Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bad News for CA Pet Owners

CA AB 241 was apparently passed by the CA Senate yesterday. The bill, according to the American Kennel Club, "will prohibit businesses and individuals who buys or sells cats and dogs from owning more than a combined total of 50 intact dogs or cats" (including puppies/kittens). I've blogged many times about why purported pet "protection" legislation that states number of pets determines quality of care makes no sense to me. Quality husbandry never has been and never will be determined by numbers of dog owned. One dog owned by a person can be neglected/abused. So can two dogs. As can 12 or 37 or 62. By the same token, all those same numbers of dogs might be well cared for by an owner. Granted the more dogs owned, the more help needed to provide quality care.

Another reason I find these numbers bills troubling is that the numbers vary greatly all across the country. In CA, HSUS says 50 is the magic number which equals "puppy mill". But in NC, HSUS said owning 15 bitches was the puppy miller indicator. And there are other numbers in similar bills all over the country. Why the inconsistency? If indeed quality of care is determined by number of dogs owned, shouldn't there be one number for all owners? If a NC breeder is a "puppy miller" because she owns 15 bitches but then moves to CA, does she become a "responsible breeder" because she's well under the 50 limit?

But to me, perhaps the most disturbing element of these bills is that, in my crystal ball opinion, it will not stop at 50 (or 15 or whatever). This is a foot in the door, a chance to say, "Surely we can all agree that only an evil puppy miller would have more than 50 dogs". If the anti-pet lobbyists in CA don't try to get this number lowered in future, I'll eat my hat.

In Philadelphia currently, the pet limit is 12 but there are efforts underway to get that number reduced. There's no way to know if those efforts will be successful but assuming for the sake of discussion they are, perhaps the number will be reduced to 8. Then possibly a future amendment will cut it to 4. Noticing a trend here? This hasn't happened - yet - but surely we'd be unwise to ignore the potential for having our rights as pet owners legislated away from us.

The anti-pet lobbyists don't stand up and say, "We want a foot in the door so that eventually we can eliminate the right to own pets" because that would sound crazy. Instead they say things like "protecting pets" and "cruel puppy mills" which all sound dandy. And to those of us paying attention to the possible future direction of these laws, the lobbyists say, "That sounds crazy". Clever work.


Anonymous said...

Two breeding females and no more than twenty dogs in total should be the universal number that separates a responsible breeder from a puppy mill. In addition a responsible breeder should never sell unaltered animals to the general public but only to other responsible breeders.

FrogDogz said...

Two breeding females? Are you kidding me? Are you honestly saying that anyone who has more than TWO females is a puppy mill?

Also, hello? A lot of us do NOT like the idea of putting 10 week old puppies under anesthetic, which makes the whole concept of 'never selling unaltered animals' an impossibility unless we're willing to hold on to them until 6 months. Yeah, that's practical.

God, why am I even bothering? There's no point in even arguing with crackpots like this.


Heather Houlahan said...

Wow. All the moral certainty and hard-won authority that comes with the coveted title of "anonymous."


Scout 'n Freyja said...

We are going to open up a can of worms and say that people should go to the shelter or rescue to adopt pets. We have two purebred dogs (with papers) that were adopted from our local shelter. Love is love. It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.

Now, for the numbers of animals. Dogs need human contact and a lot of it to be happy. Cats need human contact, as well. If you have 50+ animals there is no way anyone could give good, quality affection to that many animals, even with hired help.

Sorry if I don't agree. I have been in rescue for decades and see many purebred faces staring through bars wondering why they were tossed out of a car in the dark on a country road. Some of those dogs can be found sitting where they were tossed waiting for their family to come back to get them.

Altering pups and kittens can be done at a very early age. Also, spay and neuter contracts can be put in place. There is responsible and then there are those who see animals as no more than a meal ticket. Check out rescue, right now with the recession people are dropping off their companion animals at an alarming rate and they are NOT no-kill. Dogs and cats are NOT livestock!

FrogDogz said...

Altering pups and kittens can be done at a very early age. Also, spay and neuter contracts can be put in place.

Yes, but the above poster didn't say anything about contracts - he said spay/neuter.

And, while speuters technically can be done early, my moral code as a breeder is to MINIMIZE the harm done to the dogs I am responsible for, and that does NOT include anesthetizing tiny puppies and putting them through traumatic surgeries. This is all in addition to the very real hormonal and developmental implications of juvenile spay/neuter, which are myriad.

As for adopting a dog from a shelter, that's always admirable - but it leaves aside the fact that people are entitled to choose the dog and the breed that best suits their lifestyle and personal preferences. Our shelters are also over run, and with the same dogs - Shepherd and Lab type crosses, mid to large sized, and generally adolescent males. Those are NOT the 'perfect' dog for every home and every owner, which is what precipitated most of them ending up where they are.

I also refuse to give in and let the shitheads win - the 'breeders' who could care less about the health, structure and future of my chosen breed. I've been doing this since before Frenchies were popular, and I'll be here mopping up the messes when the flavor o' the day breeders have moved on to something else.

FrogDogz said...

see many purebred faces staring through bars wondering why they were tossed out of a car in the dark on a country road

And let me point something else out - those purebred dogs you mentioned? I am willing to LAY MONEY that none of them came from a reputable, ethical breeder. We are RABID about knowing where our dogs end up, and not only do we insist on this in our contracts, but we will happily and enthusiastically sue your ass if you even contemplate dumping one of our dogs.

Part of making sure that doesn't happen is opening a dialogue of continuing contact with our puppy buyers, and making sure that they know we're here for them, for life.

As I said, it's what we sign on for when we decide to make this part of our life. I'm sorry if your experience has been with the toss aways from pet stores and the like, but there ARE other worlds out there, with breeders who love and protect their dogs with a vehemence that can be downright scary at times.

Rinalia said...

The bill, in its current form, allows for 50 ADULT intact dogs and cats. Current bill .

You can have as many unsterilized puppies as you want. :)

Anonymous said...

In honor of 'anonymous' I believe that I'll institute a new policy on my blog where if you post a comment anonymously, I append your IP address and whois information to it.

YesBiscuit! said...

My point, which may have been lost, is that owning X number of animals does not indicate you are a potentially good or bad owner.

On the point of someone being able to provide a good quality of life for 50 + animals with hired help, I would certainly think that's possible.

TrueAgendas said...

Rinalia, AB241 says this about the age of affected dogs:

"(h) For purposes of this section, "adult dog" means any dog that
is four months of age or older."

I do not know of any veterinarian, any breeder, or any dog or cat owner who believes a 4 month old puppy is an ADULT. This bill is lunacy.

Paula said...

To ScoutNFreya: Those purebred faces you see at shelters are frequently picked up, vetted, neutered and taken care of by purebred breed clubs. We, the responsible breeders whose dogs will not end up in shelters, are taking the irresponsible breeders' dogs out of the shelters and giving them a second chance. We are cleaning up their messes.

Pai said...

When you're allowed to, of course. I know many shelters refuse to work with breeders or breed rescues. While, of course, lamenting how irresponsible and selfish such people are. =P

Susan said...

After losing my bulldog who had suffered numerous orthopedic problems, we wanted a small dog. We visited the local shelters. All we found were large dogs - Lab mixes, shepherd mixes, pit mixes. No small dogs, and almost no purebreds, FYI. The shelters in nearby counties only adopt out to residents, so they were not options.

The breeders I know virtually require a security clearance before parting with a puppy, and non-show dogs are sold on limited registration - and often even that is withheld until evidence of altering is given.

Surely you realize these laws will not deter the scumbags; they already lack respect for laws and decency -- for example, the laws against animal cruelty. Instead, these laws will tie the hands of the reputable breeders, and will ensure that the purebred dogs out in the public are UNaltered, poorly bred, unhealthy, and poorly socialized. What stupidity.

When some months later, I called the local shelters offering to be a contact for breed rescue no one was interested in talking to me.