Tuesday, December 27, 2011

CFoDC responds to "Off the Leash" column, October 14, 2011



November 25, 2011

Dear  "Dog News" magazine:

We would like to respond to Mr. Shaun Coen's "Off the Leash" opinion column of October 14, 2011. In that column, Mr. Coen indicated his support for California's AB 1121, the puppy licensing and seller reporting bill, sponsored by the "Concerned Dog Owners of California". While we find Mr. Coen's comments to be generally very insightful, this time we must disagree with his assessment and analysis in regard to this bill. 

The assumption made is that legislation is needed to address "overpopulation" of dogs in the state of California. In fact, this assumption is untrue. Our shelters are not being inundated with dogs. According to publicly available statistics for 2010, there was ONE live dog entering a shelter for every 89 residents in our state. That is a shelter intake rate of slightly over 1% per population. It is not unreasonable to expect that out of 89 people, one might need to surrender a dog due to loss of a job, home foreclosure, or other social problem. Also, many people take their dogs to the shelter specifically for end-of-life euthanasia. These dogs also count as intakes and deaths in the statistics. The focus should be on re-homing those animals who are adoptable; instead, we are "crying wolf" regarding canine shelter intakes.

In fact, some areas of the state have such a shortage of adoptable dogs that some private rescues actually import dogs from Mexico, Taiwan, and Romania.  Just last Wednesday, on Thanksgiving Eve, over forty "rescued" Beagles were flown from Spain into Los Angeles, to be put up for sale by a private rescue group. Such operations demonstrate that we have homes waiting for adoptable dogs.

The vast majority of shelter intakes and deaths are feral cats who have no owners, are not vaccinated for rabies and are not licensed. Laws do not affect animals who do not have owners. Responsible dog owners have been unfairly tagged by animal rights groups as somehow to blame for feral and stray animals entering shelters. AB 1121 merely feeds into this anti-dog owner/breeder fanaticism.

Education regarding the need for responsible ownership, (which includes proper leashing and confinement of pets) has served as an effective deterrent to unwanted litters, as evidenced by shelters numbers plummeting in our state over the past 40 years, in the face of a burgeoning human population. This great success has been accomplished WITHOUT the use of coercive legislation such as mandatory sterilization or requirements to report puppy buyers to the state.
Current research studies have revealed many adverse long-term health effects of spay-neuter, particularly when performed at a young age. The scientific evidence for this is overwhelming and we won't delve into that topic here. However, the option for the informed choice of the owner regarding pet sterilization is being eroded by the animal rightists' propaganda campaigns, aided and abetted by legislative proposals such as AB 1121. Mr. Coen implied that sterilization is some sort of moral obligation on the part of pet owners. In fact, many responsible owners choose to keep their pets intact for various reasons, and those animals are not bred indiscriminately. It is improper for government, with the primary intention of fleecing your wallet, to discriminate against pet owners who choose to keep their animals intact.

Governor Brown vetoed AB 1121, stating: "licensing and tracking of dogs is quintessentially a local function." However, the licensing and tracking of dogs is an over-reach of government authority on any level, when that function extends beyond the basics of necessity for rabies control. With our state facing its worst financial crisis in history, it seems ludicrous that we would propose the establishment of an expensive new bureaucracy in the tracking of dogs. Such programs always require additional funding for implementation…money that we can ill afford.

Currently, veterinarians in the most populous counties in the state are already subject to requirements for mandatory reporting of rabies vaccinations. Further reporting by sellers is duplicative and unnecessary.  Another concern is that, under the seller reporting requirements in AB 1121, the exact determination of who would be considered a "pet dealer" is vague and open to interpretation. Creeping incrementalism is par for the course when it comes to legislation, and any seller reporting proposal would likely be amended in the future to include everyone who sells or offers pets for "adoption".

We wonder where you derive your figures for dog licensing fees? Certainly not from California localities, where license fees are rarely set as low as $17, even for altered dogs who receive deep discounts. Costs for dog licenses in some areas are exorbitant. In the City of Los Angeles, a dog license costs $100, and if your dog is intact you are also required to pay an additional $235 per year for an intact permit.....even if the dog is never bred. $335 per year for a dog license? Is it any wonder that few dogs are vaccinated and licensed? Yet the license fee for an altered dog is $20. Reduced license fees for altered dogs or puppies are inherently unfair and discriminatory against responsible owners of intact dogs. Many large breed dogs are not physically mature until two years old or even later; but in order to obtain discounted license rates, their owners are strong-armed into sterilizing before maturity, potentially adversely affecting long-term health and shortening their lifespan.

Independent rescues would be adversely affected by the reporting and record-keeping requirement contained in the puppy licensing/reporting proposal. Most private rescues operate on a shoestring budget. Fewer people will adopt from a rescue group, knowing that their information and sale will be reported to the state. Fewer rescued animals successfully re-homed means more shelter deaths.

This proposal will result in noncompliance, as breeders avoid the reporting requirements and as buyers seek animals from out of state or via anonymous internet transactions. Nonprofit rescue groups will find it more difficult to place their animals in homes, and as a double whammy, they will also find it burdensome on their volunteer-based organization to have to comply with the reporting and record-keeping requirements.

Mr. Coen also recommends that government-mandated microchipping be implemented. When shelters are required to microchip dogs upon release, as was proposed here in California and thankfully defeated at the state level, shelter adoption fees rise to include the cost of the microchip. Again, higher adoption fees means fewer shelter pets adopted. Microchips also have inherent health risks involved with their insertion. Owners should decide if they wish to use permanent ID, and if so, if they would like to use microchip technology or instead opt for the more visible forms of ID such as tags, tattoos, or even freeze branding.

California Federation of Dog Clubs was a sponsor of "Molly's Bill" (medical exemptions from rabies vaccination). We believe that government must look to science, as was done with "Molly's Bill", and rationally evaluate the evidence before declaring that legislation is necessary or advisable. 

Knee-jerk proposals like dog seller reporting, mandatory microchipping, and differential licensing fees for select groups are poor ideas which will only backfire. Instead of improving conditions for dogs and their owners, fewer rescues will be adopted, the costs of ownership will spiral out of control, fewer owners will afford to keep their pets, and more pets will be remanded to shelters, and perhaps even killed, instead of remaining in their homes.

Understanding the dynamics of punitive legislation is essential in order to progress to a more compassionate society. Not only are seller reporting requirements onerous, but the expectation of widespread spay/neuter is also unwise and unreasonable. We could take a lesson from European countries, where pet sterilization is the exception rather than the rule. In Norway, pet sterilization without medical necessity is illegal, yet they have no pet overpopulation crisis. Responsible ownership, fostered by collaborative, supportive programs and positive attitudes rather than punitive measures, is the key to the solution of shelter issues.  

It's time for the Golden State to stop trying to balance animal control budgets on the backs of conscientious dog owners and breeders.

Sincerely yours,

California Federation of Dog Clubs
Geneva Coats, R.N.
Secretary




"Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." Plato 
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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

California Federation of Dog Clubs 2012 membership drive

Dear Friends and Supporters of the California Federation of Dog Clubs,
 
 
It's the end of the year…where does the time go so quickly? Time once again for the California Federation of Dog Clubs to conduct our annual membership drive.
 
We were very busy in 2011. We began the year with a "meet and greet" for Los Angeles Animal Services new manager Brenda Barnette. Our breed ID shelter workshop has been a rousing success and is being distributed along with a dog care and training brochure that includes a new 1-800 help line for pet owners. CFoDC donated $500 to Kern County Animal Control to help them replenish their supplies that were used during the forty lightening-caused wildfires this summer. Our disaster fund is available to help anywhere in the state when disaster strikes, such as wildfires, floods and mudslides.
 
On the legislative front, CFoDC sponsored "Molly's Bill" (medical exemptions from rabies vaccination) and also supported a bill by Doug LaMalfa to extend courtesies to search and rescue teams.
 
As usual, the bad legislative proposals outnumbered the good. We opposed SB 917 (public sales ban) and AB 1117 (seizure and disposition of animals) which unfortunately were signed into law. Other bills we opposed, that went down to eventual defeat, were AB 1121 (puppy licensing/seller reporting) and SB 702 (microchipping of shelter dogs upon release). AB 610, a proposal to reduce preorder requirements for spay-neuter license plates, included inflammatory and false rhetoric regarding pet population and impound numbers in the state. After much opposition was voiced, this bill was also shelved but may come back the next session.
 
We've also been busy opposing the pet store sales bans in Los Angeles, Glendale and Irvine. When Cypress proposed BSL, we were there to oppose it. When MSN was proposed in Chula Vista, we took immediate action to address it, and we are currently working diligently with the task force to stave off MSN and anti-breeder laws in Chula Vista. We've attended Humane Lobby Day in Sacramento. We've been in frequent contact with the LA County Board of Supervisors in regard to their alteration in their "dangerous dogs" policy. We've been active in assisting Texas with their campaign against the onerous TX HB 1451.
 
We've published several articles in The Dog Press covering diverse issues, including PUPS, SB 917, spay-neuter information, and updates on PETA and HSUS as they petition the Obama administration for nationwide spay and neuter and nationwide pet sales bans. We also had a letter to the editor published in the San Diego Union Tribune in regard to mandatory microchipping. We've been sending updates to our email list and posting the information to our CAPetLawNews blog page as well, in an effort to keep you well-informed. CFoDC also now has a Facebook page; please look for us and "LIKE" us on Facebook!
 
Incidentally, we've recently updated our policy statements, which are posted on our website. Have a look when you get a chance! We also are looking for volunteers to serve as regional representatives for CFoDC, a new program we are in the process of organizing. We need your eyes and ears to keep us informed and to help us take action when necessary! Please notify us if you are interested in serving as a Regional Representative for CFoDC.
 
Needless to say, sufficient revenues are essential in order for us to continue to work for you. Our officers and board members are unpaid volunteers, but the costs of maintaining a website, purchasing supplies and covering postage mount up very quickly. We urge all clubs in California to support the CFoDC with a membership pledge. We welcome individual members as well. Your dues make it possible for us to continue our efforts in the fight to promote canine welfare and to protect our rights as dog owners.
 
There's so much more to do; but without your help, we won't be able to continue our work.  Won't you join us to help promote dog welfare and to preserve your rights as a dog owner? 
 
This year we have an online application and payment option through Fundly.com. The online application may be accessed here:
 
 
If you select to use the online application form, your membership will not be complete until we receive your dues. For your convenience you may now pay your dues online here: 
 
 
 
Attached please find an application that you can fill out and mail in with your dues.
 
Again, we thank you for your support!
 
Sincerely yours,
 
Officers and Board of Directors
California Federation of Dog Clubs
Judythe Coffman, President
 
 
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Recent Activity:
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kern County - Workshops for changes to Animal Control Ordinances


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Fish and Game dept meetings - expanded role proposed

"California officials are seeking public input on a proposed vision plan
for the state Department of Fish and Game and for the California Fish
and Game Commission.

The draft plan includes changing the department's role from protecting
wildlife to also managing entire ecosystems and enhancing wildlife habitat."

  Information is available at
http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1103356980328-219/CFWSV_Flier_ProjectOverview_111128_Small.pdf.

http://tinyurl.com/83tgk8s

  The four meetings are:

Monday, Dec 5, 2011   5:30 pm -7:30 pm

Port of San Diego

Administration Building Training Room
3165 Pacific Highway
San Diego, CA 92101


Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011    5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Ontario Police Department
Community Room
2500 S. Archibald Avenue
Ontario, CA 91761



Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011    5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
CalTrans Manchester Center
2015 E. Shields Avenue, Suite100
Yosemite Room 145
Fresno, CA 93726

  Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011     5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Turtle Bay Museum
840 Sundial Bridge (Auditorium) Drive
Redding, California 96001

  More information may be found at

http://www.vision.ca.gov/draft_interim_strategic_vision_public_meetings.html

  http://tinyurl.com/7ebf5ws

Friday, December 2, 2011

Local Shelters Get New National Advocate!

For Immediate Release
November 30, 2011

Local Shelters Get New National Advocate in Humane Society for Shelter Pets

Humane Society for Shelter Pets Launches National Campaign to Educate
Americans about the Benefits of Giving to Struggling Local Shelters

WASHINGTON, DC - The Humane Society for Shelter Pets (HSSP) launched today
with three full-page ads in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago
Tribune to inform Americans about the benefits of supporting their local pet
shelter.

Today many shelters face financial problems in part because of the
widespread belief that donations
given to national groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States
(HSUS), filter down to local pet shelters. Polling from Opinion Research
Corporation conducted in November 2011 found 71 percent of Americans believe
HSUS is an umbrella group that represents thousands of local humane
societies.

However, the reality is that just 1 percent of HSUS's $126 million budget
goes to needy hands-on pet shelters, despite a majority of their fundraising
advertising featuring dogs and cats.  Every year, it's estimated that
millions of orphaned and unwanted animals are euthanized to relieve
overcrowded conditions in local animal shelters, humane societies, rescue
centers, and local government animal control agencies. America's ongoing
economic downturn continues to squeeze pet shelters' already meager
operating budgets at a time when more cash-strapped Americans are choosing
tosurrender or abandon their family pets.

"The Humane Society of the United States continues to fundraise on the
perception that they give millions of dollars every year to local pet
shelters with misleading advertising campaigns. Unfortunately for the dogs
and cats in our local pet shelters, that is not the case," said Diana Culp,
HSSP co-director and former Director of Education for HSUS.

In addition to HSSP's public outreach campaign, the organization has a
database on its website enabling visitors to quickly and easily obtain all
the information they need to donate to local shelters. HSSP will
also work to create a network of veterinarians and sheltering professionals,
giving them the tools to promote the "give local" message to their clients.

"Most local pet shelters rarely have the time or resources to speak out and
clear the air over the confusion about where donors' money goes when they
give to large, national organizations like HSUS.

The Humane Society for Shelter Pets will work to be their advocates and
ensure that donors' money is going where it's intended," said Jeff Douglas
co-director for HSSP.

For more information go to www.humaneforpets.com or contact Jeff Douglas at
(202) 420-7877.