France’s Most Famous Dog Lover Dead At 64
PARIS (AP) _ Jean-Pierre Hutin, a French television host whose intense love for animals earned him a reputation for being being dog’s best friend, has died. He was 64.
News reports said he died Saturday at his home in Paris. The cause of death was not known.
Hutin became a household name in France for the TV program ``30 Million Friends,″ a reference to the vast numbers of dogs and cats in France, a nation passionate about pets.
The program first aired in 1976 and quickly soared to the top of the ratings, with about 5 million households tuning in each Saturday afternoon. Hutin and his co-host, a German shepherd named Mabrouk Junior, produced a variety show that ranged from interviews with pets and their owners, to tips on pet care and grooming. He frequently used the show to advocate better treatment for animals.
Hutin began his career as a writer for the newspaper France Soir, but switched to television in 1955. His show recently aired for the 1,000th time on TF1, a private station.
In 1982, Hutin founded the Animal Defense Association, and in March 1995 he created the 30 Million Friends Foundation to crusade against pet mistreatment and abandonment.
``Their entire lives are consecrated to the love of man,″ he once said. ``Think about their fear when someone leaves them.″
A funeral was set for Wednesday at the St. Pierre Church in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. Information on survivors was not immediately available.