Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Unfriendly Fire

In today's anti-dog breeder legislative atmosphere, it would be really beneficial if the groups organized to protect our ownership interests would join forces in that effort. Alas, this is not even remotely on the radar of at least one particular group in California. Let's call them, for the sake of discussion, "Group A".

Group A is sponsoring a piece of legislation this session that would allow discounted puppy licensing. This same bill also mandates that pet dealers report their sales to their local licensing bureau.

Enter Group B. Group B notices that this bill would produce many undesirable unintended consequences for dogs and their owners. Several other animal interest groups (I guess those would be groups C, D and so on! LOL) also raised concerns regarding this bill. In many areas we have mandatory sterilization requirements, and oppressive limit laws, as well as differential license fees for intact dogs that are, in most cases, exponentially higher than fees for altered dogs. Mandated reporting could adversely affect dog owners. For example, in Los Angeles, the license fee for a sterilized dog is $20. However, the owner of an intact dog must pay $100 for their dog license, as well as a $235 fee for a breeder's permit. The breeder's permit is NOT optional; if the dog is intact you MUST pay for a breeder's permit. Whether you intend to breed the dog or not. This adds up to a yearly license fee of $335....per year....per dog. IF that dog "qualifies" to remain intact, that is. Is it any wonder that people are not lining up to license their dogs in Los Angeles?

Aggressive licensing is fine when you have a Bill Bruce or a Nathan Winograd in charge of the shelter. Instead, what we in California are stuck with is PETArds like Judie Mancuso and power-hungry vets like Alan Drusys....AC departments lying in wait, breathless with the anticipation of punishing the "greedy evil breeders" (direct Mancuso quote) for some technical violation of licensing, limits, mandatory spay/neuter or... we can now add to the list.... NONREPORTING of their sales to the local licensing agency. Can you foresee the day when an owner with a puppy presents to the local shelter to apply for their license? "And just WHO sold you this dog?" Gotcha, you evil breeder!

Coincidentally, we have ANOTHER bill proposed here in California right now that prohibits anyone convicted of an animal offense from contact with animals for a period of 5 to 10 years! And yet ANOTHER bill proposed to criminalize sales of animals in public places as a violation of animal cruelty laws. Let's connect the dots here. Make laws that are impossible to comply with, criminalize the owner, and then prohibit them from future animal contact! Clever little devils, those Animal Rights Fanatics. You gotta respect their malicious and tenacious spirit.

So, Group B opposes the puppy licensing/seller reporting bill and writes letters to the committees as this bill advances. Group A gets wind of the letter. Instead of agreeing to disagree, and respecting a well-thought out opposing opinion, Group A publicly posts disparaging comments about Group B on their blog. They claim that Group B is a "just say no" group; a LIE because group B is a sponsor of one bill this year and has written in support of another good bill. Group B simply does not support THIS particular bill, because it is NOT a good bill. Group A further maligns Group B, stating in their blog post:

But we were stunned to see them give as a primary reason that all vets are already required to report rabies vaccinations to all local governments. From their letter:
Currently, veterinarians are already required to report any dogs vaccinated for rabies to licensing authorities. THERE IS NO SUCH STATE LAW. And we don't want such a state law.
Now Group A is being rather disingenuous here, because they should know that according to the California Health and Safety Code, section 12169 (e) in reference to rabies vaccination enforcment:

"The governing body of each city, city and county, or county shall maintain or provide for the maintenance of a pound system and a rabies control program for the purpose of carrying out and enforcing this section."

In many counties and cities in the state, particularly in the more heavily populated areas, veterinarians ARE required to report all rabies vaccinations that they administer to the local licensing agency as well as maintain records of the same. This is how the cities and counties comply with state law for rabies vaccination and licensing compliance. Yes, San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange San Mateo and other heavily populated areas DO require veterinarians to report to the government the name and address of owners whose dogs they vaccinate.

San Mateo County states on their website:

" Rabies vaccination reporting is required under the California Health and Safety Code 12169."
And further goes on to quote their own ordinance:
"Every veterinarian who vaccinates or causes or directs to be vaccinated in the County any dog, cat, or wolf hybrid with anti-rabies vaccine shall certify that such animal has been vaccinated. Every veterinarian shall submit to the licensing authority a copy of the County-approved anti-rabies form, within ten (10) days of beginning of each month, for any dog, cat or wolf hybrid which he/she vaccinates or directs to be vaccinated with anti-rabies during the previous month. An Animal Control Officer or Animal Licensing Officer shall have the right to inspect records of rabies vaccination during normal business hours."

Required reporting of rabies vaccination or sales of animals by pet dealers only results in more people avoiding vaccination/licensing. Another unintended consequence could be owners turning their dog in to the shelter when it reaches a year old, is not a cute puppy any more, and all of a sudden has to either have costly sterilization surgery or pay a HUGE license fee. And in Los Angeles, you don't even get that choice, you must opt for sterilization unless you can "qualify" to keep your dog intact. Many people will have no choice but to give up the dog, considering today's tight economy. Spaying a dog costs in the neighborhood of $300 and up, unless you can find some sort of government-sponsored clinic where God only knows what quality of surgical care your dog will receive.

And, to address some other items in this blog post by Group A, I could give a rat's patoot if 77% of owners sterilize their dog by a year old....what about that other 23%? And besides that, we should not be mindlessly encouraging the spay-neuter mentality. The result can be a host of adverse health consequences. Confinement is already the law, which means that if properly confined there is NO risk of unwanted litters, and the owner should make the decision about whether or not to sterilize his dog. NOT be leaned on by the government at gunpoint.

Being intact does NOT equate to being bred. There is absolutely NO justification for lower license rates for sterilized dogs.

As to lower license rates for puppies, license fees should be consistent regardless of age or reproductive status. Differential rates for puppies or intact adults must be vigorously opposed on principle.

But, returning to the issue of the proposed puppy license/seller reporting bill. Instead of considering all the logical reasons to oppose this stupid piece of legislation, Group A attacks and misquotes the opponents of the bill by claiming that they said that ALL vets must report ALL rabies vaccinations to the state; as well as stating that Group B claimed that this is a state law. Which, again, was NEVER stated. No such statement was ever made by Group B.

And why oh why are we fixated on a minor point like who must report dog owners to the state for licensing purposes? It seems in Group A's warped view of the world, everybody must be reported to the state by SOMEBODY ELSE. If not veterinarians reporting via vaccination records, then the seller must get into the act? I don't know how others may feel on the subject, but in my estimation nanny government is NEVER a good idea. People need to be responsible for themselves and their own actions, and we surely do not need tattletale busybodies reporting their neighbors to Big Brother. If my dog needs a license then I am the one responsible to procure said license.

Group A has a history of sniper attacks against other groups with whom they should instead be cooperating to protect our common interests. But with their sponsorship of this bill, and their constant libelous attacks on other animal ownership groups in the state, it is apparent that Group A is no longer working in the best interests of either dogs or their owners.

Well, there is certainly no point in sleeping with the enemy. We can only pray that Group A folds up their tent and goes away before they do further irreparable damage.

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