Monday, March 16, 2009

Doggie Dilemma

I intended this as a comment to one of JWTs posts, but I think it worth a post.

Last Council meeting, I took a day, ended up jumping up and down like the "Whack-a-Mole" in the kids game.

True story here, to set the background. We have a terrier/jack russel mix female. Never intended to breed her, but we were advised it was better for the dog to wait until after first heat to spay the animal. I do not hold that is true, but I do know a lot of people, including some veterinarians, believe it.

Comes the aforementioned "first heat", our normally docile bitch digs out of the fence, visits with a neighbor's chihuahua, and in the fullness of time, presents us with four adorably cute, but wholly unintended, puppies. As I told Council, we have placed the pups in loving homes, and as soon as they were weaned, we had momma spayed.

I offered at last Council session, an amendment; a once-in-the-life-of-the-dog exemption from the $100 breeder fee. It seemed well received, Farmer initially moved it with "Mr. Ryan's" Amendment, looked good for passage. Then there was other comment, something about 50 dogs in a yard (which had nothing to do with the matter at hand), next thing we know, what is on the table Tuesday passes: Barely.

Points that strike me here: the pet/person relationship is as dear as that with a child to some people; the pet nuisance, if allowed, is important to neighbors of pet owners; and in my opinion as desirable as might be the objective of encouraging spay/neuter to limit unintended population explosion, this ordinance, as written AIN'T GONNA GET US THERE!

As JWT mentioned, there are 70-some bills in the Legislative hopper on animal control, maybe 6 or 7 locally significant. My position now, as I related to Council, I prefer no law to bad law. Good intentions do not necessarily make good law. The road to Hell is paved with what material, my Mother taught me? We have here a problem, not a crisis. We have the luxury of being able to pause, take a deep breath, wait until the Legislature gives birth to whatever it will, and come next summer, let's revisit this matter with more information on the table.

My advice: we have a brand new Animal Services Board chairperson, let that board digest the comments now on the table, take some more, then come before Council in the slow season and present EXACTLY the board's recommendations, something I hear did not happen March 3.


  1. I watched some of this debate on television. I haven't read all the facts, but I did get the impression they are sorta bogged down. I think the first step to solving anything is to first ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish.

    My first and foremost concern would be the neighbors. Dog breeders should not be allowed to have numerous dog to the detriment of their neighbors. The way to allow it is to require certain zoning restrictions. For instance, a minimum amount of acreage. Also, they apply for a permit to breed dogs and meet certain established guidelines. I'm certain it would be easy to type up a document that ensure ethical treatment of the animals, and ethical treatment of neighbors. Then, those who dont register can have all their animals confiscated and pay a stiff fine.

    While they are at it, it would be a good time to address other animal issues besides breeding. Simply, laying down some common sense rules to owning and taking care of an animal. Recently, I had two small dogs try to attack me. They were insistent on taking a chunk out of me. Then the wierd thing about dog owners is they act like they would like to see you bitten more than they would like to see their dog kicked. I am certain there are larger dogs on the loose too.

    I think if its true that the dog population is booming, then I think we will see a rise in attacks on humans. We have a lot of so called guard dogs in town, and I have seen many running around loose.

    Heck, I saw a wiener dog the other day. He was cruisin down the alley like he didnt have a care in the world. I thought to myself, doesnt this wiener dog know that city council is passin laws right now on him, haha.

  2. Years ago when I was legal resident alien (before I became I US citizen) I applied for a job as an animal control officer. I have always loved animals and nature. I was brought up on a farm. The job interview was an inquisition. The female interviewing me was totally arrogant and hostile towards anyone who cared about animal welfare.

    My first duties at home in the morning are to feed the dogs, cat and fish. Then wake up and feed the kids before they go to meet he school bus. Then I can have breakfast.