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Tuesday on Dr. Phil, he had a follow up program on a previous family's problems. He had told a financially strapped couple to get rid of their five animals! Now this was a middle class family with many ways to save a substantial amount of money, but Dr. Phil suggested getting rid of the animals! They "got rid" of two of them--the cats! (Dr. Phil said that was good because the No Kill shelters needed more cats!!!!!!)

I have contacted several animal welfare organizations about this show. The ones that responded stated they had already complained about the advice when the initial show aired but none of them had received a reply!

On Dr. Phil's website in the portion called "Re-engineering your life" he has this to say about pets:

Make decisions based on reality — not on guilt. If you can't afford (in terms of time or money) to take care of five pets, then even if your child adores them, one or more may have to go. You may really want to buy your teenagers name-brand clothing, and they may tell you what misfits they'll be without a label on their shirt, but if you can't afford it, you just can't buy it. It's that simple.Be willing to challenge everything. "There are no sacred cows when re-engineering your life," Dr. Phil says.

He has put pets in the same paragraph as clothes! Can you believe this?

I am apalled and furious with this man's advice.

The Humane Society of the United States sent Dr. Phil this letter:
Dear Dr. Phil:

On behalf of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nation’s
largest animal protection organization, I wish to comment on your counsel
for people dealing with debt and chaos in their household. Frustrating as
these problems are, “getting rid” of the pet isn’t just unfair to the pet,
but it also sends the wrong message about commitment, trust and
responsibility to children.

Adopting a pet is a life time commitment. Pets are members of the family in 62% of American households. Singling out the family pet as the brunt of
someone’s financial mismanagement is simplistic. While we agree that the
costs for pet care can be substantial, we urge people to consider this
before they bring a pet into their family. Once a pet is a member of the
family, we hope the family will not discard him. I would suggest that
individuals or families facing financial crises seek financial counseling
to work on their debt issues.

Research has confirmed what devoted pet owners have known for years: pets have the potential to improve our emotional and physical health. The chaos in a household is unlikely due solely to the behavior or presence of pets. If behavior problems are present, your viewers may visit our website at www.petsforlife.org for expert advice on dealing with them.

However, some people have more pets than they can responsibly care for and, in such circumstances, rehoming might be an appropriate option. In
addition, the keeping of reptiles (lizards) as pets is not recommended as
their care needs cannot be met by nonexperts, and children are particularly susceptible to Salmonella that all reptiles carry.

Sincerely,



Nancy Peterson
Issues Specialist


As of this date, the Humane Society has received no reply.

It is my understanding that there are plans to again address the issue as Dr. Phil has not issued an apology, accepted responsibility that his advice was wrong, nor has he removed the bad advice from his website!

Please send an email to as many animal advocate/welfare organizations as you can and ask them to:

Ban together to censure Dr. Phil's program. Ask that he do a program on animal welfare, remove the bad advice on his website and that the programs where he suggested animals be "gotten rid of" not broadcast again.

The horrible advice this man is spouting is enough to send animal welfare concerns back fifty years.

Thanks for caring!
 

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That's terrible. What kind of advice is that - telling you to give up your beloved pets to an uncertain future? It's like when doctors tell pregnant women to get rid of their cats.
 

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Once I have an animal, I take care of it-for its lifetime. I want to make that clear first. However, to play devil's advocate, Dr. Phil has pets himself. Perhaps he said what he did in an attempt to make his point clear, that if we are to be responsible adults, we don't live beyond our incomes! On another forum, one of our biggest worries was hoarders, that is people who take in more pets than they can afford. That could mean ONE pet. This problem is equally bad. The hoarders often can't afford to neuter their pets, and often don't want to! That is not being a responsible owner.

Many people want-immediately- everything that their parents accumulated over a lifetime. They are always broke, but as soon as they have an income, they get the best digital cable (or TIVO) available, the most comprehensive phone service, and their children wear $100 tennis shoes! I have seen this happen so often! But they can't take their animals to the vet for healthcare or neutering, and ask for government help with healthcare and foodstamps. They spend money that doesn't belong to them! If a person owes money, his pay check is not his own. It's reaonable, in my opinion, in order to make people like this face facts, to ask, "Does your child have to wear Nikes? Do you have to have unlimited telephone service, digital cable and five pets?" Live within your income!

There is a young couple in my own family living exactly like that. If the paycheck gets home at all, and isn't spent treating the whole bar to drinks, it isn't used to pay the electric bill, not until the electric company decides to discontinue service. It's used to buy the latest gadget. This young couple has a large dog and four cats. They love animals, but aren't mature enough to realize that caring for an animal means more than buying a bag of cat or dog food when needed. Yes, they truly love OWNING animals, but never have enough money to take them to the vet before a litter of kittens is born or care if the animal is sick. They ask other pet owners what to do, and won't accept the answer, "Take it to the vet!"

This is symptomatic of being irresponsible, period. If the couple on Dr. Phil was like this, and refused to grow up, they didn't deserve to have pets. We'd have to see the program to decide what his intent was.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dr. Phil

Jeanie,
While I can appreciate your thoughts and ideas, please note that the family was very well-off (over $60,000 per year). Getting rid of two cats at a savings of $30.00 per month was rediculous advice. He encoruanged their irresponsibility by urging them to get rid of the animals. Not only that, but on his website he has cats and clothes in the same paragraph.

With the couple in question, he should have suggested dropping the cable, extra phones, not renting videos and cooking at home (they eat out almost every night)--not getting rid of pets. The poor cats were supposedly given to a no-kill shelter that needed more cats! Do you know of any shelters anywhere like that?

Had this been a family making $18,000 yearly that had already cut to the bone to the point that feeding and caring for the animals was a difficulty, that would be different. It wasn't the situation at all.

As for him owning pets of his own--most child abusers have children.
I'm not saying he is abusive of his animals, but if he feels they are no more important than his clothes, they don't need to be in his home.

Also, the ASPCA, Humane Society, Animal Protectorate, and at least 8 other National/International animal welfare/advocate organizations have contacted him about the advice and he has snubbed them all by refusing to answer their concerns.

He has made no effort to correct or further explain his advice given to those people, nor has he changed anything on his website. Therefore, he must sincerely believe that what he is doing is right.

There are many people who don't need animals, but lack of funds isn't necessarily a reason not to have them. I live on a very restricted income, yet manage to care for 7 cats and big German Shepard dog. If a huge bill comes up such as when Bastet needed surgery, then I get extra money selling things at the auction or flea market. Where there's a will, there's a way.
 

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Indeed. I could almost be called "financially starved", but my cat is going to stay no matter what.

There are limits I suppose - if you take in like 10 strays cat and 5 stay dogs and can't afford to feed them all that may be a bit of a stretch. But 3 cats and 2 dogs isn't a huge amount of care in my mind. If you care for them (ei - so the expensive medications aren't needed).
 

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Getting rid of two cats will hardly fix financial problems. If those people got rid of the cats just because Dr. Phil said so, it says more about them than about Dr. Phil. They chose to do as he said, they didn´t have to do so. If they abandon cats so easily, they don't deserve do have cats.
 

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Man, I just typed an entire reply but it disappeared into the void, grr.

Okay, I'll try to spit it out again.

I just watched this show on Tuesday and I was thinking the same thing. See, this family has TWO houses - a normal house and a vacation house that they rent. The mortage was something like 2500/month and the vacation house was approximately 500/month. AND they had cable/broadband for 70/month. Now, advising them to save 30/month by "getting rid" of the cats?!? That's rediculous!! It would make more sense to get rid of the cable or the stupid vacation house!! The list of things that were considered more important than their cats made me sick! Dr. Phil is telling people that material things are more important than pets. These people didn't seem to have a hard time letting them go, either. Maybe they didn't deserve to have cats but the cats didn't deserve to go to a supposed no-kill shelter, either.

Another thing that bothered me has to deal with the letter that Bastet quoted from the Humane Society:

In addition, the keeping of reptiles (lizards) as pets is not recommended as their care needs cannot be met by nonexperts, and children are particularly susceptible to Salmonella that all reptiles carry.
The reason why is...they let their kid keep his LIZARD!! He was paying for the crickets with his allowance. Dr. Phil said this was a wise decision because it saved THEM money, even though they paid this kid allowance, and because it saved THEM time because the kid got the crickets on the internet. What horrible advice!

I only watch the guy so that I can make fun of him. Usually his bad advice does nothing but make me laugh...but this incident made me cringe. The worst part of it is...IT DIDN'T HELP. They weren't saving any money anyway!!! On paper it looked like they were saving $4000 a month but they would just squander it and nothing was left at the end. Blah.

tanyuh
 

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They certainly do sound irresponsible! But people like that would rather give up living creatures than their luxuries. I hope Dr. Phil addresses this subject. I wish I had seen the show. I checked the web site, and couldn't find it. Well, I wish I were as "poor" as those people are.

I haven't seen Dr. Phil's program often, but he usually makes more sense. Was it really a recommendation, or was he just making generalizations--to try to make them see they had to live within their income? The last think I would give up is my pets.
 

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No, he was quite serious about it. It was a follow up show (I didn't see the original one) and they showed a list of "things" they had "cut out" of their budget and "NO CATS" was on the list beside the amount of money they saved by "getting rid of them". I wish I could give you the exact numbers etc...
 

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Yip, and some lesson they are teaching their kid. "As soon as you can't afford your lizard, just give it away." Or, "As soon as you feel like spending your allowance on something else besides crickets, just give the lizard away." It's terrible. Hey, we should also try contacting Oprah. She made Dr. Phil who he is and she or her people may be more willing to listen.

tanyuh
 

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I agree with a lot of the raised points, however personally I think you're shooting the messager - blaming the wrong person. These people are the one's at fault, not Dr. Phil. It wasn't Dr. Phil's only or main advice to do this. These people wanted to know how to budget their money down and he gave it to em. It was their decision to get rid of their cats instead of cut something else out.

Jeanie first reply is spot-on, live within your income. Today's throw away society just makes it worse, unfortunately to include animals :cry:
 

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Yip, I agree with Jeanie too. However, Dr. Phil didn't try to STOP them either and being a pet owner, I think he should have mentioned that they should have thought more about it before getting rid of their cats over their cable television.
 

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I agree with Jeanie's first paragraph in her first post. I think this couple was having troubles and we all know how time consuming pets are. Maybe there was more to it other than money. In all reality I really don't care what Dr. Phil says. You don't have to take his advice do you? I truly think there was more to it. The people just had a lot of animals. 5 is a lot to handle. I have two adult cats and I'm sorry its more than $30/month. Maybe the cats were sick and stuff who knows.. Its not just food and litter expenses it's vet bills stinky cat pans and messes they make that all can be stressful. Especially in a marriage that is having other problems.
 

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You know, I've never liked that show. He's a smart you-know-what. I don't like his advice neither. He's a fat ugly bald man who don't know diddly squat about families, pets, or clothing. (I mean, hey, look at how he's dressed...yuck!) Someone needs to tell him that not everyone can be rich like him and it's not fair that not rich people should have to give up their pets!

Stupid Dr Phil....get a clue!
 

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I don't see him that way. I see a man who is very well educated and cares about people. That's why I'd like to see a rerun of that program. It seems to me that any time I saw his program his answers were very wise. And of course, his appearance has no bearing on his knowledge and ability to help people. It's very difficult to get a doctorate, and even more difficult to rise to the top of your field.
 

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I just found this topic yesterday--I don't mean to sound childish either, but after I read it, the Dr. Phil book that I have went into the trash!! Sorry Dr. Phil, but you just changed my opinion of you--I have no respect for someone that does not respect animals. I now put Dr. Phil in the same category as the Dixie Chicks--IGNORANT.
 
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