Take Heart, Dog Owners
Posted 03 June 2009 - 06:13 AM
Dog Owners Beat Odds In Texas & Oklahoma,
Fight To Task Force Tie Vote in Santa Barbara
by JOHN YATES
American Sporting Dog Alliance
This report is archived at http://eaglerock814....neral&thread=41
Dog owners had their backs to the wall in Texas and Oklahoma in the face of burdensome animal rights legislation that was within a hair’s breadth of passage. We were up against the powerful Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the opulently funded and professionally organized political arm of the animal rights movement, which had seemingly engineered the passage of several pieces of legislation that would have destroyed dog ownership in those states.
However, dog owners pulled together in the face of what appeared to be certain defeat, and were successful at convincing a majority of state senators and representatives to put the HSUS legislation on ice for at least the rest of 2009.
Also, in Santa Barbara County, California, dog ownership advocates were able to fight back from an 8-2 defeat on a stacked-deck task force to gain a 5-5 tie vote about a proposed new ordinance to mandate pet sterilization. The chairman of the Task Force broke the tie, but dog owners are working to throw out his vote based on a financial conflict of interest.
The Santa Barbara situation (which will be described in detail below) has special meaning for Maine and Illinois dog owners. Maine dog owners are fighting for their lives against the results of a pro-animal-rights task force headed by an HSUS-cloned state bureaucrat who has a clear track record of despising people who breed dogs, and Illinois dog owners have had the concept of a task force rammed down their throats over the past two weeks with the smug assent of HSUS. Using biased task forces controlled by animal rights activists has become a well-honed HSUS strategy.
The good news is that dog owners everywhere can take courage from what happened in Texas, Oklahoma and Santa Barbara, and great courage will be needed in the coming week for residents of California, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Illinois. Draconian legislation is hitting the fan now in all of those states.
We will profile pending legislative issues in an upcoming report. Today’s report will describe what happened in Oklahoma, Texas and Santa Barbara.
Kennel legislation has been pushed hard in Oklahoma for the past two years by Rep. Lee Denney, a veterinarian and HSUS-clone. Rep. Denney claimed her legislation was aimed at abusive “puppy mills,” but it was obvious that its real target was everyone who raises dogs.
Rep. Denney authored similar legislation last year, but dog owners were able to stop it quickly in the House Agriculture Committee, which understands the animal rights movement’s real goals.
Rep. Denney and HSUS got smarter this year, and made sure that the bill (House Bill 1332) was introduced into a more easily manipulated committee that had little understanding of animal issues.
Even so, a strong response from dog owners was enough to force many positive amendments to gut the worst measures touted by Rep. Denney and her totally HSUS-inspired legislation.
But we couldn’t kill the bill, which passed both houses and appeared to be unstoppable. Dog owners were told that we had to accept a “compromise,” which for us means only that we give up something. We get nothing in return, except the temporary removal of the legal gun pointed at our heads.
It looked hopeless.
But we kept fighting. We wouldn’t quit. We urged dog owners throughout the state to continue to contact their elected officials and express reasoned opposition to HB 1332.
It worked. A conference committee was called to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, and dog owners were able to convince a majority of the members of the conference committee to refuse to approve HB 1332.
The period for passing new laws in the 2009 legislative session now has expired, effectively killing the bill.
But we won by the slimmest possible margin.
We hope to convey the message that we must keep fighting as hard as we can, even in our darkest hour.
Rep. Denney and the powerful Oklahoma Animal Protection Association have vowed to try again in 2010, and they keep getting smarter, but the issue is dead for the present.
Many individual dog owners and organizations played key roles in defeating HB 1332. The American Sporting Dog Alliance staunchly opposed this legislation, and the American Pet Registry and the Oklahoma Animal Interest Alliance played vital roles in defeating it.
When dog owners work together, we can protect our rights.
Texas dog owners also were up against the wall in this increasingly urbanized state. A few years ago, animal rights legislation was unthinkable in Texas, which maintained a strongly rural character.
But a significant part of the political power base has shifted to the big cities, such as Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, and animal rights extremists have been savvy in learning how to capitalize in this shift of power. Well-funded and politically connected organizations such as the Texas Humane Legislation Network, which could be the twin sister of HSUS, joined forces with the loony tunes fringe of the animal rights movement (such as vegan revolutionaries, groups that have been associated with terrorism, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) to become a major political force in the Lone Star State. Many animal owners were caught sleeping, and almost paid a terrible price for complacency this year.
The animal rights activists were riding high on several small but significant legislative victories on the state level last year, as well as passage of anti-dog-owner spay/neuter mandates in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
The animal rights groups were confident this year to the point of cockiness. Their cronies in the Legislature introduced a dozen pieces of legislation that would have destroyed pet ownership in Texas. They won several procedural victories and had greased the way for prompt passage of several of these bills, including legislation that would have destroyed the breeding of high quality purebred dogs.
But dog owners dug in and fought back tooth and nail. We pulled out all of the stops, testified at hearings and flooded elected officials with letters, phone calls, faxes and emails in opposition.
It looked hopeless for awhile, especially in the face of HSUS-inspired dirty tricks, such as attaching the breeding legislation onto an unrelated bill.
But dog owners continued to fight back, and all of the animal rights bills died in committee as time ran out on the legislative session yesterday.
But our persistence went one step farther. We won a big one in Texas, with the passage of an amendment that gives additional legal protections to innocent dog owners whose animals are unjustly seized by animal cruelty investigators.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance was part of the effort to defeat animal rights legislation in Texas. We worked in concert with many people, including Mary Beth Duerler of the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance of Texas, Martin Kralik of RPOA and the American Sporting Dog Alliance, Tom Lundberg of the Lone Star State American Pit Bull Terrier Club and Laura Dapkus of the Endangered Breeds Association. All of these organizations deserve the full support of dog owners.
Santa Barbara, CA
A year ago, Santa Barbara County Dog owners, the Channel City Kennel Club, the American Sporting Dog Alliance and other organizations joined forces to halt a proposed spay/neuter mandate that would have been devastating to people who raise dogs.
We were able to convince the majority of the county supervisors to oppose the ordinance, and they created a citizens’ task force to study alternatives to a mandate.
However, the task force was hijacked by HSUS through a series of dirty tricks.
First, the ordinance itself appeared in print differently than the supervisors’ motion to exclude mandates. Someone illegally and unethically altered the motion to allow the task force to study and recommend a mandate, and the supervisor who made the motion is no longer on the board.
Then, many of the people who were named to the task force were HSUS adherents, reportedly based on recommendations of pro-HSUS county animal control officials, and Dr. Ron Faoro, who reportedly is in line for the HSUS Board of Directors after many years of supporting repressive spay/neuter mandates, was named its chairman by the supervisors’ chairman, who introduced last year’s failed ordinance.
The task force was a stacked deck from the onset. A vote a year ago showed 8-2 support for a spay/neuter mandate, in contradiction of the supervisors’ direction to the group. Then, Dr. Faoro rigidly controlled the task force agenda so that dog ownership advocates had little time to speak and expert witnesses for dog owners were not allowed to testify. . Dr. Faoro went as far as calling in county bailiffs to silence dog owners who tried to speak.
It was a kangaroo court.
But dog owners fought back, through the power of reason and persuasion, and last week they turned the 8-2 vote against them a year ago into a 5-5 tie vote on a draft ordinance for a spay/neuter mandate.
As could be expected, Dr. Faoro, as chairman, broke the tie to make it 6-5 in favor of a mandate
However, the American Sporting Dog Alliance is supporting the efforts of Santa Barbara dog owners to disqualify Dr. Faoro’s vote because he has a clear conflict of interest. As a practicing veterinarian, he stands to profit richly from an ordinance that mandates the sterilization of almost all dogs and cats in the county.
Under Roberts’ Rules of Order, which governs meeting procedures, people are required to disqualify themselves from voting on an issue that poses a conflict of interest for them. A conflict of interest includes making money as a result of the vote.
Thus, we are urging all Santa Barbara County dog owners to contact the county Board of Supervisors and ask them to disqualify Dr. Faoro’s vote. Also, please express your opposition to a spay and neuter mandate, and to the unethical way that the task force was hijacked.
Here is the supervisors’ contact information:
1st District: Salud Carbajal
Phone: (805) 568-2186
Fax: (805) 568-2534
Website: Salud Carbajal
2nd District: Janet Wolf, Vice Chair
Phone: (805) 568-2191
Fax: (805) 568-2283
Website: Janet Wolf
3rd District: Doreen Farr
Phone: (805) 568-2192
Fax: (805) 568-2883
Solvang: (805) 686-5095
Fax: (805) 686-8133
Website: Doreen Farr
4th District: Joni Gray
Lompoc: (805) 737-7700
Santa Maria: (805) 346-8407
Website: Joni Gray
5th District: Joseph Centeno, Chair
Santa Maria: (805) 346-8400
Fax: (805) 346-8404
Website: Joseph Centeno
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 http://www.americans...dogalliance.org . Our email is email@example.com .
PLEASE CROSS-POST AND FORWARD THIS REPORT TO YOUR FRIENDS