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.