Dear PETA: Nice Try, But.

Connery scoldingThis is my soapbox of the week.

Just because PETA says “breeders kill shelter dogs” doesn’t mean they’re right.

Me, I don’t listen to anything touted by a group whose stated end goal is to end pet ownership (and who kill, according to their own records, 95% of the pets they “rescue.”) But they do like to shout, which makes it hard to not-hear them sometimes. And this time, here’s their logic: If breeders didn’t make new purebred dogs, people would get all their dogs at the shelter and thus save those dogs, so the corollary is that breeders are killing dogs.

Okay, let’s leave aside the twisted nature of that corollary.  And let’s leave aside the  fact that not all shelter dogs are adoptable–some are too damaged; some are too ill.

Aside from that. You know what’s true? People want what they want.

I’ve had many a mixed-breed/rescue dog. Most of mine were true rescues, and by that I mean we took them off the mountain where they’d been abandoned. Or from the dump. Or the UPS driver dropped them off because we’d gotten a reputation for helping dogs in that area where there was no shelter or humane society. Obviously, we didn’t keep them all; we padded their bellies, gave them some manners, and rehomed them. Or sometimes we gave them mercy, because sometimes that was the way it was.

So yes, I know the way of the mixed-breed dog. The dog of my heart, of my life, was one of these dogs.

But eventually my life changed, and I was in the position of needing a certain kind of dog. A puppy I knew would grow up to be that certain kind of dog. And now I’m hooked on certain kinds of dogs, and I love them, too. I now know the way of the purebred dog.

And I know this: People want what they want.

Sometimes that’s a wonderful pet from the shelter–a particular dog that will suit the necessary lifestyle. Sometimes it’s purebred–a specific dog bred to do a specific thing or to be a specific way. Either way, it’s good. Either way, people make their own choices for their own reasons, and that’s all good, too. But they don’t want one thing and then go looking for another. No.

They want what they want.

That’s why United States shelters import (yes, you read me correctly) dogs into shelters. (Here’s a great summary of things.) Small dogs are in special demand–perfect little companions, easily fitting into many different lifestyles. Not to mention celebrity purses…

That’s why people created breeds in the first place. Specific characteristics, reliably produced over the generations. A puppy that grows to be of predictable size, temperament, and basic skillset.

That’s why even now, dog folks are redefining certain breeds to fill performance niches–such as in agility, where people are currently finding the perfect combination of size, speed, and obsessiveness to dominate every jump height in every venue. Where they don’t redefine, they create mixed breeds to suit, taking their chances that a particular combination of dogs will result in what they want (because until you actually have the breed established and solidified and demonstrably repeatable, every litter is roulette–and not all breeds combine gracefully or predictably).

That’s why, given a paucity of dogs of a certain predictable and desirable characteristic, it does not follow that people will then go to the shelter and say, “Well, I’ll take this totally different kind of dog instead, because that’s what’s here.” No. They will go out and they will MAKE MORE of what they want.

Or they’ll import them.

(Well, you know. Unless PETA succeeds with that end goal of eliminating pet ownership.)

Good breeders, as it happens, are dedicated to the welfare of dogkind. Genetic testing, careful planning, limited and specific breeding with the distinct goal of producing the better dog. But you won’t find their dogs in shelters, because they welcome back their dogs in need–and if those dogs aren’t good candidates for rehoming, then they stay with the breeder pack.

Beyond that, those wicked breeders (and many other breed lovers) band together to create breed rescue groups for those dogs in need who have fallen through the cracks, and who would otherwise end up at shelters.

BeagleFest!NOT THAT I HAVE ANY FAVORITES.

Do you?


About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
This entry was posted in The Dogs! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Dear PETA: Nice Try, But.

  1. Laurie says:

    Bravo! All the dogs I had as a child were rescues; some arrived at our doorstep by way of the back alley or via wanderlust. A couple were guided to us (with the help of a good friend, our veterinarian) and we loved them all. Our last was a purebred who owned my husband when we met. We loved her, too. Heck, they were DOGS and that was all we needed.

    I’m all for rescue groups but PETA has never seemed to me to deserve that wonderfully compassionate adjective. “Rabble-rouser” seems to be a much more accurate description of their attitude and actions. I can’t stand their holier-than-thou preening. I’ve never felt the core PETA members were interested in animals, only their own self-aggrandizement. Nothing they’ve ever done has changed that opinion.

    BTW, LOVE the pix of ConneryBeagle! Hope he and the rest of the brood are feelin’ fine and chipper. And I hope that DuncanHorse is gaining an appreciation of his new home. He sure looks good in the midst of his new scenery!

  2. Doranna says:

    Laurie, the top pic is Connery; the bottom pic is a dog with much less…er…face. ;> From the BeagleFest website! 8) Isn’t she cute?

    I’m all for rescue groups, too, and I support Second Chance in Flagstaff, and several crisis rescue operations NOT affiliated with the HSUS (which does not personally rescue animals, but pretends to). These are true rescue organizations.

    PETA is simply very very canny in their battle to eliminate pet ownership, and so on occasion their causes intersect with the causes of those who truly care about animal welfare. But the price for what they might accomplish in those moments is way too high…

    Connery and pals are feeling quite fine this week! No broken ribs, no sinkholes…a couple of bike rides, and maybe even some agility today. We’ll see if they disappear into the mud when we try it. ;>

  3. Robert says:

    Well said Doranna. The acronym PETA could well be Pompous, Egotistical, Tyrannical A=== I never have quite figured out what ethical treatment they were talking about, if humankind is a part of the animal kingdom then they have failed miserably from the get go.

    We did buy our Greta and that was the best money we have ever spent. So far as ownership, we do have papers that say she is our dog, but she owns our hearts without reservation.

    Promoting responsible pet ownership would do a lot more for the animals than ending pet ownership.

    The dog we had before Greta showed up one day in the spring of 1990 at the school where my wife taught. We tried to find her home and finally after putting out flyers and advertise, we figured out that we had found her home, with us.

  4. Doranna says:

    Robert, that’s another thing. I’m not my dogs’ guardians. I own them. I have the right to make decisions about their health and welfare, and I know them better than anyone so I can make those best decisions.

    Owning them doesn’t diminish the friendship I have with them, as it happens…or the ownership they have on me, as you said!

  5. KarenJG says:

    Hear, hear! (Or as I like to write it, “hear here) 🙂 I very much support “rescue” – all three of my current dogs are rescues, all of the dogs I’ve ever owned (yes, owned!) were rescues, and I currently foster for a rescue group in my area. (Meet Delia, a 2 y.o. Basset Hound mix: http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=15588806 , or my next foster (I hope) Joey, a 6 yr old deaf beagle: http://www.petfinder.com/petnote/displaypet.cgi?petid=15721327 )

    But, I think the solution to pet overpopulation is not to put responsible breeders out of business – from what I understand, they have waiting lists for the puppies they produce – but to put the puppy-mills out of business, and educate “accidental” breeders.

    Our world and our lives would be far, far poorer places without pets. And yes, both mixed breeds and pure breeds ought to be a part of our world, and our lives. PETA can go… er, I don’t think I can say what I’d like them to do, but it involves anatomically impossible activities.

    • Doranna says:

      Oh, gosh, that Delia is ADORABLE. I bet she finds a home fast! Joey looks a little worried–understandably so. I hope his heartworm treatment goes well. That’s always scary.

      I think owner education is the key, mainly. Because if there’s a demand for irresponsibly bred dogs (ie mostly those found in pet stores, including mixes), then the demand will be filled.

  6. KarenJG says:

    She is adorable! And very loving, especially to kids. She also has a hound’s “stubborness” when it comes to potty training. (Not there, yet.) I’m hoping to find her a better foster home, though. She and Huckleberry don’t get along, so she has to be separated, at least by a crate. But, one of the foster families (with kids!) fell in love with her at a showing, so when their current foster gets adopted, they’ll be taking her, and I’ll be taking Joey, who I think will fit in with my pack better.

    He’s almost four weeks into the HW treatment. That’s pretty much past the danger zone, but he still has to be kept on limited activity for a bit longer, so he’ll be fine at the kennel for a couple more weeks. But he has to get into a house and learn some house manners after that. He has none. We think he was an outside dog.

    You’re right about owner education, too – but it’s hard to dampen the enthusiasm of somebody who’s raving about the puppy that they got from their neighbor’s “accident” or from a pet store… and harder still to say “I told you so” when the health problems crop up. The key is to get them BEFORE they make that commitment, which means wide-spread advertising/promotion. Which is expensive.

    I wish I had PETA’s budget. I betcha I’d do a better job of reducing animal suffering than they do. As Laurie noted, they spend more time (and money) promoting themselves than promoting animal welfare.

    P.s. Hope you don’t mind that I borrowed Connery’s “BAWH” for Delia’s description (I wrote it, but Lori’s the adoption contact). But that’s what it sounds like. In fact, I really think she’s part beagle, because her bark sounds so beagle-y. (That and the fact that she’s not heavy enough, and her ears aren’t long enough, for a pure Basset Hound.)

  7. Doranna says:

    Oh, gosh–no, there’s no point in talking to someone who’s just bought the puppy. Then it’s time for them to love and enjoy their pet.

    The problem is that while PETA is willing to hold up signs saying, “Breeders kill dogs”–very splashy, gets headlines–the more reasonable approach from the other side doesn’t grab those same headlines. Educating people…it just isn’t sexy.

  8. KarenJG says:

    I think that’s the problem with our media – or perhaps it’s our culture – in general. Everybody goes for the splashy, and are so dazzled by it that they don’t even notice the lack of actual substance, let alone listen to those trying to provide it.

  9. Tori Lennox says:

    I’ve always though PETA was a tad, um, strange but they really lost any respect I might have had for them (not that I had much) when they were here locally picketing a KFC over chickens, but had not one single word to say about about a big news story about a puppy mill that was shut down during the same time frame. It wasn’t on their agenda, so it apparently didn’t matter.

  10. Doranna says:

    Tori, I think they’re compartmentalized in that way. Little targeted units. V. self-important.

  11. B. Ross Ashley says:

    People for the Evil misTreatment of Animals.

    • Doranna says:

      Heh.

      When you consider that at certain dog shows we get the word and go on alert because they’d rather open crates and “free” the dogs to be killed in traffic…yeah.

      At other times our interests coincide…but never our philosophies or end goals.

  12. Lorraine says:

    I’m glad you’ve gotten on your soapbox a few times to talk about PETA. Until you did, I never thought to investigate them and believed they actually were trying to make the lives of animals better.

    So thank you for fighting the good fight.

    As for me, I support two animal charities. The Wayne County Humane Society (because it’s a reallllllllly poor country with a lot of jerks and animal cruelty cases, and they don’t have anywhere near the resources of Lollipop Farm) and Crackerbox Palace Farm animal rescure — for the same reason as CWHS; an awful lot of people who simply don’t have the brains or the money to take care of their animals. (Oh, and I support the local food pantry for humans in need, too.)

  13. Doranna says:

    We’ve just found the local food pantry here and aren’t yet sure how it works–it’s tiny, but I’m impressed that it’s there at all.

    Thanks–it makes me feel so good to know that it’s made a difference to talk about PETA out loud. The problem is that PETA has fooled a lot of loving, dedicated people who would never support their ultimate agenda, but who truly want to help animals.

    I actually feel lucky that I had become disenchanted with their behavior *before* I learned the nitty -gritty, because lo these many years ago I did support them, and it would have been very hard to hear at that point that they weren’t doing the good works I thought they were.

  14. Twilight Time says:

    Imported foreign strays are brought her in en masse as we already know to destroy breeds of dogs and to eradicate dog breeders. They leave our shelter costs skyrocketing and take the homes US dogs need. What dog folk are missing is that the groups and individuals facilitating masses of foreign dogs to be transported here do so often from nations notorious for also exporting highly processed concentrated forms of narcotics. The mix breeds that have surgeries (in nations where virtually no animal surgery is done) before transport here followed by surgery (for complications of course(?) after transport here could very well be used to carry implanted drugs into the US before they are re-distributed to break local shelters. Pet Place pegs the mass imports sold at shelters to now be a $40million per year business. Instead of just destroying our breeds, breeders and shelters–we need to have law enforcement look much more deeply than they have at individuals flying in masses of strays from heavy drug producing areas. We’re about to get a HUGE eye opener.

    • Doranna says:

      Actually I’ve heard something about this, but nothing in detail and I don’t have any current references.

      Lo these many years ago–probably about 20 years, actually–I wrote a fan fic story (you all get to guess which fandom) in which a horse was used for smuggling in a similar manner…

      Thanks for stopping by!

  15. my brother and i are members of PETA, we really want to support animal rights. ‘~`

    • Doranna says:

      Grace, I’m very sorry to hear that. I support animal welfare, absolutely. Animal Rights groups are fighting to eliminate pet ownership in the country. Organizations like PETA and HSUS spend more time lobbying to erode our ability to own and care for pets than they do championing the causes that animal lovers care about, although they’re pretty good at obscuring their agenda.

      Google:
      Peta Kills
      Peta shelter statistics
      HSUS tax investigation
      HSUS lobbying

      And check the HSUS and PETA web sites for their own mission statements on eliminating animal ownership.

      They talk a good talk–they’re experts at it. But their idea of what’s good for animals and for us have nothing to do with my reality.

Comments are closed.