Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Silence of the Woofs

(This blog originally posted on 6/29/2005.)

Have you heard of PAWS? If not, check out this link, and this one.

PAWS, in a neutered nutsac, is repressive, anti-breeder legislation being pushed by a conservative Senator, PETA and the AKC (INSERT COMMENT ABOUT POLITICS AND STRANGE BEDFELLOWS).

PAWS will cause anyone who breeds 6 or more litters a year to be USDA Licensed.

PAWS is one gigantic problem. Property rights and personal freedom are only two of the ideals PAWS tramples.

But this post isn't about PAWS alone. This is a look at the total anti-pet puzzle, of which PAWS may just be one of the last pieces.

Ms. X pulled out her crystal ball and asked what the picture on the puzzle was. What she saw was the non-future of pets. That's right. The picture is mostly blank and gray, with a few ghost shadows of dogs.

"What's going to happen to our pets?" You ask. "Is David Garcia going to steal them?"

David Garcia is one piece in this puzzle, and really, not a very big one.

Let's look at the big ones.

Piece 1: Demonization of Pet Stores (that sell live pets). Scarcely a puppy store owner today hasn't come under attack from some anti-pet group, and scarecly anyone can mention buying a pet store puppy without blistering criticism from the water-cooler ethicists.

The anti-pet movement has been changing public sentiment about pet stores. The movement knows a large commercial kennel will have trouble selling its puppies without the public access stores, thereby forcing many commercial kennels out of business. The movement then uses people like Garcia to demonize commercial breeders.

Piece 2: PAWS At the other end of the issue is the small volume "hobby" or "show" breeder who will be forced by PAWS to build a USDA approved kennel, or stop breeding. Most will stop breeding.

Piece 3: Pet Limit Laws. I suspect most of the five litter a year or less crowd are family breeders who do not show. They just have a bitch and a male they breed once or twice a year.

They would stay under PAWS radar, but they are being squeezed by two other vises, Municiple Pet Limit Laws, and

Piece 4: Mandatory Spay/Neuter. Mandatory neuter endangers the family breeder in two ways. First are the punitive fees for keeping whole (breedable) animals in the city/county limits. Second is the push within the 'fancy', both cat and dog, to do early neuters and sell 8 week old puppies and kittens already fixed.

The second limits the number of potential family breeders, and the first wipes out the few that slip through.

So what to expect in the future? Well, despite the four puzzle pieces above, the demand for pets has not even blinked.

And what happens when supply dries up while demand increases? That's right. The prices skyrocket.

Look at it this way - small dogs have small litters, so a breeder has to have 10 small breed litters a year to match the number of puppies from two large breed litters. That of course, would be
prohibited by Piece 2 and Piece 3. So small dog prices will rise the highest.

The high price of small breed dogs may drive some buyers toward large breed dogs. The ratio of large breed dogs to small breed dogs may initially rise, but this avenue is quickly being blocked by

Piece 5: BSL Breed Specific Legislation targets breeds that can do the most damage to humans during an attack. That always means large breed dogs are banned first.

When you have all the pieces, it's easy to see what the puzzle looks like.

The last question Ms. X asked her crystal ball was "how did they build all the pieces under our very eyes? Are we blind and didn't see?"

And the answer was harsh. Every piece had been built with the help of one or more groups of "dog lovers".

Our own greed and drive to force our concepts of "responsibility" on all dog owners has paved our way to hell ... to the silence of the woofs.

(Update: PAWS died in congress, and Rick Sanatorum is no longer a Senator. But that shouldn't be interpreted to mean we are safe. No indeed. An opportunity for repression cannot be lost, and in this case, there is a lot at stake. You may be very sure PAWS will revive sooner, rather than later, in another (probably more devious) form.)

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