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.

1 comment:

  1. I am from Spain, and although the situation may be different here, there are clear signs that dog ownership and dog breeding is becoming more and more constrained by laws. Good that you defend your rights.