In September, members of the responsible pet care community spread across Capitol Hill to discuss the benefits of animal interactions to veterans and schoolchildren, along with other issues, during the second annual Pet Care Community DC Fly-In organized by the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). Participants represented a broad cross section of pet care professionals, from all sizes of retailers to companion animal suppliers to product manufacturers and distributors.
“We at PIJAC take great pride in connecting the pet care community to their elected officials for productive discussions about legislation to improve the emotional and physical well-being of both people and pets,” said Mike Bober, president and CEO of PIJAC. “The fly-in is an important opportunity to help lawmakers understand the extraordinary positive impact of pets, from the value of the human-animal bond to the significant role of pets in our nation’s economy.”
During their time on Capitol Hill, fly-in participants met with Members of Congress and their staff to advocate for legislation addressing veteran access to service animals, animals in education settings, protecting pet and public health through increased animal importation oversight, and a resolution to the ongoing China trade issue.
Congressman Steve Stivers (R-OH) spoke at a luncheon about bills he is sponsoring that seek to increase access to and funding for service animals to support veterans. Attendees also heard from Elena Bicker of the Animal Rescue Foundation and Pets 4 Vets, and Vic Mason of the World Pet Association who presented Congressman Stivers with a WPA “Pawsitive Impact” award.
“My experience during the fly-in has given me a unique appreciation for how complex legislation can be and how important it is for elected officials to hear from the responsible pet care community about the issues that are important to us,” said John Mack, founder of Reptiles by Mack in Xenia, Ohio. “Pets and pet ownership are integral to our society’s health and well-being, and I’m honored to share that message with lawmakers.”