Imagine you live in a state where it is illegal to buy or take possession of an animal in a public place. Where you cannot buy a pet in a pet store, unless it is a "rescue" or shelter animal that may be trucked in from another state or even another country. Where dogs must be spayed/neutered by law in many localities, and where the state government actually wanted to pass a mandate that every dog in the state be sterilized.
In this hypothetical place, you cannot easily own an intact animal. In order to qualify, you must show your dog in competition, belong to a breed club with an enforced code of ethics, and pay a hefty fee. Breeding is out of the question because government requires you to qualify for an expensive breeding permit before you can ever consider the possibility. Any pet that is "adopted" through a shelter or rescue MUST be sterilized BY LAW. There are limits on how many pets you can own. All the while, you hear grumblings on the street that there aren't enough homes to absorb the strays. Well, that last part about not enough homes for the strays is a lie, but you have heard so many lies told so often, that you now just accept those lies at face value and believe them as truth.
Now imagine that you don't care too much about any of that, because you don't have any plans to be a dog breeder. You are happy to own an occasional pet or two. None of those problems affect you, right?
Let's see about that.
Believe it or not, our hypothetical state actually exists. It's called CALIFORNIA.
So, one fine sunny California day, you decide that you would like to get a puppy of a certain breed that you have long admired.
You pick up the Los Angeles Times and pull out the classified ads. You quickly scan to the "Pets for sale" section. Notice anything strange? Where there used to be dozens of ads for puppies and kittens on a daily basis, now you are lucky to find a handful. And darn it all, there is NOT ONE AD for the breed you want.
You go to your local pet store. They do not sell pets, they inform you, only pet supplies. Maybe on the weekend you can come back when they have an "adopt-a-thon"?
So now, you are looking online, researching about the breed of puppy you would like to buy. You come across a website that urges you to contact a local breed club for breeder referrals.
You find the local club for the breed you are interested in, and contact them. But no one has any puppies available. In fact, few members are even planning to have any litters in the near future. Even fewer are interested in talking to you, a complete stranger, who could very well be a government agent looking for people breeding dogs "under the radar".
You decide to look a bit farther from home, maybe in Nevada or Arizona or Oregon. Now you are being told, it may be possible to buy a puppy but none of those breeders will ship due to new federal regulations. Can you afford to take time off from work to drive out of state? Can you afford to buy a round trip plane ticket for yourself, and then an extra fare for the puppy?
So there are no puppies available locally in either pet stores or from local breeders. Going outside the local area is too difficult and expensive. Just where will you find a puppy? Rescues and shelters may have a dog that looks similar to the breed you are interested in, but you have no way to know the health history of the dog and its relatives. That makes you feel uneasy. They don't have any puppies, only adults. You really want the joy of raising a puppy of your own. Also, when buying a shelter or rescue pet, there are no money-back guarantees, like the state requires when you buy from a breeder or a pet store.
Sure, you have adopted shelter animals in the past, and they can be wonderful, but you really want a puppy of this particular breed THIS TIME. Why can't you find one? And while researching online, you have read the latest canine health studies that have given you pause about spay/neuter, particularly at a young age. If you are lucky enough to find a puppy or dog of the breed you want through a shelter or rescue, why are you being forced to sterilize your dog, when you don't want to?
So now, you are starting to get pretty pissed off. You can actually feel your knickers twisting, and it is quite uncomfortable. What right does the government have to limit your choice of pet and what you do with it? Why all the insane rules?
Maybe you give up, throw up your hands in frustration, and settle for a pet rock. Or maybe, just maybe, you mobilize your family and friends and insist that your politicians answer to you for the anti-pet laws they are passing on a regular basis.
Once you have hit rock bottom, please don't settle for a pet rock. Speak up! Elections DO have consequences, and we are now paying the price for electing current AR-friendly politicians at the state and federal level.
Here's a novel concept. How about we vote for those politicians who uphold the constitution and preserve the rights of the individual? And make sure to let them know WHY you are voting either for or against them.
Two thirds of US households own pets. Once politicians realize that we are a voting force to be reckoned with, they will not be so eager to pass such oppressive laws.
May you find the puppy of your dreams, but at this point, I'm not real optimistic about that possibility.