Home Delivery

Home Delivery
Local news, sports, opinion and more. The Bureau County Republican is published Wednesday and Saturday mornings.

Text Alerts

Text Alerts
Stay connected to us wherever you are! With bcralerts, get breaking news updates along with other area information sent to you as a text message to your wireless device or by e-mail.

Email Newsletters

Email Newsletters
Keep up with what's going on in your community by reading the bcrbriefs. This easy to read synopsis of today's news will be emailed directly to you Tuesday through Saturday at no charge. Sign up today!
Local

Illinois: Not so big on pets

Sharilyn and Al Davidson pose for a "family photo" with their pets Duke (front) and Molly in their Princeton home. The Davidsons, who got their dogs several years ago from the Friends of Stray animal shelter, say their dogs are wonderful members of their family.
Sharilyn and Al Davidson pose for a "family photo" with their pets Duke (front) and Molly in their Princeton home. The Davidsons, who got their dogs several years ago from the Friends of Stray animal shelter, say their dogs are wonderful members of their family.

PRINCETON — Illinois ranks sixth lowest of the 50 states in the number of pet-owning households, according to a recent report by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Specifically, Illinois ranks 47th for cat ownership and 40th for dog ownership.

Al and Sharilyn Davidson of Princeton said those statistics are hard to believe, especially since being a pet owner has brought such joy to their lives.

“What’s a home without a pet?” Sharilyn asked. “They give you unconditional love. When you come home, they greet you at the door with their tales wagging. They know when you’ve had a bad day, and the look they give you makes the day all better.”

Her husband agreed.

Though he grew up as a boy with his mom having cats, Al said he got his first pet in 1968 when he got a white Siberian Husky puppy for his daughters, then ages 4 and 2. He wanted his girls to be able to watch the puppy grow up and become a part of the family, which it did.

Through the years, pets have been an important part of the family, Al said.

Several years ago while living in Colorado, he and his wife, Sharilyn, had come back to visit family in Princeton when his sister talked to him about a black lab dog which was at the Friends of Strays animal shelter. About 15 seconds after seeing the dog, they had a dog, Al said. After retiring to Princeton in 2002, the Davidsons got another dog from Friends of Strays.

Today, their dogs, Molly and Duke, bring a daily sense of joy and love to him and his wife.

“They are just like children with their own personalities, wants and needs,” Al said. “They love us to death. When you come home, they are here to greet us at the door. When you love and protect and take care of your dog, they will love you back and bring you such joy and happiness.”

In announcing the recent study, AVMA President Dr. Douglas Aspros said the study reveals a tremendous amount of information about pets and their owners across the country — those things that have remained constant and those things that have changed.

“One of the most important parameters that we look at is how well pet owners are doing at keeping their pets healthy,” Aspros said. “Unfortunately, the report reveals that fewer dogs and cats are seeing the veterinarian regularly, and that’s something the AVMA and every companion animal veterinarian is concerned about. Pet owners across the country need to remember to bring their pets into the veterinarian – at least once a year – to maintain optimal health.”

Overall, about 81 percent of dog-owning households made at least one visit to the veterinarian in 2011, down 1.7 percent from 2006, Aspros said. The decrease for cat owners was higher with 55.1 percent of cat owners making at least one visit to the veterinarian in 2011, down 13.5 percent from 2006.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

Canine pals
The recent U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, compiled in 2012 by the American Veterinary Medical Association, shows the following pet-owning statistics, based on December 2011:
• The top 10 pet-owning states are: Vermont where 70.8 percent of households owned a pet; New Mexico, 67.6 percent; South Dakota, 65.6 percent; Oregon, 63.6 percent; Maine, 62.9 percent; Washington, 62.7 percent; Arkansas, 62.4 percent; West Virginia, 62.1 percent; Idaho, 62 percent; and Wyoming, 61.8 percent.
• The lowest percentage of pet ownership in the 50 states are as follows: Rhode Island and Minnesota tied for the lowest spot with 53 percent of households in each state owning a pet. Following were California, 52.9 percent; Maryland, 52.3 percent; Illinois, 51.8 percent; Nebraska, 51.3 percent; Utah, 51.2 percent; New Jersey, 50.7 percent; New York, 50.6 percent; and Massachusetts, 50.4 percent.
• The District of Columbia had the lowest rate of pet ownership at 21.9 percent.
According to the U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, compiled by the American Veterinary Medical Association and based on 2011 studies:
Feline friends
• The Top 10 states with the most cat-owning households are: Vermont where 49.5 percent owned a cat; Maine, 46.4 percent; Oregon, 40.2 percent; South Dakota, 39.1 percent; Washington, 39 percent; West Virginia, 38.1 percent; Kentucky, 36.8 percent; Idaho, 34.6 percent; Indiana, 34.4 percent; and New Hampshire, 34.2 percent.
• The bottom 10 states with the lowest rate of cat-owning households in 2011 are: California where 28.3 percent of households owned a cat; South Carolina, 27.8 percent; Rhode Island, 27.6 percent; Alabama, 27.4 percent; Florida, 27.3 percent; Georgia, 27.3 percent; Illinois, 26.3 percent; Louisiana, 25.9 percent; New Jersey, 25.3 percent; and Utah, 24.6 percent.
• The District of Columbia had the lowest rate of cat ownership with 11.6 percent.
Loading more