Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thoughts on dog ownership

While the animal rights people pound away on spay and neuter legislation they say will "reduce the population of unwanted puppies in shelters", there are a couple of things that need to be borne in mind...

1. Puppies are almost always cute and adoptable. In fact, in many areas of the country there are not enough puppies available for adoption to meet the demand. This has led to shelters importing puppies from other states, or even from foreign countries. Adoption will absorb almost all 'unwanted' puppies - if an effort is made to get them to the people who want them.

2. Most dogs are surrendered to animal shelters due to problems with the temperament of the dog, housebreaking problems, destructiveness, or aggressive type behavior. And, yes, this includes puppies adopted from shelters. Puppies, with any luck, grow into dogs and they may not be so cute and cuddly at 2 years old as they were at eight weeks. Additionally, owners usually create their own problems through neglect, lack of time and attention, and plain ignorance of what a dog needs to be a successful pet. Before deciding to get a dog or puppy, which usually entails a 10-15 year commitment of an owner's time, money and emotions, they should take the time to think about and ask themselves if they fully understand what dog ownership requires.  

This is an puppy distribution and owner education problem, not a population problem. What is needed is a positive effort to get puppies to those who want them, and to educate owners before they get a puppy. What is not needed is a punitive, heavy-handed bureaucracy put in place by ignorant, if well meaning, lawmakers.

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