the house. I faintly remember Scratchy the cat who was banished for what we now call "indiscriminate elimination." Then there was a Schipperke that would drag its butt on the floor (now I know its anal glands were bothering it). When I was seven I had a hamster, and I brought him to school on the day we had our class picture taken. There I sit, holding him up against my chest. As I grew older, we always seemed to have a cat living with us, and practically every year she had kittens. Mittens was a polydactyl, a cat with extra toes, and she passed trait onto many of her offspring.
My mother was widowed when I was five-and-a-half, I had an older brother and a couple friends in the neighborhood. And I always had a companion animal. I would always talk to them, sometimes confide in them, like the time I was scolded by my mother for some infraction. I told Mittens I was going to run away and take her with me. She was very understanding, reassuring and agreeable. And very comforting. Did our companion animals help me as a child? In retrospect, I truly think they did.
The Delta Society cites a number of studies regarding children and companion animals:
- "Children exposed to humane [animal] education programs display enhanced empathy for humans compared with children not exposed to such programs. (Ascione, 1992)."
- "Positive self-esteem of children is enhanced by owning a Companion animal. (Bergensen, 1989)."
- "Children's cognitive development can be enhanced by owning a Companion animal. (Poresky, 1988)."
- "70% of families surveyed reported an increase in family happiness and fun subsequent to companion animal acquisition. (Cain, 1985)."
- "The presence of a dog during a child's physical examination decreased their stress. (Nadgengast, 1997, Baun, 1998)."
- "Children owning companion animals are more involved in activities such as sports, hobbies, clubs or chores. (Melson, 1990)."
- "Children exposed to companion animals during the first year of life have a lower frequency of allergic rhinitis and asthma. (Hesselmar, 1999)."
- "Children with autism have more prosocial behaviors [and] less autistic behaviors such as self-absorbtion. (Redefer, 1989)."
- "Children who own companion animals score significantly higher on empathy and prosocial orientation scales than non-owners. (Vidovic, 1999)."
Should every child have a companion animal? For the majority of cases, probably yes. Since companion animals can be used to teach children values and wanted behaviors, getting a companion animal is a great idea. It involves, however, a lifelong commitment to the care and welfare of that animal as a member of your family. For most companion animal owners, their dog, cat or bird is as much a family member as is a child, and their loss is taken just about as hard.
Dogs perhaps require the greatest commitment for companion animal ownership. They are very social creatures that demand a great deal of human interaction for THEM to be self-fulfilled. Cats require less time, and sometimes seem to be indifferent about your presence at all. We have two dogs and nine cats. Each of our companion animals has a unique personality. Our oldest cat would probably be happier if the other eight left home. Yule and Mina are always waiting to greet me when I open the bedroom door in the morning. Another hides when a stranger is in the house and one rejects human affection.
Selection of the best companion animal for your particular family situation should take time and considerable forethought and planning. Find out all you can about a particular breed or type of companion animal. Pocket companion animals (hamsters, mice, gerbils, rats, rabbits, Guinea pigs and ferrets) are caged animals that don't take up much space or financial investment, but still require daily care and attention. You might be surprised how engrossed and enamored some adult owners of pocket Companion animals become.
Very young children (under 3 to 4 years old) do not have the maturity to control their aggressive and angry impulses, and companion animals should always be monitored when interacting with them. I have treated companion animal injuries due to young children carrying them and falling on the companion animal or dropping it. If you wouldn't let your child play with a Hummel, don't let them play with an equally breakable living creature.
Children under 10 are rarely able to care for a large companion animal, like a dog or cat, entirely on their own, and you must assume that much of the care will fall to you. Of course, you must supervise and oversee the companion animal's care even if your child is old enough. They need to be reminded that animals, like people, need food, water and exercise. Parents serve as role models here, and children learn responsible companion animal ownership by observing their parents' behavior.
A child's good relationship with a companion animal can also help in developing non-verbal communication, compassion and empathy. Children often talk to their companion animals, as they do with their stuffed animals, and they become safe recipients of secrets and private thoughts. A companion animal may also provide lessons about life, including illnesses, accidents, death and bereavement. Perhaps most of all, they can teach respect for other living things. Likewise, rough or abusive interaction with a companion animal may be a sign of significant emotional problems requiring a comprehensive evaluation by one of you.
Then there is something I see almost every day when I handle a Companion animal. It's called "comfort contact." It's a proven phenomenon that when we stroke a dog or cat our blood pressure goes down, along with our heart rate. It's a calming effect. Well, guess what? The feeling is mutual. When I'm listening to a nervous dog's heart and I reach out and pet it while I'm listening, the heart rate decreases. It's the contact. Almost as good as a hug.