A NY Bill Requiring Dogs and their Owners to Complete Obedience Training
We love trainers at NAIA. Like... a lot. Animal training is an art, a science, a passion. A skilled trainer can not only improve the lives of animals and their owners, but even save lives. It's that valuable.
But sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, like this:
THE OWNER OF ANY DOG REACHING THE AGE OF ONE YEAR SHALL, ON OR BEFORE THE DATE SUCH DOG REACHES ONE YEAR OF AGE OR WITHIN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS OF RECEIVING OWNERSHIP OF SUCH DOG, WHICHEVER SHALL BE LATER, SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE, WITH HIS OR HER DOG, A BASIC OBEDIENCE COURSE.
Geeze, stop shouting, will ya?
It'd certainly be nice if more people had the time, money, and inclination to participate in basic obedience courses with their pets. A stronger bond and understanding of animal behavior often occurs, bad habits can be eliminated or nipped in the bud, and let's face it: virtually everybody appreciates a well-behaved dog.
But forcing people to take a training course? Hoo boy.
New York regulations just get crazier and crazier. What will tell us next -- that we can't walk around on Sundays with our pockets full of ice-cream cones? Oh, wait...
Should You Blame the Shelter or the Irresponsible Owner?
After a distemper outbreak at the Memphis Animal Shelter led to the tragic euthanasia of 50 animals, many local animal activists were incensed. In the face of this outrage, the Commercial Appeal editorial board makes an uncomfortable suggestion: maybe it's not so much the shelter's fault as it is irresponsible pet owners. Harsh, but it's a question that we need to ask. And while it's regretabble to see the use of the term "animal rights" in an "animal welfare" context (a common mistake), they get extra points for offering up suggestions on how to improve the situation, rather than just pointing fingers...
But maybe it is more productive to focus the anger on those dog and cat owners who, because of apathy, ignorance or financial considerations, don't get their pets vaccinated.
Maybe there is a way for the city, county and animal rights advocates to collaborate on a public campaign stressing the importance of having pets vaccinated.
Maybe the various animal advocacy organizations throughout Greater Memphis could coalesce efforts to provide affordable vaccinations for pet owners who are truly under financial hardship.
So much suffering by animals and so many euthanizations could be prevented if people just did the right thing.
If owners just did the right thing? Well, that certainly would be nice, wouldn't it? Suddenly, the "Licensing & Vaccination" section in our New Pet Owner Classes seem a lot more urgent!
Are You an Owner or a Guardian?
When hearing or reading that we oppose animal guardian language, people sometimes ask us "How can you support the term owner when referring to your animals when you could instead use the much nicer-sounding guardian? 'Owner' sounds so callous, like your dog is a piece of furniture or something -- what's the harm in calling yourself a 'guardian' of your animals? Why are you SO MEAN?"
Well, if you want to call yourself the 'guardian' of your pets or livestock, that's perfectly fine. Go ahead if it makes you happy. But changing our legal relationship from owners to guardians is hugely problematic, and thehorse.com is here to tell us why:
An "owner" obviously owns his or her property, including animals, and we all know what ownership means: if something is mine, it isn’t yours. Animal welfare and protection laws impose obligations on animal owners, but the laws do not confer legal rights on the animals.
A guardian, by definition, has legal responsibility for the care and welfare of a "ward," typically an individual unable to care for himself. This could be a minor, or an adult with a disability of some kind. Or maybe an animal. A ward has legal rights that the guardian has an obligation to protect. Guardianship and legal rights go hand-in-hand and how those rights are defined could bring about a fundamental change in the role of animals in our society. Is it in an animal’s best interest to be selectively bred, for example? Or to be bought and sold? Or to be shown or raced? Or to be euthanized?
Are you the owner of your animals, or their guardian?
Very well stated!