Jan 252011
Authors: Mary Roberts

Ah, Josh, after reading your column (in Monday’s paper) I see that people who write in to the Collegian still spout meaningless metaphors, convoluted thinking, personal attacks and a basic misunderstanding of the topic altogether.
Allow me to explain. First, I wrote for the Collegian many years ago (almost 40), and I disparaged anyone who looked cross-eyed at me, and thought that I was most clever. So I understand the thrilling aspect of having a bully pulpit. So, rah, rah and all that.

Let’s go point by point.

1. The ordinance is designed to cut off the puppy pipeline to buyers from large-scale, commercial dog breeders who run an inherently abusive practice. Keeping breeding dogs in cages for a lifetime to breed time after time is abusive. You cannot argue that. And every large-scale breeder of necessity has to do that. They can’t take out the 100 or so breeding females for a romp in the park. Most of them live in wire cages for their entire life.

We don’t want to punish pet stores. There is a movement that is asking pet stores to reconsider their practices and instead work with shelters and breed rescues to help get dogs (and other animals) adopted. One thousand pet stores have taken the “no puppy” pledge. Diminishing revenues for the sake of a message is shaky moral ground? Really? How about killing 1,200 dogs because the owner didn’t want to pay their vet bill?

2. Jeff Fortin, who killed his 1,200 dogs because he couldn’t manage their care, is not the exception. He is the rule. I have been researching this for seven years. Laurie Molitor has worked for Humane Societies, including the Reptile Humane Society, and has seen first-hand how reptiles are bought on a whim and die when the owners either lose interest or have no idea how to care for a non-native reptile. Many pet store employees are not educated on their care either.

3. In 2010 The USDA’s Office of Inspector General published a highly critical report of the Animal and Pet Health Inspections Services organization that oversees pet care nationally calling it inept and mismanaged. We have known that for years. There are numerous groups working with the USDA to improve their oversight of animal welfare. Meanwhile, animals suffer. We are no longer willing to wait for the slow wheels of government.

4. We euthanize annually 4 million to 5 million dogs and cats that are healthy and adoptable. How about if the American public thoughtfully adopted instead of walk by a pet store, become enamored of that “poor thing” in the window and impulsively pay hundreds of dollars for an animal that’s not even spayed or neutered? Shelters vet their adopters; breed rescues even do a home visit. Pet stores and commercial breeders don’t care who buys their animals. Adopt these millions of dogs or cats, and I don’t think vets are going to run out of clients.

5. I have decided to not address your fear of PETA. We don’t always agree on each other’s tactics, but calling them aberrant just because you disagree with someone is adolescent.

6. We have seen more than a few little sad photos on the Internet. I suggest you visit a puppy mill. How about Fortin’s Beaver Creek Kennels in Kansas where it took days to kill 1,200 dogs and acres to bury them. Laure Molitor is in school full-time hoping to become a veterinarian. She also works at a vet clinic. She does not know the owners of any of the pet stores and has no thought of a “personal vendetta.” She could no longer stand by and wait for someone else to do something.

Like all great Americans who have ever stood up to be heard, she has risked personal ridicule, sacrificed any leisure time and acted on her sense of right and wrong.

It’s easy to mock someone with whom you disagree, and it gets you a lot more ink. A thoughtful exchange of ideas and concerns, a mutual show of respect, well that’s just too damn boring.

Mary Roberts is a local real estate agent and writes about animal welfare. She earned her bachelor’s in technical journalism from CSU in 1974 and a master’s in communications in 2010.

 Posted by at 5:05 pm

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