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I've been reading about this legislation on several dog lists and was on the fence until I read these blog entries. From Gina Spadafori at Pet Connection

The California 'Healthy Pets' Act: An overly simple--and ultimately unworkable--solution for a complex problem
What is said to be a problem with homeless pets is really more a problem with a massive surplus of the pets most people don’t want – adult and semi-feral cats, and large dogs from breeds thought to have aggressive tendencies, as well as older, sick dogs or those with difficult to remedy behavior problems.[/b]
While there is some validity to this assertion, I think it's an oversimplification as well. There seems to be no shortage of lovable, adoptable bassets needing the services of our local rescue. :(

She then states that people who are producing these unwanted animals are scofflaws who won't respect any new licensing or spay/neuter laws. The new laws won't reduce the surplus population, because the people who are the problem will disregard them.

People, in other words, who don’t bother to license or properly care for their pets now, and who certainly won’t bother to license or properly care for their pets if AB 1634 passes, when you have to prove you’re a responsible breeder (which they can’t) and when the fees cut into your tax-free profits (which they won’t).

In other words, the people who are causing the problem will not be much affected by any sweeping effort at a simple solution, which is exactly what AB 1634 promises. And the people who work hard to produce healthy, temperamentally sound animals who are the very essence of what people want for family pets and working dogs are the ones who are targeted, because they are the ones who are visible. Even with the fuzzy and ill-defined exemptions negotiated into this measure, responsible breeders are still the ones who’ll be targeted, and are likely to be about the only ones affected.

And what if you drive these people, these responsible, caring breeders, out of dogs and out of state — along with the millions of dollars brought into the economy by dog shows and other events? Will that end the problem?

Not hardly. Because the clueless, careless and greedy will keep breeding, and keep selling their puppies no questions asked, in all the places they do now. And because anyone who wants to go to a little extra trouble will just order a puppy-mill dog from the Internet, credit cards accepted, delivery to your nearby California airport...

The problem isn’t simple and neither is the solution. And bearing down on the people who aren’t the cause isn’t going to fix the animals of a single clueless, careless or greedy producer of pets by accident or for sale – nor is it going to make any of their breeding animals any healthier because they still won’t be spayed or neutered[/b]
Below is the other thing that bothers me.

The only true exemption in this bill is for large-scale commercial breeding operations—a/k/a puppy mills. Does that make sense?[/b]
 

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Here's a companion piece that addresses the question of whether all breeding should be outlawed, period.

Preserving, protecting and ensuring a future for heritage breeds
See, we’ve been writing that AB 1634, California’s so-called “Healthy Pets Act,” takes a simple approach to complex problem, and in so doing will end up targeting people who are not causing the problem of unadoptable pets: Responsible, reputable breeders.

This idea runs counter to the “until there are none, adopt one” point of view held by people who truly do believe that a breeder is a breeder is a breeder and all are the root of the problem. These folks argue that if you want, say, a healthy, temperamentally sound Yorkshire Terrier and none are available, you will adopt a large pit-bull or pit mix, which is what fills the shelters, or even an adult cat. This completely ignores the reality of the situation — an actual shortage of the animals people will adopt from shelters (such as small dogs) that is so real that some urban non-profit shelters “cherry pick” high-interest pets from low-traffic rural municipal shelters. “Until there are none, adopt one” doesn’t address the situation, and its one-size-fits all dogma extends to the simple idea that all breeding is the same, and it’s all adding to the problem.

And that’s not true.

There are legitimate — to us, anyway — reasons to be breed dogs, and none of them have to do with profit. Motivation is what sets the responsible, reputable breeder apart from all the others. One of the primary reasons for breeding is the preservation and protection of animals who are truly unique and well-suited to their original function, as well as companionship — call them heritage breeds, if you will.[/b]
 

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Pretty ironic that what at face value appears to be an animal lover's answer to prayer, is in fact the BYB's and puppy miller's dream come true.

Can imagine them rubbing their hands with glee as the ethical breeders are made redundant and these two go into overdrive producing sub-standard pups.

Jump forward a few generations and you will probably find it hard to distinguish a Basset from a Border collie. :(
 

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There seems to be no shortage of lovable, adoptable bassets needing the services of our local rescue.[/b]
True, but these are not "surplus" puppies, they are dogs that were wanted, and then became unwanted. I think the problem is not so much "too many dogs" as too many people who get dogs and then don't want them any more. If this could be stopped somehow, it would probably help, but the main sources of puppies (commercial/backyard breeders) don't care about making sure the buyer is a suitable owner and understands the long-term responsibilities of dog ownership. The rsponsible breeders OTOH, who are the ones who will suffer most under this bill, are the ones contributing the least to the problem because they try to make sure the pups get proper, permanent homes and will take them back if necessary.
 

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True, but these are not "surplus" puppies, they are dogs that were wanted, and then became unwanted. I think the problem is not so much "too many dogs" as too many people who get dogs and then don't want them any more.[/b]
I reject this part of the opposition's argument as sophistry. Surplus is surplus, however it happens and however many hands these dogs pass through.

If this could be stopped somehow, it would probably help, but the main sources of puppies (commercial/backyard breeders) don't care about making sure the buyer is a suitable owner and understands the long-term responsibilities of dog ownership. The rsponsible breeders OTOH, who are the ones who will suffer most under this bill, are the ones contributing the least to the problem because they try to make sure the pups get proper, permanent homes and will take them back if necessary.[/b]
I agree with these points.
 

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The bill keeps changing, as the California breed and training clubs raise objections, but last time I looked, it still doesn't make sense. Commercial breeders will continue to bring dogs in from out of the country, and everyone expects the rate of bringing dogs in illegally will increase. These will be the products of the worst sort of puppy mills, I imagine. Or, the big time commercial breeders and puppy millers will find a way to be sure their dogs are exceptions--either as 'service' or 'show' dogs, who have immunity (in some cases) . It won't touch the feral cat population, and cats are by and large the greatest problem for shelters in this state. And, enforcement will probably be haphazard, since it's an unfunded mandate. And on and on.
 

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Or, the big time commercial breeders and puppy millers will find a way to be sure their dogs are exceptions--either as 'service' or 'show' dogs, who have immunity (in some cases) .[/b]
They always find a way. :angry:
 
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