Keeping Track of Your Pets With Microchips and GPS Smart Collars

When dogs or cats go missing–whether they run away or are stolen–it can be devastating for both pet and owner.

According to the National Humane Society, more than 10 million pets are lost each year. Only 26 percent of dogs and less than 5 percent of cats who come into shelters as strays are reunited with their owners.  An even more alarming fact is that 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats in these shelters end up being euthanized.

As a pet owner, even if you haven’t experienced such a loss, there is always the possibility you could.  However, there are also some preventative measures you can take to help keep your pet safe.

While embedding microchips in pets has become an increasingly common procedure for veterinarians and is a good tool for reuniting lost pets with their owners, they’re not foolproof. In order for a microchip to be effective, pet owners must register the chip with the manufacturer. If they don’t, when a pet is brought into an animal shelter or veterinarian’s office and the chip is scanned, no contact information will be associated with the pet and microchip, making it much more difficult to unite the animal with its owner.

GET SMART— The Smart pet collar is the latest innovative technology designed to give pet owners peace of mind. It’s a GPS tracker collar for your pet that works almost like an iPhone. It allows you, via an app on your phone, to not only communicate and send messages to your furry friend, but also monitor and alert you to its whereabouts.

So if Fido or Fluffy wanders too far away from the backyard, a notification is immediately sent to your phone. If the animal does manage to run away, the collar will automatically flash the message “I’m lost” along with your phone number to alert anyone who may come in contact with the animal.

Remember, regardless of how careful you are with your pets, they can still get lost. Providing your pet with a GPS collar as well as a microchip can go a long way to ensure a happy and healthy reunion if ever your pet strays from home.

If you’re planning to microchip your pets, be sure to take them to a licensed veterinarian.  To verify the license of a veterinarian, contact the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Veterinary Medical Board at (916) 515-5220, or visit their website at vmb@dca.ca.gov.

 

Dealing With the High Cost of Dying

103407746-gettyimages-471349769-1910x1000Let’s face it. No one enjoys discussing death or dying, much less planning a funeral for a loved one or even for themselves.

However uncomfortable the subject may be, if you don’t plan in advance, it could cost you both financially and emotionally.

Shopping around for the most suitable and affordable funeral goods and services is an important step in the right direction.  However, with so many funeral homes and services to choose from, it can be a daunting process.

The California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau, which licenses, regulates, and investigates complaints against California funeral establishments and nearly 200 fraternal and private cemeteries in the State, offers a booklet titled, “Consumer Guide to Funeral and Cemetery Purchases,” which contains information that will help consumers make informed decisions throughout the process.  It provides extensive information on the legal requirements involving disposition arrangements such as home death care, retail casket sellers, embalming and cremation, as well as coroner fees and a host of other important and useful information.

consumer-guide-coverThe “Consumer Guide to Funeral and Cemetery Purchases” is available online in both English and Spanish at the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau’s Web site, www.cfb.ca.gov.

Additional help for consumers may also be on the way. Two groups, the Funeral Consumers Alliance and the Consumer Federation of America, recently filed a petition with the FTC seeking requirements for  funeral homes to fully disclose their prices for burial products and services online. Some establishments currently list pricing for services online; others do not.

If the requirements are approved, the change would update a 1984 FTC rule that currently requires price disclosure, but only in person or over the phone. Many consumer advocates maintain the new online guidelines—if implemented—would make planning for funerals much easier and convenient for consumers who could access funeral information with the click of a mouse and in the comfort of their homes.

Remember, once you’ve decided on a funeral home and arrangements have been made,  you’re entitled by law to get an itemized statement with the final cost so there are no surprises and you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Most importantly, the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau recommends consumers make sure that the funeral establishment, funeral director, crematory, crematory manager, or cemetery they choose are licensed by the State and in good standing.  You can verify the license online on the Bureau’s website at http://www.cfb.ca.gov/consumer/lookup.shtml

(NOTE: The State does not license cemeteries operated by religious organizations; cities, counties, or cemetery districts; the military; Native American tribal organizations; or other groups. If you don’t know who regulates the cemetery you’re interested in, ask the cemetery manager.)

If you need help with a cemetery or funeral issue, visit the Bureau’s Web site at www.cfb.ca.gov or call the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Consumer Information Center at (800) 952-5210 or the Bureau directly at (916) 574-7870.

 

 

 

 

 

Chiropractor Ordered Not to Practice After Felony Arrest

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Sacramento area man charged with practicing medicine without a license
and grand theft. 
James Joseph Martin, of West Sacramento, has been ordered not to practice chiropractic after his arrest for eight felony counts of grand theft and one felony count of practicing medicine without a license.

To read the full release, click here.

 

 

California Raises Smoking and Vaping Ages to 21

Choice between cigarette and e-cigarette

During a special healthcare session earlier this month, Governor Brown signed into law significant tobacco regulations, raising the smoking age from 18 to 21 and classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products. The laws go into effect on June 9.

With the signing of this new law, California becomes the second state in the country, after Hawaii, to raise the legal smoking age in an effort to block young people’s access to tobacco.

A 2015 Institute of Medicine report concluded that if all states raised the smoking age to 21, there would be a 12 percent drop in teen and young adult smokers. Also, according to a March 2015 Institute of Medicine study, raising the smoking age to 21 would result in about 223,000 fewer premature deaths and 50,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer.

The Governor also signed a bill classifying e-cigarettes as tobacco products, banning e-cigarette use in venues where traditional cigarettes are prohibited, such as schools, restaurants, hospitals, and workplaces. Just as with other tobacco products, you must be 21 years old to buy e-cigarettes.

In addition to these two laws, five related bills that will expand smoking restrictions in the workplace and in schools were signed. One measure that would have allowed cities and counties to impose local taxes on tobacco products was vetoed.

For more information about the new laws, visit the Governor’s website at www.gov.ca.gov.

California 2015 Laws

eggsHundreds of new laws—930 to be exact—go into effect this year. Most took effect on January 1; however, some laws, such as the smartphone kill switches requirement, ban on plastic bags, increase in assisted living fines, mandatory sick days, and pet insurance consumer protections won’t go into effect until July 1.

Here’s a rundown of some of the bills Governor Brown signed into law:

Smartphone kill switches: Senate Bill 962 requires all smartphones sold in California have theft-deterring technology that allows owners to remotely disable their stolen devices.

Dogs at restaurants: Under Assembly Bill 1965, restaurant owners can decide whether to allow dogs in their outdoor dining areas, and local jurisdictions retain the ability to prohibit the practice or add restrictions.

Ban on plastic bags: SB 270 bans supermarkets and large pharmacies from using single-use plastic bags. Customers will be encouraged to use reusable cloth bags but can purchase paper bags at a cost of at least 10 cents each.

Military spouses: AB 186 requires the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide military spouses and domestic partners licensed to practice professions in other states a 12-month temporary license to practice in California when their spouses are stationed in the State.

Pet insurance: AB 2056 requires that pet insurance policies clearly disclose details, including coverage limitations, reimbursements, waiting periods, and deductibles.

Online reviews: AB 2365 makes nondisparagement clauses in consumer contracts for goods or services in California unenforceable; businesses cannot use them for civil lawsuits against Californians offering opinions or reviews on Internet sites such as Yelp.

Chickens: With the backing of 2008’s Proposition 2 and then 2010’s AB 1437, every egg laid or sold in California must come from hens with enough space to stand up, turn around, lie down, and stretch its wings.

Ride-service insurance coverage: AB 2293 requires that drivers for ride-service companies, such as Uber and Lyft, must be insured during the time they have their app open but have yet to accept a call. The bill also calls on insurance companies to offer policies tailored specifically for ride-service drivers.

For more information on California’s new laws, go to http://www.gov.ca.gov.

Health Insurance and Taxes, Two Big Reasons to Act By Feb 15

Covered California and their tens of thousands of partners are working hard to ensure as many people as possible get the health insurance they want, and avoid future tax penalties.  With just a few days left before the February 15, 2015 deadline, time is short, but you still have time to sign up.

Covered CA Sprint to the Finish 2

If you don’t know how to get started, the best thing to do is to go online and head on over to www.coveredca.com.  From the website it is easy to compare plans and get your questions answered, or you can call them at 800-300-1506.

Not having health insurance can be stressful on its own, but there is another reason to think about the February 15th deadline.  Taxes!  When the Affordable Care Act passed it was understood that everyone needed insurance or they would face a tax penalty.  In an example provided by H&R Block, and reported by NPR, one couple with a combined income of $65,000 would have to pay a fine this year of nearly $450.  Next year that fine doubles, so if you want to avoid writing a big check to the IRS on April, 15, 2016, you better get in contact with Covered CA before February 15th of this year.

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If that news made your heart jump, don’t panic, and remember there are tens of thousands of Covered CA partners out there who are working hard to make sure you get the insurance you want, and avoid the tax penalties you don’t want.