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Diane West on Pet Life Radio

Pets In the City – Life In The Urban Jungle

Pets in New York City are like no other pets in the world. Just like their people, city pets of all types have to grapple with cramped apartments (if they’re lucky enough to find a pet-friendly building) local politics, busy streets and dog-run drama. No hopping into the backseat or backyard for them! And those are just the pets that already have homes—pets waiting for adoption have to contend with life in overwhelmed city shelters or life on the streets.

“Pets in the City” with New York Tails publisher and editor-in-chief Diane West will offer up a steady diet of the exciting lives, loves and laments of the people and pets in the world’s greatest city. Get ready for robust debates on city pet issues, interviews with unsung heroes, surprise urban wildlife reports, opinionated product reviews, and visits with celebrities (and celebrity pets!) “Pets in the City”, like the city itself, has something for everyone. You’ll also get regular reports about the city’s hottest events, including fundraisers, festivals, and play dates.


Episode 45 -

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Episode 44 -

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Episode 43 - Shelter from the Storm—Everyday Angels Help New York City Pets and Families Weather the Damage of Hurricane Sandy

Even natives sometimes forget New York City is made up of five boroughs, four of them islands. And as much as the waters which surround it are treasured for their iconic beauty, the raging sea was no friend to many neighborhoods when Hurricane Sandy arrived on the night of October 29, 2012. Communities closest to the water were hit the hardest. Over the next few weeks Pets In the City will take listeners on an audio tour of some of these neighborhoods and talk to people who have come forward to help thousands of pets—and their families—made homeless and hungry by the storm.

Today we travel to Far Rockaway, a peninsula just off of the borough of Queens which was not only devastated by the storm when it hit land, but endured the physical destruction and electric blackouts it left behind. Our guides are Zina Skachinsky, executive director of the Allied Rockaway Foundation for Animal Recreation and Fitness (“ARF-ARF”) and Jeff Moratti who has been going door-to-door to help pets and their families meet a number of challenges in the wake of the storm. We hope generous “Pets In The City” listeners will help them continue their efforts with a tax-deductible donation to their cause.

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Episode 42 - With A Little Help From Her Friends: How New York Radio Personality Maria Milito Dealt With The Loss of A Very Special Pug

When we’re enjoying the day-to-day fun and friendship our pets, thoughts of a time they will no longer be with us are far from our minds. Unfortunately, it is a sad truth that there will be a day when we have to say goodbye to these special friends, often long before we are ready to let them go. Many pet owners who have already experienced the loss of a beloved pet know it is often a time when sadness and loneliness swirl into one big cloud which can be difficult to discuss--even if, like radio personality Maria Milito, you happen to have millions of people willing to listen.

Ms. Milito, affectionately known by many as “The Voice of Classic Rock” in the New York tri-state area on Q104.3, and a frequent host on NY1 News, speaks of her own journey of pet love and loss in her debut book, Clarice and Friends: How They Helped Mend the Hole in My Heart, and shares some of the many heartfelt sentiments she received from listeners who helped her through this difficult journey.

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Episode 41 - On A Wing and a Prayer: How A Young Girl from Long Island Helped The Gulf Oil Spill Birds

It’s been just over a year since what has infamously become known at the “Gulf Oil Spill’ captured the horror of people worldwide. On April 20, 2010, eleven oil rig workers lost their lives when the station caught on fire, collapsed, and left a gaping hole miles under the ocean that gushed oil for almost 85 days. The disaster not only gave a wallop to industries along the Gulf Coast which were already struggling for survival, but cause devastation and disruption of countless wildlife habitats.

Long Island, New York resident Olivia Bouler, wise beyond her eleven years, decided to take action. She began drawing birds and selling them to help in the efforts to clean up the devastating spill and begin the long process of rehabilitating the wildlife in the area.  She posted her efforts on Facebook, and what followed next was something neither she nor her family could have ever anticipated. To date, Olivia’s efforts have raised some $200,000 and garnered numerous animal and environmental awards. Her speech at the ASPCA Humane Awards luncheon in October 2010—where she shared the stage with the likes of Sam Simon, co-creator of “The Simpsons”, brought the house down.

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Episode 40 - The Belly of the Beast

While we’re starting to hear some glimmers of good news about the economy, the fact of the matter is there are still plenty of us who are struggling to make ends meet. For some, the ends simply won’t meet, and many of these families include four-footed members who go hungry, too. That’s when people like Susan Kaufman, a New York-based attorney and president of The Animal Relief Fund (“ARF” for short) take a seemingly simple idea—create a pet-food pantry for needy families—and run with it.

Now, through a partnership with The Yorkville Common Pantry on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Ms. Kaufman’s idea has turned not only into a way for struggling families to feed all the members of their family, but an unlikely outreach tool as well. We spoke to Ms. Kaufman earlier this year about her mission, but even with the spring and summer upon us, hunger knows no time limit. Come listen as she talks about the evolution of an idea into a lifeline, and find out how you or your neighbors in New York can access this wonderful program if you’re having a tough time. Don’t be shy—we’re all in this together.

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Episode 39 - Oh, Mother! Doggie Moms of New York and The Not-So-Secret Lives of Three Women

Out of a city where some 500,000 dogs call home is a not-so-secret subculture of women who call themselves “Doggie Moms.” But these aren’t just any doggies, and these aren’t just any moms. These mainly pocket-sized pooches wouldn’t be caught playing dead in anything but the latest fashions, and neither would their doting ‘moms.’

“Pets In the City” host Diane West spoke with three of the five moms featured in the six-part series: Erika (mom to Cubby and Ginger); Grace (mom to Portia and Rosie) and Karen (mom to Eli). At the time of the interview, none of the ‘moms’ had seen the show yet, so this interview promises to be extra-fun as the women tell us who the ‘diva’ of the show was, who the ‘mellow’ one was, and which one of the “Moms’ they would like to date. Tune in on Wednesday night to see if you agree with their answers!

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Episode 38 - Fox Saves Lions: CSI’s Jorja Fox And Other Celebrities Investigate The Scene of Criminal Treatment of Bolivian Circus Lions And Keep ‘Operation Lion Ark’ Afloat

Actress, animal advocate (and native New Yorker) Jorja Fox, who plays the popular character Sara Sidle on the mega-hit series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, spoke with “Pets In the City” host Diane West about Ms. Fox’s work on behalf of 25 lions and other circus animals which she, Bob Barker, and other celebrities helped fly from Bolivia to the USA through Animal Defenders International and “Operation Lion Ark.” 

Listen to the incredible journey of the lions on this ongoing rescue-and-relocation project as well as some juicy clues about what it’s like to work on the set of CSI, the traits Ms. Fox shares with her character Sara, and Ms. Fox’s thoughts about the long-distance TV marriage between Sara and Gil Grissom (actor William Petersen). Will Grissom return to the CSI lab in Las Vegas? Tune in to see what “Sara” says!

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Episode 37 - Tinsley Mortimer Shares Fashion and Compassion with the American Humane Association

Finding good adoptive homes for healthy homeless animals is a daunting task that many good people throughout New York devote their lives to. But finding adoptive homes for homeless animals with special needs is even more of a challenge. Often, the medical costs of rehabilitating an abused or neglected animal is prohibitive, leaving cash-strapped animal rescue agencies to make heartbreaking choices.

New York socialite and fashion designer Tinsley Mortimer, who has been described as “one of the most photographed socialites in New York”, is hoping some of her celebu-shine will spill over onto American Humane’s “Second Chance” fund.

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Episode 36 - Marathon Man Hoofs It for Homeless Pets

On Sunday, November 7th,  some 45,000 dedicated people will embark on a 26.2 mile journey through New York City’s five boroughs to participate in the 41st annual New York City Marathon.  And behind every runner is a story that propels them to the finish line, from personal challenge to something beyond themselves. For financial executive Brayden Mathews, it’s all for the animals. As in years past, Mr. Mathews is using his marathon run to raise money for animal causes close to his heart. This year the lucky beneficiaries are Mighty Mutts and Ollie’s Place. So download this week’s episode to your iPod, get up, and get motivated!

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Episode 35 - Brooklyn Assemblyman Joseph Lentol on Politics, Pets, and Albany Pandemonium

Well, as the song says, ‘it’s all over but the crying.’ The national mid-term elections are over, and they panned out pretty much as predicted. But often lost in the frenzy of the national political stage are important statewide elections, which, in many cases this year, were happening at the same time.  New York State’s political stage, for example, has been a literal circus for the past two years—from the 2008 resignation of Governor Eliot Spitzer following a sex scandal (his former ‘madam’ later ran against him for his seat) to the 2009 Albany shut-down lead by former State Senator Hiram Monserrate of Queens (who faced felony assault charges for hitting his girlfriend.) Top all that with a gubernatorial race and all 212 state legislative seats up for grabs this year, and you’ve got the makings of a made-for-tv movie.

“Pets In the City” spoke with newly-reelected Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, who has represented North Brooklyn in the State Assembly since 1972. Having seen pretty much everything in h almost 40 years in politics, we sat down with him on the eve of the election to get his take on the state of New York politics as well as the rest of the United States. Widely known as one of the New York City’s leading ‘pet friendly lawmakers’, Assemblyman Lentol also spoke about important animal-related issues he’s working on.

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Episode 34 - Ronald McDonald House In New York City: Therapy Dogs, Kids Are Lovin' It

For many children, dressing up, going door to door and yelling 'trick or treat!' until the pillow sack is filled to the brim with candy is one of the highlights of year. But for kids who are battling serious illnesses, like the guests at Ronald McDonald House on East 73rd Street in Manhattan, Halloween is one of those rare days when they can put their illness to the side and concentrate on the important business of being a kid.

"Pets In the City" spoke with Chaplain Cherilyn Frei, director of family support at Ronald Mc Donald House New York City, as she was preparing for a special Halloween celebration with the kids and the therapy dogs that frequent RMD House, including many dogs that have retired from life in the purebred dog show ring. This year, the kids and the dogs will be having a 'mini-parade' up First Avenue from 73rd Street to 80th Street--come out and cheer them on! Tune in to this week's show to find out more, including Chaplain Frei's thoughts on why some healthcare and other facilities may use purebred therapy dogs versus mixed-breed therapy dogs--all of which, she says, are equally wonderful.

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Episode 33 - Birds In a Barrel – Where Did NYC’s Pigeon’s Go?

Love them or hate them, pigeons are a part of New York City’s ever-changing urban landscape. No matter what the season, this resilient bird can be found in flocks far and wide—from your local park to the tops of the most opulent buildings. And while these birds are not universally loved by all New Yorkers (‘rats with wings’ is one of the milder terms used for them) many New Yorkers were shocked and angered when allegations that some of their boids may have been kidnapped off of city streets and sold for pigeon ‘hunts’ in rural Pennsylvania.

At least one group, S.H.A.R.K. (“Showing Animals Respect and Kindness”) is taking on the pigeon shooters. In this week’s episode of ‘Pets In the City’, we interview Stu Chaifetz, an activist with S.H.A.R.K. Listen in for a rather incredible tale of alleged political intrigue, corruption, and animal cruelty in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

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Episode 32 - Homer’s Odyssey – A ‘Tail’ For Modern Times

Legend had it that the blind minstrel of old, Homer, chronicled the adventures of the Trojan War, where Greek soldiers cleverly hid themselves from sight and successfully breached the walls of the great city of Troy. Flash forward several thousand years later to present day to another blind Homer—a cat—whose story in Gwen Cooper’s aptly titled Homer’s Odyssey is itself a tale of a fight by one small, abandoned feline to find his place in one woman’s reluctant heart and how anyone can find bravery,  even in darkness.

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Episode 31 - "Days of Our Lives" Star Peggy McCay Fills Her Own 'Days' On Behalf of Animals

Emmy and OBIE-award winning actress Peggy McCay, perhaps best known for her role as Caroline Brady, the fiercely-protective matriarch of the Brady clan on Days of Our Lives, is just as protective of animals. Whether off or on stage (don't dare come on to the Days of Our Lives set wearing fur, by the way) animals are never far from her heart or her life. Pets In the City spoke with Ms. McCay about her proud New York City roots, the horrific encounter which prompted her to become a strong voice against the use of animals in medical research, and even some behind-the-scenes secrets to working with animals on film that will make you 'howl' with laughter.

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Episode 30 - A Journey of 2000-Plus Miles: Luke Robinson and “His Boys”

While New York may be the greatest city in the world, many Texans will tell you their state is the biggest in the USA: both in size (save for Alaska) and in heart. One special Texas trio ‘Pets In the City’ met with on a recent cold winter’s day might just prove the boast.

Luke Robinson, a big man with two big dogs, set out from Austin, Texas several months ago on foot with one goal in mind—to walk all the way to Boston in the name of bringing attention to canine cancer research. And boy howdy, have they succeeded. We caught up with Luke and his two beautiful Great Pyrenees Mountain Dogs, Hudson and Murphy, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side to talk more about their unusual pilgramage and the special dog who started it all. Along their 2,000-plus mile journey, Robinson collected an eclectic backpack full of snapshots of small and big-town life. (Think Garrison Keillor’s Prarie Home Companion in the age of Twitter.) Listen in as we caught up with Luke and ‘the boys’ to talk about where they came from, where they’ve been, and what they hope their journey will accomplish.

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Episode 29 - Shelters Brace for Influx of Surrendered Dogs As January 31st Housing Deadline Looms

In the spring of last year, residents of tens of thousands of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) apartments received a chilling memo: comply with NYCHA’s revised policies about dogs and cats in their homes or face eviction.

While many dogs who are already registered will be grand fathered in, and certain other exceptions exist, the underlying message was clear—residents would no longer be allowed to adopt dogs over 25 pounds, and no new Pit Bull, Rottweiler, or Doberman Pinchers (or mixes thereof) would be allowed.

The extended deadline to comply with the new rules—January 31st—is now here, and the ASPCA and other animal agencies in the city are bracing for the fallout. Specifically, residents with dogs weighing over 40 pounds who did not register them with the Housing Authority are most at risk for being impacted by this rule. Lawyer Debora Bresch, senior director of government relations for the ASPCA in New York spoke with ‘Pets In the City’ about their ongoing efforts to hopefully stop a slew of dog surrenders into an already overcrowded shelter system.

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Episode 28 - Cat Shows Sizzle In New York!

We all know New York is the center of the universe for all things exciting, and cat shows are no exception. In this segment we take you through the Westchester Cat Show which took place recently in White Plains, New York. Come with us on an exciting auditory tour where we talk with famous Nora the Piano Playing Cat (as translated by her press agent and human caretaker, Betsy Alexander). Heck, we even sit in on a Cat Fashion Show (I kid you not.)

We’ll also talk to experts like Carole Wilbourn, one of the nation’s only certified cat therapists and author of The Complete Guide to Understanding Your Cat, who gives some tips on how to keep kitty from going crazy during the holiday chaos. Also give a listen to representative of the Elmsford Animal Shelter and a very special cat named ZuZu who could really use a home for Christmas.

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Episode 27 - Pink Pussycats Take a Swipe At Breast Cancer

On September 13th, New Yorkers cheered on some 25,000 runners and walkers in the annual Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” in Central Park to raise awareness and funding in the continued fight against breast cancer in women and in a growing number of men. But lounging on couches and chairs throughout the country was another, even larger group of  unlikely supporters – those four-footed furballs we call cats. Since May of this year, Purina Cat Chow’s “Connected for the Cause” campaign has highlighted the special bond between people with breast cancer and their cats, and how these usually self-centered creatures are very much a part of the healing process for many facing this challenge. The campaign runs through October and has many fun ways any cat lover can donate to the cause, such as posting a photo of their cat on the site’s mosaic.

Pets In the City spoke with one of these tremendous individuals, New Yorker Lara Pilla and her cat, “Mingo”, and how Mingo – in Lara’s words – gives her ‘little gifts’ throughout the day to help her on her journey to recovery. This interview will leave you inspired to find joy and laughter in every day. 

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Episode 26 - Ready To Pounce -- Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull

There are relatively few songs in the world that bring a knowing smile to your face in the first few notes, and Ian Anderson of legendary band Jethro Tull has written and performed more than a few of them.

From the gallows humor of ‘Aqualung’ to the urgent, demanding cords of “Locomotive Breath” Ian has sometimes been referred to as the ‘mad minstrel’ with a unique mix of hard rock, epic-poem lyrics, and, of course, the flute. Probably one of the few—if only--bands that can described as ‘Renaissance Rock’, Jethro Tull has been playing nonstop, worldwide, for over 40 years, with Ian still at the helm.

Pets In the City spoke to Ian just a couple of weeks before his trip back to the ‘colonies’ this fall, where he will be playing a mix of classic Tull favorites as well as some of his solo works.

It turns out that not only does Ian love music, but cats as well. And we mean really loves them, both domestic and wild, devoting efforts to the conservation of some of these beasts in their natural habitats.  You’re going to download this interview, featuring both  Jethro Tull and solo Ian Anderson song classics mixed throughout, right on your playlist. 

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Episode 25 - Mad for Animals – Mad Juana

Mad Juana (sometimes used in literary circles as shorthand for “Juana the Mad”, the rather passionate daughter of Spain’s King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I) is hard to describe. Rock, gypsy, punk, hypnotic, are just some of the adjectives that comes to mind. One can just as easily imagine them providing a haunting soundtrack to one of the “Kill Bill” movies or performing spirited, joyful dance music at a gypsy-esque festival.

Karmen Guy, the sultry voice of Mad Juana, relishes in the idea of the band’s elusive description. Their many, diverse fans dig their sound, and that’s good enough for them. World travelers, the band’s hearts are never far away from The Tijuana River Valley Animal Rescue, an independent, small, grass roots animal rescue group founded in 2005 dedicated to rescuing stray and abandoned dogs in the Tijuana River Valley, on the U.S. side of the border, as well as rescuing and rehabilitating abused, neglected and problematic horses and off track thoroughbreds. City Pound caught up with Karmen while the band set up camp in New York to talk about music, animals, and her veggie-powered car.

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Episode 24 - Crusaders Against Cruelty: New York City's Animals Have The Law On Their Side

The case of a kitten being put in a 500-degree oven and left to die in a Bronx, New York apartment last month left people throughout New York and the country outraged and asking one question: why would a pair of teenage girls do such a horrible thing under the guise of a 'prank'? For that matter, why do some people do cruel things to animals at all?

This week, Pets In the City asks Officer Joe Pentangelo, assistant director of humane law enforcement at the ASPCA and frequent face on the popular Animal Planet show, Animal Precinct, this question and more. Officer Pentangelo, one of the first on the scene of the horrible crime involving Tiger LIlly the kitten and her teenage tormentors, gives us his personal insights and updates on the case, tips on how to spot signs of an animal in an abusive situation, and how to report it suspected cruelty to animals. He'll also tell us about the changing legal protections afforded to animals who are victims of cruelty and the penalties against those who do it.

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Episode 23 - From Jailhouse to Oprah: How One Therapy Dog Program Helps Iraq War Vets Adjust To Life Back Home

Sounds bites and small video clips about the ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan filter into the airwaves and onto the Web everyday. But they don’t really convey the physical and psychological demands U.S. soldiers endure on a daily basis while serving in one of the most politically and culturally complex wars of our time. Pets In the City had the honor of speaking with Sergeant Allen Hill, an Iraqi war veteran whose therapy dog, Frankie, was trained by an inmate serving time for manslaughter at the Fishkill Correctional Facility in Beacon, New York, just a commuter train ride north of New York City.

Sgt. Hill was joined by Gloria Gilbert Stoga, who founded the “Puppies Behind Bars” program to train guide dogs over a decade ago, and whose group recently added the “Dog Tags: Service Dogs for Those Who’ve Served Us” program to train therapy dogs for veterans like Sgt. Hill with post-traumatic stress disorder. All three recently appeared on a recent episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, joined by actress Glenn Close, devoted to the animals in our lives.

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Episode 22 - "The Choke" Visits "The City Pound" on Pet Life Radio's Pets In the City

If you're looking for a new band whose sound isn't hard to swallow, then you have to check out "The Choke", guests on this episode of "City Pound" with hosts Victoria Wells and Diane West. The Choke, a self-described 'punk and roll' band with a soft spot for animals filters the influences of Motown, soul, and garage rock through the attack of anthemic punk. Since the band’s debut in May of 2005, the New York-based foursome has performed for large audiences throughout New York and London, toured with the UK’s legendary Buzzcocks, enjoyed regular rotation and performed a live set on WFMU 91.1 FM (NYC/NJ). And their stage show--with hula-hoop dancers and other side-show entertainers, is something to see.

The animal-loving rockers also lend their talents to raise money and awareness for animal welfare efforts in New York City. Several years ago, the band performed at a special, sold-out NYC Animal Rescue Benefit by opening for Beastie Boys in an event that raised thousands of dollars for several animal rescue groups based in and around New York City.Come talk shop and rock with lead singer Cameron Eve, guitarist "Hott Deth", bassist Josh Machlin and drummer Jonny Napalm and hear their thoughts on music, life, and the future of all three.

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Episode 21 - Come On Down! – The Price Is Right’s Bob Barker Visits Pets In the City!

For fifty years—just around the time television was born—game show personality Bob Barker has been a guest in almost every home in the United States and, later, the world. And while this perennial, ever-friendly game show host always brought a sense of fun to every project he’s worked on, he couldn’t be more serious about animal rights. From throwing down the gauntlet 20 years ago at the Miss USA pageant with his very public anti-fur stance, to sending Price is Right viewers off with a friendly reminder to spay and neuter their pets at the end of every show, Mr. Barker has become an enduring part of American culture.

Bob’s retirement from The Price is Right in 2007 has not slowed down his work on behalf of animal welfare, including continued work with the DJ&T Foundation, a non-profit foundation he established in 1994 that subsidizes low-cost spay and neuter clinics and voucher programs for dogs throughout the country. Priceless Memories, a book recounting his favorite moments of his career in television, his life-long love affair with late wife Dorothy Jo, and their shared love of animals, comes out in April 2009.

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Episode 20 - New York City’s Animal Shelter System: Past, Present, and Hope for the Future

Tens of thousands of dogs and cats are surrendered to Animal Care and Control of New York City (NYCACC) from throughout the five boroughs each year by people who are no longer willing or able to care for them. The reasons why these pets end up in the city’s three shelters range from the heartbreaking to the bizarre.

Ten years ago, about 75 percent of the animals who came in through the shelter doors never came out alive. But thanks to combined national, state and city efforts, adoptions are actually up: more than half of the 40,000 animals turned in to the ACC eventually found adoptive homes. Jane Hoffman, President of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, leads over 140 community-based rescue groups in their efforts to find more animals ‘forever’ homes with the eventual goal of making New York City a ‘no kill’ city by 2015. Pets In the City interviewed Ms. Hoffman in a candid interview about some of the current and future challenges the city faces in achieving this goal, including what the oft-controversial term ‘no kill’ means—at least for animals in New York City.

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Episode 19 - Westminster 2009 “Best In Show” Winner – “Stump” the Sussex Spaniel – From Old Dog to Show Dog

Just call him the Comeback Canine. To everyone’s surprise and delight (including his owner and the show judge) “Stump”, a ten year-old, a droopy-eyed, chocolate Sussex Spaniel, overcame a mysterious life-threatening illness to beat out more than 2,500 other dogs for the title of 2009 Best In Show at Madison Square Garden on February 10th.

This week Diane West takes you on a behind-the-scenes, all-access radio tour leading up to and through the event, from the Westminster kick-off party to the lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania the final “Best In Show” announcement on Pets In the City this week—including a special surprise greeting from one of the ‘sexiest’ women in the world!

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Episode 18 - Kamikaze Geese Crash Plane Over New York!

Can birds crash a plane? Absolutely, according to aviation experts who were watching the skies over New York City on the afternoon of Thursday, January 15th, just two weeks into the New Year. Minutes after take-off, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger of US Airways Flight 1549 made a dicey emergency landing in the Hudson River due to what is so far being called a ‘bird strike’ of both its engines by a large flock of Canadian Geese (DNA and other evidence pending.) Birds get caught in airplane engines more than most flyers want to think about, but modern design usually causes them to ‘bounce off’. This time, perhaps because of their numbers and size, they didn’t.

Now local politicians and others are looking to cook the goose--by shooting, egg destruction, and tearing up nesting grounds. No one argues plane crashes must be prevented at all costs—but is there another way fix the bird problem other than massive extermination? Patrick Kwan, New York State Director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Office of the Humane Society of the United States, says yes. Pets In the City sat down with Mr. Kwan to talk about the geese, as well as dog fighting rings in pockets of the city, and the legislative process. Learn how animal lovers like you can become effective ‘citizen lobbyists’ for a wide variety of issues.

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Episode 17 - City Pound! (A New Monthly Feature of Pets In the City)

Pets In the City turns into the City Pound! This special once-a-month treat will feature exclusive interviews and sounds from some of the music industry’s most well-known names, including performers, DJs, artists, and other notables--with an emphasis on rock n’ roll and punk rock! Why? Turns out some of the hardest-rocking talents are also the hardest-working advocates for animals—and many of them live in New York, of course. Hear some of your favorite bands and artists talk about their music, their views on life, and their work with animals. We’ll also be playing music for you—some of them heard for the first time, anywhere, only on PetLifeRadio! So get out that iPod and be ready to rock!

On our first episode of City Pound, we talk with Tony Barber, longtime bass player of one of the most influential punk bands of all time, The Buzzcocks. Tony has played with a wide range of rock-and-roll and punk royalty over the last 30 years and has recently begun producing some up-and-coming bands in New York and beyond. He’ll be talking to City Pound about his life as a punk rocker, his perspective on the economy, and his fundraising work with fiancé Andrea Purcigliotti in support animal adoption in New York City. We’ll also here some brand new music from some of the bands Tony is currently working with, including The Choke, Easy Image, Airport and Swivel.

Also this episode, we’ll be meeting Victoria Wells, a frequent face on Animal Planet, head of Wells Animal Services, and founder of AMP. She’ll join Diane West as a regular co-host of City Pound.

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Episode 16 - The Scoop On Poop— Everything You Ever Wanted to Know (and Maybe More) About New York’s Smelliest Subject

We really step in it on this week’s episode of Pets In the City. Chances are you have, too. We’re talking about dog poop, of course. That’s right—a whole show devoted to the poop, the power, and the passion behind New York’s thirty year-old ‘pooper scooper’ law. Don’t laugh, it’s a subject that continues to have dog lovers, non-dog-lovers, political leaders, animal rights activists, and pretty much everyone in-between asking the same question: should you really own a dog in New York City?

Author Michael Brandow dug into this debate in his new book: New York’s Poop Scoop Law: Dogs, the Dirt, and Due Process: (New Directions In the Human-Animal Bond) by Purdue University Press. What he uncovered was an unusual and intriguing commentary on life in New York City from the 1970s to present day, and how we all learned to get along—or at least not kill each other--over this still-hot topic.

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Episode 15 - One Trick To Rule Them All, and Small Dogs, Big Bite (In the Big City)

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and perhaps this is illustrated in no better way than in the love story between Rick Caran and his wonder Yorkie, “Jilli Dog.” Little did Rick know that the wet, dirty and scared little dog abandoned not far from his Long Island, New York home would lead him on the adventure of a lifetime, taking him around the world for her poker-playing abilities and general above-average intelligence. But how did Rick, who never trained dogs professionally, teach Jilli to do such amazing things? Rick confesses to Pets In the City that there’s just one thing any pet lover can see in their pet, and once they see it, the sky’s the limit.

Next—if you think setting up a dog park in the big city is easy, listen in as we talk to Laurie Light, one of the founders of the NYC East Side Small Dog Group in Manhattan. Her candid, cautionary tale is as funny as it is inspiring. You’ll never look at a little dog (or the person walking him or her) the same again! And, of course, we’ll give you the “Pets In the City” highlight of pet events in and around New York – lets just say Santa ‘Claws’ is coming to town!

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Episode 14 - Animals Were Harmed During The Production of This Show

People love pets. And, although not all of them admit it, people love reality television. So it was inevitable there would be a convergence of the two, and now animals big and small are common ‘characters’ on reality TV. But are some of these animals unwittingly getting pulled into the ‘drama’ that drives reality shows, and are they getting hurt or even abused as a result?

American Humane, the 131 year-old animal group best known for giving movie and television shows the coveted “No Animals Were Harmed” seal of approval, says more and more animals are being harmed on reality shows, whether by the inappropriate use of devices to distort their faces or being eaten alive for the shock of it.  Listen in on our exclusive one-on-one interview with Karen Rosa, director of American Humane’s Film and TV Unit, as she describes the dangerous ‘gray areas’ reality TV is treading into in terms of the safety of animals on these shows and the what her organization is planning to do about it in the coming year.

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Episode 13 - Beth Bites Back! – Behind the Scenes Of a Dog ‘Reality’ Show & Is The Economy Forcing You To Cut Back on Your Pets’ Care?

‘Greatest American Dog’, a ten-week reality series which showed dogs and their people competing for a $250,000 prize on CBS this summer, captivated pet lovers who wanted to see which dog/person team would ultimately demonstrate the strongest bond between each dog and his or her person. But relationships between the human contestants were another story. Strained, tense and angry confrontations were common in front of the camera and, according to one of the shows more controversial contestants, things were even worse than what they seemed.

Whether you were a fan or foe of Beth Joy Knutsen (and her Bella Starlet Dog), listen in as she speaks candidly about what she saw behind-the-scenes, from bitterness between contestants to the questionable safety of the dogs themselves. This is part one of a two-part segment examining Greatest American Dog and other pet-related ‘reality’ shows. Next week, we’ll talk directly with American Humane, the 68 year-old watchdog group for the treatment of animals in movies and television, and the new challenges reality television has brought with it.

Then, Pets In the City once again turns its attention to the economy’s effect on our pets and the way we care for them. Some argue that New York City pets are among the most pampered in the world, but there are many more pet owners struggling to keep their canines in kibble and their cats in catnip. What products and services are worth cutting back on, and what’s worth the splurge? We’ll talk with Rachel Swan, head of Pawsitive Productions and creator of “The Enlightened Canine Expo” coming up this November, to get her insights and advice.

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Episode 12 - Homeless Pets Up, Stock Market Down Celebrity Dogs Unleashed!

The unstable economy is not just hurting workers, but their families as well – including their pets. Unlike our suburban neighbors, who may surrender their pets to shelters or abandon them if they lose their house in foreclosure, some city dwellers are giving up their pets because they lost their high-paying jobs and the only affordable place is a “no pets” building. Jenn Bristol, head of Animal Haven SoHo, a combination adoption center and pet boutique, is finding more and more people surrendering their beloved pets after the Wall Street crash. She’s also starting to see a downturn in donations. Listen as she offers some advice to those who may be forced with hard choices in these uncertain economic times. 

Thankfully, even with the economy in the tank, some fundraising for pets (and people) remains strong. Come with us to Central Park South to the Jumeriah Essex House as we attend  “Celebrity Dogs Unleashed”, a fundraiser as unique as it is fancy. Famous people, from Robert Kennedy Jr., Menudo, and Rachel Ray (and everyone in-between!) were given the task of painting fiberglass Labrador Retriever models that best reflected their personalities with surprising results. They are currently being auctioned off to raise money for Green Chimneys, a 61 year-old organization in Brewster, New York which started with one New York doctor’s dream of healing children and animals together.

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Episode 11 - Blessings and Bicycles

The first weekend of October is generally filled with “Blessing of the Animals” ceremonies in honor of St. Francis Day, a saint who is thought to have had a particular affinity for animals in Europe many centuries ago. New Yorkers come out in droves to their local houses of worship, Christian and otherwise, with their pets to these simple, touching ceremonies to bless their pets for good health and long life for the coming year. This week we’ll talk with two experts in the field of blessing and honoring our pets in this life and the next. Edward Martin, caretaker of Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, talks to us about how one New York dog about 100 years ago started this beautiful, peaceful resting place for many of the city’s animals, and his thoughts on the types of people who lay their pets to rest here. Then, we’ll talk with the cemetery’s Chaplain, Reverend David James, and ask him the perennial, controversial question: do pets go to heaven, or is the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ just a myth we tell ourselves?

Finally, we’ll talk to a human/dog duo who are very much alive, well, and rolling along the United States in their bicycle built for two: David Sylvester and his girl, “Chiva”, to learn about and raise awareness about shelter dogs throughout the United States.

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Episode 10 - The Great 'Flight' Way -- Birds Take Broadway

Many come to New York to see their dreams of fame and stardom take flight, but some visitors already have wings. WebVet.com, a new consumer-friendly veterinary question-and-answer site, invited creatures of the air to enter their 'Birds on Broadway' contest recently to sing, dance, and flap their way to stardom right on 47th Street. Pets In the City talks with WebVet.com president Hope Schultz about the unusual launch of this special contest for hopeful avian actors and the particular needs of our feathered friends.

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Episode 9 - Animal Planet’s “Groomer Has It” Is Now Casting For Season 2!

Diane chats with Erinlee Adamson, casting producer for Animal Planet’s hit show, “Groomer Has It.” Groomer Has It is seeking competitive dog stylists who have what it takes to win! Listen and find out how to enter!

Animal Planet’s newest hit show GROOMER HAS IT is a competition based reality show challenging dog groomers from around the country to be the next GROOMER OF THE YEAR and to win $50,000 cash!!" They are looking for Dog Groomers with skills, personality, competitive spirit and tons of passion for what they do. Last year’s amazing cast helped introduce America to the world of dog grooming and now they are on season two and looking for 12 new groomers! New groomer or years of experience, mobile or salon... THEY WANT THE BEST!!

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Episode 8 - New York’s Pet Fashion Week 2008 – Intelligent Design or Humans Gone Wild?

Fashionistas, buyers, models and the pet--obsessed stormed several floors of the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea on August 23 and August 24 for New York’s Third Annual ‘Pet Fashion Week.’ While the name may be misleading (the ‘Week’ is really a ‘Weekend’) there were more awards, products, grooming demonstrations, professionals and stars of the pet business world packed into two days than you can shake a tail at.

From the foot of the catwalk to the trade show floor, from industry professionals to the newest designers on the scene, this segment of Pets In The City will take you on a whirlwind tour through the 'styles in the aisles' of the most decadent pet products and services on the market today.

But is it all a bit too much? Does a dog or cat really need a dress embellished with genuine Swarovski Crystal, a hand-carved marble food dish and a $300.00 GPS attached to their collar? We asked -- and got some candid opinions -- straight from the sources.

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Episode 7 - The Real Batman of Gotham City

If you think you know all about “Batman” and “Gotham City”, think again.=2 0While there may be someone running around in a cape making blockbuster movies this summer, you haven’t seen (or heard) anything yet if you haven’t gone on a nighttime bat expedition in Central Park with the real “Batman” and “Batgirl” of “Gotham City”, Bradley Klein and Daniellle Gustafson, who, in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History give annual Bat Tours each summer. Both Mr. Klein and his wife, Ms. Gustafson, are founding members of the New York Bat Group and strong supporters of Bat Conservation International. Hear the real sonic clicks and calls of bats in the night as we talk to Mr. Klein, Ms. Gustafson, and a special guest, author Marie Winn of “Central Park in the Dark”

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Episode 6 - I Can’t Do A Thing With This Hair!

“Groomer Has It” may have been a hair-raising reality show on Animal Planet this season, but this week on Pets In The City we’re the ones that have the groomer—Jonathan David, to be exact. Jonathan beat out all other contestants on the show to make it to first runner-up in this fierce coffier competition. But well before “Groomer Has It”  Mr. David had it all—as a well-respected groomer to the likes of Mariah Carey, Ralph Lauren, Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, Betty Buckley, Louise Lasser, John O’Hurley, Betsy Johnson and Ivana Trump, and many others. Listen in on a private consultation with Mr. David at Manhattan’s Prima Dog Cafe and learn how you can keep your dog cool and pretty during the summer in the city. You’ll also find out how you can get your hands on some of Mr. David’s fabulous, “human tested” products for dogs from his new product line, New York Canine Clean.

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Episode 5 - Give My Regards To Broadway; Animals Are the Best Medicine

“Pets In The City” travels to the heart of Times Square and into Shubert Alley, where the annual adoption event “Broadway Barks” takes center stage for it’s tenth straight year. Founded by world-renowned Broadway actress and singer Bernadette Peters and “America’s Sweetheart” actress Mary Tyler Moore, this annual event brings out all of the Broadway stars and some of New York’s most adoptable cats and dogs. We’ll talk with trainer and author Bill Berloni, who has worked with to some of Broadway’s most beloved animal stars for over thirty years, and Bernadette Peters, whose name has been synonymous with Broadway for several decades with classics such as “Annie Get Your Gun”, “Gypsy” and many others.

Then, we’ll travel downtown to bohemian paradise Tompkins Square Park on the lower east side of Manhattan, just a few steps away from New York’s historic “First Run”, the first official dog run in the city. We’ll be speaking with key members of the therapy dog community and listen to some of their heartfelt stories of people who give their time and “paws” to patients in the hospital. Does your dog have what it takes to be a therapy dog? Listen and find out.

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Episode 4 - Homeless In the Hamptons and Doggies Who Brunch

Weekend getaway season is in full swing in the city, and the Hamptons has been a favorite among city folk for a long time. By train (Long Island Rail Road), by plane (if you’re uber-rich) or highway (rental cars or the Hampton Jitney motorcoach) New Yorkers from every walk of life flock to the sandy shores seeking a break on the breakers. But even here homeless animals abound, from huge feral cat colonies drawn by the scent of fresh fish on the bustling boat docks to “vacation pets” left behind when the summer share is over. We’ll talk with Michele Forrester, director of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons about this oft-hidden population of homeless pets in one of the richest resort areas of the country and how ARF and other organizations are trying to help.

Then, Pets In The City has weekend brunch with The NYC East Side Small Dog People Group at a great outdoor café and gets some cool tips for dining with dogs.

Finally, we’re going to ask our listeners to help us in what we think may be the first-of-its-kind radio experiment. If you’re dreading your dog’s nervous breakdown when the fireworks go off on the 4th, this is a must-download episode.

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Episode 3 - Samantha's 'Sex And The City' Dog's Sexy Secrets & 'Law and Order' Star Recruits U.S. Citizens

Think the presidential race is getting tough now? Wait until you travel with us to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to witness the launch of a historical "paws-idential" campaign by a very unlikely candidate. Seems that comedian Richard Belzer ("Law and Order", "Last Comic Standing") has thrown his hat into this year's presidential election to issue all United States citizens who love pets a special challenge, endorsed wholeheartedly by three big players: the North Shore Animal League, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, and Animal Care and Control of New York City.

Then...ever wonder how you train a dog  to, er, "be amorous" on demand? 'Gidget' Gormley, the frisky little Yorkshire Terrier who plays Samantha's furry friend, "Baby" in this summer's blockbuster hit 'Sex and the City,' can do this and other unique tricks thanks to her 'person', Mary Gormley. This week we speak with Ms. Gormley about Gidget and her unusal role in the 'SATC' movie plus some behind-the-scenes dish on co-star (and animal lover) Kim Cattrall, Gidget's own private health battle, and her favorite charity, Friends of Snuffy .

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Episode 2 - NYC Utility Company Sued for Electrocution of Dogs & It’s Raining Cats: National Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month

It sounds like a bizarre urban legend, but unfortunately, it is not. An increasing number of dogs--and people--are being electrocuted by stray voltage from faulty streetlights or underground wiring throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The topic first gained national attention with the tragic death of a young college student named Jodie Lane, who in the winter of 2003 lost her life on a street in Greenwich Village while walking her dog. Since then, several other incidents have been reported.

Then, in honor of National Adopt-A-Shelter Cat Month, we speak with Kitty Kind, a member of New York City’s Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals, and the special challenges the city faces in finding homes for what seems to be an endless supply of cats coming from all areas of the city.

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Episode 1 - The Wilds of Brooklyn to The Wealth of Wall Street

The Brooklyn Bridge. The Cyclone. Coney Island. Brooklyn is home to all of these, but not many know that soaring high in the skies above Flatbush, Sunset Park, and other neighborhoods in this iconic New York borough are wild green Quaker parrots from Argentina. Join “Parrot Man” Steve Baldwin of www.brooklynparrots.com on an urban safari in Brooklyn’s Greenwood Cemetery and discover the mystery of how these exotic birds came to the big city. Then, take a downtown train to Wall Street with Pets In The City host Diane West to attend a star-studded fundraiser for Farm Sanctuary and eavesdrop on some surprising and insightful chats with music industry mogul Russell Simmons, actress Emily Deschanel of “Bones” and actress Lisa Edelstein of “House.”

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