Defending the Freedom to Own Pets

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The Future of Dogs in an Animal Rights America

by Walt Hutchens

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Fight Back!

To prevent animal rights fanatics from taking away your right to own pets, you must become active in your own community and state. If you think...

  • someone else is taking care of it
  • you just aren’t the “political” type
  • it won’t happen in your town/county/state
  • you don’t know what to do, where to start, or even how to find out what’s going on

Think again!

Someone else is taking care of it?

True story: A state dog club had a legislative liaison who for years claimed that the animal rights advocates were just too powerful for dog owners to defeat. Bad law after bad law was passed and she’d say, “We had to compromise. This was the best I could do.” Eventually a bill so bad was proposed that others became involved and it was discovered that the club’s liaison had been working with the AR advocates. They had become great friends and she put that friendship ahead of her loyalty to the club.

Moral: No one person should be “taking care of it.” You need to know how it is being taken care of. Even if that person is trustworthy, capable, and articulate, she can’t do it alone. Legislators work for votes, and the animal rights people turn out in droves. They are not a majority, but they certainly appear to be when we sit back and say someone else is “taking care of it.”

You just aren’t the political type?

Who is? There is no classification of Legislative Expert Dog Fancier (or cat or rabbit or reptile or bird or...) None of us started out planning to get involved in fighting anti-owner legislation or knowing anything about it. We’re breeders and rescuers and fanciers just like you. Though victories in this war can be very rewarding and we’ve met some great people we now count as friends, the fight itself is not especially fun. We’d rather be showing, planning a litter, or going for a walk in the woods with the dogs. But if we plan to have those options ten years from now, someone has to do this. And those of us already involved need your help. Don’t worry about whether you know enough to help. If you know how to write a letter or make a phone call, you know enough. We’ll help you interpret the laws and figure out what’s wrong with them...and what’s right.

It won’t happen in your town / county / state?

Yes, it will. Seriously bad laws are being proposed from California to North Carolina, from New York to Texas. One of the worst proposals this year came from Oklahoma.

In Denver it is illegal to breed pets. No exceptions.

In Dallas, they’re enforcing zoning laws against home businesses to prevent breeders from selling their puppies and kittens.

Fauquier County, Virginia - (Where??) Yup. They've passed a county-wide dog limits thatis forcing some owners to get rid of pets or move.

In Louisville, KY, and Albuquerque, NM, the worst pet laws in the nation have just been passed. In a matter of months or years, there will be no home breeding in those cities. The governor of New Mexico is attempting to make the Albuquerque law a state law.

PETA or HSUS members don’t have to be a visible presence in your town for this to happen. Those organizations have websites, conferences, and literature teaching people how to get animal rights bills and laws passed.

All it takes is one burned out shelter worker who decides that all the problems of the world can be blamed on breeders.

Or one distraught mother who thinks that all (fill in the breed) should be banned because her child was bitten.

Or one applicant for a rescue animal who is turned down and decides rescuers ought to be regulated and licensed.

It’s not the big AR organizations who start these things. It’s your neighbors who see a perceived or actual problem and decide that the solution is in regulation of everyone rather than in enforcement of current laws...which nearly always would solve the problem. Once the action starts, the national organizations may well offer help and support to the people pushing these laws, but the main impetus is from local people.

So yes, it can happen in your neighborhood!

You don’t know what to do, where to start, or even how to find out what’s going on.

That one’s easy. Here’s all the stuff you need to do. If you can’t do it all, do what you can. Everything counts.

Join the Pet-Law email list.

Find out what’s going on where you live. Join your state email list, attend city council meetings, get involved!

Write letters.

Make phone calls.

Inform other people. Your vet, your groomer, your puppy (or kitten or bunny or bird or reptile) buyers, your rescue adopters, your other email lists, your neighbors, anyone who might possibly have an interest in preserving the right to own pets.

Meet with government representatives.

Vote.

And start reading here:  What to Do When Activists Want to Pass a Law in Your Area

 

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