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PETA’s president says you’re walking your dog wrong

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

We’d all like to think of ourselves as being kind to our dogs and cats. But are we really?

KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross consulted with Ingrid Newkirk, the president and founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.

First of all, you get points just for having a pet.

“Dogs and cats are just crammed into our shelters these days, and they desperately need homes,” Newkirk told Seattle’s Morning News. “We definitely need to do something about the homeless animals crisis.”

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Breeders and pet shops accelerate the overpopulation problem, Newkirk said, so she recommends adopting your pet from a pound or local shelter.

“Get two if you can, they can keep each other company when you’re out,” Newkirk said. “And of course, sterilize them, so as not to continue to add to this homelessness crisis.”

When you take your dog for a walk, don’t rush them along.

“Let them sniff!” Newkirk said. “That’s their way they read the news, that’s their internet. Don’t drag them along.”

And, she added, get off your own phone.

“It’s their walk, you know?” Newkirk said. “That’s a very special occasion for a dog, to be outside and to smell and to look. They don’t want to be stuck in a room all day with their legs crossed, hoping to go outside. It’s more than a bathroom break, it’s an excursion.”

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Use a leash, she says. But not a collar, which can be painful on your pet’s neck when they run forward.

“This is a human-dominated world, we have to look after them,” Newkirk said. “But I would go with a harness.”

Ingrid Newkirk will be at Elliot Bay Books on Tuesday, January 28 at 7 p.m. You can find more event information here.

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