Wolves in Sheep's Clothing by Loretta Baughan|
Our freedoms are under attack like never before. The threat is not a foreign nation or even a terrorist organization, but rather, it comes from within. Americans’ freedom to own a dog, hunt, keep it and breed it if the owner see fit... and a host of other property rights issues are in the sights of those whose goal is to strip us of these legal rights.
Last years attempt by a coalition of so-called animal rights groups, spearheaded by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) to push the Pet Animal Welfare Statue of 2005 (PAWS) through congress failed. The bill was proposed by now ex-Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and sponsored by Dick Durbin (D-IL). PAWS would have reclassified most small and hobby breeders as commercial breeders subjecting them to USDA regulations, allowed unconstitutionally invasive home inspections and burdened pet breeders with repressive fees and compliance expenses. It would have also removed breeders’ right to due process, a violation of the 4th Amendment. Fellow Congressmen were deliberately misled when they were told that PAWS was "the puppy mill bill" when, in fact, it did not address that issue.
This victory for American pet owners and breeders was due to our success at achieving nationwide grassroots support to defeat PAWS - with thousands of citizens urging their elected officials to vote "no".
"They are, as PETA claims, "working to make America a "no-birth" nation" by orchestrating a plan for creating a negative impression of breeding pets in the minds of the general public, demonizing breeders, ardently promoting spay-neuter surgeries for all pets, indoctrinating children with their radical beliefs in the public school system and promoting pet legislation initiatives that advance their radical agenda."
PAWS was Santorum’s third failed attempt to promote the animal extremist agenda into law in as many years. Angry pet lovers across the nation had enough and mobilized against his Senatorial re-election campaign by supporting his opponent, Bob Casey (D). Even lifelong Republicans donated money to Casey’s campaign... and told him why they were doing so. Of course, you have not heard about this through any national media outlet because most news organizations are ardently pro-animal extremists.
The battle may have been won, but the war is not.
Who Are the Animal Extremists?
"You don't have to own squirrels and starlings to get enjoyment from them ... 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.
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, president and CEO The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), quoted in Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt by Ted Kerasote, 1993, p. 266.
Both PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and HSUS firmly believe that humans don’t deserve to own, hunt, breed or use animals. They are, as PETA claims, "working to make America a "no-birth" nation". And are doing so by orchestrating a plan for creating a negative impression of breeding pets in the minds of the general public, demonizing breeders, ardently promoting spay-neuter surgeries for all pets, indoctrinating children with their radical beliefs in the public school system and promoting pet legislation initiatives that advance their anti-pets agenda.
"Our goal is to make [the public think of] breeding [dogs and cats] like drunk driving and smoking." -- Kim Sturla, former director of the Peninsula Humane Society and Western Director of Fund for Animals, stated during Kill the Crisis, not the Animals campaign and workshops, 1991
"Levine and his backers plan to solve California’s
animal problems by phasing out pet ownership.
That’s not animal rights, that’s hard-core animal extremism."
Unfortunately, the animal extremists wasted little time licking their wounds after the PAWS defeat. They have been busy directing efforts to legislate their agenda at the state and local levels. Proposals in various stages of the legislative process are pending in the following states: Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Current initiatives vary, but include:
- breeder licensing and regulations
- mandatory spay and neuter
- ban on elective surgeries such as ear cropping, tail docking, dew claw removal, debarking, declawing, etc...
- breed specific legislation
- denial of homeowner’s insurance
- homeowner’s liability insurance with respect to dogs
The Pet Extinction Bill
In California, Assemblymember Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) is pedaling AB 1634 called the California Healthy Pets Act. It promises "healthier pets - safer communities - taxpayer savings", but it’s legacy will be the opposite. AB 1634 is a pet extinction bill to be achieved through forced sterilization. Every puppy and every kitten in the state will be subject to mandatory spay or castration... at just four months old. Those residents caught with an intact animal over four month of age and without a permit - which is expected to be difficult and costly to obtain - will be criminalized and subjected to a $500 fine, per animal. "Healthier pets"? No. Residents will stop providing their pets with veterinary care to try and avoid detection. "Safer communities"? No. More pets will be turned out on the streets, compounding California’s stray dog and feral cat problems.
Police K-9 unit programs will suffer - as will programs that provide assistance dogs for the blind and disabled. "Taxpayer savings"? No. This bill will not solve California’s animal shelter problems. Costs will skyrocket as a new bureaucracy will be required to implement and enforce AB 1634, if it becomes law.
The supporter list of AB 1634 reads like a "who’s who" of the so-called "animal rights" movement. High-profile notables include: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), In Defense of Animals (IDA), Animal Protection Institute (API), HOPE Animal Foundation, New Hope Animal Foundation, Pet Adoption League (PAL), Humane America Animal Foundation, Spay Neuter Action Project (SNAP), Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL), American Humane Association, Cesar Millan Inc., Cesar and Ilusion Millan Foundation, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)... plus dozens of animal control, pet rescue and other groups.
"It is time we demand an end to the misguided and abusive concept of animal ownership. The first step on this long, but just, road would be ending the concept of pet ownership." -- Elliot Katz, President "In Defense of Animals," Spring 1997
Levine and his backers plan to solve California’s animal problems by phasing out pet ownership. That’s not animal rights, that’s hard-core animal extremism.
For the good citizens of California who wish to purchase a purebred pet, it will become extremely difficult - if not impossible - if Levine’s bill becomes law. Most responsible breeders residing in other states will refuse to sell pets to California residents due to the forced pediatric sterilization requirement and the health risks it presents.
What Health Risks?
The decision to spay or neuter a pet should not be taken lightly. As with all surgical procedures, there are inherent risks. Subjecting a four-month old puppy to a pediatric surgery increases these risks.
"The decision of whether or not to spay or neuter a pet should lie with it's owner - and not be dictated by the government or any special interest groups."
Proponents of pet sterilization often cite health benefits for these surgeries. Among their claims is that neutering reduces the risk for prostrate cancer, however a scientific study suggests no such benefit (8). In fact, two studies actually point at a greater likelihood for a neutered dog to get prostrate cancer than one who is intact (14, 15). They also neglect to provide an accurate picture of the health problems that can result from spaying or neutering. When compared side by side, the health risks far outweigh any possible benefit.
For male dogs that are neutered, they become subject to an increased risk of developing: osteosarcoma (bone cancer) (1, 2), cardiac hemangiosarcoma (3), hypothyroidism (12, 13), obesity (17), urethral sphincter incontinence (11), prostate cancer
(14, 15), urinary tract cancers (18), orthopedic disorders - including canine hip dysplasia (CHD) (4) - aggression (9) and adverse reactions to vaccinations (9, 20).
Spayed female dogs are at a higher risk for: osteosarcoma (bone cancer) (1, 2), splenic hemangiosarcoma (19), hypothyroidism (12, 13), obesity (16), urinary incontinence (10), urinary tract infections
(4), recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, vaginitis, urinary tract tumors (18), orthopedic disorders - including canine hip dysplasia (CHD) (4, 21) - fearful behaviors (9) and adverse reactions to vaccinations (9, 20).
The sex hormones are needed for achieving peak bone density (5), healthy growth and development. Puppies that are sterilized before they are physically mature and their growth plates have closed can be identified by their longer limbs, a lighter bone structure, narrow chests and narrow skulls (6). Some may also be more prone to suffer CCL rupture (7), in addition to the risks listed above.
Some long-term health risks can be avoided by waiting until the puppy is physically mature and their growth plates have closed before spaying or neutering. Generally, that would be around fourteen months old. The decision of whether or not to spay or neuter a pet should lie with it's owner - and not be dictated by the government or any special interest groups. Perhaps we need to take a step back from the spay-neuter mentality that has permeated society and ask ourselves, "What is in the best interest of my puppy (or kitten)?"
"The cat, like the dog, must disappear... We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist." -- John Bryant, Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of A Changing Ethic (Washington, DC: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 1982, p. 15.
The California Farm Bureau Federation was one of the first of many groups to publicly oppose Levine’s bill. AKC (The American Kennel Club) has stepped up to the plate, as well. Hundreds of dog clubs, breed clubs, businesses and individual pet owners have joined forces to battle AB 1634 as it continues to advance through the political process.
"Elimination of future police dogs would devastate police K-9 departments. AB 1634 would also eliminate many guide dogs for the blind and service dogs for the disabled," states the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs (COPS), who are opposed to this bill - along with the United States Police Canine Association, the Western States Police Canine Association, the North American Police Work Dog Association and the Canine Specialized Search Team.
In an unprecedented move, the National Rifle Association (NRA) issued a statement of opposition, "...AB 1634 proposes to seriously restrict the property rights of responsible hunting dog breeders and owners while imposing untold and unjust punitive costs upon their activities. If adopted, the provisions of AB 1634 would have a profound negative economic impact on both the state and local economies in California. AB1634 is poorly conceived and, as written, this legislation presents a "ONE-SIZE FITS ALL" early-age sterilization approach with little thought regarding the health and behavior considerations of early spay/neuter."
This is a fight that we all need to watch carefully. Should the unthinkable happen and AB 1634 become the law in California, it will only serve to enbolden the animal extremists to push for similar laws across the nation.
A Twisted View
"Breeders must be eliminated! As long as there is a surplus of companion animals in the concentration camps referred to as "shelters", and they are killing them because they are homeless, one should not be allowed to produce more for their own amusement and profit. If you know of a breeder in the Los Angeles area, whether commercial or private, legal or illegal, let us know and we will post their name, location, phone number so people can write them letters telling them 'Don't Breed or Buy, While Others DIE.'" "Breeders! Let's get rid of them too!" --Campaign on Animal Defense League's website, September 2, 2003.
"Humans have grown like a cancer. We're the biggest blight on the face of the earth." -- Ingrid Newkirk, PETA's founder, president and former national director, Readers Digest, June 1990
"Animal rights" groups? Excuse me, but these people hate animals, breeders, pet owners... and people. They are indeed wolves in sheep’s clothing.
(1) - Cooley DM, Beranek BC, Schlittler DL, Glickman NW, Glickman LT, Waters D, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Nov;11(11):1434-40
(2) - Ru G, Terracini B, Glickman LT. Host related risk factors for canine osteosarcoma. Vet J. 1998 Jul;156(1):31-9.
(3) - Ware WA, Hopper DL. Cardiac tumors in dogs: 1982-1995. J Vet Intern Med 1999 Mar-Apr;13(2):95-103
(4) - Spain CV, Scarlett JM, Houpt KA. Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in dogs. JAVMA 2004;224:380-387.
(5) - Gilsanz V, Roe TF, Gibbens DT, Schulz EE, Carlson ME, Gonzalez O, Boechat MI. Effect of sex steroids on peak bone density of growing rabbits. Am J Physiol. 1988 Oct;255(4 Pt 1):E416-21.
(6) - Grumbach MM. Estrogen, bone, growth and sex: a sea change in conventional wisdom. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2000;13 Suppl 6:1439-55.
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(8) - Obradovich J, Walshaw R, Goullaud E. The influence of castration on the development of prostatic carcinoma in the dog. 43 cases (1978-1985). J Vet Intern Med 1987 Oct-Dec;1(4):183-7.
(9) - http://www.akcchf.org/pdfs/whitepapers/Biennial_National_Parent_Club_Canine_Health_Conference.pdf
(10) - Stocklin-Gautschi NM, Hassig M, Reichler IM, Hubler M, Arnold S. The relationship of urinary incontinence to early spaying in bitches. J. Reprod. Fertil. Suppl. 57:233-6, 2001
(11) - Aaron A, Eggleton K, Power C, Holt PE. Urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence in male dogs: a retrospective analysis of 54 cases. Vet Rec. 139:542-6, 1996
(12) - http://www.grca.org/healthsurvey.pdf
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(16) - Edney AT, Smith PM. Study of obesity in dogs visiting veterinary practices in the United Kingdom. .Vet Rec. 1986 Apr 5;118(14):391-6.
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(18) - Norris AM, Laing EJ, Valli VE, Withrow SJ. J Vet Intern Med 1992 May; 6(3):145-53.
(19) - Prymak C, McKee LJ, Goldschmidt MH, Glickman LT. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1988 Sep; 193(6):706-12
(20) - Moore GE, Guptill LF, Ward MP, Glickman NW, Faunt KF, Lewis HB, Glickman LT. Adverse events.
(21) - Dannuccia GA, Martin RB., Patterson-Buckendahl P Ovariectomy and trabecular bone remodeling in the dog. Calcif Tissue Int 1986; 40: 194-199.
Learn More... Take Action
On May 16th, the bill was pased from committee to the body of the legislature. The following websites have further information on this bill and advice for California residents who want to do their part to stop AB 1634 from becoming law:
- PetPAC - is an organization formed to support the rights of pet owners. Our first priority is to defeat AB 1634, The Pet Extinction Act
- NAIA Trust - is a nonprofit 501 (c) 4 organization established under the Internal Revenue Code to promote responsible animal care and ownership and reasonable laws, policies and regulations to protect animals and the people who care for them
- Save Our Dogs - a grassroots effort to save working dogs from AB 1634, mandatory spay/neuter
- Dog Gone California - is dedicated to building a constituency of pet owners to join us in this effort to fight AB 1634
- California Federation of Dog Clubs - defending your right to enjoy your dog
- COPS - California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, save the dogs
- DPCA - Doberman Pinscher Club of America, California Dogs Need You
- Opposition to AB 1634
Loretta Baughan is the founder, editor and publisher of Spaniel Journal. She is an award winning professional photographer, webdesigner and owner of
the Autumnskye, LLC kennel. She raises, trains and hunts her English springer spaniels. She is a member of the Tilden Valley English Springer Spaniel Club. Loretta resides
in northern Wisconsin, with her husband, Steve, and their three children.