Whether done for profit or hobby, there is no such thing as responsible breeding (of even one dog), as long as thousands of healthy and adoptable dogs are being killed at our county's shelter, due to a lack of homes.
Yet, Hillsborough County Commissioners Miller and Sharpe have decided it is appropriate for two dog breeders to sit on our Animal Advisory Committee... A committee who is appointed to reduce shelter intake rates, reduce euthanasia rates, improve adopton rates, and efficiently spend tax-payer dollars.
The consequences of breeding is clearly contrary to the goals of Hillsborough County Animal Services; it does not benefit the shelter animals who need homes to save their lives, and it does not benefit the taxpayers of Hillsborough County.
Golden and Walker no more belong on such a board, than a furrier or seal hunter belongs on the board for an organization such as PETA or the Humane Society.
Walker and Golden's "breeding business" appears to be their top priorty. They have a history of fighting proposed changes to the laws that might interfere with their breeding.... even if those changes would mean better protection/treatment of homeless pets.
We must stand together to express our disapproval of this clear impropriety, and insist Golden and Walker be replaced with citizens who better meet the needs of our Animal Advisory Committee... People whose top priority is to save the lives of the thousands of homeless cats and dogs in our county -- to include promotion of spaying/neutering.
For those of you who are Hillsborough County residents, I implore you to remember this very important matter at election time -- including the names Sharpe and Miller -- then vote accordingly. The needy dogs and cats of our county are counting on us to protect them!
We find the breeding of dogs -- whether for hobby or profit -- to be irresponsible behavior for an AAC committee member, as long as thousands of healthy and adoptable dogs are being killed at Hillsborough County Animal Services, due to a lack of homes.
Likewise, the signers of this petition find that the priority of every committee member should be to focus their energy and efforts to promoting adoption and spaying/neutering of ALL dogs.
We agree there is a need for a diverse Animal Advisory Committee. To us, this need for diversity is met by having both male and female committee members... and having people of differing religious beliefs... members with a variety of educational, professional, and ethnic backgrounds.
The consequences of breeding is contrary to the goals of Hillsborough County Animal Services; it does not benefit the shelter animals who need homes to save their lives, and it does not benefit the taxpayers of Hillsborough County.
We are experiencing a true epidemic of pet overpopulation. Therefore, we expect local officials to do everything possible to spare as many canine (and feline) lives as possible. This includes County Commissioners appointing committee members who share an internal fire for supporting adoption and spaying/neutering. Yet, as commissioners of our county, you have determined it to be acceptable to allow dog-producers to represent our county.... people who make decisions and give advice which ultimately influence the number of canine (and feline) lives lost at HCAS.
The AAC of our county should be setting a good example for the public when it comes to companion animal protection and population control.
There is a clear impropriety created by the breeding of dogs by committee members... to include selling unsteralized dogs to the general public, and encouraging others to do the same.
Lisa Hutches-Walker is the president of the Mid Florida American Pit Bull Terrier Association, and has stated that she breeds "for the sole purpose of the preservation and quality of the breed." Yet, In 2010, 2,700 Pit Bulls (and Pit-mixes) were impounded by HCAS. Of that 2,700, only 236 were adopted.... while 2,152 were killed! Pits (and Pit-mixes) made up an astounding 27% of the total dog impounds at HCAS, in 2010.
Tim Golden is the president of the Hillsborough County Florida Dog Fanciers. According to their website, "The 21st century has brought new challenges to all of us who breed, show, and own dogs. Legislative challenges in the form of restrictive new laws include breed-specific legislation, mandatory spay/neuter laws, kennel size limits, and commercial breeder requirements. The Hillsborough County Florida Dog Fanciers believe that in addition to promoting responsible dog ownership and public education, all dog fanciers must work together to fight restrictive legislation at the local, state, and national level. Working with our legislators we are making a difference, sharing our knowledge and experience in support of appropriate legislation while exposing the misdirected ideology of today's animal rights movement."
According to a blog by Lisa Walker, "Well, I see it like this, and so does an immense group of additional people I might add. My dog(s) are my PROPERTY. I bought them with my own hard-earned money. I have a responsibility to these dogs to provide nourishment, love, medical care, training, socialization and such to my dog(s). If I do not, for any reason, responsibly provide and care for my dog(s) please re-read #1 above.... we are back to neglect and abuse which is already covered! Have absolutely no doubts about it, until such time that my dog(s) can provide food, medicine, necessities and clean up after themselves, all RIGHTS belong to me, the owner. Freedom is what our country was founded on."
It is obvious to the signers of this petition that both of these committee members are staunch supporters of breeding/selling dogs. Based on their statements and actions, it is also probable that their primary purpose for sitting on the AAC is to limit any governmental intervention into their dog-producing activities.
We expect the AAC to consist of people who have absolute zeal for saving lives at HCAS, and preventing births via spaying/neutering. Instead, we have two people whose "breeding business" appears to be top concern in their duties on the AAC. They have a history of fighting many proposed changes to the laws/ordinances which might interfere with their breeding.... even if those changes would mean better protection/treatment of pets and homeless animals.
Allowing a dog breeder to sit on an advisory board for an open-admission animal shelter, is similar to a group such as PETA or the HSUS allowing a furrier, veal farmer, or seal hunter to sit on their board.
A similar conflict of interest would exist should someone who felt strongly against breeding, be appointed to sit on a board for the American Kennel Club, the Mid Florida American Pit Bull Terrier Association, or Hillsborough County Florida Dog Fanciers.
We are confident that none of the above-mentioned pro-dog-breeding groups would allow a person who does not support breeding to be elected to their board -- and understandably so. They surely want board members who support their goals/efforts....And the same should be true for the AAC of Hillsborough County, FL.
While we recognize HCAS is not a "rescue group", whether we like it or not, like HSUS and PETA, HCAS deals with the plight of protecting the lives of animals, every single day of the year.
With all due respect, Commissioners, you are making a complete mockery of our county, as long as you allow dog breeders to sit on the AAC, while HCAS continues to kill adoptable dogs (and cats) for space.