Welcome to my bi-weekly philosophical self-examination.

Although it might surprise you to hear, I struggle with my own ideas on animal care legislation.  I struggle especially when it comes to the matters of companion animal legislation.  It wounds me to the core to find myself unable to stand shoulder to shoulder with many good people.  Warm-hearted, well-intentioned people who work so hard to provide a safety net for people, from the unfortunate to the financially strapped to the irresponsible, and their animals.  That’s when it struck me that we have been manipulated into a civil war of sorts, and I resent it greatly.  When I say ‘we’,  I mean breeder, rescue, shelter & owner, all of us, especially when it comes to dogs. 

A person I know through my love of dogs put it to me so well yesterday, “There is no other animal on earth with which we have such a unique, almost symbiotic relationship as we do the dog.”  I agree with her completely.   So would the overwhelming majority of  ‘dog people’.  This love, this bond, this tie to the days when our species had only begun to come to awareness of the difference between ourselves and the rest of the animal world, is a precious one.  As we elevate our perception of ourselves and our place in the world, we likewise try to elevate our perception of dogs.  We try and make them closer to us, bestowing them with a complexity of thought, motive and perception that we need for ourselves.   They exist in the Now, something that we find so hard to with that special consciousness that humans developed.  Yet, practically every dog person knows the peace of those moments with their dog where they can just ‘be’.  In many ways, we need dog even more than dog needs us. 

This love, this bond is so easy to use against us.  With love comes the urge to protect; an emotion that overwhelms our critical thinking.  In our emotion we become more animal, we become less human.   We become a mob, a herd, a pack.  In our blind urge to protect that which is precious to us, we can easily destroy the very things that allow us to protect our beloved companions from those who would interfere.  The majority of people on both sides of the ‘Dog Wars’ are in the fight for the same reasons, to protect & preserve that which they believe to be precious. 

How to codify these kinds of perspectives into law without shackling all dog breeders and still meet the human demand for dogs?  Its the line between the philosophical/moral and the legal position that I struggle with.  Where should my beliefs on the what/where/when/how of dog breeding and dog care, or of any animal, affect the rights of another to do so beyond basic humane definitions?  Should my experiences &  limitations restrict another person with different limitations and different experience? 

I ask, for the love of dog, why are those who similarly love dogs following the lead of individuals without such a bond of affection?  In the dividing of the ranks of those who love dogs by those who are not informed by such perspective, the casualties are both the dogs and ourselves.  Choose what makes you human(e), mind & heart.

Copyright 2009 by Erica Saunders   http://AR-HR.com
All rights reserved

4 Responses to “The New ‘Civil War’”

  1. Edward says:

    “and still meet the human demand for dogs”…Are you serious?

    Is there a shortage of dogs that I am unaware of…I thought there was a tremendous overpopulation that needed to be addressed.

    • I am serious.

      If there was a ‘tremendous overpopulation’, shelters across the US would not be actively importing dogs from other regions. Couple this with legislative campaigns to restrict or eliminate large-scale dog breeding as well as the crusades to implement mandatory spay/neuter programs. Where are the dogs for the next generations supposed to come from?

      Also worth considering, how is gene pool diversity within breeds and between breeds to be maintained when breeding choices are haviing made prior to an animal reaching maturity and the remainder of animals are completely removed from the pool?

      The battles being fought now have some incredibly serious implications for the future

  2. Tiffany says:

    Wait a minute. The so called ‘importation’ of shelter animals isn’t how you slant it at all. Mexico for instance, is a very poor country – talk about inhumane conditions there are hundreds of thousands if not millions of street dogs and it is not a dog loving culture as the US is, the ‘humane resources’ we have in this country, even in the poor shelters are far better than what mexican dogs who get picked up have to endure and some people have made it their mission to educate other countries that it’s unacceptable to stone street dogs, to electrocute as a means of euthanasia, and it’s my understanding that yes, some few groups bring dogs who face such conditions in other countries into the us as a mercy and adopt them out to US citizens, but it’s not a supply/demand issue as you make it out to be. My small town, local shelter gets approximately 1000 animals, and despite communtiy wide support STILL has to euthanise 600+ of those, including puppies and kittens because there just aren’t homes that want them.

  3. Hello Tiffany, thank you for responding.
    Please explain how the supply/demand dynamic does not apply to shelter & rescues?

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