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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons,, The Bay News, Morro Bay, CA, For August 8 07

Sacramento Dog Fight, Redux

Every few years certain people with hidden agendas and vested interests arrive in Sacramento to “do something” about all the unwanted dogs and cats that the taxpayer is paying to annually have killed and dumped. Some kind-hearted legislator, disgusted at the inhumane, expensive, and appalling waste, is found to put forth a bill to “fix the problem.” Out comes some ginormously complicated, un-funded, heavy-handed, Rube Goldberg bill that threatens to affect “certain interests.” Then, as regular as rain during the Monsoons, the shock troops are called out by other people with more hidden agendas and vested interests to start tacking on loopholes which will render the bill totally useless. Or, if the bill still retains some teeth and threatens The Big Money Boys Of The Puppy Mill & Dog Breeding Trade, it will be attacked so viciously that it simply dies in Committee and is never heard from again.

Until next time.

This is exactly what happened during the recent dust-up over the so-called Spay/Neuter Bill put forth by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine. After withdrawing his bill, the poor man expressed his shock and sorrow at how he had been “personally attacked and vilified,” and about how personal it all became.

If the good Assemblyman had checked his history, he would have seen the playbook, understood the players, and would have known exactly how the melodrama would unfold and how it would end. Rerun time.

Make no mistake, pet overpopulation is a problem exacerbated by the same old gang – The American Kennel Club selling their often worthless AKC “papers,” papers that too often put false value on a dog, lucrative “papers” that their own Board members referred to in a secret memo as “the basic cash cow;” The High Volume Breeders (some of whom are now joined at the hip with AKC to mutually benefit from that “cash cow”); Pet Stores (What reputable dog breeder would ever, ever sell his or her dogs through a pet store, so guess where those dogs are coming from?); the multi-gazillion-dollar-a-year Puppy Mill Trade that treats dogs like agricultural commodities, just like chickens and beef for the back yard BBQ; irresponsible owners of all stripes (Gee, I think I’ll make some money breeding my overpriced, “purebred AKC registered” genetic-wreck dog.); the idiot Mom or Dad who wants their child to “experience the miracle of birth” without also taking their kids down to the pound to see the “miracle of death” that will surely follow; the various “humane societies” who use the kill statistics and photos of poor puppy mill puppies as a fund-raiser (Send money or I’ll die!), rather than actually pursuing measures that would stop some of the worst abuses at the source.

That’s just a partial list of “interested parties” that can be counted on to rally their various shock troops whenever their special interests are threatened. And that’s just for dogs. Unwanted cats is another enormous problem altogether.

Happily, there are ways to diminish the over-breeding and unnecessary killing, but it doesn’t reside in Sacramento. It lies as close as your city or county government. There are already all kinds of leash laws, breeder permit ordinances, licensing laws, even a state-wide Dog Lemon Law (bet you never heard of that one) already on the books. They only need clear direction from local governments that they will be enforced. Then include a few public hangings of some irresponsible fools to get the public’s attention, toss in adequate funding for low-cost spay/neuter programs, better funded humane education, including a variety of low-cost adult outreach and basic dog-owner education programs, and a strongly supported and coordinated volunteer base of people dedicated to reducing the number of throw-away pets.

All of these can be designed at the local level so as to focus on specific local problem areas, all fully funded at the local level by local taxpayers who finally understand that they’re already paying big time on the back end to deal with a whole lot of dead dogs and cats, so why not pay up front and thereby reduce the suffering and death in the first place?

Prevention has always been more cost effective than clean-up. Of course, the ultimate price is paid by the dogs and cats, but the choice to do a better job locally to reduce that horrible toll remains with each of us and is only a few phone calls away.


Blog Note: If you’re interested in getting a dog, check with your various local humane shelters, Dept.of Animal Services & etc. Also, if you’re interested in a “purebred” dog, google the breed’s name with the word “rescue.” Every breed has a rescue group out there helping to ensure that their particular breed gets “rescued” from shelters and re-homed properly. And, if you’re after a particular breed of puppy, log onto the Humane Society’s website at www.PuppyBuyersGuide.com to learn how to avoid getting fleeced.

7 comments:

4crapkiller said...

Any dog or cat that is considered pet quality should be spayed or neutered.

The concept of dog or cat breeding is to improve the breed. Mutts do not improve any breed.

This is one of the reasons that if you want a show quality animal you pay a exorbitant price. It is for the possibility of having a show champion. It is the old "my dog is better than your dog", "pride of ownership", and "improvement of the breed". It is not necessarily about money. It costs far more to transport, show, and pay a "politically savvy handler", and pay for food and lodging, than any quality breeder could ever expect to make on the sale of puppies.

In every litter there is a best and a worst, despite the sire and dam being both show champions. Usually the breeder keeps the best to watch it develop. The rest of the puppies are sold as "pet quality". A "pet quality animal" from one breeder may be far better than from another breeder, but there is no doubt that "pet quality animals" are sold to defray breeding and showing costs.

As to the AKC or the UKC: If you do not get an animal with good papers, you are throwing your money away. If you do not have an expert in animal disposition go with you to select a puppy, you can be throwing your money away. There is a lot more to a good animal than conformation and markings.

Dogs are bred for a purpose, are happiest when being used for that purpose, and are not bred to be "cute". All puppies are cute. Dogs are not bred to be "four legged children with fur", and like children need to be trained and nurtured to be part of a household. There are few things in life better than a good looking, well groomed animal with a fine disposition that is WELL trained and obedient.

Ann makes great points, but look to your own children and grandchildren. If they are poorly trained, a dog owner will have little success with an animal, no matter what the quality.

There is only one way to produce a good puppy of any breed, and that is to breed it into the puppy. Buy your dog from a really good AKC breeder as a puppy, and never a pet shop.

You CAN find a good pet at the pound. It takes expertise. Take someone who has a well trained dog with you to help. But before you adopt consider what will be required of YOU, and how your lifestyle will change. To adopt a dog simply to save a dog is foolish. Most dogs are at a pound for a reason. Cats are another story.

And yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks, but only if it wants to learn. Pieces of hot dogs go a long way to encourage an animal. A dog may not pay much attention to you, but will pay a lot of attention to the hot dog. Never yell at a dog, or hit it. Remember that any dog has an extremely short attention span. If you try and have a conversation with a dog that did a misdeed five minutes before, it will not understand. You have to catch them in the act.

Ann is correct. The problem with pets is their owners. "Stupid is as stupid does".

Someday, I would love to meet Ann Calhoun's beautifully trained and well groomed animals.

I have had five triples in my lifetime. CDX, show, and field champions. Three dogs and two bitches.

Sewertoons said...

I don't know what animal services exist in this county, but in LA County, you could get a city voucher for spay and neutering of cats. I would trap feral cats in my neighborhood, (got the cages from a cat rescue group who told me the best trapping methods), trap, then take them to the lowest cost vet I could find that took the vouchers and had them "fixed" at $8 a pop, male or female. They were given shots and dissolving stitches and then released back out to where they came from. This cut WAY back on the feral kitten population.

IF there are any vouchers available - from the County or pick your city - THAT information needs to get out. It's outreach with that information that gets the job done. (Coyotes take care of the cat population in Los Osos.)

*PG-13 said...

Thank you Ann. All very well put. If only your and similar words could be published regularly (I'm thinking every other week) near the front of every newspaper just to remind us all of the problem and our obligation to it. Those sensationalistic front-page exposes published every so often during otherwise slack-news periods when there's nothing better to publish don't really do the job. This is an on-going sustaining problem which can't be addressed with sporadic commitment.

And 4CK makes some great points too. Albeit slanted, I think, a bit too far giving pure breeds so much greater credence over 'mutts'.

4CK > The concept of dog or cat breeding is to improve the breed. Mutts do not improve any breed. .... There is only one way to produce a good puppy of any breed, and that is to breed it into the puppy.

While I don't necessarily disagree with that - up to a point - I think there is still plenty of room in this world for mutts. Some of my best friends are mutts! I'd wager good money 4CK is a mutt. While I value my Scottish heritage there are many in Scotland who would label me a mutt. An American Mutt for good measure! No, the measure of a dog is its capacity to be a great dog. I've had pure breeds and I've had mutts and - to be truthful - I can't rate them apart on those things that are most important to me. I've been blessed. They've all been GREAT DOGS. And I wouldn't trade any of them for some paper, a ribbon or a trophy. And I'll rate my second generation mutt up against any papered doggie anytime, anywhere. There is soooooo much more that goes into making a good puppy than breeding.

Although I gotta say one of my most favorite bumper stickers is: "Got Nuts? Neuter"

Curiously, while 4CK argues well for structured and controlled breeding those very same arguments damn the breeding industry. To make champions you gotta breed a lot of 'pet quality' animals.

I love this 4CK statement: "Dogs are not bred to be "four legged children with fur", and like children need to be trained and nurtured to be part of a household. ... but look to your own children and grandchildren. If they are poorly trained, a dog owner will have little success with an animal, no matter what the quality."

Touché Although, truth be told, raising a great dog is soooooo much easier than raising a good kid. Hey, here's an idea: Nobody can sire a kid until they've proven they can raise a well-behaved dog! Kinda solves multiple problems with one solution, no?

And thank you Sewertoons. Good work.

4crapkiller said...

To Pg-13:

Welcome back. First of all, there has never been a breeding program for humans with the exception of Germany trying to produce a master race. This did not go far. I just read an article about the Russians trying to increase their population by encouraging marriage for child production. They are losing population. Where this will go, I do not know.

There are many more mutts than pure bred dogs. This does not mean that the mutt cannot give you love and affection, and cannot be well trained.

I am prejudiced towards pure bred dogs. It is a tradition of animal husbandry to breed dogs and any animal for a purpose. How well they perform that purpose contributes to the value of a dog or animal. With dogs, they are 90% instinct and 10% training.

While it is true that you have been fortunate to have great mutts, they were only of value to you. If something happened to you, or you could not keep your mutts, what would happen to them? Pound?

Consider the example of pure bred hunting breeds. I have seen coon hounds sold for $40,000. A really good trained duck dog will go for ten grand or more. They have value.
The value lies in their blood lines.

The same for bulls that go for hundreds of thousand dollars or race horses or show horses. I turned down an offer of fifteen thousand dollars for one of my triples. Would have been like selling my child.

There is no question that people take care of dogs or possessions with value. Most people actually take care of their mutts because they love them, but they do not work hard to increase their value.

They can't increase their value, because the value is only subjective to the owner.

You must be a woman. Why is it that most women always want to castrate male dogs, but keep their bitches hot? I guess this is probably a reaction to their ex husbands. I know the feeling. However, a male dog will live a much longer healthier life if castrated. "Got nuts? Neuter!"

Regardless there will always be mutts. Many people do not control their dogs. The problem is with people.

Remember, If your dog does not look good, you won't look good. Take a look at the slovenly dressed, hair a mess, fat woman or man, with a dog on a rope, no tags. Mutt, and poorly cared for. Just look at the long toe nails on the dog. Chances are there is dried dog poop in his/her house or certainly all over his/her yard.

You can tell a lot about a person from looking at the dog.

Churadogs said...

Crap sez:"This is one of the reasons that if you want a show quality animal you pay a exorbitant price."

Unfortunately, not necessarily true. I can buy a superbly bred show quality dog for less than many people will pay for a puppy mill dog sold in a pet store.

Crap sez:" As to the AKC or the UKC: If you do not get an animal with good papers, you are throwing your money away. "

Also not necessarily true. Unless you do a direct DNA test on the dogs, the "paper" is meaningless. I can put AKC "paper" on dogs I get from the pound and sell them at a high price. Indeed, one of the top retired AKC insptectors noted on ABC World News Tonight, that about 50% of the AKC's stud registry is no good. That's a whole lot of mail fraud. The sad fact is that AKC and UKC "papers" too often put false value on a dog because the public believes they mean something. (The AKC has paid big bucks over the years to foster that belief.)

Crap sez:"Any dog or cat that is considered pet quality should be spayed or neutered."

Also not necessarily true. Breed standards are physical, not genetic. You can have a superb looking "show quality" dog with lots of ribbons, yet it could be, for example a PRA carrier, and should NEVER be bred, (but is because it's a "champion") and have a not-so-great looking "pet quality" dog that's clean of various DNA problems that should be bred. Really good breeeders put health and temperament over "show ribbons" every day, so "show" and "pet" are relative. (Not to mention that the show ring is a hot bed of politics and very often really bad (genetic) dogs get ribbons while superb, healthy no-beribboned dogs don't) So, that ain't necessarily so.

Crap sez:"While it is true that you have been fortunate to have great mutts, they were only of value to you. If something happened to you, or you could not keep your mutts, what would happen to them? Pound?"

Again, not necessarily true. Pounds always have "purebred" dogs dumped there. Every breed has Breed Rescue volunteers, but purebred and mutt both end up (valueless) at the pound for a variety of reasons.

Crap sez:"Dogs are bred for a purpose, are happiest when being used for that purpose, and are not bred to be "cute"."

Again, not necessarily true. Certain dogs were bred to just be cute, i.e. Cavelier King Charles Spaniels, etc. Saw an interesting TV program on dogs, with a dog expert expressing a great idea: Since we've primarily bred dogs to
do certain things (herd, guard, hunt, etc.) what we now need to do is carefully breed a type of dog called URBANDOG, a dog of calm temperment, loves people, short easy care coat, medium size, not dog aggressive, not people aggressive,happy to lay around in an apartment 8 hours while owner is at work, etc. in short a dog perfectly suited for crowded urban living, then breed it long and carefully enough to set the genes so you'd have a separate "breed." (I suspect some of the so-called "designer" breeds -- Labradoodles, and such like -- are attempts to do just that, but it'll take a long time to set those genes so they're reliable.) What we too often have now are breeds totally unsuited for urban life, like who in their right mind needs a Karelian Bear Dog while living in Manhattan? Great dog for work in Yellowstone Park, but Manhattan? Duh.

Crap sez:"Ann is correct. The problem with pets is their owners. "Stupid is as stupid does"."

Except in cases of genetic/health/etc Alas, too often, that's the case. Or, most likely, wrong dog for the wrong person for all the wrong reasons. Not stupid, exactly, but a failure to do the necessary homework to make sure it's Right dog for right owner for right reasons.

Crap sez:"I have had five triples in my lifetime. CDX, show, and field champions. Three dogs and two bitches."

Congratulation! That's something!!

Then Crap sez:"You can tell a lot about a person from looking at the dog."

Not necessarily. I've known incredibly wealthy, well groomed people who dump their dogs in the back yard and never care for them and I've known incredibly poor, crappily dressed people whose dogs are loved and cared for.

Uh,Crap, think ya really gotta be careful of those blanket, sweeping stereotypes.They usually indicate sloppy thinking going on, or weird projections, like this strange bit, in response to PG-13's comments: "You must be a woman. Why is it that most women always want to castrate male dogs, but keep their bitches hot? I guess this is probably a reaction to their ex husbands. I know the feeling. However, a male dog will live a much longer healthier life if castrated. "Got nuts? Neuter!"

Uh, according to many Vets, neutering both males and females reduces the chances of either testicular / ovarian cancer, so actually confers health benefits. And PG-13 keeps his bitches hot? Where did THAT notion come from? Weird, Crap, weird.

*PG-13 said...

> And PG-13 keeps his bitches hot? Where did THAT notion come from?

I don't know but it sure caught my attention. Dang, this beats talk'n sewer for sure.

Churadogs said...

PG-13 sez:"I don't know but it sure caught my attention. Dang, this beats talk'n sewer for sure.

11:34 AM, August 03, 2007 "

Wait 'till you get a load of what Crap's spouting in the next posting. Threats now from her and "her man friend."

Wooooooooo. The weirdness never ends, does it!