Monday, June 29, 2009

Tennessee Dog Breeders Were Thrown Under the Bus

The following was written by Carlotta Cooper.  It makes me sick that the fancy still does not "get it" and is willing to form unholy alliances with the HSUS.  Now that a "magic number" has been established into law, the next step will be ANOTHER piece of legislation to LOWER that number.  That IS the HSUS game plan; and the fancy played right into their hands.
I was asked to provide a little more information about why we lost with the commercial breeder bill in Tennessee. These are my views on the matter.

Losing with this bill is devastating. We have people who have been fighting the legislation who are now trying to decide which dogs to have put to sleep or looking for friends and family to take some of their dogs so they will be under the 20 female dog limit and won't have to be inspected.   We have some people who want to move out of the state.

I think the primary reason we lost was because our dog people were divided. Everything in Tennessee centers around Nashville and that's where the decisions are made. Last year HSUS carried out a raid on a
breeder near Nashville with 700 dogs. They got the Nashville Kennel Club and some other local clubs involved in helping them. Ever since that time there have been some core people in those clubs who were
convinced that fighting "puppy mills" was their primary mission. The new HSUS state director was very smart in getting these kennel club members involved in the raid and making friends with them.

At the same time the Nashville Kennel Club, led by AKC judge Jon Cole, was heading up a new dog federation in Tennessee (Tennessee Federation of Dog Clubs). They had about a dozen member clubs from
around the state and enough money to hire a lobbyist. HSUS convinced them last winter that a bill against "puppy mills" was going to pass and that they would be better off helping to write it. So, the Federation sat down with them, had some input and has supported the bill since that time, with just a few exceptions. That was 12 of the biggest clubs in the state. Very little information was actually given to the members of the clubs. Delegates voted to accept what Jon Cole and the others decided. All meetings were held in the Nashville area.

So, it came down to the Nashville area clubs deciding things for the entire state with very little input from anyone else.

The rest of us -- Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee (mostly in Memphis and the west) and Tennessee Pet-Law (a lot of people in east Tennessee and across the state) were picking up everyone else opposed to the commercial breeder bill.

HSUS was able to say that they had the blessing of show breeders and others with the bills. They claimed to have stakeholder input which wasn't true -- there were no real commercial breeders involved in writing the bill at all. But they did have the Federation on their side.

I contacted Jon Cole as soon as I heard that he was working with HSUS on the bill in December to ask him to oppose it. I told him the reasons why he shouldn't be working with HSUS. I told him why he should be protecting breeder rights. I told him we should be fighting breeder licensing, not trying to get it. I told him that
they should have real commercial breeders on their committee if they wanted to have a fair bill. He blew me off. I know that I'm not the only one who contacted him and told him these things.

I think if the Federation had opposed the bills and informed their membership about them so they could help fight them, the bills would have died in committee. We certainly could have used their lobbyist working for us. If they had even fully informed their membership of what they were doing I think the membership would have tried to stop them.

We got ZERO help from AKC. No alerts sent out. No messages posted on their home page. They posted a couple of messages about what was happening in Tennessee -- buried deep in their government relations
section. But they never even sent them to me so I could post them on the Tennessee Pet-Law list or send them to e-mail lists. They frequently posted inaccurate, out-of-date information in their Take Command newsletter, even though I was sending them updates. I wrote Sheila Goffe several times explaining the situation and asking for help. I felt like I was "handled." The AKC basically continued on the same course.

Instead, they(the AKC) stayed in contact with the Tennessee Federation of Dog Clubs and encouraged them to compromise on the bill throughout the process. Most of the time they claimed to be Neutral. For a few weeks I convinced AKC to oppose the bill, but as soon as one or two amendments were made they went back to being Neutral.

NAIA wasn't much help either. They also worked with the Federation and encouraged them to negotiate rather than fight the bill.

Those of us fighting the bills could have done more. We were learning as we went. I wish that we had been able to attend the committee meetings. We were only able to make a presentation at two committee hearings (and our presenter wasn't treated very kindly at one of them). But Tennessee is a looong state and it's hard to convince people to drive 6-7 hours to be there for a two-minute presentation. We couldn't pull together any kind of demonstration to hold at the Capitol either.

It would have been better if we could have lobbied in person. We discovered that our e-mails and faxes were being deleted and thrown out. Only phone calls had any effect at all. Even then, a representative could assure you that he was opposed to the bill and then vote for it. We had staff completely lie to us. When a dozen people called the governor's office and spoke to his assistant to tell them they were opposed to the bill, I called and spoke to the same woman. She told me they hadn't received any calls about the bill.

We looked for assistance from dozens of outside groups that had similar interests but, though some were sympathetic, none were really willing to help.

I'm sure it didn't help that Wayne Pacelle personally went to Nashville to lobby for the bill.

So, those are some of the reasons that we lost. I hope some of this is helpful for others. Again, these have been my impressions from working on the commercial breeder bill since December of last year, before it was fully written. Some people may disagree with me and take offense but this is the truth.

I wanted to add just one more thing about the situation with the Tennessee Federation of Dog Clubs. From what I understand Mr. Cole and a small group made a unilateral decision in late 2008 to work with HSUS to write the commercial breeder bill that was so harsh to breeders. This was all done before the bill was introduced into the legislature. It was done without the knowledge or consent of the other Federation member clubs.

 AFTER the bill was written and introduced Mr. Cole took a vote at the Federation's annual meeting in March to see if the Federation as a whole would support the bill.

There was one dissenting club (bless them) and a few clubs with delegates who were not present, but the Federation voted to support the bill. Later there were clubs within the Federation who voiced their opposition to the bill but they didn't have the votes to turn the Federation around and make them oppose the bill in its entirety.

By that time the damage had been done and they could only respond to each amendment as it was written.

Permission to cross-post this message and my previous message on Why We Lost In Tennessee.

Carlotta Cooper

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dog Owners UNITE: We Must Help Ohio Farmers Beat HSUS at Its Own Game!

I've said it for a long time now:  if we are going to win the war for our rights regarding our animals, it's crucial that we all stick together and that includes farmers and dog people alike.

There is currently a war being waged on the very hands that feed us, yes, YOU! And your dogs.  The target isn't just dog breeders anymore, America's farmers are being threatened by the radical animal rights group, the Humane Society of the United States.

Just as the HSUS knows NOTHING about animal husbandry issues relating to dog breeding, they know LESS about what it takes to care for and raise good healthy food for Americans.  That's why the farmers in Ohio have taken the bull by the horns and are proposing the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board whereby decisions concerning the care and raising of livestock would actually be made by those that KNOW and not by a multi-million dollar animal rights front group, the Humane Society of the United States.

HSUS has waged war on Ohio farmers and now the FARMERS are fighting back.  THEY NEED OUR HELP!  If you are a resident of Ohio, it is CRITICAL that you contact your state Representative AND your state Senator and tell them YOU SUPPORT Ohio's farmers' and the Ohio Farm Bureau and to please VOTE YES on SJR 6 and HJR 6.  The vote is Wednesday, June 24!

Dog owners and breeders, this is a call to ACTION.  How many times have you lamented "What can I do?" "We have to stop HSUS!"....NOW is the chance to STOP the 900lb HSUS gorilla in Ohio.  Even if you are not a resident, please take a moment and write or call the Ohio legislators and tell them that you support farming and that decisions regarding farming and farm animals belong with those that know best:  REAL FARMERS, not the Humane Society of the United States.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Arkansas: The Vet's Views-Could YOU Be Raided by HSUS?

The following was written by a Veterinarian following the HSUS raid on an Arkansas dog kennel.  There are always two sides to every story.

The Vet's Views

Paris Veterinary Clinic

Could You Be Raided?

By James E. Shearer

Recently a kennel owner in our area was "raided" by the Humane Society of the United States and the Arkansas Chapter of the organization according to the Paris Express. The Northwest Arkansas - Arkansas Democrat Gazette ran at least 4 days of articles. One was from an interview with the owners. There are many things that are disturbing about this.

First there are some that have a biased opinion of breeding dogs. Animal husbandry has been practiced for centuries. This includes selective breeding to develop better animals for intended uses. We have developed rescue dogs, sentry dogs, retrievers, bird dogs, stock dogs and different natures pets to name a few. The activist buzz name is "puppy mill". How do people describe your hobbies, habits or business if they personally despise it? Animal husbandry, as well as agricultural practices, in this nation have been able to provide for our needs and much of the world's. Animal neglect and cruelty is not profitable or productive. If the few radical people had their way we would be in desperate circumstances.

Second, our nation was founded on personal initiative and personal property with property rights. We are a civilized nation and respect the rule of law. Your freedom ends where other's freedom begins. We have democratically set laws for the protection of all systems to execute these laws we have deemed necessary. While the system isn't perfect it has exceeded all others. We do seem to be having problems with eccentric groups that exploit the system to their desires that are far from the "spirit" of our laws - that is - our wholesome intentions. There are times private property is used to do evil things and we, by necessity, deal with these cases. However, under the same rules invasion of private property can be affected by activists that have the time and means to use against anyone of normal or less resources doing their best to be a productive member of our society. Somehow reason and public opinion will overcome. A free-unbiased press with! reporters for integrity and a reasonably informed public is necessary for a free society to operate.
Third, standards of acceptable facilities and care of animals have been established and are applicable under specified conditions. A USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) kennel license is required to sell puppies to wholesale brokers. Other licenses are involved for transportation, exhibition, research and many other defined activities. The Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare regulations are the legal basis for the licensing. No license is required if it isn't included or is exempted in the regulations. It is difficult to insure personal freedoms and yet regulate requirements. That is why we go through debate in our law making. There are always some that are not satisfied.

Forth, the public perception of an incident is greatly influenced by the publicity. Many things are dealt with involving only those affected. Those possess more complete knowledge close to the situation and farther broadcast is of no other benefit. The curious and nosey are forever wanting to know and crusaders with their cause are postured to capitalize on these events.

Fifth, accurate newspaper and T.V. reporting has its hurdles. The most difficulty that I perceive is the source and reliability of facts. The only ones that want to be quoted are the ignorant or the ones with a cause. The victim has more pressing concerns. The officials are also tediously tending to business. Most situations are far more involved than can accurately be represented. Tedious research is really needed to be fair. In fairness to the media, it would be nearly impossible to be fully informed in every case, which they are called upon to report. Guilty is often the verdict in the news at the time but the actual conclusion in the end is the opposite. I don't know if we excuse them as readily as we do the forecasters. However, an experienced reporter should be able to see a spoon fed set up.

Sixth, the law enforcement is only an instrument that is responsible to act on "credible" information with a due process that is designed to apprehend the guilty with the evidence. A judge as a safe guard against persecution issues warrants, and yes gives a means to proceed. By the time a warrant is executed all bases should be covered. However there are people that exploit this process.

In the case of the raid on the Krupczinski's kennel and farm there is a lot more to the story. There were problems and opinions as to the progress on the problems. Dor several years outside activists have repeatedly assumed their business did need action from outside. There was a herd of miniature horses on the farm that were basically semi-wild but seen to and well fed. An unnamed onlooker invoked the state Coggins law by reporting them to the state. Fifty three horses were caught and tested and sold because of the situation and difficulty of annual testing. The cost was over $20.00 each. They certainly weren't the only horses in Arkansas that didn't have their annual test. Harassing visits were made to the USDA licensed kennel by activists. The sheriff was involved because of the adversarial nature of the acquisitive people wanting to inspect for themselves. The Krupczinski's had difficulty with the USDA inspectors and after a time dropped their license according to them but was recorded by the USDA as suspended (or revoked). The license required that a veterinarian be listed that provided a health care plan for vaccinations, parasite control and emergency care. A minimum of annual visits is required. I was the veterinarian that served them. Beside the annual inspections we have a record of 80 animals that were brought to the clinic for various medical attention. I'm aware of other cases taken to other veterinarians in the area. As a practicing veterinarian I never liked to be placed in the position of being the solution of the USDA's responsibility and yet being paid by the client. I view myself as serving the needs of our community. I do what I love, but also what is necessary. I was miss-reported by the Arkansas Democratic Gazette as one of the complaints at the humane Society received July '07. I did visit the kennel for a USDA inspection (requested by the Krupczinski's and required by the USDA inspector) in January 2007. I recommended that they needed to reduce the number of dogs considering their health and the lack of available help. We did euthanize three dogs that day. I never complained to Humane Society. Their inspection was past due, but I view the appointment to be the responsibility of the kennel owner. After all, they may choose to use a different veterinarian. Most of the kennels I serve use other veterinarians besides me on occasions for various reasons. I make it a point not to inspect their house - that isn't part of the licensed kennel and none of my business. The picture in the Paris Express with a Humane Society worker wearing a hazmat suit holding a little puppy was designed to express horrid conditions. The Humane Society provided this picture to the paper. One picture is worth 1000 words. Unfortunately the Humane Society was the source of the information to the news. In the Arkansas Democratic Gazette 28 mini horses (on inventory list) and one larger horse was reported as 36. Many were said to be pregnant as if that was a fault. However, they were reported to being rescued by a miniature horse breeder in North Dakota. I suspect that the medical attention the horses needed was coggins testing and vaccinations.

Medical attention sounds worse. The Arkansas Democratic Gazette did give an interview with the Krupczinski's and cut them some slack for their age and health. They also reported 130 dogs being placed by and through the Sebastian County Humane Society in the last 6 months. 309 were taken. They reported none of the animals were euthanized. Not true, I had to euthanize a cat that had it's jaw broken during its capture. I performed this service for the Humane Society by the request of Desiree Bender. They haven't picked up the extra large carrier they brought it in.

According to the sheriff's inventory there were 309 dogs, 8 cats, 5 birds, 29 horses and 10 turtles taken. 71 dogs were reported as taken from the house. That leaves 238 dogs to be elsewhere. The kennels had 2 sundowner kennel buildings with a total of 64 indoor-outdoor units. There was a well-constructed building with 16 indoor-outdoor units. A second building had 8 units of indoor-outdoor for larger dogs. Besides these were 14 outdoor units with doghouses. Besides these grouped units there were 4-6 other outdoor units with houses - 2 very large. With only 2 dogs per unit there is ample room for 216 dogs. USDA standards will allow 3 to 4 dogs per unit depending on the size of the dogs.

Leonard Krupczinski is a retired decorated Marine of the Korean and Viet nam wars and Caterpillar repair mechanic. You will never meet a more capable or creative individual. Until his health gave way his age didn't stop him from out-working 3-4 young men. I am saddened to see this couple have their property taken and be humiliated in public. I am especially upset that a national "charitable" organization can inflict suffering in the name of Humanity. Surely we can work things out better than this.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Same Battle, Different Dirty Words: Farmers and Dog Breeders Share Common Enemy

Play along:  "Factory Farm" is to agriculture as .....(blank) is to dog breeders..."

The correct answer is:  "puppy mill". 

The buzz word "factory farm" is intended to solicit the same emotional response from the public as the "P" word.  We all know that the Humane Society of the United States are masters when it comes to swaying public opinion, even if the "information" used to sway said public is full of unscientific facts based solely on emotion, or just outright lies.  Substitute baby pigs and cows for puppies in cages and *bingo*...another campaign against animal ownership and use is born.

The public at large is sorely disconnected from where -and how- their food is raised.  Proof of this fact is evident in the passage last November of California's Proposition 2, a ballot initiative driven by and lobbied for by the HSUS.  Words like "gestation crates", "factory farms", "tax cheats" and images of chickens in cages were enough fodder to put California meat producers out of business by the year 2015.  If Californians want their meat and eggs imported from foreign countries such as Mexico, then you got it, Baby!  But when the citizens of California that live on fixed incomes can no longer afford to buy eggs or milk or meat, be sure to send good ol' Wayne Pacelle and the HSUS a "Thank You" card.  When the California producers of eggs, milk and meat can no longer afford to stay in business and pay their share of taxes (which contributes to the state's bottom line), be sure and send a "Thank You" card to Wayne and company.

The farmers of the United States are under attack just as dog breeders.  Once again the animal radical organization, the HSUS, is out to demoralize and criminalize the act of animal ownership and proven animal husbandry methods.  If Wayne and company want "cage free eggs" and "free range whatevers", then that option is available to Mr Pacelle or any other person that can afford the higher prices.  Uh, wait a minute...Wayne is a vegan.  That means he doesn't eat or use animals in any way.  Hmm.  I smell a minority agenda being forced on the American public and that stinks.

So why is the HSUS assaulting farmers and the agriculture community?  Because as Wayne Pacelle has stated, ""We're against animal fighting and killing animals for fur…. We want Americans to eat fewer animals," Wayne Pacelle, DVM News, Jan 1, 2008. 

And this:  "We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding. . One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding." Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP of Humane Society of the US, formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Animal People, May, 1993.

The war for our rights as American citizens has been waged by the wealthiest animal radical (rights) organization in the world.  Will YOU stand up and help defeat the 900lb HSUS gorilla?  Or bow down and kiss the feet of the HSUS bully?  The HSUS plan of attack is this:  elimination via incrementalism.  Each bill that is introduced is intended to make it harder, if not impossible, for farmers to raise meat, or for dog breeders to continue producing puppies. 

Stand up, proud and tall, farmers.  You feed America.  I trust farmers and am greatful for the long hours put in on a daily basis to care for our meat supply.  The agriculture community and the dog community must join forces to fight and win this battle.  If we don't, the HSUS will surely prevail.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dog Breeders : Signs of the times

There is no doubt that America has changed in the past decade regarding animal husbandry issues.  (No) thanks to Animal Radical (AR) groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the words "dog breeder" is now another "4-letter word".  It has become a sin to "buy from a breeder" rather than "adopt from a shelter".  One is considered "mean, cruel and abusive" if a dog is made to live outside.  When did this happen?  Why have we allowed these Animal Radicals to dictate to us what is "bad"?  And yes, we DID allow this to happen every time a donation was made to the HSUS, PETA and their ilk.  We DID allow this change in public perception every time we remained silent when a fellow dog breeder was being raked across the coals for breeding their dogs and heaven forbid! For selling their puppies!

On a weekly basis, I read story after story of dog breeders living in fear and being harrassed.  For what, you ask?  Simply because they choose to breed their dogs, or they own "more" dogs than anyone could possibly "ever" care for.  According to whose judgement or to what standards?  Why is it automatically "assumed" that anyone who owns/breeds more than "insert number here" of dogs is "bad"/neglectful/abusive?  (I refuse to use the "P.M" word, tho that is what people are often called when one owns "more dogs"/"breeds more litters" than anyone "should")  Dog owners and breeders are being forced to go into hiding in Los Angeles, Louisville, KY, and points in between due to overzealous animal control and do-gooder Animal Radical sympathizers.  Makes me almost wish we could return to a time when all we had to fear from the 'net was stalkers...

I read on a daily basis where breeders have removed their addresses, phone numbers and other information that would identify them from their websites.  This is a double edged sword:  people are forced to do this in an effort to protect themselves, but it makes it even harder for potential puppy buyers.  Wonder where those puppy buyers end up going if they can't find a breeder in their area? 

In today's world with the power of the internet, information is a click away:  any information, including where you live, your phone number, aerial photos of YOUR house and property.  Information that is readily available to friends and foes alike.  Information that the Animal Radicals can easily access and use to find YOU and YOUR dogs.  It doesn't matter that your house and dogs and property are immaculately kept.  It doesn't matter if all of your ducks are in a row with paperwork about your dogs and breeding program.  All it takes is one whacked out Animal Radical that doesn't like the fact that your "poor doggies" are "forced" to breed, or are kept in a crate, or that they like to play in mud and you haven't had a chance to give them a bath yet. 

Are we, as a society, truly THAT weak that we have allowed groups such as the HSUS dictate to us what is right or wrong?  Remember folks:  this is still the United States of America, where the great Constitution and the Bill of Rights guarantee us the RIGHT TO OWN PROPERTY.  Too many people have forgotten that fact and are willing to throw away the RIGHTS that many, many soldiers have fought and died for.  And for what?  Someone "else's" ideas of how many dogs I can own or breed or sell? 

The times have changed, and as long as we allow the Animal Radical groups such as the HSUS to dictate to us how we should/should not breed/own, etc, our dogs, it will only get worse.  I, for one, am not willing to let that happen, and neither are the residents of the great states of Oklahoma, Colorado, Florida, Arkansas, and many other states that have stood up and made their voices heard loud and clear when legislation was introduced this year by saying, "NO! NO! NO! You will NOT tell me how many dogs I can own or sell or breed.  You will NOT force me to spay/neuter my dogs!"

We can change the tide:  just stand up and say, "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"