Those of us who share our lives with dogs and other domestic animals probably take our relationship with these creatures for granted. We are, after all, ‘good owners’. We provide our dogs with food, shelter, companionship and, as often as not, space on (or in) our beds. We play together and participate in sports together and just hang out together. For many of us, life without our pets is unimaginable. They are part of the fabric that makes our lives whole.
Then picture this. No dogs. Not just purebreds, the mixed breeds as well. Imagine, first, that you are no longer allowed to breed dogs or to buy from a breeder. Imagine that dog sports are declared exploitive and are no longer permitted. Imagine that your children or grandchildren won’t be able to grow up with a puppy or kitten because ‘ownership’ of animals is declared unlawful. The kids won’t be able to have a pony. They won’t be able to go to a circus or visit a zoo, no matter how well managed.
Little by little … inch by inch … the radical animal rights groups such as PETA, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the Doris Day Animal Foundation, and others are chipping away at your rights and at mine.
The problem is, at first glance, their proposals often seem reasonable. But a crucial difference between animal rights groups and animal welfare organizations is that the former are always taking away … imposing arbitrary restrictions … placing limits. Animal welfare groups promote responsible ownership of pets and humane treatment of animals used in agriculture. These groups promote responsible breeding practices and oppose breed specific legislation. They want the human-animal bond to be strengthened, not torn asunder.
Animal rights enthusiasts are currently trying to convince legislatures in various states to take away ownership rights and replace them with ‘guardianships’. The intent is to stop pets from being considered property, with all the legal rights and guarantees afforded property, and instead to substitute the term ‘guardians’ so our pets ultimately become wards of the state.
No matter how much we love our pets, no matter how devoted to them, no matter if we refer to them as our ‘kids’ and to ourselves as ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ … our dogs are not furry little humans. We love them. We care for them. We wouldn’t want to live without them. But we are not their ‘guardians’ in the legal sense of the word, nor should we want to be.
For State-specific information regarding how your right to own dogs is being threatened, visit the AKC’s new Government Relations Tracking Service at their website: akc.org/canine_legislation and click on the tracking icon.
ANTIC, June, 2009
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