The City of Chula Vista, California, recently established a task force to attempt to develop ways to reduce shelter intakes. (See “Senseless in San Diego” on this blog to be brought up to speed on the situation in Chula Vista). The task force is composed of rescuers, breeders and city employees.
Sharon Hamolsky, a self-proclaimed “animal advocate”, recently brought a powerpoint presentation to the City, called “Ranger’s Proposal.” The proposal is named after her dog “Ranger.” Ms. Hamolsky holds a B.A. in religion (biblical studies) and she is a licensed pilot. No credentials in animal husbandry, however. Imagine that!
“We have to weed out unscrupulous breeders who put profit before humane care for pets. We have to put unscrupulous breeders out-of-business….All prospective pet owners want a healthy animal”, the presentation begins.
OK, so far so good. We are all for humane care for pets, most of us agree that the unscrupulous should be put out of business. And, a healthy animal is always a good thing, particularly when looking for a pet.
"Ranger's Proposal will ensure prospective pet owners will be buying a quality puppy or kitten that meets very high standards.” Hamolsky states. Great! Maybe they are coming up with a plan to reduce the numbers of puppies smuggled in from Mexico?
Shelter workers favor adopting a pet from a shelter, or a rescue, Hamolsky continues. “But, if you absolutely must have a purebred puppy or kitten, ‘Ranger's Proposal’ will ensure the health and well-being of the pet.”
Fabulous! We can have guarantees for health and well-being! Let’s see the rest of the proposal to know how this miraculous feat will be accomplished.
First, we are told that breeders must pay for a special breeder’s license, and pay to be listed on a special Licensed Breeder website, and pay to be included in a 1-800 U-verify phone line for breeders. OK, so far I’m not seeing how this proposal will ensure health and well-being of the pet. It looks like the money is going to go to city bureaucrats, not for veterinary care, or to buy food or new toys. Hmmm.
Next, Hamolsky explains that breeder licensing is a requirement in the City of Los Angeles. However, she neglects to mention that LA’s breeder licensing and mandatory spay-neuter laws have been an abject failure. The cost for a breeder’s permit is $235 per year, and must be paid for any intact dog, whether or not the dog is ever bred. There is a four-page application for said permit, and I’d be surprised if any have applications have been submitted to date. Shelter numbers and deaths have risen sharply in Los Angeles under the brunt of these new fees, rules and regulations.
Still not seeing how any of this promotes health and well-being of our pets. It’s all about extorting money.
Next, Ms. Hamolsky presents a list of “approved breeder criteria” which she claims is approved by Bill Bruce, the very successful director of Calgary, Alberta’s animal control department. Mr. Bruce is a strong proponent of licensing for both dogs and cats.
However, the purpose of the licensing is to facilitate returning lost pets to their owners. Licensed pets are even given a free ride home. Mr. Bruce has stated in public seminars that as long as the owner licenses, he doesn’t care how many pets they have or what they do with them. So I am rather skeptical of Ms. Hamolsky’s claim that Bill Bruce approved her list of criteria for inclusion on the licensed breeder website. That would be rather out of character for him.
The requirements include:
• Must purchase a breeder’s license
• Annual physical exams for the breeding animals
• Owner must follow the veterinary recommendations for preventive health care
• Veterinary recommendations must be entered into a log book, with dates of compliance, and this book must be available for inspection 24/7.
• Unannounced inspections at any time, with a minimum charge of $100 per inspection. You must pay in advance or lose your breeder’s license, and lose your animals (how does one pay in advance for an unscheduled inspection?)
• Limit of one litter per year, and four per lifetime of the animal
• Must pay city business license fees, state and local taxes and state sales taxes.
• (Insert here a drone-like comment about how breeders contribute to “overpopulation”, a condition which does not exist in San Diego County.)
• Prohibition of pet sales in pet stores unless the animal is a “rescue”
• Recommendation to require microchip or tattoo
Whether or not any of this promotes health and well-being of the pet is highly debatable. It definitely would serve to bloat the government coffers, and beef up the veterinarians' paychecks. Hey, City Councilmember Rudy Ramirez’s sister is a veterinarian! Now I think we can understand the impetus for these ideas.
Lastly, Ms. Hamolsky suggests launching an ad campaign featuring male stars and athletes to promote sterilization of male dogs. WAIT a minute! What does neutering have to do with promoting health and well-being of pets? There are few genuine medical conditions that require neutering, and many health problems that can occur as a result of neutering. And what does a public ad campaign for neutering have to do with breeder licensing?
All in all, this is a very schizophrenic proposal, and will only serve to eliminate local sources of healthy, well-bred pets. Breeding dogs is generally a money-losing proposition, and heaping more fees, permits, inspections and other hassles on those who breed an occasional litter will only cause them to give up altogether.
Ah, well, there’s always Mexico; the border is just a few short miles from Chula Vista. They’ll be happy to fill our orders for pets.