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Nature At Home

Pet Yorkie

Some 60 million American households now keep at least one pet. Most favor cats or dogs, though the ranks of exotic pet owners are growing.

Many people think of pets as a way to invite nature into their homes. But animal nature can also be unpredictable, like when Kitty decides to sharpen her claws on the leather sectional. Or, Bowser chews up the kids' sneekers...

At times like these, owners may decide that "nature" needs to stay outside.

This can create a whole new set of problems, since cats and dogs can kill wild birds, lizards, snakes and other wildlife. If the pet in question is abandoned, wild nature really pays the price, since feral animals can spread disease and damage local ecosystems.

The answer? Well, some people want stricter laws regarding pet ownership, like those some cities have passed limiting the number of pets per household, requiring spaying and neutering, or that pets be kept indoors, and fining for abandonment. But plenty oppose such laws, and the debate continues.

So, how much is that doggie in the window? Whether considering an adoption from your local shelter or purchasing her from a store, when it comes to the environment, without a responsible owner, she could cost more than you think.

Script by Dan Maxwell

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