Friday, October 3, 2014

Why PIJAC's Moves Should Concern Dog Fanciers

Why PIJAC's Moves Should Concern Dog Fanciers

Carlotta Cooper

 


Now that some of the hoopla has died down about PIJAC (the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council) hiring Ed Sayres to be their President and CEO, it's a good time to look at this decision and what it means for hobby breeders. While some Pollyannas have insisted that PIJAC and Sayres won't have much affect on hobby breeders, Sayres is already showing otherwise.

Though it came as a surprise to most observers when PIJAC chose former ASPCA CEO Ed Sayres to be their new President and CEO recently, there are a lot of moving parts to this story and some reasons for dog fanciers to be concerned. PIJAC represents the interests of commercial dog breeders, as well as other pet breeders such as those who breed hamsters, gerbils, reptiles, and other small pets. They also represent pet store chains and pet food companies. The pet industry is worth some $58 billion annually in the United States and most of the big players in that industry are members of PIJAC. The new head of PIJAC now looks to be the former head of one of the nation's most influential animal rights organizations.

It might seem like a positive move for commercial dog breeders to embrace someone who has always spoken out for better animal welfare, but things are not always what they seem.

As an organization, PIJAC has fought against animal rights legislation for most of its existence, dating back to the early 1970s under the leadership of Marshall Meyers. But Mr. Meyers retired in 2010 and since that time PIJAC has been floundering, backing off in the fight against animal rights legislation, and making deals. Currently more than 70 cities ban the sale of live animals in pet stores – unless they are rescue or shelter animals.

In December 2012, PIJAC joined with HSUS and the ASPCA, along with several PIJAC partners, “to create lasting change in the commercial breeding industry,” according to an HSUS news release, by forming a coalition to fight “puppy mills.”

“The ASPCA has witnessed first-­hand the unspeakable cruelty and horrific conditions of substandard puppy mills, and we are committed to working with key industry leaders to help end the inhumane treatment of dogs in these facilities,” said ASPCA President &CEO Ed Sayres. “We are pleased that the industry has come together in a meaningful way to acknowledge this abuse, and confront it head on.” 

Mr. Sayres is singing a different tune today as he tries to convince the members of PIJAC that he didn't really mean all of those things he said as the head of the ASPCA.

According to sources, the PIJAC board of directors voted 9-7 to offer Mr. Sayres the positions of President and CEO of the trade organization. One of his strongest supporters has been Andrew Hunte, owner of the Hunte Corporation – the largest broker for commercially-bred puppies in the United States. Facilities at the Hunte Corporation are state-of-the-art and you can find numerous newspaper articles that attest to the fact that Hunte provides good care for their puppies and only accepts healthy puppies from commercial breeders. But Mr. Hunte is a businessman and he has business reasons for wanting Mr. Sayres to take over PIJAC.

Mr. Hunte wrote a comment in favor of the new APHIS regulation that includes hobby and show breeders. Here's part of Mr. Hunte's comment for the proposed APHIS rule back in 2012:

“… The Hunte Corporation’s 'Number 1 Concern' has always been the humane treatment of animals. We believe if you breed, transport, or sell puppies across America – especially over the Internet –, you should be regulated, and subject to inspection just like all licensed breeders are. The APHIS proposed rule if finalized, will raise the bar to help ensure the safe humane treatment for animals and the needed protection for consumers. At the Hunte Corporation our motto is 'Where Puppies Come First!'”

As you can see, Mr. Hunte was in favor of the APHIS rule, knowing full well that it would be applied to hobby breeders. And why not? Large commercial breeders were already being inspected by the USDA, and so were brokers like Hunte. Having APHIS pass the proposed regulation would only be a hardship for small breeders like hobbyists. The APHIS rule is a way to put Mr. Hunte's competition out of business. Not only that, but many people believe that Mr. Hunte is still carrying a grudge from the time when he tried to join the ranks of AKC dog fanciers and was met with hostility.

Without the support of Andrew Hunte, Ed Sayres would not now be head of PIJAC. People who believe that PIJAC, Hunte, and Sayres are not now gunning for hobby breeders are deluded.

I have long supported a close working relationship with commercial breeders when it comes to fighting animal rights legislation. But all too often large commercial breeders, who are already USDA-licensed, sit back and do nothing while hobby breeders try to fight HSUS and other animal rights groups. This is true at every level of government. Many legislative liaisons and others who work on animal legislation will tell you that they have pleaded with commercial breeders to contact their congressmen, make a phone call, or send an e-mail. Medium and small-sized commercial breeders may be active in some states and they may wish us well, but in many places they take the attitude that dog legislation has nothing to do with them. Or they simply try to stay in the shadows, hoping the animal rights groups won't notice them. Now with Ed Sayres at the helm, they are being told that hobby breeders are their enemy.

Here's a taste of Ed Sayres' recent blog post on the PIJAC web site:

“... Given that fewer than 10 percent of all dog owners buy their dogs from pet stores, restricting pet store sales will do little to address the underlying problem of sub-standard breeders. Instead of putting the burden on small business owners who make up a significant portion of pet retailers, we should focus on breeders themselves to ensure that all of them are adhering to high standards for humane care.

"Pet stores are good for consumers. The overwhelming majority of people who choose pet stores bring home a happy, healthy pet and are highly satisfied with their pet store experience. Almost all pet store puppies originate from USDA-licensed breeders who are regularly inspected and found to comply with appropriate care standards. By contrast, many of the dogs and cats from other sources, including back yard operators, one-off Internet sales and swap meets, do not come from licensed breeders.

"Pet store puppies are as healthy as any others and typically receive more frequent veterinary care than puppies from other sources. In most states, consumers already enjoy far more protection under the law for the animals they get from pet stores than from any other source. Twenty-one states have pet warranty laws on the books that apply to animals purchased in pet stores but do not cover animals purchased from shelters or rescues.

"In acquiring a pet, consumers should be able to choose among several reliable, quality sources, including pet stores. Because pet store sales bans limit where and how people can get a pet, they make it more difficult for them to find the pet that is the best fit for their family. As demand for pets continues to grow, consumers want to have choices – in terms of breed, size, age and other characteristics. Without a reliable, quality supply of pets subject to strict regulation and sourcing transparency, prospective pet owners will be driven to unscrupulous sellers of pets who are not licensed and are unconcerned about compliance with animal care standards …"

The italics are mine. In case you have any trouble reading between the lines, Sayres is saying that commercially-bred puppies from pet stores are better than puppies bred and raised by people at home. And that people who breed without a license or regulation are bad breeders. If you're a hobby breeder who doesn't have to be USDA-licensed, Sayres has just insulted you and your dogs. Considering that Sayres has been on the job less than a month, I would say he's just getting warmed up. This message is identical to what Hunte's been saying, so it's not a surprise. And now Sayres has PIJAC's budget and the entire pet industry at his disposal so he can broadcast it.

Whether or not you and I believe that Sayres has any credibility after jumping ship at ASPCA and taking up a new role speaking for the pet industry at PIJAC is irrelevant. He will likely sound credible to the public. The message the public is going to be getting from PIJAC is that puppies from hobby breeders are substandard because many of the breeders are not licensed and regulated in the same way as the fine, upstanding breeders who produce commercially-bred puppies for pet stores.

I think we can all understand why PIJAC would want to improve the image of pet store puppies after the vicious attacks they have received from animal rights groups – and some breeders. They are fighting to keep pet stores open in some cities and trying to sell more than shelter pets in others. But we need to be aware that the fancy is going to be receiving some kicks from Sayres and PIJAC, too. I hope we can continue to work with the commercial breeders who are willing to fight against the animal rights movement. But we also need to defend ourselves against the kind of smears that Sayres is making.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Sight Unseen" and other Drivel


Something has been nagging at the back of my mind; this whole recent chain of events with new government rules didn't seem to make sense. I just couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew something didn't add up. Today, it finally dawned on me exactly what the problem is.

Different rules from the same agency should not conflict. If the overall goal is to discourage so-called "SIGHT UNSEEN" pet sales and rid the market of supposed "bad breeders", then why are "SIGHT UNSEEN" sales from other countries not only unregulated, but actually sanctioned by recent USDA rules?
  
As you may recall, NAIA was complicit in formulating the new USDA import rules and publicly applauded their passage.* These new rules require imported dogs to have rabies vaccinations and health clearances, (GOOD). They forbid importing dogs for resale under the age of six months (BAD). The new rules would allow import of a dog from another country by purchasers who do not plan to resell the animal, as long as there is a health clearance (GOOD). So overall, more good than bad. Hobby breeders aren't really affected, so they are all fine with these new rules. They are happy to embrace a rule that they perceive will only adversely affect "Rescue Retailers."

Meanwhile, there is yet another rule that the USDA is implementing right here and right now in the US. This new rule requires anyone who ships a dog “sight-unseen” to a buyer, (and who also owns more than four bitches) to apply for USDA licensing. This revised rule would require thousands of small breeders to become USDA licensed, have their personal information registered into a publicly available database, be required to meet USDA "commercial" breeder standards (difficult to achieve in a home environment), and be available 24/7 for unannounced inspections by APHIS, regardless of the constraints of your “real job”.

Now, unless you are willing to cease shipping dogs entirely, if you keep four or more bitches you must be USDA licensed. This means you are now on the radar screen of animal rights groups, like CAPS and other loonies, who will have your contact information.

Animal rights nuts can and do target USDA commercial breeders for nasty terrorist attacks, with the intent to drive them out of business. Why would anyone want a USDA license? And who heads the USDA-APHIS enforcement division? Why a former employee of the anti-breeding HSUS, that's who! Many APHIS inspectors have been fully indoctrinated by animal rights fanatics, and are looking to "find something" on inspection. After all, they need to justify their existence, and finding violations and fining people is the only way do do that.
Due to many concerns arising from and the ambiguity associated with enforcement of these new rules, and the fact that despite several conferences, no one seems to really understand the new rules (including APHIS personnel themselves), thousands of breeders and dozens of dog clubs have mounted a legal challenge to block the new USDA-APHIS rules for breeders.

Representatives from the AKC and NAIA have not been supportive of this legal effort, claiming that breeders do not have “standing” in the matter. They have been assuring us that exemptions can solve all our worries. The matter of "standing" has now been settled, as the courts have determined that the case does indeed have merit, and the lawsuit moved forward with a court date. The USDA-APHIS then hired a NAIA lawyer as their consultant, to give the impression that the concerns of dog owners will be addressed. Never mind the fact that they did not address our concerns after literally thousands of public comments and questions during the conferences that went unanswered. But, adding a representative from the "breeder" side of the equation on their team will give them better odds in court, they reason. Window dressing.

Now think about this for a minute. Why are the events in regard to these two new rules from the USDA troublesome when viewed in conjunction with each other?

Here's why. These new rules don't dovetail. Foreign breeders can ship “sight-unseen” to buyers, while those in the US cannot do so without Federal regulation of their breeding activities.

Are breeders in other countries automatically more holy and righteous than breeders in the USA? Does the USDA wish to encourage"sight unseen" sales from overseas? Because that's what is going to happen when more US breeders quit shipping or even quit breeding altogether.

We also have a study in progress from Purdue that intends to set guidelines for breeding activities. Once that come on the scene, we will have yet another set of anti-breeding regulations that will effectively squelch the hopes of newbies who might aspire to being dog breeders....if only it weren't so difficult to qualify for that breeding permit! And how will breeders in other countries comply? Who will regulate them?

And then, we will have to have a NEW RULE that prohibits imports for ANYONE. It is easy to do, because there is already a prohibition for those who re-sell dogs under the age of six months, and no one said BOO when they slipped that neat little rule in there. In fact, the breeders stood up and cheered! All they need to do now, is to tweak it a bit. No one can import a dog for resale PERIOD. No one can have a dog shipped in from another country "sight unseen".  After all, that is the intent of the OTHER new APHIS rule, and we need all our rules to apply fairly to everyone and in all the same situations. Don't we?

If we can't ship a dog with a health certificate "sight unseen" without Federal oversight of our breeding operation, how can people ship one in from another country with just a health certificate?

The new rule requiring almost all US breeders to register with USDA-APHIS  MUST be struck down.

Support the KODA effort. Court date, October 9.



 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

AKC, Animal Rights and Dog Training

Out of the UK, the cradle of the animal rights terror movement, comes a study that denigrates the use of electronic collars as a tool for dog training:

“The Welfare Consequences and Efficacy of Training Pet Dogs with Remote Electronic Training Collars in Comparison to Reward Based Training” *
If you read the abstract, there doesn’t seem to be any real downside to using electronic training collars. But the take-home message? E-Collars work, but not any better than positive reinforcement, so why subject your dog to unnecessary stess? And now, we have another biased study to point to in order to justify the ban on E-Collars that animal rights nuts are pushing for in the UK. Talk about researcher bias! 

Of course, the group of dogs they studied were PET dogs. And what is the most common use for E collars in pet dogs? It’s for pet containment in areas where fences are not used. I suppose it’s better to have your dog tethered? Maybe these animal rights do-gooders would  prefer that your dog roam and be hit by a car?

E collars are also commonly used to avoid surgical debarking for dogs who are noisy. A noisy dog provokes complaints, and may end up at the dog pound unless the owner has options available such as a bark collar or surgical debarking.

E collars are successfully and humanely used to train dogs for off leash work, such as hunting or obedience.  A well-trained dog is a happy dog under the charge of a responsible and loving owner. 

Now, to add insult to injury we find AKC’s Vice President Gina DiNardo on a TV program discussing use of E Collars. DiNardo states that “we” (presumably the AKC) support only positive reinforcement in dog training.” **

Will corrections with a flat collar and lead soon be out at the AKC? Maybe they should make a rule that dogs can’t be restrained on a lead at a dog show. After all, a snap on the lead! WELL! That is NOT POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT. 

This is what it says about electronic collars in the Board Policy Manual:***

Training Collars (July 2001 Board meeting) Special training devices that are used to control and train dogs, including but not limited to, collars with prongs, electronic collars used with transmitters, muzzles and head collars may not be used on dogs at AKC events, except as allowed in the AKC Rules, Regulations, and policies. 
The American Kennel Club recognizes that special training collars may be an effective and useful management device, when properly used, for controlling dogs that might be extremely active, difficult to control on a neck collar, or dog aggressive. These collars are also recognized as possibly useful for gaining control at the start of basic obedience training, essential education that dogs deserve and need. 
There is a point at which owners should have sufficient control of their dogs to manage them on regular neck collars, without the use of special training collars. This is the point at which dogs are acceptable on the grounds of AKC competitive events and will have the opportunity to participate in those events.

Yes, AKC has the right to ban muzzles, e-collars and prong collars from their shows, but what people do away from the show grounds is none of their business. The AKC does NOT have the right to get on national television and denigrate a very useful, humane and responsible tool for training. Trainers should have the option to choose which training methods work best for them, without the nannies of the world butting in. 

And speaking of the nannies of the world, why here’s one now! 
AKC's Vice President Gina DiNardo

Media Appearances:
• More than 100 TV/Radio appearances
• NBC’s Today Show – multiple appearances
• iVillage Live – multiple appearances
• TV Commentator – Mohegan Sun AKC Events
• Satellite Media Tours for AKC/Eukanuba National Championship and AKC Meet the Breeds
• NPR and Animal Planet Radio

She’s presented as a media pro and is a top level AKC official, and yet, she spouts notions contrary to the interests of dog owners….the very group that AKC supposedly represents. If AKC has ANY integrity, they will fire this ignorant talking head immediately. 

Not only is John Q Public being snowed, but seems as though AKC is being infiltrated by the warm, fuzzy, “they're our fur kids” types. The same type who recoil in horror at the thought of disciplining their child in any meaningful manner. Can you imagine controlling a recalcitrant child using only "positive reinforcement"? It doesn't work for kids and it doesn't work for dogs, either. A stern "NO" would also be banned under the system of positive reinforcement only. Boo Hoo! You might cause STRESS and hurt feelings! 

This kind of evolving intrusive and restrictive "Welfare" philosophy is why we should fear the publishing of the upcoming Purdue study on dog husbandry practices.

Let’s see, Sayre to PIJAC, Prager to APHIS . . . . what’s next, Pacelle to AKC?  


*http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0102722
**http://video.foxnews.com/v/3782913580001/humane-to-use-shock-collars-for-dog-training/#sp=show-clips
***http://www.akc.org/rules/policymanual.cfm?page=5

Friday, September 12, 2014

Zeus, World's Tallest Dog - Victim of Early Neutering


 


Zeus, the Guinness World Record-Holder for Tallest Dog Ever, died this past week. He was five years old. News reports claimed that Zeus died from “old age.” Really?

Now I realize that Great Danes and other large-breed dogs are lucky to make it to age 10, but to claim that death at age five from “old age” is really, er, stretching the truth a bit. Could his death be due to osteosarcoma, very common among large breed dogs? Could it be a result of crippling arthritis from his obvious abnormal structure, that hastened his demise?

I examined a few photos of Zeus that I found on the web. No testicles are evident in any of those pictures. Now if you are a regular reader of this blog, you are aware that when a dog is neutered before maturity, he will not have the proper hormonal balance for closure of the growth plates on the long bones of the body. In other words, dogs who are neutered as a puppy will often suffer from a rangy, weedy growth pattern. The long bones often become excessively long. They will more often suffer from problems like hip dysplasia and patellar luxation than their intact counterparts.

Could Zeus's tall, rangy conformation possibly be due to being neutered as a puppy?

None of the news reports of his death mention whether or not Zeus was neutered. I did a search and found a discussion in an online forum in which one of the participants was a member of the family who owned Zeus, the world's tallest dog. *

Here's an excerpt:

Q: Has Zues (sic) been (or is he going to be) a father of giant puppies?

A: He has not, nor will he ever be. We did get him neutered when he was a puppy.

Q: Do you regret neutering him?

A: Not really. We got Zeus for a family pet--we never had any intention of breeding him when we got him.

Remark: Thank goodness, or else we'd all be serving our new great Dane overlords

Someone later in the thread gently informed her:


I know somebody already mentioned it, but waiting on neutering would have "bulked" him up more. Large breed dogs do not stop growing until at least two years old. Cutting off the hormones too early, can give the "gangly" appearance and cause them a host of problems. But I know it is becoming standard to neuter and spay early, because of many reasons. Yet there are just as many pros to waiting.


Lest you think this abnormal growth can be chalked up to genetics; it is possible, but unlikely. Further in the thread, we find that Zeus was one of 15 puppies, and that none of the others were abnormally huge. Additionally, Zeus himself was normal-sized as a puppy. There is no other explanation for his "tallness" than early neutering.
 
Q: Was he an unusually large puppy?




A: Not really. Regular puppy size

And elsewhere in the thread: "We really started noticing how tall he was when he was 10 months old--we took him back to meet his parents and he was already 6 inches taller than his father! "


Q: Did you ever hear about how the rest of the litter grew up? Are they also ridiculously large?

A: As far as I know, we've only met two others from the same litter, and they're normal sized Danes. No idea how we got to be the lucky ones!

The adult owner said in an article from a couple of years ago that she was “thrilled” to own a Guinness World Record-holding dog.
 
Again, we don't know precisely what Zeus died from, except reportedly "old age", but osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, is a common cancer in large breed dogs, and the risk of osteosarcoma is doubled when the dog is neutered.

I don't suppose life was quite so “thrilling” or “lucky” for the dog who died an untimely death.







Look Ma! No balls!






All humans smiling, but Zeus can't even stand up straight, and looks miserable.


*http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/101eyd/iam_the_owner_of_zeus_the_worlds_tallest_dog_ama/

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Enemies in our midst

According to Prager's post, "APHIS needs solid data, not conjecture, to bolster each type of exemption."

APHIS doesn’t need a damn thing. It’s none of their f***ing business. How can you have exemptions to something the Constitution gives you a RIGHT to do? I’ve probably said it before, but when I got into this (when AB1634 came out), I naively thought it would be a piece of cake. I knew dogs were property and I knew what the Constitution says about property rights. I thought it was a no brainer. Well, yes, it is…no brains have ever been involved in this entire animal rights war.

I will never understand how legislators can circumvent the Constitution to suit their own ends. I guess I’m still naïve.

And I’m horrified that Julian Prager got this job that makes him the official mouthpiece for all of us. How come no one knew the job opening existed? We could have supported someone who is actually on our SIDE and I could have slept at night. So why DIDN’T we know about it? Why was it so hush-hush? Or did he volunteer to create a position for himself?

 Dontcha love how he gave us all his official APHIS email address? Pompous ass.

You Can't Serve Two Masters

Here's some deeply disturbing news. At a time when literally thousands of dog clubs and owners are fighting a legal battle to stave off the new APHIS rules for breeders, NAIA's Julian Prager, a bulldog breeder, AKC judge, lawyer and former NY animal control director, announced yesterday that he is now working for USDA-APHIS. He just can't get enough of government rules and regulations. Especially when he is getting fed in the process!
 Do animal owners have any hope for the future? I don't think so. My crystal ball tells me we can only look forward to more red tape strangulation.
The USDA was not founded as an agency meant to regulate anyone, it was initiated to educate and advise farmers on good practices. But like most anything involving the government, it has expanded like the blob, feeding off of our human rights. Congress passed a law in the 1960s allowing USDA to regulate "commercial" dog breeders, and wala, here we are a few short decades later; now anyone who owns a few bitches and who sells even one dog by remote means like air shipping, is under their iron fist. Quite a nauseating turn of events here in a land where our freedoms are supposed to be a priority. 

A letter rife with baloney like how he will help develop government guidelines for "preserving bloodlines" and squelching "bad actors" was released yesterday by Mr. Prager. 
Now aside from the fact that the USDA could not produce even ONE example of a "bad actor" when requested to do so, what business is it of the government how anyone breeds, be it for the purpose of "preserving bloodlines" or crossbreeding to create a new breed? Will we now have minimal daily requirements for dog breeding? Get them OUT of where they don't belong! 
You just can't make this stuff up. Although it would have been nice to awaken and say, "oh gosh, it was only a bad dream."



I wanted to be sure that Delegates who were not at the meeting today and all club legislative liaisons received word of the announcement I made at today’s meeting.
Small hobby and show breeders have all been concerned about the implications of the revision to the “Retail Pet Store Rule" by APHIS and the implication for that group. APHIS has heard your concerns. At last year’s NAIA conference the APHIS Deputy Administrator met with about 20 of us after the session to discuss our concerns and issues. He committed to work with us to work to resolve these issues.
Two weeks ago, I was hired by Animal Care within APHIS as part of it central policy staff. My position, Canine Program Advisor, was advertised to bring in someone who would facilitate communication among APHIS, the breeder community, rescue groups and related animal interest groups. I will be providing APHIS staff with technical guidance on dog issues, assist in training their field staff, participate in developing program information material, conduct outreach and education and, most significantly, work on developing related policies and rules.
Both the amendment to the Animals Welfare Act in the Farm Bill and Conference Committee Report provide an opportunity for APHIS to clarify the existing rules and provide for a more clear structure for exemptions from licensing. APHIS was asked to clarify the definition of “breeding female” and I will be working with other staff to do that. The changes to the law give the Secretary the authority to exempt from licensing those whose activities have a minimal impact on interstate commerce and the welfare of animals. Both the AKC GR staff and NAIA are aware that the additional authority granted by Congress was, in large part, directed at addressing concerns expressed by smaller breeders who were breeding to preserve bloodlines.
I have asked for feedback from the Delegates and all clubs regarding what fact-based standards would work for your breed in your real world activities. APHIS needs solid data, not conjecture, to bolster each type of exemption and the exemptions should be tailored, to the extent possible, to a range of situations, not just a particular breed. For example, what data are there to provide a basis for determining when the number of animals being bred is insufficient to maintain breed existence? For all of the concerns expressed during the process of adopting the new rule, real world, grounded examples are needed to support an suggestions made to provide for exemptions.
As I said at the Legislative Caucus, drafting rules to include one group of require licensing of another group are fairly easy. What is difficult is writing a rule that the bad actors can’t wiggle around while still permitting those properly caring for their animals through. This all started because large breeding facilities that were previously excluded from the retail pet store definition because they sold wholesale, began selling dog of questionable health directly to purchasers through internet sales. That was the target of the rule revision. It is your mission (in your own self interest) to provide APHIS with the information that justifies including one group under licensing requirements, while exempting another group. And it can’t be “because we are the good guys.” It has to be some fairly objective criterion or criteria that are unassailable. Because you know there are those out there who will claim that just because you breed, you are suspect.
I can be reached at Julian.D.Prager@aphis.usda.gov. I look forward to your assistance in developing clear rules and meaningful exemptions for activities which have a minimal effect on interstate commerce. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please let me know. This is a complex process and it will take time to address Congress’ changes to the law and requests to the agency. In the meanwhile, the current rule is being enforced. Since discussions are just starting internally, I cannot tell you where this will wind up, but there is a way forward and I ask for your help in establishing a clear path ahead.
Julian Prager

NO WONDER Mr. Prager has pooh-poohed the legal challenge to the new APHIS rules. He LIKES the new APHIS rules!
Sort of creepy how we see prominent people doing their political power dances. First the USDA hiring from the ranks of the HSUS, then we had Ed Sayres and PIJAC, and now Julian Prager and the USDA! I'm afraid to see what will happen next!


Here's an old and wise precept about conflict of interest. Matthew 6:24: 
"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
Or we could revise it for today: 
"You cannot serve both the breeding community and the USDA-APHIS."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Fox in The Henhouse - PIJAC hires Ed Sayres

When I wrote my last post on August 8, I had no idea just how prophetic it was. In that post, I pointed out how the animal rights philosophy is seemingly pervading and perverting the essence of PIJAC, a group that is supposed to represent the pet industry. PIJAC was glorifying an "adoption" event in a park. The title of the post, "PIJAC HIJACKED?" asked the question, and now we have a definitive answer....YES! This week comes the news that PIJAC recently hired Ed Sayres, former CEO of the ASPCA to lead their organization.

You probably remember this guy Sayres. He's rabidly anti-breeder, rabidly anti-pet store. 

Mr. Sayres, in his tenure as leader of the ASPCA, also blocked "Oreo's Law" for years until it finally died. Oreo's Law would have required shelters to turn over animals to rescues who were willing to accept them. This makes sense, because we have observed for a long time how most "shelters" would prefer to kill animals than find them homes. "Oreo's Law" would have changed that and saved many lives. But, Sayres made sure it didn't pass, making him directly responsible for the deaths of an estimated 100,000 shelter animals.

 http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?tag=ed-sayres

But let's back up first, back to August 8. There was a message on my home answering service that day from someone who identified himself as a Vice President of PIJAC. He was calling in regard to my blog post, and said he couldn't understand my objections to their advertising this park event, because NOBODY was going home with a pet. It was NOT sales being conducted in public, he claimed.

So absurd! This guy had completely MISSED THE POINT that PIJAC is supposed to be representing the industry and lobbying for the right to participate in the pet trade. Why would they be involved at all with "adoptions?" Bigger question, why do they have a problem with sales being conducted in public? I didn't bother to return the call because this guy was oblivious.

Next we get another sucker punch, financed by PIJAC, in the way of an upcoming Purdue study that is meant to push even MORE regulations on dog breeders. Candace Croney, an associate professor of comparative patholobiology and animal science who focuses on the behavior AND WELFARE of animals says: 
The public is becoming increasingly concerned that existing state laws, typically written as minimum standards, do not fully address important elements of dog care and well-being, such as health, genetics, reproductive soundness and behavioral wellness. The ethical issues involved, including lifelong obligations to the animals, must also be addressed.
Oh dear. PIJAC and Purdue think that we need more regulations involving health, genetics, reproductive soundness, "LIFELONG OBLIGATIONS" and other animal rights drivel.  USDA's APHIS is also an integral partner in producing this study. 

Surprise surprise! Government bureaucrats love nothing better than more rules and regulations to make their worthless jobs secure. 

And then came the news a few days ago that Ed Sayres was being hired by PIJAC. Not just hired, but will be their President and CEO!!

Holy Apoplexy, Batman! Dogs and cats.....living together! Gobsmacked, I say!


Now Mr. Sayres writes a self-defense piece after the public outcry for this new appointment, claiming that he just didn't realize at the time that most breeders were good! Dang! He's finally Come to Jesus.

Here is an excerpt:
I know I have the skills necessary to reduce the polarized dynamics
between animal welfare organizations and the industry. I know, after 40
years in animal welfare, that regulations that are well thought out
protect animals and facilitate commerce. I also have a core belief that,
when managed responsibly, companion animal ownership provides mutual
benefits. The benefits, given and received, which are best described in
studies about the human-animal bond, obviously depend on owners who are
well educated on the medical and behavioral needs of their animals.
These are two priorities of the PIJAC mission, and I believe that my
deep experience in the field would add reasoned input to this vital
conversation.

I am especially interested in the challenge of breeding pure-bred dogs
on a large scale with humane care standards that prioritize the care and
conditions that matter most to the well being and lifetime care of the
dog. I may be the only person in the animal welfare field that believes
this is feasible. After spending two days visiting the Hunte
Corporation, I now know it is possible. Importantly, the Purdue
University study comes at the right time, and will provide us with the
data we need to accelerate the process of defining standards so we can
begin to meet the demand for dogs with a humane, transparent system.


If this message from Sayres doesn't blatantly scream ANIMAL RIGHTS, nothing does. 

 More REGULATIONS? For WHAT?  

The "medical and behavioral need of animals"? 

"Humane care standards that prioritize the care and conditions that matter most to the well being and lifetime care of the dog." 

Why are we expecting breeders to to be responsible for the lifetime care of the dog? That is NOT EVEN POSSIBLE. 

And what the devil is a "humane, transparent system"? 

I'll tell you what it is, it is total government control over every aspect of breeding and selling animals. 

That's great if you are one of those MORONS who believe that more government regulations are good. That's BAD if you believe in the individual's right to pursue their business or hobby unimpeded by government numbskulls. 

Andrew Hunte apparently hosted Sayres for a tour of his facility and the two are now fast friends. Mr. Hunte wrote a plea for unity, one for all, and all for one, and whoever PIJAC hires is just dandy with him apparently, because, well, they are PIJAC!

IDIOT!!!

And we also hear from other bastions of the pet industry, including a representative from the Pet Expo, who seems to feel that there is no harm, no foul, and that more regulations are helpful to society. He would like us to "wait and see" how the study goes.  

NAIA also weighed in recently regarding more regulations for imported animals, health certificates and so forth. Seems like a no-brainer to require animals be healthy in order to enter the country, and that's great, but why the embargo on importing animals for resale if they are under the age of six months? What will follow? 

Just like all other government claptrap, regulations expand like The Blob and engulf us all until we are eliminated by them. Some "progressives" think the new rules are great because they exempt hobby breeders. How many times do these people have to be shafted before they realize that NO regulations exempt anyone for very long, and that any rule that contains "exemptions" should not be in force in the first place. What's good for one is good for all. And rules for one group will eventually be rules for all. 

I may not be a smart person, but I know what love is. And this ain't it.

Friday, August 8, 2014

PIJAC HIJACKED?

Today I read a post from PIJAC on Facebook in support of going out to a park in Washington DC where "rescue" pet adoption was being offered. That's rather odd, coming from PIJAC, the "Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council;" a group that is supposed to be an advocate for the pet industry. I would assume "industry" might include commercial breeders, licensed private breeders, and the like. Supporting "industry" would seem to be at odds with "rescue" unless, of course, pet "rescue" with their commandeering of the pet store niche, importing animals for retail sales in the US and the like, is finally being recognized as part of the "pet industry."

Funny that in 2011, PIJAC joined the HSUS to also publicly support California's SB 917, a measure that prohibits sales of animals in public places. If "rescue" is an industry like any other, why is PIJAC supporting "rescue" sales in the park, when they previously supported a law to prohibit sales in public places? Why is PIJAC colluding with the HSUS on measures that prevent pet sales, yet at the same time promoting sales in the park?

Has PIJAC been hijacked by the schizophrenic insanity of the animal rights movement?

So, here in California we have many cities which allow no pets for sale in pet stores, unless they are from unlicensed, unregulated "rescues." No public sales, unless they are from unlicensed, unregulated "rescues."

A very successful rescue in my area, "Priceless Pets" has been obtaining pets from the Inland Valley Humane Society and SPCA (IVHS) in Pomona, California, and selling them at retail. In fact, they are following the suggested business model here in California cities. They are selling these pets in a retail outlet pet store in Chino Hills, CA.

That's good, right? We are passing laws to outlaw public sales, to outlaw pets in pet stores unless they come from a "rescue." So, our local rescue is going with the trend, rescuing dogs and selling them in a retail pet store outlet.

Hold it right there! The IVHS now is prohibiting Priceless Pets from pulling animals from the shelter. They want to examine PP's "business model." They are afraid that Priceless Pets is operating as......hold on to your hat.....a PET STORE!!

OH NO!

But wait, we all thought that's what the public wants? Pet stores selling rescued animals for adoption? Our legislators are passing laws giving rescues monopolies on sales. And now, they don't want the rescues to operate as "pet stores?" It's a bit late to change your mind about that, now, isn't it?

Maybe the plain truth of the metter is that they simply don't want ANYONE to sell pets. Not pet stores, not breeders, not rescues, not anyone!




We want you to sell rescued pets in public places and pet stores....yes, we do....no, we don't.....yes, we do.....no, we don't.......yes, we do.....no, we don't....


In fact, this very same rescue group, Priceless Pets, has been persecuted unmercifully by the Inland Valley Humane Society and SPCA. In 2011, the owners of Priceless Pets WENT TO JAIL FOR FIVE DAYS, at the insistence of the IVHS, for zoning violations!

Yes, they really want to find homes for the animals, don't they? NOT! They'd much rather kill them. The animal rights faction really does live up to the motto:
 
"Animal Rights Means No Animals Left."

This entire "pet store vs rescue" fiasco coming to the forefront this week reminded me that I had never posted the article to this blog about California's SB 917. It went to "The Dog Press," but not here. So, here it is now, three years later. Thanks, PIJAC, for helping the HSUS push this one through!




California approves ban on public sales of animals – SB 917

 

Sale of an animal in public will now be a criminal offense

 

 

Geneva Coats, R.N.

Secretary,California Federation of Dog Clubs

July 27, 2011

 

SB 917 was signed into law yesterday by Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown. The criminal animal cruelty statute now will include public sales of animals, making sales a misdemeanor offense right up there in the same league with beating, torturing and cruelly killing an animal. The law will go into effect in 2012.
 

The notorious CA SB 917 has been promoted by supporters as a ban on "roadside sales" of animals. In actuality, this bill prohibits any public animal sales activities unless specifically exempted….roadside or not. No animal sales may transpire in any public place. Offenders would face a fine on a first offense, and misdemeanor criminal charges thereafter. SB 917 adds to the current criminal animal cruelty statue. Current law describes animal cruelty offenses (such as torturing, tormenting, cruelly beating, mutilating, or cruelly killing an animal) and specifies that such activities can be charged as either misdemeanors or felonies, with possible jail time. SB 917 doubles the maximum allowed penalties for these offenses.
 

Equating heinous, abusive actions with animal sales sets the bar for animal cruelty at a very low threshold. Under the language of this bill, selling puppies will become as unfavorably regarded by the public as selling such contraband items as illegal drugs or stolen merchandise. This bill also establishes a worrisome precedent by criminalizing the very act of sales itself. The act of selling is not inherently abusive by any stretch of the imagination. Where will this lead in the future? It is frightening to contemplate.
 
Dog club meeting at a coffee shop? Transferring ownership of animals in the parking lot is now a criminal offense. Do you live 200 miles from your buyer? Be careful! Meeting midway to sell a puppy in any public place could now earn you a rap sheet. Giving kittens away at the local supermarket could be considered a misdemeanor offense under the provisions of this bill, as that could be construed by overzealous officers as “giving away as part of a commercial transaction”. Hey, the kid has change in his pocket? He must have been selling those kittens!
 
In a practical sense, what does this mean for animals? Sadly, it means that many people will be afraid to place animals at all, and instead of animals finding good homes, more dogs and cats will become homeless, to starve or be hit by a car; or, they might end up in the local shelter where they will add to the death toll. The Good Samaritan who attempts to find homes for the litter of kittens under his porch would end up with a criminal record. 
 
SB 917 was crafted with some specific exemptions. Shelters, nonprofit rescues, SPCAs, and pet stores are exempt, as are events held by 4-H Clubs, and Junior or Future Farmers Clubs. Agricultural/county fairs are exempt. Stockyards, public livestock sales, and live animal markets are exempt. Dog shows, cat shows and bird shows are exempt.

The fact that certain groups can be exempt from the “crime” of selling, or that the “crime” is OK in some locations but not others, demonstrates that the act of selling itself is not inherently undesirable or criminal.


But beyond that, what does the exemption for "dog shows" mean for us as dog hobbyists?

 Not much. In order to comply with this law, the dog sale must occur on the confines of the showground. As we all are aware, AKC has a strict policy of no dog sales at dog shows. Further, in order for the sale to occur legally, the show must ensure that all exhibitors comply with all applicable federal, state, and local animal laws. This requirement would be a practical impossibility. Exhibitors travel from different cities, counties and even different states to the showgrounds. Different areas have different animal control regulations. In addition, the exhibitors must carry proof of their paid entry fee. This last requirement seems to indicate that animal control personnel intend to police showgrounds. 

And there is good reason to believe that animal control personnel intend to police this new law, determining administration of violations and penalties. The bill states: "A notice describing the charge and the penalty for a violation of this section may be issued by any peace officer, animal control officer......or humane officer". Many animal control officers have an adversarial attitude toward dog breeders, and will now have the power to serve them with criminal charges and penalties simply for conducting an honest and honorable business transaction. Criminal records adversely affects an individual's employment eligibility and credibility in general and should not be imposed lightly by an animal control officer with an ax to grind and little education in constitutional law.

 
If the dog show exemption is completely meaningless for dog hobbyists (and it is), what venue for sales is left to California dog breeders? Sales in public is prohibited, and AKC dog shows do not permit on site sales. The only alternative is to conduct dog sales from private residences. The dangers of an individual selling anything from his home are well-known. Home invasion robberies, assaults and even murders have occurred during private party sales gone awry. There have been documented incidents where puppies were stolen at gunpoint from individuals conducting sales at their residences.
   
Putting aside the danger involved, dog breeding and selling is already laden with multiple onerous regulations and is rapidly becoming cost prohibitive in California. Many localities including Los Angeles City and County limit breeders to one litter per year, and an expensive breeding permit is required. In the city of Los Angeles, it costs $335 per year to license ONE intact dog; and this only IF you meet the requirements to qualify for the intact exemption! The very survival of dog breeding in California is tenuous at best.

 
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is the sponsor of SB 917. That fact alone should tell you that the bill is part of a larger agenda to stifle animal ownership. This same legislation was brought forward in previous sessions in 2009 and 2010, and did not pass. In 2009, then-governor Schwarzenegger returned the bill, AB 1122, writing: 
 

"I am returning Assembly Bill 1122 without my signature. I am concerned with the scope and unintended consequences of this bill and that it does not assure the humane and ethical treatment and welfare of animals. This bill has unknown costs associated with the enforcement and implementation of prohibiting the sale of live animals in specified venues and could drive the selling of animals underground or to private sites. For this reason I am unable to sign this bill."

 
A similar measure banning roadside sales was recently nixed by Texas Governor Perry, who wrote in his veto statement:

 
"House Bill 1768 would encroach upon the rights of private enterprise and property owners while fundamentally altering and expanding the role of county government....... As a state, we should not raise barriers of entry into the marketplace, stifle competition or hinder the entrepreneurial spirit."

 Those involved in breeding and raising animals heartily concur!

 The HSUS, the sponsor of SB 917, has an admitted agenda to make animal breeding incrementally more expensive and inconvenient. This bill is another weapon in the anti-dog breeder arsenal. Couple the ban on public sales with other bills presented this session that require sellers to report buyers information to animal control (AB 1121), that require microchipping of any dog that is impounded (SB 702), and that prohibit anyone convicted of an animal offense from residing with animals for a period of 5 to 10 years (AB 1117), and we can see the pieces of the puzzle fitting together. With HSUS sponsoring the bill, the intent is clear. Criminalize dog owners by any means possible, and then prohibit them from future animal ownership for a good long time.

 
The Animal Council and California Federation of Dog Clubs opposed SB 917 early on, and other groups in the state soon joined in the effort as well.


But sadly, the AKC chose to remain silent on this bill, citing lack of an official policy on public sales. Dwindling numbers of AKC registrations and declining sales by private parties does not seem to be sufficient motivation to spur AKC into active opposition of all anti-dog ownership proposals.  

 
The Farm Bureau also naively did not oppose SB 917, pointing to exemptions in the bill for public sales of livestock. Don’t farmers use herding, hunting and guard dogs? Do farmers realize that under SB 917, they could now be arrested for selling a puppy at a fair or livestock show? Creeping incrementalism in these animal rights-sponsored bills will hasten the day that working dogs cannot be obtained at any price.
 

PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint advisory Council) actively supported SB 917. It seems that PIJAC was delighted at the thought of eliminating any competition for pet stores and heavily-regulated commercial breeders. Unfortunately, the animal rights groups in California are also lobbying intensely to ban sales of purpose-bred pets in pet stores and replace them with unregulated “rescues”. Combine a pet store sales ban with a ban on public sales, and consumers in California will have limited options for obtaining the pet of their dreams.

 
On August 2, 1776, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin said "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately” – meaning that if they did not band together in the fight against the British, they would all be hanged separately. These words still ring true today, 235 years later. We need all the animal interest groups to work together to oppose anti-dog ownership legislation.

So be warned, Californians. Soon you can be a criminal just for selling a dog.

 


  

New crimes created by CA SB 917

 

 SEC. 2.  Section 597.4 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

   597.4. (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully do

either of the following:

   (1) Sell or give away as part of a commercial transaction, a live

animal on any street, highway, public right-of-way, parking lot,

carnival, or boardwalk.

   (2) Display or offer for sale, or display or offer to give away as

part of a commercial transaction, a live animal, if the act of

selling or giving away the live animal is to occur on any street,

highway, public right-of-way, parking lot, carnival, or boardwalk.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Best in Sanctimony

Bo Doubles Down on offensive anti-breeder rhetoric

The 2014 prize for Arrogant Fool of the Year goes to Best in Show Daily's Bo Bengtson. Yes, I am prepared to issue the reward already, even though we still have half of 2014 left. Mr. Bengtson wrote an article a few days ago containing so many bigoted fallacies about commercial dog breeders that it's impossible to ignore them in good conscience yet it is equally difficult to begin to address all his wrong-headed ideas. He even doubled down on his ignorant comments a few days later, despite attempts by enlightened readers to educate him.

To paraphrase Mr. Bengtson in his lengthy followup diatribe, "Upon reflection and despite a ton of negative feedback, I still believe in my stand and would not change anything I wrote. In fact, let me slur even more people. I declare that a PUPPY MILL IS SOMEONE WHO BREEDS A LOT OF PUPPIES. I know because I looked it up in a dictionary."

It's in there, Mr. Bengtson dutifully informs us.

I looked up "sanctimonious" in the dictionary. Guess what, that's in there too!
 
Seriously? What is wrong with breeding a lot of puppies? NOTHING! Someone who loves dogs and decides to make dog breeding a career should be heralded as a hero, not vilified. There is a shortage of pets in many areas, and rescue groups are importing dogs from unscrupulous, unregulated and invisible sources in other countries to fill the void. Why can't professional breeders fill the need for puppies in our country?

Sorry, Bo, but I believe that even poor kids should be able to own a dog. But then, I'm not a misanthropist like you. You, who believe that few people deserve to own a dog. Yes, you actually did say that! I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor..

In one fell swoop Mr. Bengtson slurred honorable organizations like AKC, CKC, APRI, the Missouri Pet Breeders' Association, and pet stores everywhere. He tarred ALL dog breeders by invoking upon them the animal rightist slur “Puppy Mill”, with the accompanying ugly implications that label conjures up. “State breeder groups” as referred to by AKC are generalized by Mr. Bengtson as “Puppy mill groups.” How can one person spew so much ignorance and hatred? It is difficult to imagine. 
 
The worst part of all this, judging from the comments on his hit pieces, is that he has a fawning audience. After all, he's a JUDGE and an AUTHOR and consequently a legend. Well, in his own mind and that of his like-minded fan club, anyway.

“The US is the biggest Puppy Mill country in the world” pronounces Mr. Bengtson. The sheer stupidity of this statement boggles the mind. Dogs are more pampered, coddled, and well-cared for in the US than anyplace else on earth. We spend untold BILLIONS every year on our dogs. And judging by his definition, large quantities of puppies equals "puppy mill". Where are the facts and figures on the numbers of dogs produced in the US vs. other countries? 
 
A person who does no homework and provides no factual information doesn't deserve a soapbox to spew forth his uneducated opinion.

 This author with delusions of grandeur goes on to proclaim he is “Stating the Obvious”:
  
“Dogs should NEVER be bred as a commercial commodity.”
   
Such a sweeping generality based solely on unsupported personal opinion is only "obvious" to those operating on limited brainpower.
 
If I want to breed dogs commercially and it brings joy to my life, Mr. Bengtson, you can just get your pointy nose OUT of my business. You have NO RIGHT to denigrate anyone who breeds dogs for ANY REASON. I can and will fight to protect your ability to breed your dogs for ANY DAMN REASON YOU PLEASE because that is your right as a member in good standing of human society. Even if your reason is chasing ribbons and pumping up your ego, it's your right to pursue your happiness. But you do not have the right to remove happiness from others' lives. You don't have permission from God to steal my joy.
   
“No commercial kennel can afford to hire enough qualified individuals to properly socialize a large number of dogs and puppies”....“No commercial kennel can afford to perform the strict health testing required to maintain breeding stock that is certified clear of all hereditary defects.”
The fact that Mr. Bengtson believe that dogs can be "certified clear of all hereditary defects" demonstrates just how woefully ignorant he really is. He's never actually read any articles on canine genetics, or given any serious thought to the subject, that much is painfully obvious.

But disregarding that stupid statement, just how, pray tell, did Mr. Bengtson determine what any commercial kennel can or cannot afford to do? Has he examined their tax returns? Better question, how can a “hobby/show breeder” who LOSES money afford to hire enough help to properly socialize or provide medical care and ridiculously expensive “health testing" for any number of dogs and puppies?  If you're away from home at work all day and lose money on your breeding efforts, you can't do either.

Mr. Bengtson operates on severely warped logic. He believes someone breeding for profit can't afford to care properly for his dogs, but someone who loses money with each litter can? Please. And what rock has he been hiding under? Doesn't he realize that the USDA wants to classify anyone with a few females who ships dogs as a commercial entity? Why, Mr. Bengtson, that could very well be YOU.
 
“All commercial kennels will be tempted to cut corners (and costs) when it comes to the dogs’ living quarters and general well-being — as vividly demonstrated in their objections to the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act.”
    
Here's a news flash for you Bo, Missouri's misnomered cruelty act had only one objective....to shut down as many dog breeders as possible. It was not intended to ferret out "cruelty" unless you consider the act of having puppies a cruel crime. It was out of that "cruelty" act campaign led by the misanthropist HSUS that the both the Alliance for Truth and the Cavalry Group were born.

Missouri is a state where many professional dog breeders operate their licensed, inspected and heavily regulated kennels, and Missouris has therefore been under relentless attack from animal rights extremists who want all breeding stopped. There is a reason that Missouri has very strong groups such as MoFed and the Missouri Pet Breeders Association. These groups have been formed to protect the rights of individuals who operate lawful businesses and care for their dogs maintaining only the highest standards. Maybe Mr. Bengtson should speak with them before he decides to support a stupid act from several years in the past, that he obviously knows nothing at all about. But no, that would require some research, a concept that is completely foreign to him..

And more broad brush generalizations; Bengtson claims that EVERY commercial breeder will cut costs, but of course the sainted hobby show breeders would NEVER do such a thing; right, Bo? Oh wait, hobby breeders don't have any money to spend on their dogs. They can't spend money on their dogs' living quarters and general well being. They LOSE money on every litter. Hmm..How on earth will they be able to afford any course of action other than cutting costs? Quite a conundrum, wouldn't we say? But then logic is obviously NOT Bo's strong suit.
 
“No commercial kennel has the time and resources to weed out unsuitable puppy buyers. For the same reason, pet stores are obviously not a suitable avenue for puppy sales, and pet stores are a major outlet for commerical kennels.”
     
Again, how would Mr. Bengtson  know what anyone has the time and resources to do, other than himself? I'm betting a lot of people seek out their next pet from a pet store to escape the sanctimonious busybodies of the dog world of which Mr. Bengtson is a prime example. Some of us wish to determine our own destiny, not be stuck in co-ownership contracts or pet contracts that dictate what we can or can't do with our own animal. When you buy from a pet store, you don't have to put up with insults to the intelligence like a contract with more strings than mozarella cheese.

Here's something you might be interested to know. I have a friend who owned a pet store. She ALWAYS made sure the puppies she sold went to suitable homes. She used an application form for her puppies. But pet stores in our areas are all being forced out of business by the Rescue Retailers who are creating for themselves a legal monopoly for their pets and who import them from unknown, unregulated foreign breeders. Dogs with unknown ancestry and unknown health history are better than dogs from licensed, inspected professional breeders? I don't think so.
   
 “ No commercial kennel would willingly take back —and provide a refund for — a puppy whose owners tire of it or mistreat it.”
    
This is just a plain flat-out LIE.  States such as mine have a Puppy Lemon Law that REQUIRES a breeder or pet store to take back any unsatisfactory puppy, as well as pay veterinary costs in an amount up to twice the purchase price. How does Mr. Bengtson know what anyone else would or wouldn't do? Is he perhaps trained in the use of the crystal ball?
 
Do non-commercial breeders willingly take back and provide a refund for dogs they have bred? Because in my observation, that isn't always the case. In fact, that is seldom the case, nor should it necessarily BE the case. People who buy dogs are responsible to care for them and find them a new home if they are unable to keep them. That's NOT the job of the breeders who produced the dog originally; although many of them do so, it is surely above and beyond the call of duty.
 
“Excuse me, but NO commercial kennel breeds with “the dogs’ welfare” as the primary consideration. If you did you would immediately cease to be commercial!” claims Bengtson. Gee, Bo, don't you realize that anyone who ships a dog or owns more than a few females is now regarded as a “commercial” breeder in the eyes of the law? That means MOST show and hobby breeders, and using your logic they are now considered PUPPY MILLS!!!!.
 
 Perhaps Bo believes that dogs' welfare is the primary consideration of a dog show? No dog's welfare is promoted in the least by being promoted for the objective of selling its offspring for bigger bucks than one without a titled parent. NO dog gives a damn about winning a ribbon, I'd say that must be STATING THE OBVIOUS.
 
The entire basis for this rant about commercial breeders is a feigned ignorance on the part of Mr. Bengtson regarding AKC having a division devoted to High-Volume Breeders. Notice they don't call it "Commercial" breeders but use the term "high volume". The distinction is subtle and more blurred with each passing day, but I am here to inform the oblivious Mr. Bengtson that a goodly portion of these "high volume" breeders are....HOBBY SHOW BREEDERS. Yes, that's right. Any show breeder who registers six or more litters in a year is automatically included. And six litters a year can be less than a dozen puppies when a toy breed is involved.
 
So was Mr. Bengtson really uninformed about this program, or was there another precipitating factor that instigated his venomous attack on the AKC and dog breeders? Well funny you should ask. Just this past March, the AKC Board of Directors voted (unanimously) to remove Mr. Bengtson's eligibility as a judge and as an AKC delegate, "based on the fact that he became occupationally INELIGIBLE" for these pursuits when he purchased a dog magazine in December 2013. This information is contained within the minutes of the March 2014 meeting of the AKC Board of Directors.
 
Smells a bit fishy, rather like a vengeful vendetta, doesn't it? 
 
Jerks like Mr. Bengtson, who think they are better than everyone else, are the problem. They are the reason that animal rights nuts are winning the war on breeders. Fools like him are the reason that the US rescue market imports hundreds of thousands of dogs from third-world countries every year. Numbskulls who can't think logically are driving anti-breeding legislation and new USDA regulations based on phantom cases of animal abuse. People like Mr. Bengtson are the reason that “hobby breeders” are regarded by much of the public as people who don't care so much about dogs as about their own fame and prestige. People like Mr. Bengtson are the reason we are ALL losing our rights to breed and keep animals.

But you don't care about any of that, do you Mr. Bengtson?

There is one comforting thought. Long after the holier-than-thous of the world are gone, the pet owners and breeders will remain the last men standing in the war against the animal rights agenda. We are not going to give up our rights as easily as one who would sell them for 30 pieces of silver.