Saturday, January 31, 2009

When was HSUS elected to represent Illinois District 11?

Rep. John Fritchey
Representative John Fritchey (D, 11) recently introduced House Bill 198, Licensing - Dog Breeder (aka Chloe's Bill), an overzealous, animal rightist anti-breeder piece of legislation. Every breeder in the state who owns 3 or more intact female dogs would be classified as a commercial entity, subjected to licensing, impossible kennel regulations, invasive inspections inside their homes, and excessive record keeping and reporting. Completing the assault on dog breeders is the proposed bill's requirement for fingerprinting and criminal background checks. A constituent emailed the following to Rep. Fritchey: "Under your proposed legislation I would be subject to a criminal background check and fingerprinting, an untrained investigator would have access to my home and could at any time inspect my "facilities" and demand that I build a kennel that meets their idea of what is appropriate as well as exceeding USDA standards." She continues, "I certainly think that you need to go back and look at what you are proposing recognizing that there are honest, decent people who you will hurt if this is passed." Unbelievably, her email was answered by Jordan Matyas, the HSUS Illinois State Director! When did HSUS take charge of answering correspondence for legislators? Was HSUS elected to represent Illinois constituents in the 11th District? Has Matyas been hired as a staff member or consultant? In his reply Matyas does not even give direct answers, rather repeats the standard HSUS rhetoric about the need to regulate bad breeders then placates the writer with a pretended interest in hearing her concerns.The audacity of Rep. Fritchey deferring correspondence to HSUS is nothing short of breath-taking. The gauntlet has been thrown down and dog breeding in the state of Illinois is being criminalized. All breeders, hobbyists and sportsmen need to begin a concerted effort to oppose this legislation. HB 198 has been referred to the Rules Committee. Talking points and contact information to oppose HB 198 are now posted on the SAOVA website http://www.saova. org/Illinois. html We will provide further updates as information becomes available.SAOVA commends Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe (R, 20) and Rep. JoAnn D. Osmond (R, 61) for removing themselves as cosponsors.

Please share this message widely.

Susan WolfSportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance - http://saova. org

Issue lobbying and working to identify and elect supportive legislators

Friday, January 30, 2009

It's Not the Books That Are Dog-Eared...

Program at Library Spurs Young Readers

By Charity Corkey

Thursday, January 29, 2009 (Washington Post)

Eight-year-old Gus stretched out on the floor of the Lovettsville library, and his large eyes seemed to be closely following the adventures of the boy detective Encyclopedia Brown. He sat for more than an hour as children read him stories. Gus is a Saint Bernard, so it's hard to know what he took away from the experience. But for the children who participated in the Saturday afternoon session, the benefits were tangible. The children are enrolled in a program called Paws to Read, which was introduced at the Purcellville library last summer and has since moved to the Lovettsville branch. The program aims to promote the self-confidence of young readers by having them practice the skill in front of a friendly, nonjudgmental dog, said Beth Weisman, media officer for the Loudoun County library system. Paws to Read is associated with Paws4People, a nationwide organization that trains dogs for volunteer therapy services. Two or three trained therapy dogs, each accompanied by a handler, attend a typical reading session. Children must register for the free events, then wait their turn for some quiet, face-to-face time in the reading room with a furry companion. They read passages ranging from a few pages to a chapter. "I liked reading him the pool part" of a book about a beaver, 5-year-old Norah Doherty of Ashburn said of her time with Gus. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to wait an hour for the chance to read a story to Annie, the other therapy dog at the library that day. Norah, a preschooler and an early reader, was one of about 20 children who registered for the session. Her mother, Wendy Doherty, said she hopes Paws to Read will encourage her daughter to continue improving her reading. Suzanne Rupp of Lovettsville enrolled her 7-year-old son, Tommy, for the same reason. It seems to be working, she said, because Tommy has begun reading to his dogs at home. All the dogs in the program have undergone lengthy training. Suzanne Zimmerman of Lovettsville, who is Annie's handler and a certified educational assistant with the Paws4People Foundation, said Annie began training for the reading sessions when she was a year old. She started with basic dog obedience classes and progressed into more advanced lessons in socializing. "Everywhere I go, I would take her with me," Zimmerman said. "We would walk at shopping malls, so she could learn the noises that come with different environments." Zimmerman got her share of training, too, as she learned to predict how her dog would behave in different situations. In all, she and Annie went through about six months of preparation before they were allowed to work with children at the library and at Lovettsville Elementary School, where Zimmerman also volunteers. The hard work has paid off, Zimmerman said. "The only problem with the program is that kids don't want to stop reading," she said.

For information on Loudoun County's Paws to Read program, contact the Lovettsville Library at 540-822-5824.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

HSUS Maps Agenda For President

Asks President And Congress To Federally Regulate
Dog Hobbyists, Name Animal Rights Legal Advocates

American Sporting Dog Alliance

This article is archived at:

WASHINGTON – The Humane Society of the United States is asking President Barack Obama and Congress to require everyone who raises dogs and cats to be regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, documents show.

HSUS also is asking for the creation of an animal protection division within the U.S. Department of Justice that is “similar to the Civil Rights Division, to ensure strong enforcement of federal animal protection laws,” thus granting animals rights similar to humans. HSUS also calls for a new position of animal protection liaison in the White House.

A fourth provision calls for a ban on hunting on new public lands.

Those are only three of the 100 recommendations that HSUS has sent to Obama in what is called a “change agenda for animals.” The American Sporting Dog Alliance has obtained access to this document, which has been sent to animal protection organizations asking for their support.

HSUS is a radical animal rights group. Despite its name, it does not operate a single animal shelter, but exists only as a political organization. The long-range goal of HSUS is to gradually eliminate all animal ownership and use, including their use as companion and food animals, and to ban hunting.

The 100 goals sent to Obama reflect many issues, but this report will concentrate on the issues that most directly affect dog owners, with added emphasis on the sporting breeds.

However, we urge our readers to read the full HSUS document, which includes a crackdown on alleged farm pollution, tough animal and poultry husbandry and slaughter rules, and many environmental and wildlife management measure. Here is a link the actual document: Please read this document.

In a letter to a New York horse owners’ association that was made available to the American Sporting Dog Alliance, HSUS President Wayne Pacelle asks for support of the 100-point agenda.

“With the changing of the guard at the White House comes the prospect of new possibilities for moving our goals forward, and to mark this latest transfer of power, the HSUS and the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) are advancing a 100-point ‘Change Agenda for Animals,’” Pacelle wrote. “ Never before has the animal protection movement so carefully articulated a vast array of critical animal protection reforms in the domains of so many federal agencies—Agriculture, Interior, Commerce, Defense, Health and Human Services, State, and others.”

Dog Breeding Regulation

A top priority of HSUS for several years has been to require federal regulation of everyone who raises dogs and cats. Under current law, only commercial breeders who sell puppies and kittens on a wholesale basis are federally regulated. Hobby breeders who sell puppies or kittens directly to the public are not required to be federally licensed or inspected.

HSUS wants everyone who raises and sells puppies to be licensed and inspected by the USDA, and also wants to see much tougher regulations and standards for animal care.

About four years ago, the HSUS-sanctioned Pet Animal Welfare Act (PAWS) was defeated in Congress by a narrow margin. PAWS would have imposed federal licensing and inspection on all hobby breeders.

Last year, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, who has very close personal and political ties to President Obama, introduced a bill he called PAWS 2, which echoed many of the provisions of its predecessor. When PAWS 2 stalled, Sen. Durbin attempted to attach it as an amendment to the 2008 Farm Bill, but failed to get enough support. Durbin came back with a similar bill in late 2008, dubbed “PUPS” or “Baby’s Bill,” which is formally called the Puppy Uniform Protection Act, but Congress adjourned without taking action.

These bills all originated from HSUS, and all of them clearly were aimed at hobby breeders.

The 100-point agenda says HSUS wants to “require all dog and cat breeders to comply with AWA (federal Animal Welfare Act) requirements, including those who sell directly to the public….”

It is PAWS all over again.

Now, however, HSUS has a much stronger hand in Washington. In the November election, HSUS strongly endorsed President Obama and had a 95-percent success rate in re-electing the congressional candidates it endorsed. A questionnaire obtained by the American Sporting Dog Alliance showed that the President aggressively sought HSUS endorsement.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance continues to believe that President Obama and many members of Congress will listen to the concerns of dog owners, but only if we stand up in large numbers to defend ourselves and our rights, and take an active role in the political process.

If we do not stand up and be counted in large numbers, we expect HSUS will get its way on most of the measures in the 100-point agenda. Dog owners will have no one to blame but themselves for being relegated to the legal status of second-class citizens. The Bill of Rights and personal freedom always are the first victims of HSUS policy.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance will be working hard to defeat these HSUS legislative proposals, but we need your help if we are to succeed in turning back these challenges. We urge all dog owners to join and support the organization of their choice, and also to support farmers, hunters and other allies in the fight against the HSUS version of a “brave new world.”

The Rest Of The Story

Here are some other parts of the 100-point agenda that pertain to dog owners in general, and also owners of the sporting breeds in particular. HSUS is calling on President Obama and Congress to:

Create an animal protection division in the Justice Department to act on behalf of animals by aggressive prosecution of people who violate laws about animals. In essence, this gives animals legal status, and the federal government will act as their advocate. HSUS likened it to the Civil Rights Division, which advocates for aggressive protection of human rights. Animals thus would be given the same legal status as people in the Department of Justice.

Create an animal protection liaison in the White House, which would mean that HSUS will have direct access to President Obama and his top advisors to advocate for animal rights groups on policy, regulatory and legislative issues.

Immediately strengthen enforcement of USDA-regulated commercial kennels and other animal owners covered by the Animal Welfare Act. (AWA). Increase USDA budget and staffing for this purpose, and make fines and penalties more severe. Include all vertebrate species under the AWA.

Completely implement the ban on importing dogs from other countries that HSUS succeeded in attaching to the 2008 Farm Bill.

Focus on non-lethal methods to control wildlife populations, which means lessening the use of hunting as a management tool.

Mandate the use of microchips for companion animals, and all other animals covered by the AWA.

Do not open any new public land or national wildlife refuges to hunting.

Transfer all wildlife programs away from the USDA, and put them under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior.

Ban hunting on shooting preserves, which HSUS labels “canned hunts” and calls “cruel.” Also ban so-called Internet hunting.

Make it a crime to show anything that HSUS calls animal cruelty in films, on television, in books and magazine, or on the Internet. Require the Department of Justice to collect and analyze data on animal cruelty cases and create a separate crime database for this information.

Require the U.S. Census Bureau and the Center for Disease Control to include questions about the animals people own when surveying the public, in order “to assess impacts on human health and well-being, develop more effective approaches to community animal control, and ensure appropriate disaster preparation.”

Allow foreign animal rights groups to have an official advisory role in the United States.

Ban the mail shipment of any kind of birds or animals through the U.S. Postal Service, including for “agriculture and sport.” Baby chicks were specifically mentioned, and this also would apply to gamebird chicks, adults and eggs that are used by sporting dog trainers and in field trials.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We also welcome people who work with other breeds, as legislative issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by your donations in order to maintain strict independence.

Please visit us on the web at Our email is


The American Sporting Dog Alliance

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Purina ProPlan Re-introduces Original Formulation...

This past November we sent an email informing you of our plan to reintroduce the original Pro Plan® Chicken & Rice Formula, which was initially discontinued with the introduction of Pro Plan Shredded Blend formulas. As many of you know, the original formula was developed to meet the needs of dogs in all life stages, even though it was classified as an “Adult” formula. As we bring back to market the original Chicken & Rice Formula, it will be classified as an “All Life Stages” formula consistent with Pro Plan Performance Formula. Rest assured that no product formulation changes were made to the original Chicken & Rice Formula. Chicken is still the number one ingredient with 26% protein and 16% fat. We are about to begin shipping original 37.5 lb. Chicken & Rice Formula for All Life Stages to retail customers and pet food distributors. We expect this item to be located on shelf adjacent to Pro Plan Performance. A package image has been included at the end of this letter to assist you in identifying Pro Plan Chicken & Rice for All Life Stages at retail. Following is a list of retailers that have confirmed their plans to carry this formula to date: Select Farm and Feed stores and most distributors beginning in February Pet Supplies Plus beginning in AprilWe encourage you to speak with a store manager if you find your pet specialty retailer does not offer this item in store. We will continue to work with our retail partners to expand availability as quickly as possible.The reintroduced Chicken & Rice Formula for All Life Stages (UPC 38100–13676) will have a Pro Club weight circle point value of 12 points per pound. All Pro Plan Shredded Blend formulas will continue to accrue at the 11 points per pound level.Once again, thank you for your understanding and support of Purina Pro Plan. You are extremely important to us and we value your opinions. If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact our experts at 1–800–PRO–PLAN.

Sincerely, Purina Pro Club

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Breakstone RunnerUp at Region 2 Amateur

Red setter Ch Breakstone

Congratulations to Breakstone (Sharpton x Chantilly), owned and handled by Roger Boser of Seven Valleys PA, who took the Runner-up spot at the Region 2 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship held at Indiantown Gap Bird Dog Club in Petersburg PA. These grounds are tough venue for any birddog... a winner here must show strength and stamina to hang on to those Applachian hills... Breakstone took the silver with 4 nice finds and back; the gold was earned by Hifalutin, a pointer female handled by Dr. Roger Duerksen.
Breakstone is a product of the Purest Challenge
Join us in our pursuit of the Purest Challenge in Sportsdom

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's About Work...

I am a member of a very informative listserv called the Canine Genetics list. Its' purpose (as stated on the introduction) is "an attempt to acquaint breeders of domesticated Canidae (dogs) with the dangers of inbreeding and the overuse of popular sires. Both lead to the indiscriminate loss of genetic diversity and increase the frequency of genetic problems in the population. These abuses have not been restricted to dogs, but have also occurred in horses, cattle and many other domestic animals, largely as a consequence of outdated beliefs dating back to the early days of genetics. Even their wild cousins have been the unfortunate victims of genetic malpractice by zoos. Fortunately, zoo biologists have recognized the dangers to these and many other species, and species servival plans have been developed for many."

The list is sponsored by Yahoo Groups and can be found at the following link:

Today, one of the postings discussing working qualities in dogs listed some of the known "working functions" of dogs, so I thought it would be interesting to look at some of the varied ways in which dogs are used for work...

* Tracking/trailing Search & Rescue dog

* Airscent Search & Rescue dog

* Urban Search & Rescue dog

* Water search dog (drowning victims)

* Water rescue dog (retrieve swimmers in distress)

* Avalanche dog

* Guide dog for the blind

* Signal dog for the deaf

* Mobility assistance dog

* Service dog for the disabled

* Police service dog

* Police tracking/trailing dog

* Dual purpose police dog

* Evidence dog

* Narcotics detection dog

* Explosives detection dog

* Guard dog

* Watch dog

* Accelerant (Arson) detection dog

* Military working dog (various roles)

* Cadaver dog / Human remains detection dog

* Termite detection dog

* Vine mealybug detection dog (grape vineyards)

* Mine detection dog

* Natural gas detection dog

* Lost pet search dog

* Sled dog

* Sighthound

* Wildlife detection dog

* Cancer detection dog

* Seizure alert dog

* Livestock herding dog

* Livestock guardian dog

* Multipurpose farm dog

* Agricultural produce detection dog

* Terrier

* Upland hunting dog - pointer

* Upland hunting dog - spaniel

* Hunting retriever


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


The Jim Fike Amateur Handler's Award

The National Red Setter Field Trial Club is pleased to announce the introduction of the Jim Fike Amateur Handler’s Award, in honor of the accomplishments of Jim Fike and his contributions to the Purest Challenge. It will be awarded yearly, at the NRSFTC Fall Championships, to the amateur handler who has amassed the highest number of points while competing in FDSB sanctioned trials. These trials will include both horseback and walking stakes, open and amateur stakes. The award will run from July 1 to June 30 of the subsequent calendar year.

For details on the points system for the Jim Fike Handler’s Award, visit the weblink at

Please note: because the award is being announced part way through the eligible time frame, placements for any trial from July 1 2008 will be accepted retroactively.

Please send all placements, complete with a description of the stake, to Jim Baker at A complete update of the standings will be available online and in the Whip.

Jim Fike
A man for the Purest Challenge

By Jim Baker

The 1970’s were a low water mark for the Irish Setter in Colorado. The resurgence of the hunting Irish, begun in the 1950’s by Ned Legrand, was yet to reach the mountain states and sadly the Irish simply were not competitive bird dogs.

When Jim Fike came on the scene he introduced Colorado to the Purest Challenge and recruited converts to the cause. Johnny Red first gained attention with his fire and drive but Becky Broomsedge brought trialers into the fold. Both were lost too soon but others would follow. Dogs that were often the only Irish in the stake and were always a cut above the rest.

Becky Broomsedge

Jim campaigned his dogs through out Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma and Texas. He won his share and always presented the hunting Irish in a positive way. Traveling with him was instructive, often productive and occasionally entertaining. He was a fierce competitor but always a sportsman. A brief recounting of the Region 17 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship may best demonstrate this combination of attributes.

The venue was Burton Kansas and the two of us made the drive from Colorado. 58 dogs answered the call and Kay Cee Jo ran early in the stake. She was at the top of her game, carded 5 well spaced and stylish finds. Each with flawless manners. It was her time to shine and she was clearly the dog to beat. Jim elected to stay in camp for the following braces and while there he was joined by Rock Solid, a nice Pointer. The dog was running at the time and Jim realized that he was lost. He mounted up and returned the dog to his handler.

Kay Cee Jo was named RU CH and yes, you guessed it, Rock Solid was crowned CH. While Jim hated to loose I feel certain he never regretted his actions.

Jim’s dogs of note include Becky Broomsedge, CH Sage of Johnny Red, CH Hi Country Lass, Futurity Winner Ready Cash and CH\RU CH Kay Cee Jo. Also worthy of note are Firefly, a true blue hen, and her son CH Darth Vader O’Reily, winner of the Region 9 Amateur Shooting Dog Championship. Dennis Hidalgo bred O’Reily and Mike Geving owned and handled him. Jim bred both Firefly and Reily’s sire Hi Country Aspen. These dogs alone would be a fine legacy but Jim’s goes much deeper. Perhaps the dogs that carry his bloodlines speak even louder. They can found from Minnesota to Texas still fulfilling the Challenge.

Darth Rader O'Reily
A Product of the Purest Challenge

The second and usually unspoken piece of the Challenge must be to find people to carry on. Either by design or chance Jim has fulfilled this as well. He established the Nebraska Amateur Shooting Dog Classic, was an active member of the Colorado Irish Setter Club, and was active in the starting of the ISCA National Championships. As well he produced quality dogs others were able to enjoy, hunt and successfully compete. It is especially appropriate that a man who gave so much to the Purest Challenge should be honored by having his namesake attached to this award.

Note: The National Red Setter Field Trial Club wishes to express its heartfelt appreciation to Jim Baker for his efforts in establishing this award and volunteering to maintain responsibilities for record keeping. Like many things that pertain to small breed clubs such as ours, it is individuals such as Jim who take the time to ensure that these important events in the club are brought to fruition. Thank you Jim Baker!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Vet Speaks Out...

Veterinarian speaks out on PETA & Westminister

(Permission to crosspost given)

From Libbye Miller DVM:

"Adorable mixed breeds" get cancer, epilepsy, allergies, heart disease, andorthopedic problems just like purebreds. I see it every day in my veterinary practice but mixed breed dogs aren't tracked like the purebreds so they have a reputation as "healthier" that is actually undeserved in many cases."It is so sad that a lot of folks, including young veterinarians these days,buy into the "hybrid vigor" baloney. The vet schools have been infiltrated by the Animal Rights Extremists, who are teaching them this junk science in order to push their agenda.All animals have a certain amount of genetic load, which is to say there is absolutely no animal without some genetic problem of some sort of another.Know anyone who wears glasses? Has allergies? Thyroid problems? Weak knees? Flat feet? A skin condition? Arthritis? A gap between their front teeth? These are all genetic imperfections. No human is genetically "clean." Neither is any individual of any species on earth. So this idea that dogs should not be bred because they might have a genetic problem, and that breeders are somehow "evil" for breeding them, is ridiculous. Every single individual of every single species has at least a few genetic conditions. To use PeTA's logic, all breeding of all kinds (including having human babies) should halt immediately. And to be honest, Ingrid Newkirk (the woman who founded PeTA) does believe exactly that. She thinks that humans should become extinct, along with dogs, cats, etc. This ridiculous scenario is precisely what she would like to see happen. So folks, if that is what you want...if you agree with Ingrid Newkirk's whacky views, send your hard earned money to PeTA. They will help to ensure you are not able to own a dog or cat or hamster or any other pet in the future. They will see to it that you can't eat meat or fish or eggs or any type of animal-based nutrition. They will work to shut down places like SeaWorld, the zoos, etc. so you cannot observe the many wonderful animals on the Earth. Eventually, once they accomplish these things, they may turn their efforts to making it illegal for humans to procreate. If you don't agree with their extremist views, wise up and start supporting those who truly do love, care for and enjoy interaction with other species here on our little blue planet.The fanciers of the breeds, those you see exhibiting their dogs at Westminster and other dog shows, work very hard to eliminate serious genetic conditions. They screen their breeding stock with every available test. They research pedigrees before breeding into other lines, to check for similarclearances in those animals. They contribute money to research organizations to further the work being done to track down genetic problems. They contribute blood, cell samples, etc. from their own animals to help with DNA and genome studies. They have made great progress so far, and they continue to work hard at it. Are there unethical breeders? Certainly, there are. Just as in any group of humans, you will find the good and the bad. United States VP Elect JoeBiden, for example, managed to find a not so good one when he got his new German Shepherd puppy. I don't know who did his research for him, but they obviously didn't do their homework if they were looking for a responsible breeder. Joe has the right to get his dog from whomever he wishes, but if he was trying to set an example of purchasing from a responsible hobby breeder he went off the track this time. That's too bad, but it was his choice. Unfortunately, breeders like that may be a lot easier to find because of their high volume and high profile. If you are looking for a nice family petf rom a breeder who will be there for you forever, you need to do due diligence. You won't get that from a pet store. You won't get that from the guy selling dogs out of his pickup truck in the WalMart parking lot. You won't get that support from a high-volume breeder, either. Yes, it takes a little more time and effort to find someone who really cares and does all the work to breed the healthiest, happiest puppies possible and then stands behind those puppies. This is a living being that will be part of your family, hopefully, for many years. Isn't it worth a bit of effort to find a breeder who will be there for you and that puppy forever? And guess what? Shows like Westminster are a very valuable resource for finding breeders who do care and who use the best possible practices, as well as for learning more about the various breeds. Bravo to USA Network for broadcasting the Westminster Kennel Club show all these years. May they enjoy continued success through the ongoing inclusion of such programs. I will be eagerly watching this year's show!"

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Honorary Members...

Last year the National Red Setter Field Trial Club honored two very special women by awarding them honorary life memberships in the NRSFTC. Linda Rollinson and Teresa Bruns were honored at our spring Championship in Berea, KY.

Since we were on the topic, here's a bit of interesting history of our Honorary membership taken from old issues of the Flushing Whip...

In 1976 the Board of Directors passed a resolution directing that Honorary Members "to further the meaning of these Life Memberships by awarding a plaque, which would be a tangible reminder of the club's appreciation of the job that these people have done to further the cause of the red setters." Each plaque was enscribed with "In recognition for contributions to the Red Setter Challenge."

The first Honorary Lifetime members were awarded in the spring of 1956: Mr. Alan Campbell, Mr. Henry L. Betten, Mr. Oliver H. Neimeyer, Mr. John Horace Lytle, Mrs. Edwin M. Berol, Mr. Henry P. Davis, and Mr. Elias C. Vail.

In 1976, the following additonal Honorary members had been added to the roster:

Rusty Baynard, Ned LeGrande, Dave Hassinger, Joyce Schollenberger, Herm David, Marge Moffat, Ed Schnettler, Joe Cannon, Judge Robert Coleman.

Betty Durham, William Cooper, Lois Crum, Mrs. J.B. Owens, and Mrs. R.C. Baynard are current life members of the NRSFTC, along with Mrs. Rollinson and Mrs. Bruns.

The National Red Setter Field Trial Club thanks these individuals for their contributions to the Purest Challenge!

The Dog Owner's Essential Handbook

What Can You Do If Spay/Neuter
Mandate Comes To Your Town?

Also Breed-Specific Laws, Pet Limits, Tethering Bans

This report is archived at:

It can be a terrifying experience for dog owners when animal rights legislation surfaces in the municipality where they live, and it’s a pretty sure bet that someday soon it will happen to you.

You will feel powerless. You will be very scared. You will feel like a victim of violence, and that is precisely what you are. The law is a loaded weapon, and you know it can be pointed at you and the animals you love. You also know that animal rights extremists want to point that gun at you and your dogs, and pull the trigger.

No dog owner can feel safe from these legal attacks. Within the past year, animal rights ordinances have arisen in communities as diverse as affluent Santa Barbara, rural Greene County, TN, small towns and farm country in Ohio, and inner city Chicago. It is fair to say that proposed ordinances that will harm you and your dogs will come to your community in the very near future. There is no escaping it.

This report is meant to be a clear and concise guide to defending yourself. Protecting your rights won’t be easy, but it can be done. I speak as a dog owner, professional dog trainer, and as an experienced activist working to protect dog owners’ rights.

However, I am speaking mostly from the background of 20 years as a reporter and editor on daily newspapers. During that time, I watched hundreds of local political issues rise and fall. I learned what works, and what doesn’t. I have seen how small special interest groups can impose their will on an entire community, and I have seen what people can do to stop them. I also have learned the kinds of political mistakes people have made that have allowed special interest groups, such as animal rights groups, to win. I have seen what it takes to beat them.

The first thing you must understand fully is that you will have two strikes against you by the time you even learn about impending animal rights legislation.

Animal rights groups are pros. They know exactly what they are doing. They have the backing of powerful, wealthy, skilled and experienced national organizations, such as the radical Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has nothing to do with local humane societies and exists only as a political weapon to push for the elimination of animal ownership in America. These groups are very well organized, have money to burn and have been working behind the scenes for several years in your community.

By the time you realize that something is happening, the animal rights groups will be close to the goal line. They will have the ordinance drafted, with guidance from HSUS. They will have formed a “citizen’s committee” that has had the ear of local officials for months, if not years. They will have controlled relevant data that officials need to make an informed decision, and carefully hidden any inconvenient facts. They also will have made alliances with local news reporters, and the press is likely to be against you.

While there may be only 50 or fewer animal rights activists involved in most communities, they are truly dedicated to their beliefs. They write letters. They show up at meetings. They contact elected officials. They have money set aside. They have contacts with many other groups in your state and nearby communities, and can turn out 100 people at a meeting masquerading as locals to create the illusion of public support.

In contrast, you and other dog owners are alone. Only a few of you know about what’s happening, and many of you will be afraid to step forward. You are not organized. You have no effective means of communication. You do not have access to facts and statistics that tell the truth. You don’t know how to reach elected officials, have been iced out of the phony “citizen’s group,” and you don’t have contacts in the news media.

If that isn’t enough, you will be portrayed as pure evil. You will be lied about, slandered and accused of things you would never even dream of doing. While you will be innocent of all of the accusations, you will find yourself on the defensive. The most difficult thing for a person to do is to prove her or his innocence, even if the allegations against them are completely absurd. The accuser always has the upper hand.

It sounds hopeless, doesn’t it?

But it’s not.

You have one ally that the animal rights groups will never have. The truth is on your side. Your job is to find the truth and communicate it effectively to local officials.

Six Absolute Rules

Here are six absolute rules that I have learned from 20 years of journalism, and an equal amount of time as an activist on animal and constitutional issues:

You have to do it yourself. No one else will do it for you. No national or statewide organization can win your fight, including our organization. We can help you. We can give you information, statistics and research findings. We can help you organize and network with other local dog owners. We can tell you about the experiences of other communities. We can give you many bullets to take to the war. But only you can do it. Our job is to stand behind you and support your efforts.

Local officials care only about one group of people: Local residents. They care about the people they represent and serve, and they couldn’t care less about outsiders. They care about the people who can actually vote for or against them. In local issues, only local people count. You must stand up and be counted. You need to bring together other local dog owners who also are willing to stand up and be counted.

To bring people together, you must completely set aside your personal insecurities and biases about race, ethnic heritage and economic status. Every dog owner in your community is in this together. If you don’t hang together, you will hang separately. Never forget that a key part of the animal rights strategy is to divide dog owners from each other, so that all can be conquered. There is no room for elitism of any kind when an animal rights ordinance is introduced.

You need friends – lots of friends. That means that people who actually live in your community must show support, even if the issue doesn’t directly affect them. You need people who have only one or two dogs, but respect your right to raise dogs. You need people who hate dogs, but respect your decision to love them. You need local veterinarians and the owners of local feed and pet stores. You need local businesses that rely on people who travel with pets. You need people who love freedom, and know that an attack on your freedom paves the way for an attack on their own.

Some of the best friends you can have are local and statewide organizations for sportsmen and firearms owners, even if you don’t hunt and won’t own a gun. These groups will have dozens if not hundreds of local members, and they already have set up excellent communications channels for their members and supporters. They will be on your side. Sportsmen understand the real agenda of animal rights groups, and gun owners understand the link between animal rights and gun control. In rural areas, alliances with farm organizations also are very important.

And you should always take the high road. There is no substitute for honesty and integrity. Always speak the truth. Never resort to dirty tricks. If you stay on the ethical high ground, you will quickly set yourselves apart from the animal rights groups, which rely on lies, distortions, secrecy and innuendos. Many political battles are won by the side that displays the most credibility, and credibility is based on honesty and integrity.

If you keep those six absolute rules firmly in mind, you are well on your way to protecting your rights as dog owners in your community. In every community in America where animal rights groups have won a political battle, dog owners have broken one or more of those rules.

What To Do?

Given those rules, what should you do?

The first step is to reach out to other local dog owners, both to inform them and also to ask for their assistance. Here’s how:

Call everyone you know who owns a dog, used to own a dog, or who hunts, fishes or owns firearms. Specifically ask them to help, ask them what they are willing to do, and write it down. Don’t be shy. Get on the phone and burn leather.

Search the Yellow Pages and Internet for local kennels, breeders and pet services. Contact them. Local kennel clubs and field trial clubs often provide good contact information for officers, members, breeders and judges. Write, email or phone club secretaries and ask them for help.

When you get a few good people committed, organize a local dog owners association. It doesn’t have to be formal or highly organized. Simply put together a basic structure, and invite people to join. Membership should be free. If you occasionally need a little money, “passing the hat” works fine. Organize your group quickly, without delay. A local organization will be heard more easily than individual people going off in different directions. You don’t have to incorporate or become a non-profit. This is still America, and citizens have a right to form and participate in political groups. Just do it, and do it now.

Create a website for your association with one of the free services, such as Yahoo Geocities or Bravenet. You don’t have to know anything about building websites. They have “paint by numbers” templates. On the website, describe the organization, write about what is happening, and add a blog or message board for breaking news. Get a free email address from Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail or other services. Use it.

Publicize your website by posting short articles on Internet message boards that cover your area, dogs, hunting and guns. Ask people who read these message boards to pass the word along to their friends who live in or near your community, and to crosspost your announcement on other boards.

Get the word out in the community. Create simple posters with contact information (copy paper will do) for supportive businesses to put in their windows. Don’t be shy about asking for help or asking people to contact your organization. Hang posters in stores and veterinarians’ offices. Hang them in every part of town, and in every neighborhood. Post them on laundromat and grocery store bulletin boards, in union halls and fraternal organizations, and in churches and libraries. If you can get some help, pass out a few hundred in the local Wal-Mart parking lot or at community events.

Pass the hat (or dig into your own wallet) and run inexpensive classified ads in your local newspaper or swap sheet. Ads in the pets or announcements sections are appropriate. A fifty-dollar-bill can reach thousands of people this way. Also, see if your community has an online classifieds board, and use it. Many are free.

Support and work with a national and/or statewide dog owners’ rights organization. Most importantly, ask them to help you. National organizations can be invaluable sources of advice and counsel, know what has and has not worked in other communities, have access to important documents, studies and statistics that can help you, and have a large number of contacts in every state. They can help you get the word out, gain support and locate local dog owners. Consider these organizations as valuable resources to support you. Good organizations exist for the sole purpose of helping you.

Look specifically for local veterinarians and attorneys, especially if they own or raise dogs. Ask veterinarians to write letters opposing the proposed ordinance (many will refuse, but probably most will not). Ask attorneys to offer their services without charge to review the legality of the ordinance, and put their comments in writing. If any of you are members of the local Chamber of Commerce, formally ask for their support (remember that pet owners pour a lot of money into local businesses. It is an economic issue, too.). Tourism organizations also may be appropriate, if your community hosts visiting hunters, or dog show or field trial participants. For tourists, it is important to have the image of being a “pet-friendly” community.

An important tool is the simple fact that a large majority of residents of your community will be on your side. Your task is to prove it. Informal petitions are vital, because it will give you a long list of community residents who oppose an ordinance. These should be presented to elected officials at an opportune time. The petitions do not have to meet the legal requirements for a petition for an election. They simply will show elected officials that a large number of local (repeat, local) people are on your side. People should sign, and then print out their names and addresses.

And your most important weapon is the truth. The animal rights groups will lie through their teeth to paint a false picture of a community crisis. You must respond with the truth, and have the facts and figures to back it up. Finding and assembling accurate information is a vital part of your arsenal. At this point, you will be ready to take your case to the local news media.

If you follow those steps, you will develop a core group of activists and a list of hundreds if not thousands of local people who are on your side. Local residents who support you will include dog owners, their neighbors, veterinarians, attorneys, business people and community leaders.

What You’ll Face

The animal rights groups will have laid the foundation for a destructive ordinance long before you ever know about it. They won’t play fair. They won’t tell the truth.

Here is what to do:

· Most likely, your community’s animal rights activists will assemble around an existing organization, and may have even taken over the leadership of that organization. This could include local humane societies, rescue groups, and pet disaster response groups. Many of them also will have ties to national groups, such as HSUS, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and radical vegan vegetarian groups. You must learn the identities of local animal rights activists, research their ties to national groups, and then learn about the agenda of those groups. Don’t avoid these people. Meet them. Introduce yourself. Flat out ask them their beliefs and affiliations with animal rights groups. Many of them are proud of these affiliations. The profile you develop will be important to present to elected officials at the right time. Rescue and sheltering organizations also have to learn a hard lesson. Dog owners are their major source of their support, and it is unwise to bite the hand that feeds you.

· Most likely, local animal rights activists will have formed some sort of committee or task force. People who raise dogs will not be allowed to participate. Probably they have been working for years to manufacture a crisis in your community, have met with elected and/or appointed municipal officials several times, have painted themselves as a concerned citizens group to conceal their real agenda, have drafted an ordinance in cooperation with HSUS as a silent partner, and have found at least one sympathetic elected official to support and introduce the ordinance. Your job will be to prove that this group does not reflect the sentiments of the vast majority of residents of your community. You also will be able to prove that this group (and the participation of municipal officials) violates the spirit if not the letter of state open meetings laws or “sunshine laws.” It is an end-run around the concept of public accountability and transparency.

· You will need to be able to counter every one of their allegations with the truth. If they say your community is full of “puppy mills,” for example, you will need to learn exactly how many (if any) commercial kennels really exist. You will need to know how many (if any) have ever been cited for violating any kind of kennel or animal cruelty law. All violations are matters of public record, and the information can be readily obtained. If they claim there is a problem with “pet overpopulation” in your community, you will need to obtain complete animal control statistics for several years, which also are public record. The simple facts will reduce the animal rights allegations to shambles.

· You also need to counter their outrageous allegations with a thorough knowledge of existing animal laws in your state, county and local municipality. For example, if a lot of loose dogs are picked up in certain neighborhoods, they may claim that the solution is a spay/neuter mandate. In reality, your community probably already has a leash law that is not being enforced. You must clearly point out a solution that fits the problem.

· You also must be able to counter the animal rights groups’ propaganda. You need to have access to documentation that similar ordinances in other communities always have increased shelter admissions and euthanasia rates, always have led to a decrease in license law compliance and revenues to operate animal control programs, and always have led to a decline in rabies vaccinations because veterinarians are required to turn over information about each dog to local authorities. In addition, you must be able to refute the animal rights groups’ claims that pet sterilization is completely safe. The bulk of the most recent research has shown increases in serious and sometimes fatal health conditions caused by spaying or neutering, especially at a young age, and the national association for veterinary reproductive specialists has come out firmly against spay/neuter mandates for this reason. In addition, these mandates violate the doctor/patient relationship, and also the veterinary code of ethics in many states.

· The essence of all animal rights legislation is making innocent and law-abiding animal owners pay for the sins of the tiny minority of people who flaunt the law. That is because their goal is not to solve a problem. Their goal is to make it difficult for you to continue to raise or own dogs. You must answer with the facts, showing how existing laws and appropriate enforcement of those laws actually will solve whatever problems your community may be experiencing.

· A very common animal rights tactic is to take an isolated bad situation, and then try to convince elected officials that it is the norm and all dog owners need to be intensively regulated. For example, if someone in your community has been arrested for horrible violations of animal cruelty laws, the animal rights groups will claim that this is justification for more and stricter laws for all dog owners. The truth is that the arrest and conviction prove that existing laws are working very well. This is a point you must make repeatedly, until the truth sinks in.

· They will not fight fair. Animal rights groups tend to focus on several communities in a state at the same time. If you start seeing a lot of news stories about alleged abuses of dogs in your state, you will know that this is a coordinated effort to “spin” reality that was probably orchestrated by HSUS. They are trying to paint an illusory picture to cause people to think dogs are in crisis, and new laws are needed. The truth once again is that these sensationalized stories prove that existing laws are working. Arrests are made, convictions are obtained, and the animals have been rescued. The laws work. The incidents are not a justification for laws that harm law-abiding and conscientious people.

· They will lie. For example, they will claim that a large number of dogs entering the local animal shelter are “purebreds,” and that this justifies laws restricting the ability to raise purebred dogs. But they lie by not telling you the full story. The full story is that most actual purebreds enter a shelter because their owners are seeking euthanasia services for dogs that are very ill, seriously injured or in advanced old age. They also won’t tell you that the few purebred dogs that are picked up escaped confinement and were immediately reclaimed by their owners. They won’t tell you that the few purebreds that are surrendered to the shelter are immediately taken by rescue groups, because of the high demand for these dogs. And they won’t tell you that they call a dog purebred if it looks “more or less” like a recognized breed. Many of these are labeled “pit bulls,” which is not even a recognized breed. See for yourself. Simply walk through your local animal shelter a few times. I can guarantee you that you will see few if any dogs that appear to be purebreds.

· They also will talk about shelter statistics as proof of the need for restrictions on purebred dog breeding. They are lying. Walk through your local shelter and you will find few (if any) puppies. There actually is a serious shortage of puppies in animal shelters, because these are the most easily adopted dogs. Sheltering organizations must expend considerable effort trying to talk people into adopting older dogs because of the scarcity of puppies.

· Another way that they will lie is to try to hide the successes of animal control and sheltering programs, in order to “spin” a false picture of a crisis. They won’t tell you that national shelter admissions have fallen almost 60% over the past 15 years, while euthanasia rates have been cut by 75-percent. They won’t tell you that 70-percent of the dogs in America already are spayed or neutered voluntarily by their owners. They won’t tell you that most shelters in the northeast, upper Midwest and on the West Coast already are close to “no-kill” for healthy and adoptable dogs. You need to learn the truth and make the truth the centerpiece of your rebuttals. To counter these claims, make use of your local and statewide open records laws and “sunshine laws” to get the full facts. Sometimes all you have to do is walk into your local animal control office and ask for them. Other times, these reports are filed with a state agency, and you can obtain them there. We can help you find this documentation.

· They will say awful things about you. They will tar you by creating imaginary links between dog owners and dog fighters. They will link you to the drug culture and to people who abuse animals. They will accuse serious and conscientious dog breeders of being “puppy mills” or “backyard breeders.” Someone who raises animals because he or she loves them will be accused of being a “hoarder.” People who sell puppies will be accused of being greedy, or exploiting animals for profit. People who buy a purebred puppy will be accused of causing the death of a shelter dog. These claims are both absurd and outrageous. We can help you learn how to answer them with the truth.

· Never forget the real agenda of the animal rights groups, which is to eventually eliminate all animal ownership. They are trying to make people into the guardians of their animals, rather than their owners. This makes animals into wards of the state, rather than private property. This reduces you to proving to the state that you are a fit guardian, and gives the state ultimate control of your animals. Stand up for American values, including the right to honorably seek profit. Don’t buy into the socialist belief that profit equals greed or that you are responsible to “society” for problems you didn’t create, and don’t be afraid to say that many of the leaders of major animal rights groups enjoy their six-figure incomes and multi-million-dollar facilities. They are as phony as a pile of three-dollar bills.

· And spend time studying the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and your state’s constitution and bill of rights. Almost all animal rights legislation infringes on human rights by denying due process of the law, equal protection under the law, and protections against illegal searches and seizures. Quite simply, almost all animal rights legislation is anti-American and reflects Marxist principles of state authority. You need to say this loudly and clearly, because it is the truth. In addition, many state constitutions define a right to own and enjoy private property, and many states have laws that clearly say that animals are private property. Learn the law and educate local elected officials.

Divide and Conquer

A favorite tactic of animal rights activists is to divide dog owners so that we won’t stand up and fight for each other’s rights. Unfortunately, many dog owners play right into their hands through a misguided sense of elitism.

Animal rights groups try to make certain categories of dog owners into “untouchables,” so that other dog owners will be afraid to defend them. They also will attempt to exploit racial, ethnic, cultural and economic differences and insecurities, which keeps us apart.

Make no mistake about it, animal rights groups are utterly unscrupulous. Racism is one of their major tools, especially in urban areas. They exploit fears of crime by talking about dog fighters, links to the drug culture and “gangbangers” who own “pitbulls.” What they are really doing is exploiting racial fears and prejudices, sometimes by fanning the flames of naked hatred.

The divide and conquer strategy was a major part of what happened last year in Dallas, which passed a tough spay/neuter mandate, and it is happening now in Chicago, which is considering one.

When animal rights groups say “gangbanger,” they actually mean “Black” and “Hispanic.” They say “dogfighting,” but they mean “Black” and “Hispanic.” They say “pitbulls.” They mean “Black” and “Hispanic.” The animal rights activists are using racist implications to manipulate and exploit fear of high crime urban areas, thus dividing dog owners by race and neighborhood. They reduce anyone who is not like them to “those people.”

When it comes to regulating the breeding of dogs, the animal rights groups usually link “puppy mills” to Amish people, thus encouraging and exploiting ethnic differences. Conservative Christians who live according to the old ways are no longer politically correct, and their religious beliefs forbid them from fighting back or filing a defamation of character suit. Some of the inaccurate and bigoted comments I have heard from animal rights supporters about Amish people sound exactly like what the Ku Klux Klan says about racial minorities. It is hate speech at its worst.

With tethering issues or restrictions on hunting with hounds, they paint a picture of “redneck” white people who fit every possible stereotype of hillbilly degenerates. “Crazy old ladies” are fair game, too, under the label of “hoarder.”

All are reduced to “those people.” They are objectified and dehumanized, which to the animal rights fanatic is a justification to destroy them and their way of life.

They try to divide the world between “people like us” and “people like them.” They know that most people won’t support people that they can’t identify with.

It’s also a dirty trick. It causes too many of us to take our eyes off the ball, which is how the regulations or laws will affect us and everybody else. The animal rights groups say they are targeting dogfighting, puppy mills or hoarders, but read the fine print. It always will come down to targeting you.

A major goal of dividing us is to make some of us show a willingness to “compromise.” By “compromise,” I mean they are encouraging us to sell out certain kinds of dog owners who fail the political correctness test.

There is no such thing as compromise with animal rights groups, because everything they stand for requires us to make all of the sacrifices, in order to give them what they want. They have nothing to exchange.

A true compromise is when both sides give up something in order to gain more important things. Animal rights groups have nothing to trade except the gun pointed at your head. They can shoot you in the heart, shoot you in the leg or simply shoot off one of your toes.

Some compromise!

It is like an armed robber who demands your wallet, takes the cash and offers you a “compromise” of letting you keep your credit cards.

Playing on our fears also means we are not likely to seek support from all racial, ethnic and economic groups. This was a huge reason why Dallas dog owners lost their fight to stop a spay/neuter mandate.

Although a majority of Dallas residents are Black or Hispanic, their assistance was not sought in defeating this ordinance. To put it bluntly, most of the people who fought against the ordinance were white and of well above average means.

They simply were afraid to go into poor neighborhoods, or seek support from Black and Hispanic people.

A majority of the members of Dallas City Council are Black or Hispanic, and represent districts that are predominantly Black or Hispanic.

To put it even more bluntly, the dog owners they saw at City Council meetings were upper middle class or wealthy white people. Most of them raised show dogs, which were portrayed by the animal rights activists as toys for the rich. In contrast, animal rights groups succeeded in portraying themselves as nice people who love animals, when exactly the opposite is true.

Thus, dog owners were immediately branded as selfish elitists.

That kind of label is suicide in big city politics, and Chicago dog owners are close to falling into this trap today.

The irony is that the label is not true. The truth is that dog owners, including people who raise, show and compete with dogs, extend across all racial, ethnic, cultural and economic lines. We really are all in it together. If we unite, we can defeat the animal rights extremists. If we fail to unite, we will lose.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance recognizes that dog owners have failed to bridge ethnic and economic differences. Thus, we are taking immediate and forceful steps to reach out to and support many other groups of dog owners, and have recently added inner city, Black and Hispanic dog ownership advocates to our leadership team.

We have made a formal alliance with a newly forming group called the National Association of Canine Experts (NICE), which is working to break down many of the barriers that separate dog owners. NICE founder Ami Moore now is a member of our advisory board, and I am a member of the NICE board.

Ms. Moore is a professional dog trainer from inner city Chicago who has superb credentials as an obedience and behavioral trainer. She is articulate, exceptionally intelligent and insightful, and passionately dedicated to preserving the rights of dog owners. Moreover, she is streetwise and as a Black person fully understands how subliminal racism is being used by animal rights groups to divide dog owners, as it has been used to divide Black people from their community in many other ways.

Dog owners everywhere also owe Ms. Moore a debt of gratitude. Animal rights groups went after her personally because she uses electric collars in dog training, as do most professional and amateur trainers everywhere. The animal rights groups took her to court, alleging that the use of electric collars is animal cruelty. She didn’t back down, fought back through the legal system and won. All charges against her were dismissed and the use of electric collars as a humane training tool was fully exonerated in Illinois.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also has dedicated funds to advertise in Chicago newspapers to gain support from urban dog owners to fight against the proposed ordinance.

An important part of the strategy that dog owners must learn to use is to be able to state clearly and categorically that we are the mainstream of America.

A reported 37-percent of American households own at least one dog. National polls from mainstream publications, such as Parade Magazine and MSN/NBC news, show that the vast majority of the American people oppose spay/neuter mandates. Opposition was at 91-percent in the recent Parade poll, for example.

Animal rights groups are the real minority, representing less than five percent of any community, and probably less than one percent in most places. But they are organized and vocal, and they turn out in droves for meetings before elected officials. This has given them the appearance of being a large segment of the community, when that is purely an illusion.

That’s why local dog owners must organized and get a large turnout of their supporters at municipal meetings.

We are the mainstream. Animal rights groups are the radical fringe.

Elected officials need to know this.

So do news reporters.

Dealing With The News Media

Sooner or later (and probably sooner), every local dog owners’ organization will have to deal with the news media. In many cases, it will not be a pleasant experience.

Animal rights groups have a well-developed strategy of identifying and cultivating friendly contacts in the news media long before an ordinance arises. All news reporters are under intense and continual pressure on their jobs to come up with a steady stream of news stories, and also to come up with stories that will have high sensationalistic appeal to attract readers.

Animal rights groups have learned how to exploit this.

News reporters who are sympathetic to the animal rights groups know that they will be given leads to many stories every year, as long as they don’t work too hard to be fair and objective.

In addition, stories about controversial animal issues tend to cause a strong emotional response with readers, which assures them prominent placement in newspapers or on TV news shows.

Both are important to a reporter’s job security.

The animal rights groups are pros at plucking emotional heartstrings by their portrayals of animal abuse or euthanasia at the local animal shelter, and then in using those horrible examples to further their own agenda against every dog owner.

The finger always gets pointed at us, and news reports often are hatchet jobs on dog owners. Fair and balanced news coverage takes a backseat to sensationalism and emotional response.

Our problem is that good news is inherently boring. A story about someone who takes good care of her or his dogs usually is as dull as lukewarm milk. It lacks drama. It lacks impact.

But the news story about the one dog owner in a thousand who is abusive has plenty of drama, impact and reader appeal.

Dog owners’ first recourse should be to appeal to the sense of journalistic professionalism in some reporters and editors. A worthy news story must be accurate, fair and balanced between opposing points of view. Any story that fails this test is poor journalism.

I strongly believe that dog owners always should take the high road, by advocating what is right and fair. I don’t think we should use the animal rights group strategy of trying to manipulate the news through “tame” or personally biased reporters.

Instead, we should formally object to poor reporting to the publisher, station manager, editors and the parent company of local news outlets.

We also should state our objections in pointed letters to the editor, and try to convince editors to give us space for an “op ed” column or an equal time rebuttal to poor news coverage.

In dealing with reporters, it is essential for us to be armed with the facts. We need to have the correct information, and state our case clearly and effectively. We also have to be prepared to answer some downright nasty questions, such as: “How can you breed dogs when many dogs are euthanized by animal control.”

We have truthful and honest answers to those kinds of questions, and dog owners have to be prepared for them. We can help.

The “news value” of a story depends on drama and conflict, which creates high reader response.

Thus, we must learn to use drama and conflict in an effective and ethical manner to answer the allegations of animal rights groups.

We must learn to set aside “good manners” and “call a spade a spade.” That means confronting the lies and distortions of the animal rights groups with the facts, and sometimes at public meetings we have to be prepared to speak bluntly. It means objecting to the secrecy of the so-called task force meeting, talking publicly about the real agenda of the animal rights groups and their assault on American values, and defending freedom in a clear voice.

Dog owners definitely face a tough fight and a stacked deck when animal rights ordinances are proposed on a local level.

But we believe we have shown how these bad ordinances can be defeated by truth, honesty and integrity.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We also welcome people who work with other breeds, as legislative issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by your donations in order to maintain strict independence.

Please visit us on the web at Our email is


The American Sporting Dog Alliance

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fastest Way To Change A Species? Start Eating It...

By Elsa Youngsteadt
(ScienceNOW Daily News12 January 2009)

From the dwindling Atlantic cod to the increasingly rare American ginseng plant, species are racing to adjust to relentless human exploitation. According to a new analysis, the rate at which hunted and harvested species are changing their size and breeding schedules is unmatched in natural systems. Ecologists say the results point to errors in the way we manage fisheries and other harvested populations.
Researchers have noted rapid changes in heavily exploited fish and other species since the 1970s. To name one famous example, adult Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) have decreased 20% in size over the past 30 years, and females now reproduce a year earlier than they used to. Although such hunting-induced alterations seem rapid, evolutionary biologist Chris Darimont of the University of Victoria in Canada, and colleagues wanted to determine whether they outpace changes in nonharvested organisms.

Atlantic cod

The team compiled 34 scientific papers that measured shifts over time in exploited species' breeding schedules, overall size, or size of specific body parts. The studies included 29 species--mostly fish but also a few invertebrates, mammals, and plants. The team compared these studies with two databases: one for species such as Galápagos finches that had changed through natural selection and one for nonhunted species exposed to other human influences such as pollution or introduction to new habitats. All three categories included some rapid modifications, so "comparing the databases was kind of a showdown," Darimont says.
Hunted organisms won hands down, the team reports online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Exploited species transformed on average three times faster than those in natural systems and 50% faster than species subject to other human interference. Moreover, almost all the exploited species--from bighorn sheep to the Himalayan snow lotus-- were shrinking, breeding earlier, or both.

Big Horn Sheep

Himalayan Snow Lotus

The human custom of taking a large percentage of the prey population and targeting the largest individuals--as with cod fishing--favors small individuals that breed before reaching trophy size, says Darimont. "[It's a] perfect recipe for rapid trait change." And it’s also bad news for the food supply: Smaller sizes and altered breeding schedules could decrease species' abundance, hinder their ability to recover from exploitation, and ripple through ecosystems by altering interactions with predators and competitors. "When you start monkeying around with links in food webs," Darimont warns, "there could be devastating results."
Steve Palumbi, a marine biologist at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, California, notes that some changes in hunted organisms are due to acclimation without underlying genetic change. Unlike evolution, acclimation can reverse within an organism's lifetime, so it will be important to clarify which processes are at work in exploited species. Nevertheless, "I support the basic conclusion," Palumbi says, emphasizing that ecosystems will not function normally in the face of such rapid change.
The results are the first to put hunting and harvesting in context with other pressures that drive species changes, says Jeffrey Hutchings, an evolutionary ecologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. "This is something we need to be ... taking steps to mitigate," he says. Lowering quotas and creating refuges free of exploitation, for instance, might preserve organisms' normal size and life cycle.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Red Setter Ch. Buddwing
A product of the Purest Challenge

The makers of Pedigree Dogs Exposed, the BBC documentary film that led to the BBC withdrawing from televising Crufts Dog Show in the UK are furiouswith PETA for jumping on the film's bandwagon.Earlier this week, PETA called for the US networks to stop televisingWestminster Dog Show, citing the BBC film as evidence of unacceptable deformity and disease in pedigree dogs. Pedigree Dogs Exposed was the result of two years' careful research. The film highlighted serious health and welfare concerns in pedigree dogs that many experts agree need to be addressed urgently. However, the filmmakers have no connection to PETA and are ideologically opposed to PETA's aims. "I am horrified that PETA is using the film to further its own, warped agenda," says Jemima Harrison, of Passionate Productions, which made the film for the BBC. "Our film is about animal welfare, not animal rights. PETA's animal welfare record is appalling. It kills 97 per cent of the dogs that come to its shelters and admits its ultimate aim is to rid the world ofwhat it calls the "domestic enslavement" of dogs as either pets or working dogs. "In stark contrast, and the reason we made the film, is that we believe pedigree dogs are of tremendous value to society and that something needs tobe done to arrest the damage caused by decades of inbreeding and selection for 'beauty'. The film is a passionate call for urgent reform to save thembefore it is too late. To do that, there needs to be urgent reform of breeding practices and dog shows. "PETA is a bunch of crackpots who do not care about anything but publicityand making money. They have not bothered to contact us - and, indeed, if they did we would make it very clear we do not want their support. It devalues and marginalizes a film that raises a serious issue that needs tobe addressed, and quickly."

Well said Passionate Productions!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Demise of the Irish Red & White Setter

The AKC has approved the entry of the Irish Red and White Setter into its registry. On December 31, 2008 the AKC issues the following release:
The American Kennel Club® is pleased to welcome the Irish Red and White Setter, the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Norwegian Buhund as the 159th, 160th, and the 161st AKC® registered breeds. The Irish Red and White Setter will join the Sporting Group while both the Pyrenean Shepherd and the Norwegian Buhund will join the Herding Group. They will be eligible for full AKC registration and competition in their respective groups at conformation shows held on and after January 1, 2009.

For the record, I do not personally believe that the Irish red & white setter is a different breed from the Irish setter. They both originated in the same country, from similar lineages, and have virtually identical temperments and behavior. The only significant difference is that the red and whites have more white than the bench Irish. Big deal. But, if a breed club wants to take some red and white setters and call them a different breed, what the hell, go for it. The real sad part of this story is the fact that whatever hunting ability the red and white might have (and there are some nice red and white gun dogs out there) will shortly be gone, unless some very enthusiastic and determined individual steps up to the plate, as Ned LeGrande and his associates did for the Irish setter some 60 years ago. There have been some attempts in this country to improve working qualities of the breed. In fact, it is thought by some that IRWS breeders allegedly bred red setters into their stock as part of their attempts at breed improvement. Too bad those attempts have not continued. The breed clubs have chosen another, unfortunately misguided direction. Entry into the AKC is the kiss of death for a working breed.

Not convinced? Take a look at the breed standard accepted by the AKC for the Irish Red & White Setter. It begins by stating:

General Appearance: The Irish Red & White Setter is bred primarily for the field. The standard as set out hereunder must be interpreted chiefly from this point of view and all Judges at Bench Shows must be encouraged to judge the exhibits chiefly from the working standpoint. The appearance is strong and powerful, well balanced and proportioned without lumber; athletic rather than racy with an aristocratic, keen and intelligent attitude.

From this point on the remaining portions of the standard discuss conformation... shape of the head, topline, coat, colors, etc... the usually litany of conformation garbage that is so typical of an AKC breed standard. In other word, in the ENTIRE BREED STANDARD for a SPORTING BREED, the word "field" is used once, in the first sentence, and the word "working" is used once, and only in reference to what a "bench" judge should be looking for when judging a "working" dog (as if most bench judges have even the slightest clue as to what a working setter is supposed to do). That isn't very encouraging for a breed that is supposed to be a working bird dog.

The Irish Red and White Setter Association (the parent breed club for the AKC) notes on its website:

The objectives of this club shall be:
(a) to educate the public on the value of the Irish Red and White Setter.
(b) to encourage and promote quality in the breeding of pure-bred Irish Red and White Setters and to do all possible to bring their natural qualities to perfection.
(c) to encourage the organization of independent local Irish Red and White Setter Specialty clubs in those localities where there are sufficient fanciers of the breed to meet the requirements of the American Kennel Club.
(d) to urge members and breeders to accept the standard of the breed as approved by the Irish Red and White Setter Association and the American Kennel Club as the only standard of excellence by which Irish Red and White Setters shall be judged.
(e) to do all in its power to protect and advance the interests of the breed and to encourage sportsmanlike competition at dog shows, field trails, hunt tests, obedience trails and other events.
(f) to conduct sanctioned matches and specialty shows, field trails, hunt tests and other events under the Rules and Regulations of the American Kennel Club.;

In other words, don't hold your breath waiting for the breed club to step up to the challenge. They have bought into the AKC company line, "lock, stock, and barrel." (no pun intended) The breed club has also posted a list of "events" on its website, conducted over the past 10 or so years... in the results posted on the website over this span of time, the club sponsored 1(one) "walking field trial" for which it awared four placements. All remaining space is devoted to "specialties" and other bench shows, with a few hunt tests scattered throughout.

Is there anyone in this country who owns and hunts with an Irish Red and White who is concerned about this chain of events? Where are you? Are you going to allow your breed club and registry to take you down the same path as the Irish setter? Believe me, you're well on your way. Where are the performance requirements in your standard for a bird dog? Where is your national field trial? Where is your performance-based competition to prove your dogs and select for the best bird dogs? Or is "Best In Show" your answer? Do you think that stacking your dog on a bench and trotting him around in front of a couple of city slicker judges who have never hunted a day in their life will help you discriminate traits for breeding a better bird dog? If you believe such a load of nonsense, you need to go back to school and take a class in introductory genetics. There are some individuals out there who are working with this breed in the field... check them out... these are the folks who may be able to save the breed from the AKC... unfortunately, the list is short...

The Irish Red and White needs a Ned LeGrande. Someone to step up to the plate and demand that a dog called a setter actually perform as a setter. Someone with guts and determination to ride out the storm of illogic that pervades the AKC when it comes to working dogs. Someone interested in the breed, not the self-servng interests of the bench show cult. Someone who competes to improve the working abiliy of the breed, not the self-inflating ego of the dog shows. Is there someone out there with that attitude? Or, is the Irish Red and White another lost cause, another "sporting" breed whose only sport is trotting around a show ring, oblivious to its genetic heritage.