Thursday, December 27, 2007

FL- Miami-Dade County Proposed changes

Miami-Dade County Proposes Drastic Changes for Animal Owners
[Wednesday, December 12, 2007]

The Miami-Dade County Commission will be holding a public hearing at 9:30am on Tuesday, December 18th to discuss a variety of changes to the animal control ordinance including limiting the number of pets a resident may own, implementing hobby breeder licensing, requiring mandatory microchipping for dog breeders and restricting rescue organizations. Concerned dog owners and breeders are asked to attend and speak against these proposed changes. If you are unable to attend, please send an email to the county commissioners or call their offices. As always, please be polite and respectful.

Summary of the Proposed Changes

Zoning Changes and Pet Limits:
The revised ordinance will limit the number of dogs a resident may own based on the size of the property. If you own more than the allowed number, you will be considered a kennel and a public hearing will be held to decide if you may keep your animals. Additionally, you will be required to allow animal control to inspect your premises and must meet specified kennel standards.
These thresholds are arbitrary and do not take in to account the reproductive capability of the animals. A resident could be deemed a kennel even if none of the animals are capable of reproducing or are ever used for breeding! There does NOT appear to be a clause to protect those residents who already own more than the allowed number.

If the property is less than one acre, a resident may have no more than 4 dogs.
If the property is less than two acres, a resident may have no more than 6 dogs.
If the property is two acres or more, a resident may own up to eight dogs.

Hobby Breeder License: The county currently allows a lifetime license, but under the new proposal this would be an annual license. Additionally, the fee for the license is not specified in the ordinance and could easily be very expensive, placing an unreasonable burden on local, responsible breeders. State law provides a definition of pet dealer, which is the same as the one used in this ordinance. There is no compelling reason to spend resources and taxpayer money to license breeders who fall below that threshold.

Pet Dealer and Kennel Inspections:The new ordinance would require anyone who qualifies as a "pet dealer" (anyone who sells more than 20 dogs or 2 litters in one year, whichever is greater) or who requires a kennel license (anyone who exceeds the thresholds set above) to be inspected by animal control. The fees for these licenses are not specified within the ordinance, but due to the expense to animal control to conduct these inspections, it is reasonable to assume they would be very expensive. The standards set for kennels are designed for commercial enterprises, but may not be reasonable or workable for someone who simply owns 5 animals or who breeds perhaps 3 litters a year in their home. Additionally, these same standards do not apply to city or county facilities. If they are for the health and safety of the animals, then they should apply consistently to all facilities.

Breeders Must Microchip:The new ordinance would require that all animals sold be implanted with a microchip and provide that information to animal control. Many animals will be sold to new owners outside the county, therefore this provision creates an unnecessary financial burden for both breeders and animal services who must develop and administer a program to track this information. Animal control is not required to microchip animals that they place.As part of our ongoing efforts to promote responsible dog ownership, the AKC encourages dog owners to properly identify their pets. We believe, however, that the final decision about identification—whether by collar, tattoo or microchip—should be made by the owner, not the government.

Rescues:If adopted, the new ordinance would allow shelters to release animals only to animal rescues registered as a 501 (c)(3) in Florida. This will deprive the county of being able to use many breed and club rescues that for tax filing purposes have not elected to become 501(c)(3)s. This will mean fewer animals are fostered and placed, leading to more euthanizations.

Tethering:The new ordinance would make it illegal to tether a dog outside unless the dog can be supervised by the responsible party and limits tethering to three hours.
Additional Requirements:
Would hold landlords responsible for the actions of any animal maintained on premises they own. Fewer property owners will be willing to rent to animal owners, potentially increasing shelter populations.
License fees for intact and sterilized animals are not specified within the ordinance, so there is no way to judge if these will be reasonable. Residents are best served by having license fees set in the ordinance itself and then having the county commission adjust them when necessary. WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Attend the County Commission meeting on December 18th. 9:30 am Commission Chambers, Second Floor of the Stephen P. Clark Center111 N.W. First Street, Miami, FL 33128
Send a letter or email to the county commissioners asking them to oppose these changes.

District 1 - Barbara J Jordan305-375-5694 Fax District 2 - Dorrin D Rolle305-375-4833 - Fax
District 3 - Audrey M Edmonson305-375-5393 - Fax District 4 - Sally A Heyman305-375-5128 - Fax District 5 - Bruno Barreiro (Commission Chairman)305-643-8525 - Fax
District 6 - Rebeca Sosa305-375-5996 - Fax
District7 - Carlos A Gimenez305-375-5680 - Fax District 8 - Katy Sorenson305-375-5218 - Fax
District 9 - Dennis C, Moss305-375-4832 - Fax 305 District 10 - Javier D. Souto305-375-4835 - Fax 305 District 11 - Joe A Martinez305-375-5511 - Fax District 12 - Jose Diaz305-375-4343 - Fax 305
District 13 - Natacha Seijas305-375-4831 - Fax
Mayor Carlos Alvarez305-375-5071 - Fax
County Attorney Murray Greenberg 305-375-5151 - Fax County Manager George M. Burges 305-375-5311 - Fax

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Dog Tax"- Dog Licenses are obsolete

The reason to license dogs use to be two fold- 1. to make sure that people were having the dog vaccinated for Rabies and 2. If the dog got lost, it was a means of reuniting dogs and owners.

Private industry has taken care of #2- microchips and services such as the AKC Compaion Animal Recovery (Care) program, Home-Again, and other recovery services have mostly taken the place of the need for a license. Animal shelters are required to have microchip scanners and we would all like to think that they use them to help find homes for dogs picked up on the streets.

As for #1-well, all warm blooded animals can harbor Rabies- so why don't we license cats? More cats are unattended and roaming the streets than any other domestic animal. A bite from a cat with Rabies is equally as serious as a dog bite.

I guess that the only remaining reason to license dogs is for a "dog tax". It also serves as one more way you can "stick it" to your neighbor that you are having a dispute with- just call the "dog warden". Dog license provide good money to counties, townships, States, and so it is un-likely that anyone will do away with them- but this year, as you are renewing your dogs' license, ask yourself, is this money being used to HELP me and my dog. I think you will have to answer no- maybe a movement will start that says- "Hey Township- it is none of your business how many dogs I have! and I am not going to pay you any amount of money so that you can come knock on my door to see my rabies certificate."

PA- article in Philly Inquirer- Rendell to Push Broard Changes for Kennels

Posted on Sat, Dec. 22, 2007
Rendell to push broad changes for kennels
The state, which has been notorious for puppy mills, might have the most stringent dog laws in the nation.
By Amy Worden
Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Gov. Rendell, in a continuing effort to improve conditions for the tens of thousands of dogs in Pennsylvania kennels, wants to eliminate wire-floor cages as well as do-it-yourself cesareans and other at-home medical practices, and ban anyone convicted of animal cruelty from holding a kennel license.
Those are among proposals that Rendell will present next month in an effort to push bad kennel owners out of the industry, and improve housing and health care for dogs in the state's 2,600 commercial kennels.
A draft copy of the proposals, which would strengthen and expand statutes and regulations, was provided to The Inquirer by a person in the administration.
Among the most significant changes would be larger cage sizes with exercise runs and veterinary care requirements, additional tools for the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement to enforce kennel regulations and cruelty laws, and increased fines and penalties for cruelty citations.
Experts in animal law say that if the legislation is approved, Pennsylvania - criticized as the "puppy mill capital of the East" - would have the most stringent kennel laws in the nation.
The legislation attempts to address critics who objected to regulations proposed by Rendell last year as part of his effort to overhaul the Bureau of Dog Law.
While hailed by animal welfare advocates, Rendell's proposal came under fire from breeders and sporting groups, which called it burdensome and costly.
In April, a state regulatory panel criticized the proposal as having "significantly understated the cost to breeders and failing to consider the diverse types of kennels in the state."
Administration officials say they have not abandoned the regulatory process but are seeking to move forward on a second track through the legislative process.
They say the legislation will more clearly define the target of the changes - commercial kennels that sell primarily to pet shops - while strengthening both the dog law and the animal cruelty law.
The new approach is aimed at "substantially improving the lives of breeding dogs . . . who could spend much of their lives in facilities in extremely small cages under existing law," according to the summary of the draft proposal.
The proposals were developed from a near-record 16,000 comments submitted by various interest groups, legislators and the public.
John Gibble, a member of the Dog Law Advisory Board who represents sporting groups, said he would have no comment on the proposals until after the board meets to discuss them on Jan. 16.
Board member Tom Hickey Sr. said the legislative proposals directly address continuing problems with the roughly 300 large commercial kennels in the state, the majority in Lancaster County.
"These are clearly more focused on what the governor wants to do with the requirements for larger enclosures with attached runs," said Hickey. "And you can't kill your own dogs; they must get medical treatment."
In 2006, Rendell, a dog lover fed up with the state's bad reputation, pledged to improve the lives of commercial breeding dogs - many of which get little socialization and never leave their cramped cages. He fired the members of the Dog Law Advisory Board; hired more kennel inspection staff, a new deputy secretary and a special prosecutor in the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement; and proposed sweeping kennel regulations.
His legislative package goes further.
"Absolutely, it would be the strongest law in the country," said Bob Baker, an ASPCA investigator who helped draft Pennsylvania's dog law in the early 1980s.
The bill would ban the stacking of cages and wire-floored cages, which are popular because they allow waste to drop through for easier cleaning. Wire floors can cause health problems, including sores on dogs' paw pads and injuries when a paw or leg slips through the wire.
It also would mandate license revocation for an owner convicted of animal cruelty within the previous 10 years. Now, the secretary of agriculture has the discretion to allow those convicted of animal abuse to continue to operate.
Another provision would require that dogs receive annual veterinary care and bar kennel operators from giving their own rabies shots.
Animal welfare advocates say allowing breeders to give their own rabies shots means many dogs rarely, if ever, see veterinarians for routine check-ups or even complex procedures. The new law would require a vet to perform cesareans and debarking procedures, a response to evidence that some kennel operators perform their own C-sections or debark their dogs by plunging sharp objects down the animals' throats.
"At least dogs would see the vet once a year when they get rabies shots," said Baker.
The bill also would require that old or sick animals be euthanized only by veterinarians. It is legal in Pennsylvania to destroy a dog by shooting it.
Contact staff writer Amy Worden at 717-783-2584 or

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pet puppies and Show Breeders

I feel this is a very good summary of how the AR movement has evolved. Thank you Sharyn for writing this.

Pet Puppies and Show Breeders
So is there no alternative to having dogs raised commercially in long rows of cages and sold at pet stores?

Yes, there is but it will take some major turning around in show breeders' thinking and not many of us are brave enough to stick our necks out and do it. Our ingrained "good breeder" beliefs are just too strong, but mostly it is peer pressure that keeps us from changing. Unfortunately we are going to lose our right to breed at all before anyone decides it's worth risking popularity to speak up.

How we got here: Before World War II, most people had mixed breed dogs because purebreds were just too expensive. No problem finding a puppy because spay/neuter was rare and there were lots of all kinds of pups to be had. As the sixties rolled around, in fact, whole litters were being euthanized at dog pounds because there were few leash laws -- dogs roamed around the neighborhood looking for love -- and no spaying. I was nine in 1960 and one of the joys of my life was the variety of dogs wandering around for me to play with. The dark side was that our neighbors' dogs sometimes had puppies that occasionally mysteriously disappeared around six weeks old with some mumblings from the adults about shelters and finding good homes. The truth was most, if not all, of them were euthanized. There were too many puppies for the homes available. That is pet overpopulation and we still have it in cats.

Around this same time, people were getting more affluent and the price of purebreds was coming down. The government had encouraged the commercial breeding of dogs as an economic measure and suddenly the ads in the paper were not only for Shepherd mixes, but for "German Shepherd puppies, $50." (One of those, incidentally, was my first purebred dog. when I was 16) So now families who had bought purebreds often bred a litter or two for extra income or just for the experience of having pups. And purebred puppies began entering the pound for euthanasia as well. That was pet overpopulation too. Too many puppies for the homes available.

Enter the various humane societies and the spay/neuter campaigns -- unarguably much needed to curb the overpopulation and stop needless euthanasia. Shelter euthanasia dropped 70 percent between 1970 and 1990 and has continued to drop since then. In the late '80s and '90s, good breeders also added spay/neuter contracts to their puppy sales, further reducing the number of unwanted litters. It gradually became unfashionable to allow your dog to have puppies unless you were a show or working dog breeder. "Nice people" just didn't allow their dogs to contribute to pet overpopulation. We breeders went it one better and started being seriously nasty (or at least condescending) to anyone expressing an interest in breeding and once the internet got going, all a person had to do was mention to one breeder that she MIGHT be interested in breeding, and there was a Do Not Adopt circulated throughout the breed lists. That person would play hell getting a puppy from a show breeder after that.

In the early '90s, perhaps a bit earlier, two things happened in the humane movement. Some of the organizations realized that without an overpopulation crisis, they didn't have a message to use to collect donations which were needed to pay the staff. But they didn't declare success and shut down. Ever known an organization to do that? Even the March of Dimes moved from polio to other birth defects when the polio vaccine ended their original crisis. No, they continued to scream "OVERPOPULATION" and they began to ease into a more radical movement called animal rights.

The animal rights philosophy is summarized on PETA's website as "animals have rights and deserve to have their best interests taken into consideration, regardless of whether they are useful to humans. Like you, they are capable of suffering and have an interest in leading their own lives; therefore, they are not ours to use — for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation, or any other reason." It's the last part of that that will end our right to breed them. The ARs will deny this on the phone (no one would send them money if they admitted it!), but if you dig deeply enough, you will find that, yes, they DO believe no one should keep pets.

"Pet ownership is an absolutely abysmal situation brought about by human manipulation." Ingrid Newkirk, national director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), Just Like Us? Harper's, August 1988, p. 50.

"In a perfect world, all other than human animals would be free of human interference, and dogs and cats would be part of the ecological scheme." PeTA's Statement on Companion Animals

"One day, we would like an end to pet shops and the breeding of animals. [Dogs] would pursue their natural lives in the wild ... they would have full lives, not wasting at home for someone to come home in the evening and pet them and then sit there and watch TV," Ingrid Newkirk, national director, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), Chicago Daily Herald, March 1, 1990

PeTA's "No Birth Nation" program is not a moratorium on breeding. It is an END to it. So where will pets come from? Hmmmm. Think about that when you call them for information. Heck NO they are not going to admit it in so many words. (some of the people who work there may not even know it, and for sure most of the people who send them money don't know it) Who would donate to an organization working to end pet ownership, for heaven' s sake? PETA is not shy about saying ALL breeders are bad. And if we all stop breeding, WHERE WILL THE PETS COME FROM???

In the '80s HSUS was still a "good guy," but during the last couple of decades of the 20th century, it was slowly infiltrated by the extremists, who quietly obtained board and high level executive positions. There are still some good people working for them, but when Wayne Pacelle became president, the conversion was complete. Now that is one organization that will NEVER admit to wanting to end pet ownership, but what else do these quotes from Wayne Pacelle mean?

"We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding. . One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding." Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP of Humane Society of the US, formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Animal People, May, 1993
When asked if he envisioned a future without pets, "If I had my personal view, perhaps that might take hold. In fact, I don't want to see another dog or cat born." Wayne Pacelle quoted in Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt by Ted Kerasote, 1993, p. 266.
As hard as it is for many of us to believe, people LIE to achieve their goals. And those of us who have worked in this arena for a few years know for sure that animal rights advocates will lie at the drop of a hat if they believe it will help their Cause.
HSUS is not as radical as PETA. We call it "PETA with a suit and tie." HSUS claims to support "good" breeders, but they know well that there are not enough non-commercial breeders to supply even all the GREAT homes with the most popular breeds. If everyone HSUS wanted to stop breeding did stop breeding, only about two in ten people who wanted a dog would be able to get one.

Everything except the No Pets agenda is on the websites of these organizations, and you can find that too if you spend a little time.

In summary, though the spay/neuter campaign was badly needed, show breeders fell into the AR trap of taking it to the extreme. Now most of the purebred dogs in this country are produced from the worst stock we have. No one gets a dog from a show breeder with blessings to breed it -- so if you want to breed, you go to a commercial breeder or pet shop. Result? What you'd expect. Poorly socialized puppies, many with genetic problems and bad temperaments. So guess what -- they end up in shelters, and the ARs scream PUREBREDS IN THE SHELTERS!! WE HAVE OVERPOPULATION!!!! STOP BREEDING!!! So we cut back even more, the commercial breeders pick up the slack and down goes the quality of purebred dogs.

Think about this. It is exactly what has happened and is happening.
Tomorrow: What breeders have to do to "stop puppy mills" and save our breeds and our right to breed.

By Sharyn Hutchens

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dog shelters import from around the world to fill the need

Filling Empty Dog Pounds
As U.S. shelters help solve local stray problems, a Tufts expert says many are importing dogs from other countries to meet demand for animal adoptions.
Mass. At local animal shelters around the country, the dogs up for adoption may be a lot further from home than many people would imagine. With stray animals on the decline in many communities, but interest in adoption still high, a Tufts expert says many shelters are importing stray animals from around the world to meet the demand.
“Animal shelters in the USA are casting a wide net – from Puerto Rico to as far as Taiwan – to fill kennels,” reported USA Today. “Critics say many shelters have solved the stray problem in their own area – but rather than shut down, they become de facto pet stores. Some charge more than $200 per adoption for imported dogs.”
According to Tufts’ Gary Patronek – the director of Tufts’ Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tuft's School of Veterinary Medicine – U.S. shelters may be a victim of their own successes.
“The drive to have dogs spayed and neutered in the USA has cut down on unwanted litters. And adoption campaigns have helped empty dog pounds,” reported USA Today. “But [the Tufts expert says] people who want to adopt dogs increasingly find aged dogs or undesirable breeds like pit bulls at shelters.”
Imported animals are filling the demand.
“In the last seven years, one organization in Puerto Rico has shipped more than 14,000 strays to the states for adoption,” reported the newspaper. “Shipments from other countries also appear to be increasing. Most imports are small to medium-size dogs popular among adopters.”
In order to enter the U.S., the imported animals do not need to be quarantined – having certificates of good health and proof of rabies shots are sufficient.
“But Patronek said bringing dogs in from abroad runs a serious risk of importing a disease,” reported the Scottish newspaper The Scotsman.
According to the Tufts expert, “What makes it so scary is that you just don’t know what might emerge if you aren’t at least looking for it.”
And despite their similarities, shelters and pet stores have important distinctions from one another.
“Patronek says not-for-profit shelters may be chartered to insure animal welfare, but they are relatively unregulated,” reported USA Today. “Pet shops, on the other hand, generally operate under more stringent state and local regulations.”
But some pet owners don’t mind that the stray animals they’ve adopted are from other countries, not their local communities.