Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Do Not Believe In Dog Licensing

Here is the story of a man that has been jailed for not having his dog licensed. Yes, he broke the law. Yes, he should obey the law. But, should there be dog licensing laws?

Is this what dog licenses are for? Animal control should be about animal welfare and human safety. Whether a dog is licensed or not doesn't prove responsible dog ownership, or that the dog is being humanely cared for, or that the dog is going to be safe around people or other animals. Yes, animal control needs funding, but most dogs are unlicensed because the people don't believe in it. It is time to rethink animal control's function, and separate it from animal sheltering (which should be done by no kill private non profits, which do it better).

Advocates will say that dog licensing reduces animal attacks. That is false. Animal attacks can NEVER be cured by writing a law. You can't do behavior modification on a dog by passing a law. You can't make a dog come when called by passing a law, you can't make it stop peeing on your carpet by passing a law, and you can't make it get along with other dogs or people by passing a law. Dog licensing also doesn't make people treat their dogs any differently.

I have a problem with some types of laws that encourage the state to raise more tax dollars by issuing tickets. For example, California is broken... and broke. And so are most of its cities. So, they have ridiculously raised fines and then sent the police out there to issue tickets to raise tax dollars. I know of someone that was pulled over for driving ON THE HIGHWAY for having her radio on "too loud". Now, I also hate those boom boxes people put in their cars which hurt your ears. But, this wasn't that kind of radio, nor was it that loud. So, they got a ticket for hundreds of dollars. And there is no way you are getting out of those because the system is rigged: they want your money. So, instead of funding the police as they should (from the general fund), this corrupts the legal system by passing useless laws and giving cops an incentive to issue tickets in order to keep their jobs. None of which promotes public safety, which is the primary purpose of the police. Los Angeles has a horrible gang violence problem. We all know that. But, instead, they have the cops out there issuing tickets for radios playing in cars whizzing down the highway. And the same is true for animal control in some places around the country. These guys have police powers. The shelters are full of dogs in government owned facilities that are being gassed, injected or electrocuted every day of every week. Tens of thousands of dogs die every day in the US in these places. Dog licensing has done nothing to reduce this problem, nor has it done a thing about public safety or animal welfare in general.

Almost no one gets a license for their cat. In the article, they admitted that only a third of people license their dogs. Yet in some cities, they have animal control going door to door issuing tickets for animals that are not being abused, are not being a danger to anyone, and everyone knows that. In other cities, they have used the licenses to locate pit bulls, seized the dogs, and put them to death. How would you like your innocent dog put on a list so that if some politician thinks it is time for your dog to die, they know where to find you? Don't forget, it isn't just pit bulls that get banned. There have been bans on Akitas, Rottweilers, Huskies, Greyhounds, German Shepherd Dogs, Dobermans, and other breeds and their mixes. So, even your mutt is at risk. So, the public is voting with their pocketbooks and not getting licenses. In this story, they used the lack of a dog license to arrest and jail this guy. It wasn't even about the dog at all. Is that what you want dog licensing laws for? This is not a winning issue if put to the ballot, and I think that is necessary.

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