Saturday, January 10, 2009

Interview: My Dog My Taking a Stand Against MSN

Since I started this blog, I have come in contact with some really great people and learned about new grassroots organizations/groups all over the country.  A question I get frequently is:  "How/where can all dog owners and breeders unite?  Is there a particular group? " 

My answer to that question is this:  When I talk about untiy, it is in the sense of coming together for a common goal:  To dispel the myths put forth by the Animal Rights groups and to preserve our rights to breed and own animals now and in the future.  We all must learn to work together; breeders, pet owners, veterinarians, farmers, kennel clubs, everyone who loves animals and wants to make sure that the Animal Rights groups do not end up taking away our choices through Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws (MSN), Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), breeder permits, and other restrictive types of legislation.
(I will post at another time my personal choice among the bigger groups.)

There are many fine groups out there fighting for the rights of pet owners and breeders.  Some groups have the clout at all levels of government, with paid lobbyists.  Others, like "My Dog My Choice" are getting their feet wet in grassroots level activism by educating the public and welcoming ALL who want to join the fight for our rights.  I asked for an interview so that it would give them some much needed exposure...and hopefully inspire others to follow their lead.  Here it is, from one of the members:

My Dog My Choice
By:  Margaret Byrd

My Dog My Choice began when some dog lovers became alarmed by the number of cities all over the US facing mandatory spay neuter legislation. It was especially disturbing as many locations were in out of the way places - not just in big cities on the West coast.  I think at that point it finally slapped us in the face that this wasn't just isolated “nut job stuff” but rather an organized attempt to end our rights of animal use and ownership.  Even more distressing it was successful in some areas.  We realized these things were possible because animal rights individuals had worked on long term goals for decades like groundhogs creating layers of tunnels set up to collapse. 

 During one of our doggie forum conversations, someone said we should try to develop a group to create advertising to counter the advertising and misinformation being promoted by animal rights individuals.  We needed to start giving responsible breeders a voice.  We needed billboards and magazine articles.  Folks turned and said, “Ideas are great, but action is greater. Let’s do it!”  At first a handful of folks participated and our web site was "Responsible Breeders of the US" .  We tried to explain what breeders were doing that was right.

 We found there was resistance because the term “breeder" limited our appeal.  Even folks that bred a few hunting dogs didn't see themselves as "breeders" oddly enough.  We began to realize we'd all been drinking the Kool-Aide and had separated ourselves from the concept of being "breeders".  We were speaking the language created by animal rights to divide and conquer. It had filtered into the dog community and even poisoned the views of our fellow dog lovers! So we brain stormed and morphed into "My Dog My Choice" . My Dog My Choice has enjoyed a wider appeal.

As a group, our objective is to be a positive voice for animal owners and breeders.  We help write letters when asked by other groups.  We share our ideas, advertising material and articles for use by other areas under attack.  We try to stay abreast of current threats to let others know of them via forums and networking emails.  We try to get more involved in our own areas helping to educate our lawmakers.  But our primary objective is to take back our culture with words and advertising to counter the inroads created by the animal rights agenda.

We are working on ideas to provide education to schools via an art & photography contest for older students and some coloring books to give to grade school students that explain the animal human bond.  I wish to see pages in the coloring book on milk cows and how the farmers care for them.  Pages on the chicken farmers, hunters, dog breeders etc.  Each page or series of pages will show what is good and right about these individuals and their care of their animals.  This may be as close as many children will ever get to farm animals and animal husbandry.

For too long we've let animal rights individuals define us and ignored them, but now we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more.  When anyone, anywhere is victimized because of their love of animals we are all victimized. Now is the time to take back the culture with advertising and the written word.  We need to make animal rights agendas “like drunk driving and smoking" – politically incorrect - just as they've tried to do with us.  They have hijacked our culture and created the language that undermines our rights. We must find our own voices before it is too late.  If the only ones speaking are animal rights individuals, they will be the only ones heard.

Our true location is on the Internet.  We do not have a single location that houses all our efforts.  We utilize a forum to archive our activities and to post information.  Important calls to action go out as emails.  No one member is more important than any other member.  We are all dedicated volunteers.  We ask new members to give a short bio so we know something about their interests as we grow in numbers.  We send them an email if they come from PayPal so we can be sure the email provided isn't an old one that no longer works.  If anyone has joined and has not gotten confirmation from us they need to send an email to so we can confirm your email address.

Our group exists all over the US from one end of the country to the other.  We have members in many different cities and states.  We also have a few contacts in other countries that fight against animal rights’ agendas.

We believe that “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step”. Slowly we gather additional members and financial support. We will never give up. We will never give in. And failure is not an option.

In my opinion, pet owners don't understand that mandatory spay neuter laws are targeting them.  They see it as taking care of "bad breeders", or "irresponsible owners", or "puppy mills".  They see it as a "solution to over population" because this is what they are being told.  Even some of my intelligent dog loving friends fail to see the probable outcomes of these kinds of laws.  They don't understand that THEY and THEIR DOGS are in the cross hairs.  Even groups fighting the good fight against animal activism sometimes seem to be spinning their wheels because they are preaching to the choir.  That won't take the culture back.  Only education, publicity and articles can begin to turn the tide. It has to be stuff that gets out to the John Q. Public and it has to be unremitting. We need film, TV, press, newspapers. And we can get them on a shoe string if we pool our talents and brainstorm.

 I was taught that if you want to get someone to do what you want them to do; you have to tell them why it is TO THEIR ADVANTAGE to do what you want them to do.  What that means to me, in this context, is that in order to explain these destructive agendas to the average dog owner we must educate them.  We have to make them aware that it is their animals that are threatened.  It is their fourth and fifth amendment rights that are under the gun.

 I have surfed any number of animal rights sites.  It is very sobering when they are so bold they post their agendas in black and white unvarnished where anyone can see it. 

 Many of the My Dog My Choice group are part of a National Breed club and we have published notices in the breed magazine as well as articles.  We bought space in the National Trial flyer.  We have posted signs at different trials.  We have not contacted all AKC groups except we post on one of the AKC chat rooms.  Some of our members are AKC members and some are vendors that attend AKC shows.  They take information when they go to these events.  We ripple out into our community where ever we are located and in whatever venue we participate. We talk to our friends and try to get them to understand. And if at first we don’t succeed, we try, try again.

 We receive legislative alerts from as many groups as possible and join as many groups working against animal rights agendas as funds allow.  We get the AKC alerts.  As far as we're concerned there is no AKC, UKC, CKC, XYZ registries, puppy mills or back yard breeders, there are only animal owners and lovers that must bridge the gap between our differences to unite in this effort to defeat the threat to our animals. 

 For over 100 years my breed of choice has been handed down from breeder to breeder and I won't let it be thrown away on my watch.  Since man came out of caves and hunted with wolves as a mutual survival strategy, animals that displayed a talent have been bred for a function.  Those functions developed into breeds.  Under mandatory spay neuter legislation animals bred for a function would become illegal.  No new breeds would ever be developed.  The diversity of the genetics and the talents of thousands of years of development in dogs would be lost forever - "one generation and out".  Gene pools would narrow as folks gave up because of increased costs and loss of privacy. Then animal rights would meet the demand for companion animals by selling mixed breed animals to folks wanting a companion.  Companion animals would become so expensive that many poorer people would never know the joy of one in their life.  When that happens, the number of animal owners would drop tremendously.  As each group is eliminated, that leaves one less group, one less person, to help preserve and protect our companions.  We are uniquely posed to take back our culture while the numbers of animal lovers are still large but we can not falter. In order to win we must lose the language that divides us and find the language that unites us for the love of our animals. Join us. Together we can find the way.


  1. There is a lot more to this than just fighting against some fringe organizations. We have to fight the HSUS and even the SPCAs and local humane societies to maintain the effect of our human rights. We also have to ask our lawmakers to protect the original bill of rights and an animal owner's bill of rights by legislation and by making it clear that violators of those rights will be jailed and fined and their organizations disbanded.

    There already are civil rights acts that can be used against those who have violated anyone's rights, even under color of law. "Puppy mill" raids and the like can be punished in civil courts by civil suits against the jurisdictions that performed those raids and those cases should be prosecuted with the same kind of mercy that they have shown innocent breeders and rescuers.

  2. Without the support of the population we can not win the war. Education can swell our support. Animal rights has utilized well meaning people with "spin". If those same people realized they were supporting efforts that would negatively impact them as well, then we could help end the threats.

    Going to court is an option for folks with the money to go to court but while they wait for resolution, their animals will age and lose their ability to reproduce. Or it might be like the fellow that won his lawsuit about his pit bulls but all his dogs had already been put to sleep anyway. Not everyone has the luxury of that recourse. Not every court case goes just as you might hope it would. I do however support every effort that can further our agenda including use of the courts.

    We can constantly play catch up trying to fight this and that fire in this and that area, or we can set a few fires of our own. That's what My Dog My Choice wants to do.

    This group supports many other groups working to preserve our rights. We are making a difference where we live.

  3. We have to be able to sell the public the fact that ownership is good for animals and humans. That's what we need to win so that's what we need to ask the public for.

    Some of us will lose, badly, but we can only win by proliferating and by gaining as many fans and members as we can. Too many owners put off other owners by rejecting most of them as unsuitable.

  4. In other words, the compelling interest in maintaining a viable population of dogs and other animals by private ownership and breeding is far more important than the interest in preventing deaths in shelters or other kinds of suffering. This is true of any species, and in general, the interest in propagation is greater than the interest in the prevention of suffering and death.

    It is also a more compelling interest than the minor safety problems that we suffer from letting people have the pets that they choose.

  5. That's correct. I have no intention of giving up my rights to own animals because someone, somewhere, sometime is being irresponsible. Implying that I should be willing to eliminate animals from my life for that reason would be like saying some people abuse their children so no one should be allowed to have children. The goal of having and breeding animals is to create animals that serve a function.

    Breeders are on the front line of breed specific rescue. They spend millions of dollars in their communities for the care of their animals and in pursuit of their interests. They are the ones supporting research to improve the lives of their animals. Community with animals is built into our DNA. It is as much a part of mankind as a beating heart.

    Shelters were developed to alleviate suffering and death for animals abandoned. It has been proved that by offering low cost spay and neuter the numbers of animals that come into the shelters are lowered in community after community. However, low cost spay and neuter does not advance the elimination of companion animals in our lives as is the goal of mandatory spay neuter. There will always be animals euthanized in shelters. There will always be owner releases of sick, elderly or unsound animals and perhaps feral dogs.

    Death is not the worst thing that can happen. It is a natural transition that is part of all life. Dogs do not fear death - that's a human thing. Being free of hunger, continual threat and then being given a pain free death, if necessary, is not suffering.