In case you've been wondering where the blog has been the last few days, we've been very very busy working to support Oregon's dog community in their fight to regain the use of farmland for dog activities. In recent years, Oregon's land-use laws have been interpreted so narrowly in some counties, people have lost their livelihoods, due to activities such as dog training and agility being declared "illegitimate." We've been working to change this.
Scores of dog lovers took time to drive to Salem in support of HB 3047 -- a bill that helps clarify our state's complex land-use laws, so as to specifically allow dog-related activities on farmland. You really couldn't ask for a group of people more dedicated to the human-canine bond. What an example they set for all dog lovers: positive, knowledgable, and willing to work for what they believe in. The meeting room was literally overflowing with supporters of this bill from all over the state!
And Oregon's dogs were on the scene as well, to watch events unfold...
Watchful Dog Watches...
During the hearing, Patti Strand (NAIA's National Director) testified in favor of this bill. Here are a few brief excerpts:
Why is this important? For one thing, the economic impact of dogs on the Oregon economy is huge. According to statistics gathered by the American Pet Product Manufacturers, nearly 40% of Oregon households or about 550,000 households keep dogs. These dog owners buy dog food and pet products, and they purchase a wide array of services: they utilize boarding kennels, seek training, veterinarian services, grooming and a host of other services. They also participate in dog sports in ever- increasing numbers.
Another reason that this clarification is needed is that dog training and other dog activities are compatible with the land, having less impact on farmland than other species and actually help preserve farmland by providing income to farmers during off seasons and difficult times.
Few seriously question whether dogs and dog activities belong on farms. Dogs are the species that enabled our ancestors to settle into an agrarian lifestyle in the first place. The lyrics to "Old MacDonald had a Farm" always include a bow wow here or a woof, woof there; and dogs and their myriad talents are more appreciated today than ever before.
The last few days have been immensely productive. There are few things in life that feel better than making a positive difference in the lives of dogs and the people who love them.