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Discussion Starter #1
Instead of turning the (should I breed my dog) threads into all the dogs dying in shelters and ultimately rescue threads, how about ideas to stem the tide of unwanted pets.

I don't know what the answer is.

My one attempt at a solution was to suggest local legislation to at least require some guidelines and liscenses to breed. Maybe a fee also.

That idea was roundly beat up on by almost everyone in the thread I suggested it in.

People apparently are anti any legislation at any level.

No breed legislation, no spay neuter laws, nothing.
O.k. then where are the other ideas.

Bitching about things and expecting folks to just stop breeding are unrealistic in a free society where people can do what they want as long as it's legal.
 

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I don't know what the answer is either:(

I happen to like your guidelines/license to breed, and would add something about 'owners' as well. Whole problem with that is, nobody wants people 'telling' them what to do, how would any of that be enforced? and who would be the 'one' to make the decision, no you cant breed, yes you can, no you can't own a dog, yes you can:(

Unfortunately there are as many dumb owners as there are irresponsible breeders.

(I want to add tho, I am one lucky person, that every dog I've either rescued or bought, was exactly what I wanted, and wouldn't change a thing)
 

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I think the answers are pretty much known at this point. There may be controversy about some points, but there's not a lot of mystery. It just comes down to education: talking and persuading and shifting social norms.

But simple ain't easy, and you can't legislate decency into people.
 

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I think the registry should become more involved. Not just AKC, but on the individual breed level.

I know people would still breed unregistered dogs, but those folks would be easier to to single out by uneducated buyers.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think the answers are pretty much known at this point. There may be controversy about some points, but there's not a lot of mystery. It just comes down to education: talking and persuading and shifting social norms.

But simple ain't easy, and you can't legislate decency into people.
Well I'm not educated or enlightened. I never hear answers from rescue folks.
Just how bad things are. We already know things are bad.

I have to step out but the type of legislation I'm talking about would not affect ethical breeders and is not that complex to write or enforce. More when I get back.
 

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I think the registry should become more involved. Not just AKC, but on the individual breed level.

I know people would still breed unregistered dogs, but those folks would be easier to to single out by uneducated buyers.

I agree. Something like the SV system. I know it wouldn't fix the problem but I think it's a move in the right direction.
 

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Well I'm not educated or enlightened. I never hear answers from rescue folks.
The answer is a combination of education, shifting social norms, and financial assistance in the form of free/low-cost spay and neuter programs.

-- Puppy buyers need to be educated about the differences between breeders and breeds, so that they can make an informed decision about where to find an appropriate purebred dog and which individual dog (not breed stereotype, not glossy Disney image) is a good, realistic fit for their preferences and abilities.

-- Puppy buyers also need to be educated about the shelter/rescue adoption options. For many homes, a screened and semi-trained adult or adolescent dog coming out of foster care is a better choice than a puppy. For many others, it's not. But people need to have all the information available so they can make the right decisions for their individual situations.

-- Pet owners should have more support in training and socializing their dogs. Many shelters and rescues offer free or low-cost training classes. Many breeders offer rebates for proof that dogs have finished training classes (or earned a CGC, or somehow otherwise demonstrated that the owner is putting in some minimal work). These are good steps; we can do more as individuals by shifting social norms so that people recognize that dogs do need time and work, and can't just be tossed into the backyard and expected to educate and exercise themselves.

Even something as simple as doing jump drills or heeling games with your dog in a public area (which is handy in and of itself as a proofing exercise) can create the opportunity to open a dialogue with people about training their dogs in a fun and humane way that fosters a strong relationship. I can't tell you how many times people have stopped me to ask questions after seeing Pongu practicing in a city park -- and some of them were people I'd never have guessed wanted help with their pups! People who have that bond with their dogs don't put them in shelters.

-- Free and low-cost spay and neuter programs targeted at lower-income owners and dogs prone to overbreeding (usually pit bulls and pit mixes) are worthy of support and signal boosting.

-- Pet owners who want to breed their pet dogs "just because" should be discouraged. Sorry, no way around that one.

-- Animal cruelty laws, which would already cover most of the obvious clear-cut puppy mill abuses, should be stronger and better enforced. They are a low priority for most law enforcement offices right now, I will tell you, because the victims don't have voices (or votes) and the political will is just not there. If you care about dogs, that's a good place to push for change.
 

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^^^ there ya go, jd, there's the answer for ya...and it takes time, lots of time for cultural norms to shift. starts with the kids. education and more education. and then more time.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
When I was a boy I had racing pigeons. In order to own and confine or breed racing pigeons, you had to apply for a permit. Small fee for inspector to see if you were up to code.
The code or ordinance gave you such things as distances from property lines and neighborhood dwellings etc... Basic care requirements of water food etc..

With pigeons you were allowed to let them fly for exercise but could not allow them to just sit for obvious reasons.

It was all pretty basic stuff and I don't remember it all. As far as enforcement. They could inspect at any time or by complaints. With animals or birds it is usually enforced because of a complaint.

It's not perfect and won't stop all BYBs for sure but having to meet certain requirements and purchase a permit along with the knowledge that a complaint could shut you down might make it less appealing to some.

Merciel.

Some of your ideas are good in theory, but I've been around for a long time and have not seen any of this in action, except the attempt to legislate low cost mandatory S/N.

Read some threads on here about anything to do with mandatory S/N and see how well it goes over. About as well as any new laws.

I also think rescue has some house cleaning of its own to do.

For many in rescue it's not just about saving animals but also telling people how to raise and train them. Not going to go over well with many, including me.

You can't cram training methods down peoples throats anymore than religion.

Also rescues aren't always up front. Out of a dozen or so dogs that I have had in my life, the only one that ever bit a human being was a rescue. Was supposed to have been fostered and vetted. Well I kept that dog and spent a fortune on trainers, behaviorists etc.. The dog had perfect obedience right up until he bit someone else. So that experience coupled with looking at the adoption requirements of the so called reputable rescues was enough for me.

I admire some who do rescue and those who adopt but it's not my cup of tea.

I do however, not like the fact that there are so many homeless dogs.
 

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I never said anything about legislating low-cost spay and neuter. The programs aren't mandatory and they shouldn't be. They are simply options that are offered for people who might not be financially able to cover the cost of the surgical procedure. People can and should be encouraged to use them, but no one's being required to do anything.

You can't cram training methods down peoples throats anymore than religion.
I don't think I said anything about that, either. The point is to make the information, and the opportunity, available to people. The option is there. It's up to them whether they want to use it.

It is, frankly, a little bizarre to me that you say in one paragraph that you don't want to "cram training methods down peoples throats" and yet, in the same post, want to... cram S/N down their throats instead? Seems like a bit of a disconnect.

The whole point is that requiring people to do things tends to go over like a lead balloon, in addition to being logistically impractical. The better approach -- the "answer" this thread was ostensibly seeking -- is to let people weigh the pros and cons for themselves once they have all the information to do so. That is what actually works and is working.

And yes, some rescues aren't up front. Some breeders aren't up front. A lot of buyers and adopters aren't, either. How is that relevant?
 

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When I was a boy I had racing pigeons. In order to own and confine or breed racing pigeons, you had to apply for a permit. Small fee for inspector to see if you were up to code.
The code or ordinance gave you such things as distances from property lines and neighborhood dwellings etc... Basic care requirements of water food etc..

With pigeons you were allowed to let them fly for exercise but could not allow them to just sit for obvious reasons.

It was all pretty basic stuff and I don't remember it all. As far as enforcement. They could inspect at any time or by complaints. With animals or birds it is usually enforced because of a complaint.

It's not perfect and won't stop all BYBs for sure but having to meet certain requirements and purchase a permit along with the knowledge that a complaint could shut you down might make it less appealing to some.

Merciel.

Some of your ideas are good in theory, but I've been around for a long time and have not seen any of this in action, except the attempt to legislate low cost mandatory S/N.

Read some threads on here about anything to do with mandatory S/N and see how well it goes over. About as well as any new laws.

I also think rescue has some house cleaning of its own to do.

For many in rescue it's not just about saving animals but also telling people how to raise and train them. Not going to go over well with many, including me.

You can't cram training methods down peoples throats anymore than religion.

Also rescues aren't always up front. Out of a dozen or so dogs that I have had in my life, the only one that ever bit a human being was a rescue. Was supposed to have been fostered and vetted. Well I kept that dog and spent a fortune on trainers, behaviorists etc.. The dog had perfect obedience right up until he bit someone else. So that experience coupled with looking at the adoption requirements of the so called reputable rescues was enough for me.

I admire some who do rescue and those who adopt but it's not my cup of tea.

I do however, not like the fact that there are so many homeless dogs.
Any dog can bite. My experience is totally the opposite of yours....out of my 5 right now 1 is a stray mutt, 1 is a BYB dog, and 3 are from reputable breeders. Of all 5, the only one I sort of worry about biting someone (out of fear, not justified) is the GSD, the one I paid the most for, the one who has the best obedience and most training, the one who came from a very good breeder who is often recommended on here. Actually she has bitten my fiancé. Doesn't color my view of where I will get a dog in the future.
 

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Over here we have new laws which require all dogs/puppies/cats/kittens who are advertised for sale to be micro chipped and the number must be displayed in the add or it can not be run in a paper/poster etc
Not sure how this is going to go but anyone thinking about selling puppies now has to fork out the money to have them all microchipped before sale.....deterrent......guess we will see.
Registration of dogs is mandatory......big fines if you are caught with unregistered dogs. Dogs/cats which are not desexed are more than 3 times the cost to register......incentive to spey/neuter.
Guess we will see how it goes. Our local paper has gone from nearly a page of "for sale" puppies/kittens to about five per edition since this came in......don't know if that means people have stopped breeding BUT it is certainly harder for them to "sell" if they aren't willing to follow the new regulations.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Merceil

Well I guess I'm tired. I shouldn't have used the word mandatory.

I am not personally for mandatory S/N.

Since we are talking about rescues, how they operate is relevant to me. The others you mentioned, breeders etc... aren't in this context.

I also should not have used the word cram. The point is the same, however you approach training methods if the goal is to change someone.

ugavet2012. My experience has affected my choice but I don't care what others do. I've had re-homed dogs, dogs from animal shelters, a gift, and when I was younger even one from a pet store.

If I ever get another dog it will be from a breeder or possibly animal shelter.
I don't choose to have a rescue organization in my life forever with one of their dogs. Just my choice.

My dogs have always had good care but I'll decide what that care is and what my yard is like and where I house them and how high my fence should be and mostly how to train them.
 

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The point is the same, however you approach training methods if the goal is to change someone.
The goal isn't to "change" anyone. We aren't talking about people who are agonizing over choices in training methods; we're talking about people who don't even know there are choices. Some people have no earthly idea where to even begin teaching Rover not to jump on people at the door or how to Sit in public.

The questions I get are not along the lines of "what are the pros and cons of getting a Front via shoe targeting vs. throwing the treat between the handler's legs?" They're things like "how can I get my hyper dog to calm down when guests knock on the door?" and "how do you teach a basic Down to a puppy?"

And I'm not out there proselytizing. All I do is take my own dog out to a public place and work on stuff that I need him to do anyway. We don't approach anyone and we never initiate the conversation, because we don't have to. The general public is amazed by just seeing a dog take a straight-ahead bar jump at 16". We literally draw crowds and we aren't doing anything even remotely special.

That very basic level of knowledge and engagement -- of knowing how to train a dog and seeing that it can be fun, not a chore or a perpetual conflict of wills -- is how you keep dogs out of shelters. Dogs get dumped because they chew on things and pee indoors and don't have good outlets for their energy, and their owners don't know how to fix that or aren't willing to put the work in to do it. They get dumped because they haven't made the kind of connection with their owners that keeps them in the home. Teaching owners how to teach their dogs, and making it look fun so that they'll actually DO it, is an important aspect of reducing the shelter population.

None of the stuff I'm talking about, either in this post or my original one, is pie-in-the-sky wishful theorizing. These aren't hypothetical answers. They've been in practice for at least 40 years and they're why the annual kill rate in the U.S. has dropped from 70-75 million per year in the early '70s to a tenth of that number today.

Progress is steadily accelerating. We still have a long way to go, and the solutions to old problems create new problems that need new solutions. But as far as the original big problems go, we know what the answers are. Talk, educate, and push cultural change to increase respect for the value of dogs' lives.
 

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Breeding, buying and selling are only part of the problem.
It's the "commitment" or lack of that continues to grow the amount of pets dumped for one reason or another. Everyone loves that cute little puppy or kitten, then for what ever reason or excuse the now dog or cat is of no use or value to the owner simply dumps the poor critter.
So a big part has to be owner responsibility.
 

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Instead of turning the (should I breed my dog) threads into all the dogs dying in shelters and ultimately rescue threads, how about ideas to stem the tide of unwanted pets.

I don't know what the answer is.

My one attempt at a solution was to suggest local legislation to at least require some guidelines and liscenses to breed. Maybe a fee also.

That idea was roundly beat up on by almost everyone in the thread I suggested it in.

People apparently are anti any legislation at any level.

No breed legislation, no spay neuter laws, nothing.
O.k. then where are the other ideas.

Bitching about things and expecting folks to just stop breeding are unrealistic in a free society where people can do what they want as long as it's legal.
Many of us libertarian types believe perfect legislation would be the perfect solution, however perfect legislation doesn't exist... Its almost always the case that legislation ends up with unwanted side effects, and sometimes does more damage than good. Consider the CA laws forcing everyone to neuter... talk about a genetic choke point. If such a law were to pass in the states, all breeds would be decimated in short order, and eventually even the species itself would be destroyed. (google "founder's effect").

I'd be more inclined to support a law that said any dog bred must pass a CGC-like test or something like that... its not that hard to pass and will quickly weed out those who don't put any effort at all into breedings... then, have severe penalties for breaking the law and *enforce* that law. Selling some puppies for $300 a pop with the risk of getting a $10,000 fine isn't worth it even by those with "idiot grade" logic. Does that sound excessive? Maybe, maybe not. Down here the shrimp baiting season runs Sept - Nov. During this time you can stick 10 poles in shallow water and put shrimp bait at each one so you can throw a net over them and harvest shrimp. You must get a permit for $110, and can fill 1 (one) 48-quart cooler with shrimp per 24 hour period. If you are found in violation of this, the authorities seize any shrimp you have, go to your house and seize any shrimp there, seize the boat, and seize whatever vehicle was used to put the boat in the water... that is a much more severe penalty than $10k... so there *is* a precedent for the "severe penalty" model... and you know what? Rarely does anyone ever break that law. People will get hammered drunk while shrimping, will smoke pot while shrimping, but these same people will absolutely not violate the shrimp laws because of the risk/reward ratio of that particular crime.
 

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Severe penalty/rarely enforced has actually been shown conclusively to be ineffective in changing behavior, particularly when contrasted against mild penalty/frequently enforced. We pay a lot of attention to these studies in trying to reduce crime (it is, after all, a topic of considerable interest to politicians campaigning in big cities), and the research is absolutely clear on that particular point. Jail sentences of even just a few days are more effective than 1-2 years for the same offenses, IF the few days are always enforced and the 1-2 years are enforced at the current rate of conviction for those crimes, i.e., not very often. (Enforcing harsh penalties every time, fwiw, quickly loses public support and builds resentment in the community as overly draconian. Also it's not practical: we don't have the resources to handle it.)

I come down on the side of "legislation is not the answer" largely because I work in law enforcement and volunteer in rescue and, having seen the dysfunction from multiple angles, I am pretty well convinced that putting more laws on the books would be at best useless and at worst actively detrimental. You can't get a good law through the tangle of conflicting interests in the system, and even if you could, enforcement would be so minimal that it would hardly be worthwhile. Enforcing current laws against animal cruelty is, in my view, a more practical goal in that direction.

An opt-in system, something like the AKC "Breeder of Merit" stamp but kennel club agnostic (because ideally you'd want to capture the breeders of puggles and labradoodles and all the other dogs being produced and sold for $$$ that the AKC refuses to recognize), would IMO be a better way to go. Requiring breeding dogs to pass a CGC is a great start -- it's easy for a stable dog, only requires a few weeks of training (so shouldn't be too onerous for a breeder, even a one-time "we love our dog so much" pet owner/breeder), and is an appropriate universal test for all breed-standard temperaments.

Something like that would be great, because it would be a clear signal to consumers that the breeder is observing some basic minimal standards. Puppy buyers WANT that signal; that's why the "champion bloodlines" thing has such traction. I've talked about it before, but I've had so many friends who were dead set on buying labradoodles (which, yes, I KNOW I KNOW, but that's what they just HAD to have) and it is just about impossible to find even a half-decent BYB producing those dogs.

If you can find a labradoodle breeder with a CGC on the breeding pair, congratulations, you've just found one of the top 5% of labradoodle breeders in the world. And that is downright sad.
 

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Merciel The answer is a combination of education, shifting social norms, and financial assistance in the form of free/low-cost spay and neuter programs.
Have you found that the populations of dogs has decreased since the introduction of spay and neuter campaigns?
 

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Breeding, buying and selling are only part of the problem. It's the "commitment" or lack of that continues to grow the amount of pets dumped for one reason or another. Everyone loves that cute little puppy or kitten, then for what ever reason or excuse the now dog or cat is of no use or value to the owner simply dumps the poor critter.
So a big part has to be owner responsibility.
:thumbup: Personal responsibility. Novel thought.
 

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Have you found that the populations of dogs has decreased since the introduction of spay and neuter campaigns?
The total population doesn't change.

What changes is the excess population: the dogs and puppies that die in shelters. Previously we were just killing all those extra dogs by the tens of millions, year after year after year.

Now they aren't being born. So yes, spay/neuter campaigns have made a HUGE difference. The numbers tell that tale beyond dispute.
 
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