Backyard breeders, Internet sales and other bad guys
This, the third and last of a series of articles enumerating three laws that will change the animal landscape forever finds this writer targeting a retinue of issues; backyard breeding, Internet sales and breeding in general. To gain an understanding of the first two laws and the integrated impact this third law would have on the overall scheme the reader may choose to peruse Three Laws That Will Change the World and Ending Puppy Mills Forever.
As previously stated, in our humble opinion, no permanent solution to the animal overpopulation issue can be found without addressing the 'supply side' of the equation. That is control the production of the cats and dogs we so dearly love and so lovingly execute at the rate of 4,000,000 per annum. However unlike human reproduction, the levers of this production are completely at the hands of the human masters. A patchwork of backyard breeders and bonafide breeders produce dogs and cats at their whim and desire, selling them in any fashion they deem proper and appropriate. After all, under our current judeo Christian mores animals are but inanimate objects, albeit clearly alive. You can create one, sell one, even kill one if you so desire - all within legal and moral justification.
Society needs to take control of this patchwork if it ever is to end the spurious killing of dogs and cats! To that end we propose one law that attacks both ends of the production spectrum.
A new and highly experienced volunteer was once deciding whether to join AnimalsVote or not and she had the quintessential question to decide with. She asked 'what do you do with backyard breeders?' I replied, 'you prohibit it completely, place a hefty fine and split the income from the fine with the person that reported the breeder'. She was stunned to her heels and replied 'I have been asking that question to everyone in the animal world for years and that's the first time anyone gave me an answer that makes sense and might just work'.
'Backyard breeding' is a term referring to anyone that decides he/she wants to have a litter with their dogs/cats. So they produce a litter of 10 puppies, then in most cases they try to sell them for profit. Those that don't sell end up in misery and death. This life and death decision must be taken out of human hands! There is no need whatsoever for ' backyard breeding', professional breeders produce plenty of dogs and cats for all to enjoy. The backyard breeder needs to go and the best and only way is through the profit motive! Say you levied a $1,000 fine for each instance of discovered breeding. 'But who is going to know what someone is doing in the back of his barn you say' correctly. To motivate disclosure you give half the fine or $500 to the person that anonymously reported the now illegal breeding instance. Humans have proven that they will do just about anything for money, use that knowledge to now enforce the unenforceable. Let greed become the ally of the hapless animal.
In a serendipitous side benefit, the aforementioned would also solve the Pit Bull problem every shelter faces today. Walk into any shelter and up to 70% of the available dogs will be Pit Bull breeds. This is a direct result of backyard breeders in the inner cities. Pits overproduced for fighting end up in dispropriate numbers in the shelters and account for a much maligned breed name. This is the exact trend that has spewed breed specific legislation in may counties. Stopping the backyard breeders by getting their neighbor to 'rat them out' is a solution that fits the bill. Pit Bull breeding will thus diminish and so will dogfighting and suddenly there will be more than just Pitts at the local pound for adoption.
This so called 'reputable' class of breeders should be the only people allowed to breed and thus create new dogs and cats. Remember our second law eliminated all puppy mills and the aforementioned cut out backyard breeding. Now one can focus on the single source of production, call them 'Reputable Breeders' and enforce licensing requirements. These would include taking courses on animal care, agreeing to Dept of Agriculture unannounced visits and strict control of production control and quantity. In this way the municipality would extract permit fees and have a handle on the number of animals produced. If the shelters are overrun , they issue less permits for production, if the shelter is empty they increase the number of production permits. The point is that the licensed breeder must now receive a municipal permit to produce X numbers of cats and dogs.
American Kennel Club
The AKC is currently a public relations organization that certifies the genealogy of certain breeds, but they are also a fierce political animal. They are usually in the 'animals are just objects' camp of the spectrum, hostile to animal right organizations efforts to reform anything. In order to defang this leviathan I propose to make the AKC the authority in issuing new 'reputable breeder' licenses in the USA. Once the licensing requirements have been agreed to by the AKC and approved by the Dept. of Agriculture, the AKC would be the sole body with authority to issue new breeding licenses. After receiving a license the breeder would still have to get annual production permits from their municipality.
In this way, by giving real power to the AKC, we may be able to bring them into the 'animal reform' camp. New license applications would bring fees to the AKC for their services and annual permit applications would benefit the coffers of cash strapped municipalities.
Much has been made of this surreptitious way of buying a life, impersonal and full of hyperboles and lies. As much can be said for the dating scene in the United States. That photo on Match.com is 20 years old and most of the biography is a wish rather than reality, yet no one proposes to shut down Internet dating. This writer sees no issues with Internet sales of dogs and cats; one day you get to meet your date in person and find out the true age of that photo. Cross border Internet sales of dogs and cats must however be strictly forbidden. In a licensed and permitted breeding environment all breeders will be required to take back a sold pup within a certain period of a sale, paying for the return flight! The cost of the 'pet refund' and the jeopardy it represents to their breeding license would be natural inhibitors to bad behaviour, in essence it would be BAD BUSINESS!
The three laws in tandem create a unique tapestry of linked interests all controlling the animal population and thus indirectly impacting on the number of dogs and cats showing up on a fine morning in any given shelter. And those that indeed do end up at the shelter, through the first law's mechanism, now face tremendously increased chances of adoption. No puppy mills, no backyard breeders, licensed breeders selling to families lovingly waiting for their forever friend and no more death camps euphemistically entitled 'SHELTERS'.
Thats a world I'd like my son to walk proudly on! Next, a roadmap to how to put The Three Laws into effect and turn them into reality.