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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Read the Entire Book Here.

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What to do when activists want to pass a law in your area...

Almost none of us really want to be involved in lawmaking. We just want to be left alone to enjoy our pets. It can be a real shock to the system to discover that you and your fellow breeders, rescuers, owners of (name your animal) are suddenly in the crosshairs for a nasty bill or proposed ordinance. What to do?

Don't panic and do assume you can win. The animal rightists are a small minority; if you mobilize the majority and do the right things, even if some of them don't work, you will probably win.

This is the "Reader's Digest" version, but it's the condensed book section. In other words, it's long. The information here comes from our involvement (usually as bit players) in maybe a dozen of these fights. The wording is geared to dog laws because that's what we know best, but it can be applied to any pet laws.

  1. Spread the word
  2. Contact state federations and associations
  3. Notify national clubs
  4. Find or start a state 'pet-law' list
  5. Look everywhere for allies
  6. Do not compromise or negotiate
  7. Contact lawmakers
  8. Get tough and hang in there

Finally, don't expect rockets and national newspaper interviews when you win. Most commonly, bad animal laws die very quietly, either withdrawn by the sponsor because of a lack of votes or 'passed by indefinitely' by a key committee.

Unfortunately, most state bills you beat this year, will be back in the next session of the assembly. But you won't be a beginner then, and you'll be better able to beat them than you were this time. If you're too tired to lead again next year, serve in an advisory capacity. But don't quit on us...we need you and, yes, the animals need you.


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