October 3, 2006
TOOLS FOR THE ENDANGERED DOG OWNER
The animal rights movement as those who would take our animals from our care, and nurture prefer to be known, is the enemy of all owners/breeders, and practitioners of animal husbandry. They support, and encourage the passage of breed specific dog ordinances that started with the “pit bull”, and have expanded to name upwards of seventy-five recognized breeds, plus any mixed breed that contains as an element of it’s make-up any of those breeds. They support, and expound upon mandatory spay/neuter of all privately owned dogs, and cats, as though they have a personal proprietary interest in the animals that are rightfully owned by others. They push for mandatory licensing of pet animal husbandry practitioners, better known as breeders. Their impetus is to use our legislative bodies, at every level to remove our animals from us, and to annihilate tens of thousands of years of the human/ animal bond. They are trained to use techniques that make them appear to be experts on all aspects of animal ownership, and laws. I have chosen to call this movement the animal takers. It is in our own best interest to learn to recognize their strategies, so that they will not manipulate us. Animal taking zealots endeavor to deceive people into believing breed myths. The following chapter deals with animal takers myths of the absolute as pertains to the “pit bull”.
Chapter 1.) MYTHS OF THE ABSOLUTE
Absolute: All pit bulls are dangerous, unpredictable killers.
Hmmm, wouldn’t that make them predictable? Not one of the numerous registries that operate in any nation registers a breed of dog as “Pit Bull”. The term “pit bull”, used to mean any dog whose owner used it for pit fighting. It was a functional term that has been distorted, and used now to define actual breeds of dogs. Under the guise of banning “pit bulls”, upwards of twenty-five actual breeds of dogs have been named in bans, prohibitions, or restrictive ownership ordinances. Dogs are as individual as are we human beings. No two dogs within a given breed are exactly the same, just as no two human beings within any given race are exactly the same. Similarities to each other are either physical breed characteristics, or learned behaviors. It is not only erroneous to characterize all dogs of a given breed as being exactly alike it is exceedingly foolish.
Absolute: All pit bull breeders/owners are dog fighters.
This is not only a false accusation it is libelous. The American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Bull Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier owners have a very high percentage rate of conformation show entries, obedience trial entries, and are engaged with their dogs in sanctioned sport competitions such as fly ball, agility, weight pull, schutzhund, tracking, when compared to other breeds of dogs owners. Check with registry statistics. We do not deny that dog fighting exists. It is not an openly conducted activity. In truth dog fighting has increased exponentially since the Humane Society of the United States set its sights on the once legal, and sanctioned sport, that was conducted under strict rules. HSUS fought for legislation to make dog fighting illegal. They succeeded, and dog fighting is bigger than it ever was as a legal, and sanctioned activity. The preceding statements are not meant to condone dog fighting, but to give a historical perspective. The vast majority of dog owners whose dogs are targeted in breed specific ordinances are law abiding citizens, and are responsible for, caring, and nurturing of their dogs.
Absolute: All pit bulls are bred to possess supernatural traits.
That “pit bulls” possess locking jaws is the most common mythical misconception. No canine has the ability to lock, or unlock its jaw. There are three head types in dogs. Not one of which has a lock. There is the brachy-cephalic, it is the pushed in face with the protruding under jaw like the Pug dog in the movie Milo and Otis. It has the least bite strength of all head types. The mesocephalic is the most common type head in dogs. The Dalmatian is a mesocephalic type of dog breed. The length of muzzle approximates the length of top skull. It is the strongest configuration. The third head type is the dolicho-cephalic. It is the long narrow head with a long muzzle. The Collie is a dolichocephalic type breed. These breeds do not depend upon strength of jaw, but upon their teeth that are used for slashing. Most of the breeds that are named in breed specific legislation fall under the mesocephalic head type, but not all, there are several of the brachy-cephalic breeds, and even a few dolichocephalic breeds. This should be indicative to any thinking person that the umbrella term, “pit bull”, is a convenient blind for city councils, and county boards to use to remove all domestic dogs from ownership, in a piecemeal way.
The not stoppable, appear out of nowhere, disappear, attack without warning, etc., myths are the stuff of horror movies. These stories confer supernatural powers on domestic dog breeds, but have no basis in reality. Newspaper articles are reported in such a manner as to evoke fear in the reader, and to reinforce the urban myth. They offer no proofs, only rhetoric. As dog owners our responses to these reports must be reality based, and we must openly question any reports of the supernatural kind. All dogs are corporeal. No dog is capable of appearing, or of disappearing. All dogs are stoppable. All attacks are triggered. The people, who are involved, may not know what triggered the attack, or they may know, and choose not to divulge what they know to the media, and to the police.
Absolute: All “pit bull” breeders are geniuses of genetic engineering
If we believe the myths that surround the “pit bull”, then we must believe that their breeders possess an innate ability to manipulate their dog’s genes to reproduce without fail a monster of mythical proportions. These breeders can do what the greatest geneticists in the world cannot; they can make a dog that conforms unerringly to a prescribed, and uniform mold, each and every time. Not even automobile manufactures can make identical cars when using all standard parts.
Absolute: All “pit bull” breeders are imbeciles of genetic engineering
In a direct contradiction to the myth above, the detractors describe the physical ailments, and crippling genetic defects that are purportedly rampant in the “pit bull”, hip/shoulder dysplasia, myocardia, cataracts one would believe that their breeders are incapable of producing a sound physical specimen of dog. If we believe this myth, then breed specific legislation is a waste of time, and money to implement, and enforce, because the dogs are well on their way to extinction. Genetic defects are reported in purebred dogs because their breeders are the ones who spend the money, and care enough about their dogs to test them. Breeders strive to produce healthier dogs through eliminating dogs that are defective from their breeding programs. To use the facts that purebred dogs have defects in order to sully the reputations of breeders is an exploitation of the breeders concern for producing healthy animals.
Absolute: All BSL proponents are pit bull experts, but can’t define them
Ask the most vociferous “pit bull” hater to define the term. You will quickly discover that a “pit bull” is any dog which animal control deems as such. There is no set definition. There are at least twenty-five actual breeds, plus uncounted mixed breed dogs that are now labeled as “pit bulls”, and the list is growing. The takers, and various legislative bodies have wrongfully cited, or misused breed standards as a means of identifying dog breeds. Breed identification is not the purpose of a breed standard. A breed standard is a written device that is used by dog show judges to determine, or measure the standard quality of the conformation of each pure-bred, registered dog of any given breed in the show ring, at a sanctioned dog show. The judge is not guessing what breed is being judged. Dog show judges are tested on their knowledge of the breed standard, and it’s application prior to being licensed to use that breed standard in a sanctioned show. A judge is tested, and licensed separately for each breed that he, or she is allowed to judge. Breed standards are copyrighted documents. American Kennel Club parent breed clubs are owners of their breed’s standard copyright. Other breed standard copyrights are property of the breed registry. Any misuse of dog breed standards is a violation of intellectual property rights of the copyright owner.
Absolute: Only titled, health tested show dogs should be allowed to breed.
This removes a whole dimension of working dogs, hunting dogs, service dogs that will never see the inside of a show-ring. The whole idea of show dogs is elitist on one hand, and arbitrary on the other hand. It is elitist to believe that a dog that has earned conformation titles is superior to a dog that works on a cattle ranch, and earns it’s way, and provides help to it’s owner. The rancher will put far more value on his dog’s working ability than upon it’s conforming to a show standard of quality. The rancher is far better equipped to know whether his dog should be used in a breeding program than any arbitrary government body. The idea that government imposes mandates upon who may, or may not practice animal husbandry, and mandate an impractical standard for the animals to be used within that program, exceeds the scope of government, and is a taking of ownership, and use rights.
Health testing is a tool that is at the disposal of any animal owner/ breeder who wishes, or needs to use it. The test results show the tested animal’s health for the day that the tests were done. They do not project guarantees into the future health of the animal, nor do clear test results guarantee that any offspring of the tested animal will test clear. Testing is an option, it should never be mandated.
Absolute: It is wrong for a breeder to profit from breeding, and selling dogs.
A dog breeder is supposed to spend thousands of dollars, and not see a return that will be reinvested back into the dogs. According to the detractors of dog breeders, in order to be responsible, a breeder must have endlessly deep pockets, and always spend, never, ever breaking even, let alone operate a real business based upon doing what one loves, and is proficient in. How would this absolute myth apply to any other business? Tell it to ATT, FORD, YAHOO, MICROSOFT, TYSON, H$U$, PeTA. In any business the measure of success is to see a financial return that is based upon the quality, desirability, and usability of said product.
Absolute: All dog/cat/pet breeders must be licensed, and obtain breeding permits
Animal husbandry is an ancient, noble, and respected human occupation. Its beginnings are lost in the remote past. A license is a temporary, revocable permit that is issued by government that allows the holder to have something, or to do something that is illegal to have, or to do without the license. This is simply another ploy to remove our animal ownership, and use rights. Our animals do not belong to the government. We do not live under a socialist, or a communist government that holds ownership over people, and their property.
Absolute: All dogs must be spayed/neutered
No government in the United States of America has the power to mandate invasive surgical procedures be performed upon privately owned animals. Animals belong to their owners. Animal’s reproductive organs likewise belong to the owners. Governments do not have the power to take away constitutional, or traditional property rights. It is solely up to we the people to stand firmly, and to refuse to capitulate to the taking of our ownership, use, and property rights in our animals. This is a legislated extinction of domestic pets.
Chapter 2.) RECOGNIZE ANIMAL TAKER TACTICS
Personal attacks take the place of evidence
Once you have made logical inroads into the taker’s ideology, you will be a target for personal attacks, especially if you have a website, or you are an officer, or a director in any dog/cat club, or organization. You may be accused of being a “shill”. Your appearance, or choice of apparel may be critiqued. There is nothing too despicable for these takers to stoop to when trying to discredit us.
Goading us into anger
The takers are skilled in haranguing, if we show the least irritation that is where they will concentrate their attack. If we watch carefully, and learn their techniques, we can avoid being goaded into anger.
Changing the subject
The takers will ask personal questions to try to take the topic where they want it to go. We must be alert, and stay on track. Our information is far more important than their ideology. Our reasons for joining a blog, or a public forum is to put useful, educational information into the hands of the readers, and to expose the animal takers for the ideological zealots who are bent upon removing our pets from us.
Attempt to divide the defenders
The takers will be working together to reinforce their position. They will try to detract from the valid points that the defenders make. One of their frequently used tactics is to use personal attacks that are aimed at the defenders, or at their dogs. It is very important for our side to reinforce our position without using the rude, personal attacks that are often employed by the takers.
Promoting “breed/breeder” hatred
Breeder is not a four-letter word. The takers will make it appear to be in the same context as child molester, rapist, murderer, or any number of heinous criminal activities. A breeder is a practitioner of the ancient, and noble art/science of animal husbandry. It is a legal business, and an admirable calling. Without breeders we would have no dog breeds, nor would we have any of our domestic animal species. That is why breeders are so hated, and vilified by the takers. Their goal is a complete severance of the human/animal bond. Our dogs/animals are the product of our applied art/science. In the minds of the takers our animals are not worthy of life, as they are the product of our, their breeder’s, vision, and effort.
Accusing the defenders of doing whatever is true of themselves
As chairwoman of Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States, I was accused of being a shill for the animal industry. My accuser refused to divulge any information as to who, or what entity or group that she/he was fronting for. It was obvious that this person was promoting an agenda of BSL, breeder licensing, and mandatory spay/neuter. It was a very slick and polished presentation.
Hide behind anonymity
Forums or blogs allow screen names to be used so as to hide the identity of the person who is commenting. The supporters of restrictive, and oppressive animal legislation tend not to use their real identity. I always use my own name, and I sign with all of my contact information. I want everyone who reads what I write to know that I have the courage of my convictions. I want everyone to know how to contact me should they want, or need any more information.
Claim to be experts, yet show no credentials
Having been involved in debates with the takers on public forums I always put forth all of my credentials. Any person who is promoting an agenda but refuses to divulge anything about them self on a professional level is not believable. These are the people that are filling blogs, and public forums with the takers agenda. They offer no credentials only a very polished presentation. The presentation hardly varies by a word or two from forum, to forum carried by a scripted anonymous army. Always ask who, or what organization that they represent. Ask why they hide behind the shield of anonymity if they are truly such advocates.
Attempt to discredit those defenders who do have credentials
Any defender who is accessible through running a search engine may be made the target of the attack. This person may be challenged on his/her physical appearance, choice of wearing apparel, and any number of things that have no bearing upon the subject matter of the discussion. I was asked if I was a member of the NRA. I did not respond. Neither the question, nor my answer would have been of any benefit to the topic under discussion. My personal website was brought into the discussion. It is important to recognize these tactics that are used to discredit us, it is a tactic to move the conversation away from the topic.
Isolate one defender to befriend, and another to denigrate.
A divide, and conquer technique is frequently utilized to distract the defenders. One defender may be befriended by one of those pushing the taker’s agenda, while several others may gang up on a different defender. This tactic is quite often very successfully used against novice defenders.
Chapter 3.) ANIMAL TAKER PERSONAS THAT MAY BE ENCOUNTERED
The animal lover
Example; “I have a pit bull, but I believe that they should all be spayed, and neutered, and the owners licensed. What are you afraid of?” The opening statement is an opinion. The question is an assumption that we are clinging to a baseless fear concerning the relinquishment of the ownership of our animal, and its reproductive organs.
Animal taking zealots may employ a false victim to gain sympathy. This person will call for a ban based upon a claim of having a friend, or a relative who was maimed, or killed by a “pit bull”. This person is unable to give any provable facts when pinned down by a defender.
The “objective” person
May claim that he/she owns no dog, but agrees with the takers point of view. Ignore this person. Why call attention to him/her? It does our side no good, and is a wasted effort. This is another distraction technique.
The sleeper agent
Disguises him/herself as an owner supporter when in fact he/she is an agent provocateur. This is Mr./Ms. Perfect who does everything by the book. You know the book. It might be that cookbook with all of the perfect pictures that no real person in a real kitchen could ever replicate. Those photos are supposed to be reality, but no matter how hard we strive, we mere mortals will never create the false reality of Mr./Ms. Perfect.
Animal taking zealots accuse breeders/owners of being irresponsible for not buying into the totalitarian propaganda of mandatory spay/neuter, breed bans, or mandatory breeder licensing. The takers attack on a very personal level here. We must ask where the precedent for all of this taking of our animals comes from. We must ask where this has been in effect, and for proof that it works. San Mateo, Ca is the only place that comes to mind for setting a precedent on mandatory spay/neuter, and mandatory breeder licensing. The dog breeders compromised with the takers, and lost their rights. Even so, it is a dismal failure. Point it out after arming yourself with information.
Animal taking zealots employ actions, and words to put animal owners on the defensive. That is okay; we are defending our ownership, and our use rights.
Chapter 4.) PROTECTING YOUR ANIMALS AND YOUR RIGHTS
Do not hide behind anonymity. Only those who are not open, and above board have need to hide behind the screen of anonymity, think Wizard of Oz. If you are honestly concerned about retaliation, do not join in a public forum, or blog. Put a credential behind your name. If you belong to a dog club you can add “Member, Alpha Dog Club” behind your name. It lends credibility.
Stay on topic
It is very easy to be taken off track by a skilled activist agitator. They will ask personal questions. They will do, say, or write anything to devolve a logical defense into a free-for-all, name-calling debacle. Think before you write. Your response is not only going out to the agitator, it is going out to an audience that you want to educate.
Ignore personal attacks
Point out personal attacks that are directed at you, but refuse to lower yourself to defending them. Personal attacks that are made by strangers are diversions. Do no allow yourself to be diverted along a path of the attacker’s choosing. Use your free will. You get to choose how, and to whom to respond. Ignoring the attacker, and putting your point across strengthens your position.
Prove every point that you make when defending our position to retain our ownership and use rights. Never write, or say anything in a public forum that you cannot immediately prove. If in doubt, leave it out.
Humor slays zealots, they do so want to be taken seriously. Ridicule, done as gentle humor brings a perspective that simple denial will not. The humorist is generally perceived as having superior knowledge. He/she not only sees the joke, he/she shares it.
Never allow anger to take control over your writing, or speaking
It is okay to write, “This makes me angry.” It is not okay to allow anger to take you to a place that is harmful to the dog owner’s positive image. Our detractors are portraying us as the out of mainstream fringe element. We are the only one’s who have the power to dispel the projected image. Each individual dog owner is responsible for ensuring that he/she is perceived as a law abiding, respectable citizen who is concerned with public safety, as well as protecting the rights, and freedoms that are characterized in our Constitution.
Treat the enemy with politeness, and respect
Give your adversary the benefit of being a fellow human being. Being polite and respectful, even after being verbally abused shows the general public that you are secure in your position. People will certainly forget your name, but they will always remember how you made them feel. When we are writing on a public forum, it is extremely important to make the entire readership feel comfortable with our point of view. We must treat each person as though he/she were an invited guest that we want to share our message with. Our objective is to win the hearts, and minds of the readers who are not posting. We are dealing with two different groups of people. We are firstly dealing with the promoters of the taking of our animals. Secondly we are dealing with the average citizen who is not caught up in the struggle, but has no doubt been adversely affected by the urban myths that so permeate our society. We will never change the minds of the takers. That is not our objective. Our objective toward them is to blow huge gaping holes in their ideological arguments, so that the secondary group starts to have doubts about their agenda. Our next objective is to speak with logic, to prove our points, to bring in the laws that are on the books, and to persuade the citizens that we are more like them, than are the detractors. It is human nature to align with those who sound the most as they do.
Expose the lies, distortions, and myths
Do not enter into a battle of ideology that you have not made preparation to win. Before joining in a blog, or a public forum be prepared. The takers come prepared. They have read, and book-marked every book written about dog fighting, or fighting dogs. Richard Stratton’s books may be introduced into the discussion. He may be quoted as the final authority in order to bolster their position. They will apply his writing to not only the dogs that he writes about, they apply it to breeds that they have determined are “pit bulls”, and are not the dogs that Mr. Stratton has immortalized in his books. This ruse is meant to bring our side into discussing the books, and away from the topic. They assume that everyone who owns “pit bulls” has read Richard Stratton’s books. That is an erroneous assumption. I have not read his books. Having not read his books, I can neither confirm, nor deny any point that they are trying to establish by using quotes from his, or any other author’s book. I can only state with honesty that the opinions expressed in any book, are certainly those of the author.
Know your enemy
The dog takers have done their homework thoroughly. They expect that you have not. If you find yourself in over your head, then please depart before you cause harm. Never write, or speak without giving considerable thought as to what you will say. The takers will use every opportunity to twist your words into a meaning of their choosing.
You are the only expert on yourself. You know your strengths. Use them. You know your weak areas. Do not expose them. It is okay to say, ”I don’t know.” It is far better to admit that a topic is not your area of first hand knowledge, than to forge blindly onward and cause our side to lose ground. Always stay within your own personal comfort zone of knowledge, and information. That is where each of us is strongest.
Know the law
There is nothing more traditional than animal ownership, use, and animal husbandry. The rights that are enumerated under our Bill of Rights are not our only rights. Our framers created the Constitution, and our Bill of Rights not to be all-inclusive, but to lay the foundation of law for the people of our free nation. If they had tried to list every right, and every freedom that we the people might enjoy, then surely we would be restricted. Our rights, and our freedoms are bounded only by our moral, and social obligations to have a functional society. The framers were wise beyond their time, and beyond their worldly scope. To prevent any such similar takings of our traditional property, or our animals, and to prevent the cessation of any ancient, noble, and honorable profession such as animal husbandry, they wrote: AMENDMENT IX. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny, or disparage others retained by the people.AMENDMENT X.The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Besides these two Amendments that reaffirm our rights of traditional human occupations, we also have the right to be recompensed for any taking of our property. Our animal’s ovaries, and testicles belong to us. If the government is going to mandate a taking, it had better be prepared to PAY!!! To pay for the surgeries, for those citizens who will comply, to pay for loss of the viability of the animal, or to buy out the real property of the animal owner, whose right to its full use and enjoyment has been removed due to the government’s arbitrary removal of it purchased purpose.
Learn from every encounter
Do not join a blog, or public forum expecting to sway the animal taking extremists to our side. You will lose. They are equally as committed to their idealism, as we are committed to preserving our animals, their ownership, and our traditional animal husbandry practices. The objective is to put forward usable information that is backed up with proof, and to sway the people who are undecided. The animal taking zealots have nothing that is tangible to take. They are pushing an ideology. We, on the other hand have the tangible, living, breathing, animals that count on us to protect them. Even though our animals have no way of knowing it, they are dependent upon us for the continuation of their breed, and their gene pool to survive into the future. We cannot succeed by entering into compromise agreements with the animal taking zealots. They have nothing to offer us from their ideology. We have everything to lose. The very worst thing that anyone from the animal owner side can do is to accept any part of the opposition’s ideology. That acceptance will grow like a malignancy until it engulfs us, and our dogs, and our traditions, our way of life, our freedoms, our past, our present, or our future.
Cherie Graves, chairwoman
Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States
323922 N. Hwy. 2
Diamond Lake, WA 99156
American Staffordshire Terriers
“Home of the swinging, flying show dogs”
“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” —Marcus Aurelius