No logic coming from those who oppose puppy mill regulations

No Gravatar

I’m gonna keep hammering away at this, because every time I read about those opposing breeding regulations in states across the map, the same, tired, twisted mess keeps sinking to the bottom of the debate pond.

So let’s review the basic proposals and specific regulations – with the key follow-up question – WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT?!

** HUMANE HOUSING: Usually, the proposals in state bills set minimum, reasonable standards for the size of cages where the breeding dogs are housed or set a space requirement that allows the dogs room enough to turn around freely and lay down comfortably. And of course the cages should be free of feces and other unhealthy conditions.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – No reasonable person could opposed this provisions – PERIOD. The alternative is to allow breeders to force the dogs to live in horrible conditions.

** DAILY EXERCISE: The bills typically call for minimal amounts of time each day, when the dogs should be allowed to play or at least walk around a bit outside or within some open area.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – No one with an ounce of compassion in their soul would really suggest dogs housed in breeding kennels should be kept in their cages 24/7. We’d never want pets in homes to live this way.

** CLEAN FOOD AND WATER: Self-explanatory.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – The alternative would be dirty water and scummy food? Only a moron would not want the dogs to get clean food and water.

** VETERINARY CARE: Again, self-explanatory.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – Of course, I can hear the pro-puppy mill types saying, “Nobody tells me what to do with my property. It’s just like my car, I change the oil when I want to.” And that pretty sums up where animals stand with the pro-puppy mill side.

** LIMITS ON THE NUMBER OF TIMES FEMALES SHOULD BE PREGNANT IN A GIVEN TIME FRAME: Some of the proposals I’ve seen include this regulation and it’s a good one. The females should be given time for their bodies to rest. They are not factory machines.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – This, along with the other provisions, aids in the health and welfare of the dogs. It’s common sense and good veterinary science.

WHO IS FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE? – Animal welfare advocates and quality breeders and every single human with the ability to think logically and have compassion for animals.

Yes – quality breeders meet or exceed the standards of care being proposed across the nation. The only breeders who would be impacted are those that do not meet the minimums. And that’s the point – isn’t it?

I repeat – That’s the point, isn’t it?

And yet, we have groups like the AKC and others out fighting every bill to regulate dog breeding.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

How is it possible that a few state senators blocked puppy mill legislation in NC?

No Gravatar

We should not have state or federal legislative systems where a few elected officials with an ax to grind or a special-interest group to support can block extremely reasonable legislation that has the overwhelming support of the public.

Despite what some members of the US Supreme Court would have us falsely believe, people have the rights, not the special interests.

In North Carolina, Republicans hold super majorities in the House and Senate. The House voted in overwhelming numbers to pass a previous anti-puppy mill bill. A very small number of senators blocked the Senate version from moving out of committee.

Now, with the breeding previsions inserted into a budget bill, the same few individuals have managed to make sure the protections never come to a full vote. In negotiations over two overall versions of the budget, they managed to get the animal-welfare text removed – again.

As I’ve noted before, the arguments against the proposed legislation to protect puppy mill dogs and cats have no basis in reality. I can’t even imagine an alternate reality where these arguments might work.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

PackRant: To those who oppose puppy mill regulations – go ahead, read this, I dare ya

No Gravatar

There are a ton of issues swirling around the political oceans, from jobs to health care, from Supreme Court decisions to climate chance and much more.

Often enough, some of the arguments are completely off the charts within particularly debates. But none of the arguments I’ve seen over the last few decades for any issue surpass the level of lame and illogical we see from those opposing puppy mill regulations.

Sure, those opposing recent bills in various states have a reason to oppose them. There’s money to made in this industry. If they came out and merely said, “Hey, if the law is passed, puppy mills would be shut down and less money would be made,” at least there would a direct admission there.

But the actual arguments we’re seeing just have no basis in reality or logic.

Let’s look at a few:

There are no legal definitions of the phrase ‘puppy mills.‘ – Of course there are. And in some cases the very people opposing the bills don’t like the specifics delineating which breeders are covered. And they don’t like the standards of care established, which clearly define that puppy mills would fall under these base levels.

Inspections violate private property rights. – I wonder if anyone spewing this one would ever really eat at random restaurants that had not been inspected for the last few months? I wonder if they would suggest USDA inspections should be dropped – so that we would never know how safe our food is to eat? I guess they think anything going on on private property should be shielded from law enforcement and inspectors.

Where inspections are ongoing, the system protects public health and safety and therefore consumers. Inspections for puppy mills would protect animals from potential abuse and consumers from potential fraud.

No one should be able to abuse animals or put public health at risk by hiding behind their so-called property rights.

If puppy mill dogs or kitten mill kittens gain protections from abuse, then the movement could spread to farm animals. – This one screams out – “We don’t want anyone punished for abusing farm animals, even if it exposes health risks to food production for humans or the suffering of the animals.”

But beyond this, it is a horrible thing to suggest. So we should not attempt to end the terrible suffering endured by dogs and cats in mills, because some other laws might come out of it? That is a heartless position to take. I get it that it’s all about profit, but really? – Does it have to be this way and this extreme?

Do these people watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and cheer for Mr. Potter? Do they think “A Christmas Carol” has a terrible ending because Scrooge is scared into becoming a compassionate person and someone who cares about individuals other than himself?

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

NC Senate blocks puppy mill regulations at the 1-yard line

No Gravatar

With the short session of the North General Assembly winding down this week, key members of the state Senate and House were debating a number of contentious provisions in the proposed budget bill.

Teacher pay and Medicaid and film-industry incentives were all up for debate and were the main areas of focus for the media. As the days and weeks wore on, animal-welfare advocates were hoping the new regulations on puppy mills would hang on with the House version of the budget – including inspections, new standards and enforcement of puppy mill laws moving from the agriculture department to law enforcement.

But a few members of the Senate managed to once again block the puppy mill regulations from remaining in the bill. It would be a very long shot at this point, but there could be a slight hope remaining that the measures could be reinstalled.

WRAL out of Raleigh, NC reported groups such as the American Kennel Club and hunting and agricultural organizations were against the measure. The article included the following –

They argue that requiring kennel inspections violates breeders’ property rights and say setting standards for companion animals could trigger similar requirements for livestock breeding operations.

Far-fetched is too light a phrase for how misguided these baseless arguments really are. The USDA engages in safety inspections at facilities, to protect public safety and for the same reason restaurants are inspected frequently. Suggesting inspections should be banned in these cases to somehow protect property rights, is nothing short of dangerous.
And protecting people who abuse dogs because protecting the dogs from suffering might lead to regulations on factory farms is both lame and extremely callous.
PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Editorial suggests the US needs to expand sources for puppies

No Gravatar

I received the link today on the Pack News Wire to an editorial that ran Monday on the DVM360 website. I was so stunned that I had to read over it several times.

The writer, Mark Cushing, JD of the Animal Policy Group is suggesting an expanding US market for dogs needs to look overseas for breeding sources for puppies, as our human population grows.

Cushing lists what he feels are US sources for dogs, which includes hobby breeders (he states the volume there isn’t enough), large-scale breeders (but he notes puppy mills are an issue) and “Untreated feral dogs in the American South and Midwest producing litters for delivery by local shelters to urban markets around the country.”

On the latter “source” he goes on to write that is “difficult to view this as an intentional, humane source of the volume needed, although it is a steady source now.”

It is a strange take that I’ve never seen worded so oddly. In reality, it is not so much feral dogs who are adding to the homeless ranks.

How he lists “untreated feral dogs” as a source to fill what he states as a growing US demand for pets, without mentioning homeless adult dogs and puppies that are ready for adoption is stunning. How he writes an editorial about the demand for pets without noting millions of homeless pets are dying in shelters every year – before they find homes is stunning.

And it is stunning that Cushing fails to mention that by far the best “sources” for pets in the United States are your area shelters and rescue organization.

I’ll give Cushing the benefit of the doubt, to a degree, in that he might have been focusing on puppies. But again, new homeless dogs are being born every day all over the nation. Rescue is the BEST source for pets.

We absolutely do not need anyone suggesting families should look to overseas breeders for puppies, while millions of dogs are dying in the US without homes.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Can’t we pull back the curtain on the real anti-animal welfare agenda?

No Gravatar

Here we go again – to a ramped-up degree. Those who want to protect puppy mill operations and factory farming are out to pass a Constitutional amendment in Missouri to shut down new measures to protect animals from abuse and neglect.

But the folks backing the amendment are couching it as a movement to defending farming.

No – No – No. We are not within any universe where farming is going to be shut down. Sure – “Dawn of the Planets of the Apes” is going to a popular movie. But is anyone going to walk out of the theater and rush to their elected officials to ask for laws against apes taking over cities?

We can go outer space or we have a reasonable debate about animal welfare. What animal-welfare advocates are asking for is reasonable protections for animals. Those who abuse animals as they are being raised for sale or farming should be shut down.

What is so hard to understand about this? And why can’t some on the other side just be honest? It seems the real goal – from protecting puppy mill operations to criminalizing the acts of recording cruel acts on factory farms with Ag-Gag laws – is to protect the abusers.

It hasn’t been about protecting the traditions of farming and dog breeding. It’s more about hiding the abuses that go on behind the scenes.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

A wacky claim that bans on selling dogs in pet stores is unconstitutional

No Gravatar

A pet store in East Providence, RI is challenging the city’s ban on selling dogs in stores as unconstitutional, as reported Wednesday on the Courthouse News Service website.

The store is pointing to the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution and equal protection. Equal protection? What about protection from suffering for dogs housed in puppy mills.

There is a very good reason for banning the sale of dogs and cats in stores. Pets should not be sold like toasters, where people buy on impulse and later discard the pet. There is a real cost in lost lives and suffering and there is real monetary cost to taxpayers in caring for these discarded pets in shelters.

The dogs and cats, taxpayers and consumers need the protection – not store owners. The owners can sell supplies and food toys. My home city has numerous pet stores – from major chains to locally-owned and they are doing great without selling puppies or kittens.

This idea that pet stores have to sell puppies was proven wrong years ago. Sell the supplies and host adoption fairs by local rescues and shelters. It works and it shows the store owners really care.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

No Surprise – Petland CEO doesn’t like bans on puppy sales in stores

No Gravatar

There is a lot to pick on in this story. The CEO of Petland – a company well-known for selling puppies – doesn’t want to see bans on the sales on puppies in stores. The city ordinances in question are designed to shut down the sale of puppy mill dogs.

Joe Watson claims only two percent of puppies are even sold in stores, as reported by the Lancaster Eagle Gazette.

The Lancaster Eagle Gazette also notes almost 50 cities around the nation have banned puppy sales in retail outlets. (Although the publication incorrectly states the bans have “effectively outlawed retail pet shops.” – No the pet shops can stay open. They just can’t sell dogs.)

And get this from the article:

Petland defends its sourcing of puppies, saying they come from U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed breeders and distributors, with no direct violations on their latest inspection report …

Oh … so it’s no violations from “their latest inspection report.” What about the prior reports? And really, this “we sell puppies from USDA licensed breeders” just isn’t saying much at all. That defense just doesn’t hold water. The regulations and punishments are far too weak from the USDA.

And of course, as is the case in my home city, all of our pet stores are doing great – without selling dogs and cats. The national chains are hosting adoption events each weekend.

Any suggestion that Petland has to sell puppies is just not based in reality.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

AKC continues to fight against improved protections for puppy mill dogs

No Gravatar

The American Kennel Club continues to make statements that have no basis in logical thought or in facts – where breeding regulations are concerned.

One of the AKC’s primary arguments centers on the false premise that minimum standards of care and/or inspections will hurt  breeders. But here’s the clinching argument: Good, quality breeders already meet or exceed the standards being proposed across the nation.

So it is the bad breeders – the puppy mills – that will face problems under new guidelines. This is the main issue after all. The AKC’s position leaks more than the BP Gulf Oil Gusher.

If a breeder is not taking their dogs in for veterinary care or never allows them play time outside of their cages or is not cleaning their cages or kennels, then that breeder should be shut down.

To suggest these minimum standards are too much, is showing support for puppy mills.

On the AKC website, the group states a new proposal in North Carolina – “Creates unprecedented new levels of regulation of private property ownership.” I cringe when I see animals put in the same category with sofas and subdivision lots.

WNCN reported on June 9 about the AKC’s efforts to speak out against NC Governor Pat McCrory’s proposal to move animal welfare enforcement to the NC Department of Public Safety. WNCN quoted from a letter sent by the AKC to North Carolina House members:

“The Governor’s recommendations would create unprecedented new regulation based on the ownership of private property, create new inefficiencies as responsibilities are shifted between departments, and do nothing to improve the well-being of animals.”

They are wrong about this notion of private property, as it about the welfare of living, feeling beings. They are wrong about the shift, as enforcement should be a law enforcement issue – naturally. And they are completely off base about the well-being of animals. Protecting dogs and cats in puppy and kitten mills is all about the well-being of animals.

I don’t know how one group can reach this level of being so wrong about this subject.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Puppy mill deniers keep getting it wrong

No Gravatar

Read most any article about proposed anti-puppy mill legislation and underneath you will most likely find comments from those opposed to improved protections for animals.

Or the letters to the editor section will feature this sort of drivel or you can find it on some organization’s website.

Of late, those fighting against better regulations are crying foul over two bills in the North Carolina General Assembly. The crying has pushed a few state senators to block HB930. So NC Governor Pat McCrory is trying to push through anther plan, as part of his proposed budget (SB842), to transfer enforcement of such laws from the Department of Agriculture to the law enforcement arm of the state.

It makes sense, but we also need the better regulations so that law enforcement officials state wide will have the tools they need to combat puppy mills and all forms of animal cruelty.

(I will post more details on these sections of SB842 very soon.)

Some individuals are claiming North Carolina doesn’t have a puppy mill problem. This is just insane. With the state’s lack of regulations, puppy mill operations are hiding in the shadows and they know the odds of being uncovered are slim.

And the propaganda is flying, suggesting people’s right to have pets is being attacked and the right to breed dogs or cats is being attacked. The reality is the only entities being regulated are puppy mills.

Those who can’t practice within the minimum guidelines being proposed should never be allowed to breed animals – period.

And of course this other side keeps spreading the notion that a definition of the phrase ‘puppy mill’ does not exist. This one is one of the most extreme cases of propaganda floating around.

Puppy mills and kitten mills are substandard breeding operations where the dogs or cats live 24/7 or a vast majority of every day locked in small cages, in unsanitary conditions. The animals rarely to never are allowed time to play or even walk around for exercise and rarely to never are given veterinary care or proper food and water.

Another area where the propaganda slides far from reality is the suggestion that breeders would never mistreat or neglect dogs, as they know it would hurt their chances of selling the puppies.

As we’ve seen in every puppy-mill bust ever – this isn’t true. As long as these mass-production operations can sell the puppies to the unsuspecting segment of the population, they care very little about what happens later with the health of the puppies or about the suffering of the parent dogs.

This is happening all over the country right now. This notion that breeders can’t mistreat their dogs because it would cut into sales is millions of miles off Reality Road.

And then we have the attacks on the Humane Society of the US and the ASPCA. This effort is ONLY designed to push the debate away from the suffering of the dogs and cats trapped in mills. We can’t let the puppy mill supporters get away with it.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic