May 12, 2006
when pit bull semen is outlawed, only outlaws will have pit bull semen!
I am ashamed and chagrined to see that certain humans in Berkeley, California are trying to outlaw unneutered pit bulls:
The American Kennel Club is howling about a law some members of the Citizens Humane Commission are proposing that would mandate the spaying and neutering of most Berkeley pit bulls, a breed overrepresented in the city’s animal shelter.The reasoning? These animals are said to be aggressive:
“Pit bulls and other breeds like Rotweilers have been bred to be aggressive,” said Councilmember Dona Spring, the council representative to the Humane Commission. “There are some very well-behaved, well-trained pit bulls, but there is an uncertainty about them,” Spring said, noting that if the breed were not overrepresented—if their reproduction were curtailed—then there would be fewer euthanized in the city shelter. (Dogs stay seven days in the shelter before they are killed or “rescued” by local non-profit organizations.)NOTE: Anyone who wants to see an aggressive pit bull in action should take a look at the picture here. (As SayUncle observed, "it helps to have a camera handy to capture the savage mauling the child will receive.")
I don't think this has as much to do with breeding vicious animals as it does with breeding all animals. The pit bull is being targeted (as it was in San Francisco) because it is a minority breed with fewer defenders, often favored by outlaws who want a dog with a bad rep, so is perceived as the weak link in the chain. The goal of those who believe in the "animal rights" philosophy is that domestic animals should not be bred at all, but because this philosophy is a tough sell, it's packaged in easier-to-swallow pieces. Instead of attacking all dog breeders, "puppy mills" are condemned without being clearly defined. And we are told there is a "dog overpopulation crisis" even though animal adoption centers have such a shortage of puppies that they have actually had to import them.
The goal is, simply, to neuter virtually all dogs, and outlaw dog breeding. In Los Angeles, they have done just that:
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to approve an ordinance yesterday that requires all dogs, except those that are law enforcement dogs, service dogs or that qualify as "competition" dogs to be spayed or neutered. The ordinance will go into effect June 3rd. For more details please read our previous alert on this issue or contact Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control at (562) 728-4882.
Back to Berkeley:
However, pit bulls are targeted because they are hard to adopt out, said Kate O’Connor, Berkeley’s Animal Care Services manager. About 30 percent of the animals that come in to the Berkeley shelter are pit bulls, she said; however, about 80 percent of the shelter population is made up of pit bulls because they are so difficult to adopt out. Last month 19 pit bulls came into the shelter, compared to eight Rotweilers and eight Shepherd mixes.The reason pit bulls are "hard to adopt out" is not because people don't want them, but because animal shelters make them very difficult to adopt with a plethora of restrictions. Many cities simply will not allow adoption of pit bulls, so they are simply killed. This means (quite ironically) that the demand for the breed is being created by the shelters' own policies!
If you don't believe me, and you decide you want one of these clownish and lovable dogs, try going down to your local animal shelter or SPCA. The application process often involves background checks, fingerprinting, home visits and a process as complex as adopting a child. I don't know what Berkeley requires right now, but if you want a pit bull in San Francisco, why, the process is so complex and draconian that SF Weekly complained that it's easier to buy a gun:
Which is easier, cheaper, and less time-consuming to acquire -- a pistol or a pit bull terrier?The article goes on to list pistol puchase requirements, but considering San Francisco's recent gun ban, I'll avoid fatiguing readers with irrelevant details. (In short, buying a pistol in San Francisco was easier than adopting a pit bull.)
My point is, people who might want a pit bull are not going to want to go through such nonsense when there are puppies for sale. By their nature, draconian laws create demand for alternatives. The last time I looked, the price for purebred pit bull pups like these (from a top breeder) was close to $1000.00.
The AKC strongly opposes Berkeley's proposed ordinance:
The Berkeley Citizens Humane Commission will meet again on Wednesday, May 17th to discuss a proposal to require mandatory spay/neuter of all “pit bulls.” It is vital that responsible dog owners and concerned breeders attend this meeting. Fanciers are also encouraged to contact their representative on the Berkeley City Council to oppose this measure. The meeting will be held from 7-10pm at the North Berkeley Senior Center located at 1901 Hearst Avenue."Any dog displaying the physical characteristics" is a real mouthful. The phrase would include two dozen different breeds which are not pit bulls, and while Berkeley's "experts" claim they can recognize the breed, I challenge them (and anyone else) to go to this web site, and try to find the pit bull! (I've owned them for decades and been to countless dog shows, and I couldn't do it.)
This ordinance will do nothing to address the alleged problem, which involves irresponsible dog owners who are often low-level criminals -- with no regard whatsoever for a silly law like this -- who might breed their dogs in backyards to sell the pups for a few extra bucks. Responsible pit bull owners might obey the law, but few responsible breeders would be crazy enough to remain in Berkeley. I can't think of a better way to create a black market.
Breed specific laws of any nature are of course discriminatory, and proposing equivalent laws for humans would be unthinkable.
Aside from being a form of canine racism, the law might be sexist as applied, as it inherently lends itself to unequal enforcement of the law. Think about it: if you're in the business of enforcing this law, and you see a pit bull, what might give you probable cause to suspect a violation? A pair of nuts -- swinging behind a male dog! With females, there's no way to tell without a close examination by a veterinarian (even spaying often leaves no visible scars).
(Not that anyone in Berkeley would be concerned about discrimination . . .)
A COUPLE OF AFTERTHOUGHTS: (Or maybe this is a correction.) I just realized that the title to this post is wrong, because neither pit bull semen nor its collection would be outlawed by Berkeley's ordinance. Owners of pit bulls faced with mandatory neutering could first have their male dogs' semen collected and stored at any number of places which perform the procedure. (The AKC lists several such facilities within driving distance from Berkeley.)
The ordinance is also overbroad because it requires neutering of male dogs and spaying of females, despite the fact that vasectomies and tubal ligations would just as easily address the overstated pit bull "overpopulation" problem.
FULL DISCLOSURE: In writing this post, I had help:
But in the interest of further disclosure, Coco has a blog tutor:
MORE: Reading Jonah Goldberg's thoughts here (via InstaPundit) makes me wonder whether the cut-the-nuts movement might be driven by more than merely an animal rights philosophy. Might it be fueled by an inherently sexist anti-testosterone philosophy as well? If you think about it, what could be more evocative of testosterone than an unneutered male pit bull swaggering down the street with his nuts swinging between his legs?
Just say nuts!
posted by Eric on 05.12.06 at 09:05 AM
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