The end of mutts?

I've always enjoyed purebred dogs, but a lot of people I know swear by mutts. And I can understand why, because some of the nicest dogs I have ever known have been mongrels.

Man's best friend does not have to look pretty in a show ring, or come with a pedigree.

Few people stop to consider where mutts come from. I don't think I need to be pointing this out to my readers, so I'll try to put this succinctly: mutts result from sexual intercourse between two dogs not of the same breed who still have functioning genitalia.

California Assembly Bill 1634 ("Mandatory Spay and Neuter for Dogs and Cats") reminds me why California is often called the state where nuts come from. For whatever crazy reason they don't seem to know where mutts come from.

In previous posts I have bemoaned the mandatory spay and neuter movement, which would force me to cut out ("fix") Coco's ovaries even though there is nothing wrong with them.

I suppose that in this instance Coco might a bit of an advantage over mongrels, because there's an exemption in the bill for purebred dogs which are shown or used for breeding purposes in professional kennels. But if you don't show your dog and you're not a licensed breeder, it's off with the nuts! And out with the ovaries! Or else!

This is not only madness, it's based on the erroneous premise that there is a "dog overpopulation" crisis. As I pointed out in a long post on the subject, this is simply not so; puppies are in such short supply that even animal shelters can't get enough. Puppies are being smuggled across the border from Mexico. Thus, to the extent that this law's rational basis is to amelioriate "dog overpopulation," it is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy as well as an unlawful restriction on private property.

I often wonder whether legislators think about the longterm consequences of laws like this. Actually, AB 1634 will create quite a monopoly for breeders of pure bred animals who have enough money to get a business license and the requisite licenses which will be required. Puppy prices will shoot way up, and ordinary people who want puppies will either be forced to buy purebed dogs at premium prices, or else resort to underground breeders. And the animal shelters! If they think times are tough now supplying puppies, imagine a world of no more dogs capable of reproduction except purebreds in professional kennels! The shelters might have to resort to illegal mutt breeding.

This website has a good collection of links opposed to the legislation, and an ad hoc grass roots lobbying effort has a great website here.

If I had more energy, I could go on ranting about this all day, but I honestly had no idea that the bill had generated so much momentum. They're steamrolling it through before people have a chance to think it over. It's easy for rich celebrities to support; they can afford thousands of dollars for designer dogs. But ordinary people? Forget it. The days of the family dog and the family mutt will soon be gone.

To the animal rights activists, this is just a step in the direction of no more pets.

It's a pretty big one, too.

I have to say I'm shocked that it's gotten this far. This is a hell of a piss-poor way to treat man's best friend. Animal "rights"? Are you kidding? Legislation like this actually makes me feel a bit ashamed to be a human.

My thanks to regular reader (and longtime Officially Privileged Commenter) Ironbear for alerting me to the progress of AB 1634. Interestingly, Ironbear also reports that "the AKC/UKC and various breeders associations seem to have done a lousy job of getting this issue and the opposition to the bill any publicity."

Hmmm....

Not to sound conspiratorial but I do hope they don't consider this a business opportunity. But the fact is, mandatory spaying and neutering will not end the demand for pet dogs. If only registered purebred breeders can breed dogs, that means a huge increase in the number of new litter registrations, individual registrations, and so on.

(I guess we should be glad they don't restrict human breeding in this way....)

posted by Eric on 04.27.07 at 04:38 PM










Comments

I'm not so sure so much that it's that they might see a financial opportunity - AKC has been running regular legislative alerts and editorials against it - so much as I don't think they're really effective lobbying groups. They don't seem to be used to looking at this from the view that political bloggers or gun-rights bloggers do on getting broadspread grassroots word out, and getting publicity on legislation.

I also don't believe that most breeders and breed associations have the experience with the duplicitiousness and lack of good faith argument from their opponenents that gun-rights activists take as a matter of course.

If anyone is going to rake in financial considerations on this, it'll be organizations like PETA, and very large commercial breeders. And puppy mills, indirectly: they're already illegal, and it won't bother them to run without lisences and import puppies into California.

Majority of breeders, purebred *and* designer dogs, if they're like the ones I know in other states, are pretty small operations: this will hit them hard financially, and put them out of business.

Which, I'm pretty sure, is the intent behind the bill and the lisencing/fee structures.

AKC/UKC could easily find themselves as "Breed Organizations" with no breeders in California - not something designed to reap them much in the way of financial reward. 'Course, it wouldn't be the first time an organization's comitted suicide-by-stupidity, so who knows?

I think they just dropped the ball on getting their side of the issue to media and new media for publicity early enough.

Ironbear   ·  April 28, 2007 6:51 AM

Standard disclaimer: I'm a breeder of working Australian Cattle Dogs, and registered Australian Shepherds, so I definately have a bias in this.

I have dogs in this fight, so to speak. ;)

Ironbear   ·  April 28, 2007 6:54 AM

I don't agree that the state has the right to mandate neutering for pets, especially after reading your detailed examination of motivations and consequences.

I am curious, however, as to why you won't have your dog "fixed". DO you take any steps to keeep your dog from conceiving, or are you willing to take on the added responsibility of puppies should they occur?

We have a cat, and she is a joy to us, at the same time, I don't want to kep her locked in the house, nor do I want litters of kittens.

I only ask because in my experience, far too many American pet owners really don't seem fit to care for the pet they have, let alone let their animals continue to breed. Why would anyone who spends at least 12 hours out of their modest apartment, and is often away on business, buy a large dog which requires a lot of personal attention, exercise and room to roam?

I was unaware of a puppy shortage, it sure seems like they are easy to find. Currently in Germany where I am stationed, animal shelters will not give animals to Americans, because so many Amnericans leaving Germany have simply abandoned their pets. Maybe we can work up a repatriation program to make up for a looming pet shortage.

SFC SKI   ·  April 28, 2007 7:02 AM

It's about control over people, posing as "dog control." Those who seek vastly expanded power spin this as being in the dogs' best interests, which it is not. Ordinary people are seen as the problem, especially independent dog owners who want to think their dogs are theirs. Seen this way, small breeders and backyard breeders are the worst threat, because they cannot be identified, registered, and controlled. But I think the longterm plan is elimination of pets, and this will go a long way towards advacing that goal.

As to Coco, she's only the latest in a long line of dogs I have owned since the mid 1970s. I have never spayed or neutered any dog, nor would I unless the animal had cancer or something. Twice a year I have to keep a close eye on Coco and supervise her. I might breed her; she has a potential suitor with a compatible pedigree. As I see it, it is entirely my business whether I do or don't.

The control freaks disagree.

(But then, they don't want me having guns either....)

Please bear in mind that the reason I chose the title is not so much to argue in favor of the virtues of mutts as it is to remind people that Trojan horse legislation like this has consequences.

Eric Scheie   ·  April 28, 2007 9:30 AM
"I am curious, however, as to why you won't have your dog "fixed"."

I'm not being sarcastic here, nor am I being intentionally rude, so forgive me if it comes off that way, please:

Answer me why it is any of your business, and I may answer you on that. IF I think your reasons for sticking your nose in my dog's gonads are sufficient.

DO you take any steps to keeep your dog from conceiving, or are you willing to take on the added responsibility of puppies should they occur?

I keep my males in their runs when my females are in heat, I keep the females seperated from other dogs and from socializing while they're in season, and I only breed litters when I'm prepared to either make certain the puppies are placed well or able to keep the ones that aren't. I pick the mates carefully for bloodline and health when I do breed for purebred pups. [I also breed aussie/heeler crosses for working dogs, so "purebred" doesn't apply there]

Every breeder I know, home, backyard, or professional does the same.

And I don't require a "permit" per uncut dog or a threat of a fine to "force" me to do so.

"Why would anyone who spends at least 12 hours out of their modest apartment, and is often away on business, buy a large dog which requires a lot of personal attention, exercise and room to roam?"

Should *you* have the ability under colour of law to use force of law to make them choose differently?

"Please bear in mind that the reason I chose the title is not so much to argue in favor of the virtues of mutts" -Eric

Buk-buk-buk-bukaw! Awww, c'mon - why not? :)

I'll argue the virtues of mutts indefinately if you want to pass that one over to me, Eric. ;]

Ironbear   ·  April 28, 2007 5:48 PM
"Those who seek vastly expanded power spin this as being in the dogs' best interests, which it is not. Ordinary people are seen as the problem, especially independent dog owners who want to think their dogs are theirs. Seen this way, small breeders and backyard breeders are the worst threat, because they cannot be identified, registered, and controlled." - Eric

Just for the record, I kinda take offense to that line of reasoning on the part of the dog's-gonads-controllers.

I would intensely dislike seeing dog breeding forced into the channels of *only* large kennels, and taken out of the hands of hobby breeders, backyard breeders, farm breeders, and small breeders. The small breeder industry has always made a great contribution to keeping various breeds alive, "ressurecting" endangered or almost extinct breeds, and developing new breeds and new strains.

Of course, I'd be a Heretic in large parts of the breeding world: I don't share the show fancier's aversion to "designer dogs" and mutts that large parts of that industry does. It's a cross I've had to bear. ;)

Ironbear   ·  April 28, 2007 5:55 PM

IF I had the kind of lifestyle in which I could properly care for a dog, I would probably own an Australian Shepherd, they are excellent dogs.

SFC SKI   ·  April 29, 2007 4:35 AM

Aussies are wonderful dogs. Heelers can be a bit of a handful, especially when they're between 6 months and a year and a half old.

I'm lucky in that I'm self employed, and I live out in the country, so I have plenty of stay-at-home time to spend with the dogs. If I *had* to live in the city, or in an apartment, I'd choose different breeds.

Ironbear   ·  April 29, 2007 11:48 AM

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