Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Own a pretty rooster, go to jail

Do you really need to hold cockfights to be considered a felon? Apparently not. Merely breeding or owning pretty roosters will suffice. Witness this curiously nonspecific article trumpeting the takedown of a chicken breeding operation:

Montebello Cockfighting Raid

Now, whether these chickens were bred or used for fighting isn't the real issue. It's that no actual crimes were witnessed -- and since the "evidence of cockfighting" is unspecified, we don't really know what was found. But think on this:

Chickens that are not cage-confined FIGHT. It's just the nature of the species. Both hens and roosters will fight, often to the death, whether encouraged to do so or not. Even "placid" breeds will occasionally fight.

Now, consider a flock of free-range chickens intended for egg production. Chickens being chickens, there will occasionally be bloody fights, among both individuals and sometimes as "gang warfare" among rival social units. (And no way to predict when this will happen. The only way to prevent it is by individually caging each chicken.)

Now, imagine if an HSUS representative were to witness and document those chickens fighting, as chickens will do when let "act naturally". Under a hostile reading of the law, could an egg producer then expect to get raided for "cockfighting"??

Monday, June 28, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Hellmuth Wachtel, PhD, was born in 1925. He studied agriculture at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Vienna with emphasis on animal breeding and genetics. For over forty years, he kept dogs and was a particularly involved in Agility. He is committed, above all, to the dissemination of knowledge about genetic health maintenance and improvement of the dogs and their breed populations.

He has worked for the past 25 years as as free consultant of the Austrian Kennel Club (ÖKV), is a regular contributor to "Our Dogs" magazine, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board Vienna Schönbrunn Zoo, and is a writer of articles and books on canine issues particularly regarding dog breeding. Here are Hellmuth's words of wisdom on June 28,2010 (posted here with his permission).

"There are good breeders and there are bad breeders. But whatever
they do, it won't change the system. And the system is wrong.
It was made when population genetics was unknown.
So today not the least inbred dogs, not the best performing dogs,
not the healthiest ones are highly rewarded, but the "best quality" dogs,
i.e. the best conforming (or overconforming) to the standard.
In some breeds these cannot breathe, run, let alone work.
Many have a short livespan. Many can not normally

whelp or even mate. This is what happens if appearance
is the Number 1 for success. Even if many try to do their best
for the dogs, this does not change a bad obsolete system."

Hellmuth Wachtel

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Seven False Premises of Mandatory Spay-Neuter Laws"

Seven False Premises of Mandatory Spay-Neuter Laws

Testimony of Dr. John Hamil regarding AB 1634. The phrase "mandatory sterilization" is substituted for "AB 1634" in some sentences. The rest of the text is unaltered.

Twenty five years of experience in trying to find solutions to the problems of animal relinquishment and euthanasia leads me to request that you reject this ill-conceived bill which can not solve these problems and, more likely, will worsen them.

Mandatory sterilization is based on seven false premises:

1. That current policies and programs are not working.

The numbers of dogs entering and being euthanized in California shelters has dramatically decreased over the last 30 years in the face continued population growth. Unfortunately, the number of cats impounded and euthanized has not decreased significantly in the last 10 years. We have two entirely different dynamics which require very different approaches if we are to be successful. Mandatory sterilization does nothing to reduce the numbers of cats in shelters.

2. That the numbers of animals impounded and euthanized is due to a “Pet Overpopulation Problem.”

The study done by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy found that the top five reasons for animal relinquishment were moving, landlord issues, cost, lack of time for pet and inadequate facilities. None of these factors are influenced by the purported “overpopulation” of pets mandated sterilization does nothing to help pets remain in their homes. If the animals in the shelter were due to “overpopulation;” we would find desirable puppies available in shelters, there would be no market for internet and pet store puppies, there would be no need for shelters to import puppies and puppy smugglers and brokers would be out of business due to market saturation. There is, in fact, a shortage of healthy, well-bred and socialized puppies and kittens in California.

3. That being sexually intact equates to being bred.

We know that for personal reasons many owners choose not to surgically alter their pets and they are never bred. It is improper that the government impose its will on these responsible citizens in the absence of any public benefit.

4. That neutered animals are healthier physically and behaviorally.

Recently published data indicates that for a significant percentage of dogs this is not the case.

5. That mandatory spay/neuter will significantly reduce shelter impounds and euthanasia and that Santa Cruz is an example of its success.

MSN is a documented failure. Analysis of the Santa Cruz data and the rejection of this policy by its originator; the Peninsula Humane Society, the No Kill Community, Best Friends Sanctuary, and many other groups refutes this assumption.

6. That mandatory spay/neuter will greatly reduce the Animal Control costs.

Analysis of animal control data indicates that most costs are the fixed costs of facilities; administration, equipment, staff and retirement benefits. The continuous rise in California animal control costs in the face of decreasing numbers of animals impounded refutes this assumption.

7. That the law will not involve veterinarians in enforcement.

The requirement for veterinarians to write letters of exemption and to turn in rabies certificates indicating the reproductive status of the animal to animal control identifies the owners of intact animals. The public will correctly view veterinarians as enforcers.


• This law would intrude into the Doctor/Client/Patient relationship. This is an invasive procedure accomplished under general anesthesia with significant risk to the patient and there are significant physical and behavioral consequences for some animals. For these reasons this decision should not be mandated by the state but, rather, be made by the owner after discussion with their family veterinarian.

• In many jurisdictions with mandatory spay/neuter owners have tried to drop out of the system by not licensing their animals. Many owners know that veterinarians are required to turn in copies of rabies certificates and may decide to forego needed rabies boosters, thereby creating an increased public health risk.

• The contentiousness of this bill has driven apart the groups that contribute to and desire to solve this dilemma. If we are to be successful in solving this problem, we need to bring these groups together in developing innovative programs in the future.

If passed, this law will be unfair to the economically disadvantaged. They are the least likely to neuter their pets, see animal control as a threat, and have limited access to low cost clinics. We need to find ways to help this group enjoy the benefits of pet ownership.

If passed, communities in California will no longer have access to Maddie’s Funds. It is their policy to not provide funding for mandatory governmental programs. “Maddie’s Fund is committed to volunteerism” and is intended to foster innovative collaborative programs like the CVMA Feral Cat Sterilization Program that resulted in the sterilization of almost 200,000 cats over a 3 year period. To date, Maddie’s Fund has provided over 19 million dollars to communities in California.

If passed, this bill will eliminate many local sources of healthy, well-bred and socialized pets. Because it will not decrease the demand for puppies and kittens, the bill leaves the people of California vulnerable to puppymills, unregulated internet sales, sellers of smuggled animals and unscrupulous brokers of animals from out of the US. These poor quality pets will be a burden and an expense and many will end up in our shelters.

Finally, it is my belief that locally developed, voluntary, collaborative, supportive and science-based programs always out perform punitive, coercive ones.

Thank you for your kind attention. As a veterinarian, past president of the CVMA and an animal advocate I ask you to vote AGAINST this bill.

(Adapted from Dr. Hamil's testimony at CA AB 1634 hearing)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kids do the Darndest Things!

Do childhood animal abusers move on to abuse fellow humans later in life? Walt Hutchens provides a GREAT answer to that question. Take it away, Walt!

Are you going to argue the point that alot of people who in childhood hurt/maim/kill animals *alot of times*, (not all the time so don't misquote me) move on to fellow human beings later in life ?

Yes, I'll argue exactly that.

Children grow up more or less experimentally. They DO things, many of them bad things. Parents correct them, they also set the example and talk about principles and philosophy. The great majority of kids grow up just fine, looking back (when they remember the things they did while young) with a combination of shame and amazement: They would NEVER do those things as adults.

Show me an adult who never did anything bad enough to be charged as cruelty to another child or to an animal, I'll show you a person with a memory disorder, an old person (youthful memories do fade) or a liar.

Read up on pretty much any infamous psycho in history and you will read the animal connection.

Sure. Read up on George Washington and you'll read the cherry tree connection, too. For ANY sort of adult you can find a youthful antecedent -- most of them more truthful than the Geo. Wash. story.

Does that mean that every kid (or even most kids) who do such things  grow up to be that kind of adult?

Of course not. All kids play some baseball; very few wind up in league play as adults -- or even want to. All of us kick our sisters but parents usually fix that real fast and very few abuse our wives. So too with animal abuse: I'd bet that most boys (and at least a few

girls) who are around animals while young do some abusive things, but the fraction who grow up to do similar things as adults is tiny. This 'connection' is basically a AR phantasy, intended to give credibility to their calls for ever more severe punishment for animal offenses because "You're just punishing a future wife beater, serial killer, or child abuser in advance. Isn't that a good idea?"

You can look for the studies proving what the ARs claim but you will look in vain: There are NO studies showing that most children who ever abuse animals grow up to be violent or abusive adults. And the studies of serial killers who abused animals as children are about as meaningful as showing that most American adults with flat feet wore shoes when they were kids.

It could be otherwise for a child with a pattern of real abuse
extending over at least a few years. That's a seriously disturbed child and he does not have a good future as an adult. But assuming that every case of abuse proves such a pattern is ridiculous and would do far more harm than good. We are all familiar with children arrested for giving another kid an aspirin or accidentally bringing a pocket knife to school: is any such overreaction likely to be good for the child?

A second problem with the AR-claimed connection between youthful abuse of animals and adult violence is the broad (nearly unlimited) definition of 'abuse' they've popularized. Failure to give food or water, or clean an enclosure on the schedule required by law is now often a criminal charge that will be cited thereafter as 'abuse' or 'cruelty.' No violence was involved, in many cases no animal was hurt, the charges may have been entirely fabricated, and when something bad did happen, it may all have been an accident, but nevermind, you are now a convicted animal abuser.

Did the case of Mary Wild (several dogs in her care died of heat stroke) make her likely to become a violent criminal? Or is she more likely someone who was very seriously negligent, possibly even someone who has learned a valuable lesson at a very high price? How 'bout Richmond SPCA Director Robin Starr, whose dog accidentally died of heat stroke in her car due to miscommunication with her husband? About to grab an AK-47 and spray a crowd or just human and thus subject to an occasional mistake, sometimes serious, like the rest of us?

All of this stuff is utter rubbish.

Walt Hutchens

Timbreblue Whippets

Monday, June 14, 2010

Any puppies?

Email received today: "Hi, I am interested in a puppy. Are you expecting any soon? Please call me."

My response:
Hi, didn't get your name.....Sorry but at this point with all the anti-dog legislation being proposed and enacted in our state....mandatory sterilization, limit laws, excessive fees for intact dogs and oppressive regulation regarding breeding, outrageous fees for a litter permit....I have no future plans to breed! I just have one female left, and if/when I breed her it will be to continue my line; I'd be keeping any pup for myself.

In addition to all the above, if I were to sell two puppies in a year, I would have to register with the state for a sellers permit and collect sales taxes. Basically, anyone who breeds dogs as a modest hobby has now been made into an outlaw.

Sellers must provide Buyers personal information to the state. Puppies must be neutered by four months old....horrible for their long-term health! They must be microchipped....whether you like it or not. If there is any sort of health problem that your local AR vet can blame on "genetics" I will have to pay the vet bills. If there is any sort of contagious disease that the dog contracts, well, that's my fault too and I must pay.

And there are plans by our animal control officials to crack down and fine those who don't comply with all the rules, fees, limits and regulations. In addition to fines, the penalties would include taking our dogs away from us. FOREVER. And selling them as "rescues".

I will not risk losing my dogs for a few measly bucks from a puppy sale.

Too much red tape and too expensive, selling puppies is just not worth the hassle. It's hard enough to just feed, house and pay vet bills, health testing is expensive....the occasional C-section can run you into the thousands. If you show your dogs, there's more thousands spent every year. Add the government fees and regulations into the mix, and unless you breed commercially you will be suffering huge financial losses that you can never recoup.

The animal rights activists want to eliminate your choice in obtaining a puppy and force everyone to "rescue" older dogs instead.....they won't be satisfied until the day when there are no more purpose-bred domestic animals. Or just no more domestic animals PERIOD.

Tomorrow the Riverside City Council is voting on mandatory sterilization and pet limits per household. Los Angeles already has such rules on the books. Many other cities and counties in CA as well.

Best regards and good luck in your search. May I suggest you check with our local breed rescue. You can get on a waiting list and pray you measure up to their high and mighty standards.Me, I'll be taking up golf and spending more time in my garden.

Yours truly,
Former Dog Breeder
Disheartened and Discouraged

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lassie Come Home


By Bonnie Dalzell, MA Copyrigh 2010

Reprinted with permission of the Author

Web pages:

June 5, 2010.

I originally put this essay together in 1996. There have been a number of advances in technology since then, but dog still get lost.

From a practical point of view the most useful tech tools that have come along to aid in FINDING your lost dog are the cell phone and, if you can afford it, GPS (Global Positioning System) dog collar tracking devices.

The GPS collar is of use if there is already one on the dog, so as with microchips and tattoos, one needs to plan ahead and have one on the dog.

Since you may be reading this essay because your dog has become lost I will cover strategies for locating a lost dog first. Preventative measures will be later on.

The Chicken Plucker

Hey, isnt this the Chicken Plucker from "SouthPark"? Officer Barbrady is looking for you!! Turn yourself in NOW and nobody gets hurt!!

But you might better recognize him on a terrorist raid, impersonating a police officer: