Congress, Pet Care Leaders Celebrate Pet Night on Capitol Hill

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2019 Event Recognizes the Positive Power of Pets

Henry the Avalanche Rescue Dog

“Pet Night brings a bipartisan love of pets to Capitol Hill, and the shared message that pets enrich our lives and keep us healthy,” noted Jacinthe Moreau, president of the World Pet Association (WPA) and chair of the Pet Leadership Council (PLC).

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), the Pet Leadership Council (PLC) and the Pet Food Institute (PFI) joined with members of Congress and congressional staff for Pet Night on Capitol Hill, an annual celebration of the importance of pets to our health and well-being.

As guests interacted with special pet guests, the event hosts and colleagues in the pet care community spent the evening sharing the positive message of how pets improve our lives and honoring members of Congress who helped support pet-friendly policies. From providing social support, improving mental health and decreasing stress, to increasing physical activity, lowering blood pressure, scientific research supports many benefits of responsible pet ownership and a love for pets.

“Virtually every American pet owner considers their pet to be an important part of the family,” said Steve King, CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and HABRI board member. “Pet Night is a reflection of the growing value of pet ownership in society and the importance of the human-animal bond to so many people.”

“Pet Night brings a bipartisan love of pets to Capitol Hill, and the shared message that pets enrich our lives and keep us healthy,” noted Jacinthe Moreau, president of the World Pet Association (WPA) and chair of the Pet Leadership Council (PLC). “We are here to partner with members of Congress to support public policies that will help create a healthier, more pet-friendly society.”

Pet Night paid special tribute to Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) with the “Pets’ Best Friend Award” to recognize his dedication to advancing legislation in the interest of the human-animal bond. Senator Roberts was instrumental in passing the Pet and Women’s Safety (PAWS) Act in December of 2018. The PAWS Act will help survivors of domestic violence protect themselves and find safe shelter for their beloved pets, who they rely upon for companionship and support.

The Pet Night on Capitol Hill hosts highlighted a number of additional programs and initiatives championed by the pet care community. Programs on display included the Pet Care Trust’s Pets in the Classroom program, an educational grant program that provides financial support to teachers to purchase and maintain classroom pets and APPA’s Pets Add Life, a non-profit campaign dedicated to promoting the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership. Also in attendance were Pet Partners certified therapy animal-handler teams, the 2019 Westminster Best in Show Winner provided by Nestlé Purina PetCare, the search and rescue dog Henry from the film Superpower Dogs, sponsored by Mars Petcare, and local adoptable dogs with the Humane Rescue Alliance. In addition, the Animal Health Institute honored the winners of the Cutest Pets on Capitol Hill contest, now in its thirteenth year, and awarded the cutest congressional companions from both sides of the aisle.

Dog: Zoey the Congressdog
Owner: Representative Susan Wild (PA-7)

Cat: Charlotte
Owner: Ben Mullany
Office of Representative Denver Riggleman

Exotic: Senator
Owner: Megan Thompson
Office of Senator Jacky Rosen

“Thank you Animal Health Institute for one of the most fun evenings of the year for my staff and me, and for the important work that you do that helps keep our four-legged friends healthy,” said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR). “While we did have to pick favorites tonight, every pet is certainly a winner in my mind and they make life up here on Capitol Hill a whole lot cuter.”

“This year’s event was an opportunity to recognize the many ways pets support our well-being, and our special pet guests were invaluable ambassadors as we delivered this message to Congress,” said Dana Brooks, president and CEO of PFI. “The Pet Food Institute is proud to co-host Pet Night and join together as a unified voice celebrating the importance of pets in our lives.”

Pet Night on Capitol Hill is an annual event. For more information, please visit Images available upon request.

Pet Leadership Council
The Pet Leadership Council is made up of pet care industry leaders, animal welfare advocates, veterinarians and academia who envision a world where pets and people thrive together. They promote responsible pet ownership, improved access to pets, and enhanced health and well-being of all companion animals. For more information, please visit

Human Animal Bond Research Institute
The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) is a not-for-profit organization that maintains the world’s largest online library of human-animal bond research and information; funds innovative research projects to scientifically document the health benefits of companion animals, and informs the public about human-animal bond research and the beneficial role of companion animals in society. For more information, please visit

Pet Food Institute
Since 1958, the Pet Food Institute has been the voice of the U.S. pet food and treat makers. PFI is the industry's representative before Congress and state legislatures, as well as state and federal agencies; public education and media relations resource; organizer of seminars and educational programs; and liaison with other organizations. PFI represents the companies that make 98 percent of U.S. dog and cat food and treat products, an industry with more than $30 billion in U.S. retail sales and nearly $1.5 billion in exports in 2018. Visit to learn more.

The Animal Health Institute
The Animal Health Institute (AHI) represents companies that make medicines for pets and farm animals. AHI and its member companies direct the ‘Healthy People. Healthy Animals. Healthy Planet.' program to educate the public on the disease-prevention continuum. The initiative continues to unite stakeholders in the pet, agriculture, veterinary and public health communities with the goal of eliminating diseases at the nexus of animal and human health. For more information, please visit

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