Tuesday, 20 September 2011

dogs as commodities

I was speaking yesterday to another dog owner about the horrors of puppy farming. He seemed a little defensive, replying that his dog was a wonderful companion, with a great temperament, even though the dog had come from a pet shop. (For brevity's sake let's call his dog Ben.)

A surprising reaction at first, but on second thoughts I understood where he was coming from. The anti-dog-farming movement needs to get the message out that it's not only the puppies we are concerned about. I said to him, 'Yes, but Ben's mother is possibly suffering agonies as we speak. Ben is sitting here on his comfortable armchair while his mother perhaps lies cold and lonely in a concrete pen, thrown enough food each day to keep her alive, possibly ill but well enough to live until her next litter is delivered.'

I hope I made a difference to his thinking. I didn't realise until I went to the rally last Sunday that there is an issue with legal puppy farms, because of the lack of regulation to protect the 'livestock'. I had thought it was only the illegal puppy farms that were problematic.

In view of the problems here in Victoria, I thought it was timely to get an email from the new vet who is blogging at Fully Vetted (taking over from Dr Patty Khuly). She wrote about the fact that Pet Sellers in Michigan in the US may have to guarantee the health of animals they sell. In her discussion she quoted an article from dvm360
Pet owners in Michigan may soon have the opportunity to “return” sick or diseased animals to their place of purchase if proposed legislation passes.

Senate Bill 547, introduced Aug. 24 and immediately referred to the committee on regulatory reform, would apply only to dogs and cats sold from pet shops, breeders or other places where pets are sold for profit.

According to legislation, pet owners may return an animal for full price, exchange the animal for one of equal value, or be reimbursed for any veterinary expenses as long as they don’t exceed the original purchase price of the animal. If the animal dies, the owner is entitled to a replacement plus reimbursement of veterinary fees, as long as they don’t exceed the original purchase price, or a full refund, according to legislation.

If passed, the law would apply when a veterinarian states in writing that the animal displayed symptoms of a contagious or infectious disease 30 days from purchase and that the disease or illness existed at the time of sale or when a veterinarian states in writing that the dog or cat has died or is sick from a hereditary or congenital defect.

I have mixed feelings about this legislation. Dogs aren't commodities. But perhaps this kind of legislation might bring puppy farmers out from the shadows into the light.

On the news the other night a puppy farmer was interviewed and her attitude to the dogs in her 'care' was horrifying. She does appear for a moment in this Sunrise News clip. (I can't see any way to avoid the advertisement before the clip - sorry.)


Jed and Abby in MerryLand said...

This is a very important subject and we thank you for bringing attention to it. We already have a 'return' law in Maryland, but it's petty useless. The pet mills have discovered most people love their pets, and don't want to return their beloved but sick puppy mill dog for a refund, knowing their dog will be killed if it is returned. What is needed is a law allowing pet owners to sue for full compensation for all vet bills incurred in treating a sick puppy mill dog. With no statute of limitations, so that puppies with genetic defects that don't show up for a year or more would still be covered by the full compensation law.

Jed & Abby

parlance said...

Jed and Abby, I hope every country can eventually come up with laws that put cruel puppy mills out of business. Only by making it unprofitable can we beat people who have no ethics and only live to make money.