RE MUNICIPAL ANIMAL CONTROL: PLEASE SPOTLIGHT NEED FOR 'PARADIGM SHIFT' IN ANIMAL CONTROL & A NATIONAL COMMITMENT TO HALT IRRESPONSIBLE 'BACKYARD BREEDING' OF DOGS
Kevin Johnson, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (and Mayor of the City of Sacramento),
Matthew Chase, Executive Director of the National Association of Counties (NACo), and
Clarence Anthony, Executive Director of the National League of Cities (NLC)
IMPORTANT UPDATE (Dec. 23. 2014);
The central theme underlying most of Stand Up for Dogs’ change.org petitions – including the one below -- is that the mammoth $55.7 Billion/Yr. U.S. Pet Industry heavily influences what initiatives national (and local) humane organizations, animal care & control agencies, elected municipal politicians, etc., undertake and what they do NOT undertake. PLEASE ESPECIALLY NOTE THE SHOCKING 2013 ARTICLE BY THE WELL-RESPECTED ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND (ALDF ) WHICH FOCUSES ON THE AMERICAN KENNEL CLUB (AKC), AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (AVMA)…”…AND OTHER PET INDUSTRY GROUPS”:
ALDF article: "BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE: VET & PET INDUSTRY GROUPS BETRAY ANIMALS"
Those humane organizations and other organizations effectively become part of an ‘Extended’ Pet Industry’ working, in many ways, to the detriment of millions of companion animals throughout the U.S. This is addressed in the following blog at www.standupfordogs.com/blog (these blogs are in ‘date order’; the condensed version is the Nov. 5, 2014 blog and the full version is the blog dated Oct. 31, 2014).:
"EXTENDED' PET INDUSTRY ('EPI') IS 'COMMODITIZING' COMPANION ANIMALS & CAUSING UNNECESSARY SHELTER INTAKE, IMPOUNDMENT TRAUMA AND SHELTER KILLING THROUGHOUT THE U.S.
This petition urges your ‘top down’ leadership support and communication to municipal leaders throughout the country regarding a long overdue “Paradigm Shift” in municipal animal control practices. Despite more recent forward thinking by the current Board of Directors of the National Animal Control Association (NACA), animal control hasn’t progressed very far in the 148 years since the first animal shelter in the U.S. was established (in New York City) in 1866. Ongoing irresponsible backyard breeding (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backyard_breeder ) is at the very core of this inertia.
(Mayor Johnson, as discussed below, your City of Sacramento Animal Care Services Manager certainly understands the importance of this issue. Mr. Chase and Mr. Anthony, you may recall that very preliminary information on this issue was sent to you via your executive assistants in January of this year).
Two critically important documents which are central to the discussion of irresponsible backyard breeding -- and stopping it -- are:
1, ‘Paradigm Shift for Rebirth of Animal Control’ http://www.standupfordogs.com/app/download/756739202/ParadigmShift.pdf
2. "Point-of-Sale-or-Transfer Licensing Enforcement Assistance ("POSTLEA") -- Complete 3-Element Presentation"
(Please see the above blog -- DATED JUNE 30, 2014 -- at www.standupfordogs.com/blog ).
These two documents explain the mechanics by which POSTLEA would operate and the setting for it. [Also see www.standupfordogs.com/issues/backyard-breeding , viz. “Community Involvement to Improve Licensing” and “PETA list of ordinances” (examples from various communities)].
Unregulated pet breeding takes a great toll in communities everywhere in three areas commonly thought to be within the mission of animal control agencies: (1) protection of public safety and health; (2) preventing animal cruelty and other inhumane treatment of animals; and (3) preserving the quality of life in these communities. It also takes a significant toll on taxpayers, with over $2 billion of public funds expended annually in the U.S. to impound and destroy (“euthanize”) millions of dogs and cats,
The root problem here is unregulated excessive breeding coupled with the geometric/exponential reproductive capacity of dogs...i.e. the same F dog can produce new litters (average litter size of 6… but varies considerably) as often as every 7-8 months (same for offspring and offspring’s offspring, etc.) which simply overwhelms the dedicated corps of community rescuers, each of whom can only adopt out one or two dogs at a time! (Many volunteer rescuers know the futility of forever frantically ‘bailing the boat’ instead of ‘plugging the hole in the hull’… but are powerless to influence the vested interests of those entities who should be taking the lead in stopping irresponsible BYB’ing (AKC, national humane organizations, etc). ( See http://www.change.org/petitions/matthew-bershadker-step-up-to-the-plate-with-true-leadership-halt-indiscriminate-backyard-breeding-of-dogs?utm_campaign=petition_created&utm_medium=email&utm_source=guides ).
The Animal Care Services Manager for the City of Sacramento is one of relatively few animal control directors who not only understands the critically important need to address irresponsible breeding but also is pro-actively trying to do something about it. Very recently, in response to our recommendations, she wrote an exploratory message to another local animal control agency stating that:
(these) …“recommendations do have merit and it may be a good time for our region to align and perhaps enter into conversation about how to tackle this problem collectively. I would be happy to participate in any discussions or meetings to develop a strategy. We clearly have an epidemic of backyard breeding in Sacramento that is adversely impacting all of our shelters. Working on backyard breeding and reducing shelter intake should be a common denominator we should all be able to rally around.”
Currently, most of the focus of animal control, nationally, is on reactive ‘after-the-fact’ adoptions and rescue activities made necessary because of a number of factors -- some self-serving --causing most of the several thousand animal control agencies in this country to largely ignore the above root problem, i.e. excessive shelter INTAKE arising especially from BYB ‘supply-push’ sales to buyers poorly screened for responsible pet ownership. These ubiquitous, deliberate-for-profit local BYB’s are far more numerous...and need to be distinguished from…the larger, but far fewer, ‘commercial puppy mills’ (easier low-hanging fruit) targeted by the national humane organizations. Also, while low-cost spay/neuter programs help reduce shelter intake, deliberate-for-profit BYB’s will NOT spay/neuter their breeding stock no matter how affordable it is made.
The reason for submitting this request as a www.change.org global petition (people in all 50 states and 56 countries abroad have signed our other petitions addressing BYB’ing) is that the public needs to know the background on this issue, i.e. those in the 47 percent of U.S. households that own at least one dog and many others that should know why most municipal animal control agencies conform to a 148-year history of the status quo.
Our reason for requesting “Top Down” support from your three organizations is that there appears to be little impetus for change communicated through channels upward from animal control departments to elected municipal policy makers!
As an example, NACA did publish our article on POSTLEA in its Jan./Feb.2013 issue of NACA NEWS (the issue’s theme was “Innovative Programs: Share Your Ideas”)but none of the rank and file animal control personnel subscribing to the magazine were responsive. When we requested support from NACA’s Board, the reply from NACA’s president was:
“Putting your articles in the NACA News was proactive support from NACA. It is unfortunate that you were not contacted by any animal control agencies, but perhaps that is indicative that our membership is not interested in the program.”
WHY they weren’t interested in a program to increase their dog license revenues and to reduce their heavy shelter intake workloads is the real issue here (diminish their ‘reason for being’? …their job security?) The Paradigm Shift urges job enrichment, redirecting them to outreach activities, and training and development opportunities.
We certainly recognize that circumstances vary and that not all animal control jurisdictions (sometimes internally referred to as ”independent fiefdoms”) can operate the same way. However, the need to address BYB’ing is common to many of them. There needs to be a way to ensure that mayors, city managers and county supervisors are aware that there truly is a cost-effective and efficient way to address this issue, viz. the POSTLEA process. Our goal is to have several animal control agencies ‘pilot’ this process, evaluate it objectively, and report the results.
Thank you for your consideration.
Stand Up for Dogs
(our co-founder also is a NACA Member)
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