nuts, mutts, and lost castles

Bad news from California.

AB 1634 has passed the Assembly:

SACRAMENTO, CA (June 6, 2007) - "Unbelievable" was the reaction from PetPAC today after Members of the California State Assembly voted 41-38 to outlaw the existence of mixed-breed dogs and cats in the Golden State.

Assembly Bill 1634, authored by Los Angeles Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, will allow only select purebred dogs and cats to breed. Pet owners who don't sterilize their mixed breed pets by four months of age will face a $500 fine and possible criminal penalties.

"This crazy measure will end up costing families heartache and taxpayers billions," said Bill Hemby, Chairman of PetPAC, an organization dedicated to the rights of pets and owners. "California will be the poster child for an invasive and overreaching government mandate that is impossible to fund, administer or enforce."

AB 1634 will blanket all 58 counties in California with an expensive forced spay/neuter law that not all shelters want - or need. According to the State of California, dog impounds have fallen 86% over last 30 years. Puppies and kittens are already being transferred between counties to alleviate a shortage of adoptable pets: San Francisco and Marin Counties need to bring pets in from other areas to be adopted locally. In San Diego County - which has no mandatory spay/neuter law - only one adoptable animal was euthanized in 2004-05.

The only encouraging aspect of this is that it was closer than I thought it would be. Which means California is not completely insane.

I will never be able to reconcile my libertarian/individualist thinking with communitarian/collectivist thinking, and IMO this bill is a classic example of the latter.

So I'll just admit to being a selfish pig, and disclose once again my selfish personal motivation:

Few things are more personal to me than my relationship with my dog, Coco. The idea that the government can make me a criminal for not cutting out her ovaries (something which is entirely my business and no one else's) fills me with horror.

What happened to all the people who used to scream "KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OUT OF OUR BEDROOMS?"

What about the idea that a man's home is his castle?

A dog is personal. And it's property. But it's different than ordinary property, because there is a personal bond, an emotional investment between a dog and his owner that cannot be measured in economic value. Because of this emotional component, a dog may be the most valuable property that a person can have. I can't speak for other dog owners, but if my house was on fire, my very first thought would be to save Coco! I think many dog owners would feel the same way. That is the real test of value.

So, people who care about property rights ought to care very about this special form of property which, to the people who have it, is the most valuable property of all.

The idea of the government entering into my relationship with my dog is thus more than an ordinary violation of property rights. It's highly personal.

Good intentions are said to be behind the people who want to do this. The theory is that Coco is not my property, but is now the property of others, who lay claim to her under a theory that they, not I, should have power over her. In the name of her "rights." (No really.) Yet, some of the same people and organizations who would make it a crime for me not to cut out Coco's ovaries also want to kill Coco. Why? Because they don't like her breed.

I don't know if there is any way to put this more simply, but Coco is my dog, and that's all there is to it. I am loyal to her, and in being loyal to her, I am being loyal to myself. The people who want to make me cut out her ovaries and the people who want to kill her I must oppose resolutely, lest I cease to be a free citizen.

There's more, of course, but I've sounded off about this in post after post (here here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

I wish every dog owner would descend on the state legislature, but unfortunately, the reason the committee activist types win is because ordinary people do not like to attend their blasted hearings. I say this as someone who detests hearings, meetings, committees, and long-winded activists. But in the world of those things, communitarians tend to win, and individualists tend to lose.

Libertarians and communitarians are like tar and water. The difference seems to lie in how they interpret the word "harm." To a communitarian who favors AB 1634, if I don't cut out my dog's ovaries, I have committed harm against society. Why? Because Coco has produced unwanted puppies? No. Because she might get loose or I might decide to irresponsibly breed her? No. It doesn't matter what I do, because to a communitarian this is not about me or my dog. It's about the greater good of society.

Huh? But this doesn't make logical, rational sense! And I could say "this doesn't make sense" over and over again (which is what I do in so many of these posts), but that will get me nowhere, because of the different ways of seeing the word "harm." As I see it, I do no harm because I see harm as related to what I do, not what a group of other similarly situated people might do. But to people who see the overall harm done to society from ovaries, ovaries are harmful as a group, and therefore the possession of ovaries must be criminalized. And screw Eric Scheie and his stupid selfish insistence on an "individual right" to not cut out his dog's ovaries! (Yeah, OK, I'm realizing I left out balls. Puff died, but no force on this earth could have made me cut off that wonderful dog's balls.)

So, I've learned that asking "where's the harm?" does not settle this inquiry at all. That I have done no harm and plan to do no harm is largely irrelevant to a communitarian, for the harm to society results from what others in the collective of ovary/testicle/gun owners do with the liberty I claim as mine. Because my liberty is someone else's license, we must all be forced to give it up. In the name of an ever-more-regulated, better world.

I prefer the worse world we once had.

posted by Eric on 06.07.07 at 03:08 PM


Next up on the agenda is Assembly Bill 1635, which prohibits "white folks from mixing with the coloreds." We can't have humans interfering with nature and upsetting the purity of each breed.

Dennis   ·  June 7, 2007 4:29 PM

I think about my generation, and how the government systematically undercut the creation of the next generation. Teaching that homosexuality is a viable lifestyle. Making abortion available, standard and common. Importing labor so that youth will be wasted in the desperate struggle to exist, rather then in raising a family.

So why not cut off the remaining meager substitute family outlet to the next generation of young women and men? Most apartments don't accept pets anyhow. Thanks to the legislature our growing cat lady population problem is solved.
Mother fuckers. Heartless souless mother fuckers like Lloyd Levine.

Papertiger   ·  June 7, 2007 11:49 PM

I phoned my local county Amimal Control office today and talked to the man in charge. I told him about the passing of this law (he didn't know at 3:00 PM - law passed Assembly at 10:30 previous night) and that we would not comply with it if signed into law. He said a number of county Animal Control offices including his had opposed the bill. He also said emotions were higher on this than anything he'd seen with some actual threats.
Let's hope either the State Senate cans it, or if passed, Arnold has the good sense not to sign it into law.

Frank   ·  June 8, 2007 2:24 AM

I am speechless.
A governing body using
taxpayer money to legislate about mixed
breed dogs and cats.

nbpundit   ·  June 8, 2007 2:41 PM

I don't have a dog in this fight, but as a matter of curiosity, I looked at another point of view on this matter: That of the proponents.

The basic intent of this bill is to mandate some degree of spaying, to avoid the large number of dogs and cats put to death in animal shelters.

Neal J. King   ·  June 8, 2007 3:06 PM

Who is going to pay the bill for the neutering
and spaying?
The increase in dogs and cats being
put down will grow.
It's cheaper to destroy the animals
than to take away their proclivity of
Lots of families cannot afford the cost of
spaying/neutering a pet, and it is expensive.
But the most important message here is the
intrusiveness of government into private lives.

Maggie   ·  June 8, 2007 4:02 PM


But you see that there is a trade-off:

- On the one hand, the intrusion of the government demanding that pet-owners spay their pets

- On the other hand, the intrusion of more taxes to pay for the housing & destroying of unwanted animals, born from the unspayed pets and abandoned.

Granted, the proponents of the bill are probably more motivated by distaste at the wholesale slaughter of the dogs & cats than at the cost of doing this. But, unless you don't care about taxes, that trade-off is still there.

Neal J. King   ·  June 9, 2007 5:41 AM

For the umpteenth time, unwanted animals does not constitute "overpopulation." There is in fact a puppy shortage, and the various reasons people abandon animals have nothing to do with supply.

Of course, there is a feral cat overpopulation problem -- but those animals are not owned by anyone, and therefore exempt from AB 1634.

Anonymous   ·  June 9, 2007 7:58 AM

A short story of the near future.

Every evening, she would push a creaky, old wagon filled with cans of cat food, a jug of water, and paper plates. One by one, cats would appear and begin to follow her. Faces slowly forming behind glowing eyes, they’d crawl out from under cars and sneak through backyards, following the wagon and its owner.
But that was years ago, before the Feline Racial Purity Act of 2007.

Now only Siamese, Abyssinian, and Turkish Angora, populate the alleyway, and lord knows they are finicky eaters.

Papertiger   ·  June 10, 2007 8:50 PM

It's amazing to me, the cognitive dissonance of a person who in one thread bemoans the loss of three species a day, to climate variability, and in another thread encourages the systematic erradication of species by govermental edict.

Papertiger   ·  June 10, 2007 8:56 PM

That is ridiculous. What the he** is wrong with this country? What a bunch of self-righteous, meddling crazies.

Loving how the leaders bother listening to the people. Beautiful.

Miss O'Hara   ·  June 13, 2007 8:45 PM

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