Wednesday, November 09, 2005

We Need To Broaden Our Fight!

We are slowly making inroads in our fight against unfair, breed specific laws. But, we need to take our fight further. Instead of focusing on breeds, we should focus on irresponsible human behavior.

1.) There are times when it should be OK for a dog to bite. I have said this many times. You can't outlaw biting. That is against nature. Sometimes a dog bites for completely justifiable reasons. For example, if you tease or abuse a dog, or you reach your hand into a car and pet a strange dog... then don't be surprised you get bitten. Sometimes, when people get bitten, it is their own tough luck. You should have known better. And parents, you should have been doing a better job of supervising your kid (that's what parenting is all about, isn't it?!)

2.) People that breed dogs need to clean up their breeding practices. We need to put puppy mills and backyard breeders out of business. Responsible PURE BRED breeders should be promoted, and should prosper, instead. We should do everything we can to make it easy for responsible breeders to produce healthy, properly formed, temperamentally sound dogs, and to help them self regulate the breeding business to keep out the trashy breeders. Mixed bred dogs also need an advocate, since they are also good pets and will fall under any laws that get passed.

3.) We need to do more public education about the benefits our dogs provide society. All the breeds have useful and good functions, and should be preserved. We also need to start educating people, including their children, so they have realistic expectations of how dogs behave, instead of cartoon expectations of how dogs behave.

4.) We need systems to weed out poorly bred dogs from the gene pool. This can only come through mandatory temperament testing (self regulated, not governmental) via breed organizations like the AKC and FCI.

5.) Dog owners need a better system of due process, to fight against unreasonable dog laws. It shouldn't be possible for a nasty neighbor, for example, to make anonymous complaints about your dog just to harass you. Dogs should be allowed to be dogs.

6.) We need better laws, written with the assistance of responsible dog owners, and animal behavior experts. It is time to stop laws being passed in the moment of hysteria.

7.) We need tough laws to deal with people that abuse animals, and/or put them in situations that hurt innocent people. But the penalties should be proportionate to the harm. Many laws today are unreasonable in the penalties they inflict on dog owners. A nip isn’t the same as a bite, isn't the same as a mauling. These need to be delineated, instead of all lumped in together.

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