Bye Bye, Fido!

Not since Orson Welles broadcast War of the Worlds have pet owners and hunters witnessed such mass hysteria. Everywhere we look, animal rights radicals are popping out from under doghouses, appearing at border crossings dressed as bureaucrats, sitting as judges, and gaining passage of ordinances and laws prohibiting everything from leaving your dog in your truck to tying him to his doghouse or putting a collar* on him.

Casual reading of the paper dribbles out the daily outrages we are becoming more and more immune to across this great land. A couple moving their collies from Alaska to Arizona are bushwhacked by Federal border agents in Montana and turned over to local courts where one jury fails to prosecute them so another court (under pressures from national animal rights groups and even other dog owners) allows changed testimony and fabrications to gain a conviction with massive potential penalties and loss of the dogs. In the meantime, the dogs are kept from distraught owners and allowed to die under prison conditions.

Collars* of every sort (chokers, etc.) necessary for people to control dogs are judged “inhumane” and prohibited. Leaving dogs in ANY vehicle under ANY conditions is prohibited both because it is inhumane and “easier for law enforcement to enforce.” Every old person or recluse found with a bunch of dogs or cats is publicized nationally and made rallying calls for “more” laws. Dog breeders are subject to increasing regulation from licensing, inspections, and fines, to law enforcement techniques copied from communist thugs and nighttime enforcers sent by kings.

Attacks by certain breeds are likewise publicized—not to contain threatening dogs or remind owners of their liabilities or to suggest ways to defend yourself in a disarming society from dangerous animals, be they wild or domestic—but rather, the attacks are fodder for the call for more laws and more restrictions on owners, breeders, and (non-government of course!) dog users. Local animal enforcement agencies, like Federal bureaucracies, are increasingly staffed by activist employees with lethal agendas. This is all being orchestrated by “the usual suspects”, as Claude Raines mentioned in Casablanca. Animal rights organizations like the Humane Society of the U.S. work hand in glove with not only the other such organizations like the Animal Protection Institute, Greenpeace, and Defenders of Wildlife, but also with the groups we think of as “environmental” like the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council. Anyone who neither sees nor acknowledges this fact need read no farther. Why? Because these are all the same groups who have cajoled, sued, forced, and paid the Federal bureaucrats, University professors, and politicians to reintroduce wolves and seize management authority over growing lists of wildlife from the states. So what, you say?

Wolves, among their other endearing qualities, kill dogs. They dig dogs out of pens and kill them. They kill them while they are chasing rabbits for hunters. They kill them when they go out at night to piddle and poop before going to bed in the utility room. They kill them when they run off and they kill them when they run with your daughter for a jog or a horseback ride. They kill them at night on the porch (remember when a dog outside at night was your best protection against night time intruders?). “Experts” say it is only when they get “close to pups.” These are the same folks who tell you to “puff up and don’t look at their eyes” when encountering grizzly bears, and that you don’t “need” a gun. I leave it to you to take such advice at your own and your dog’s risk. Wolves and coyotes KILL dogs and no amount of sensitivity hogwash by fish and wildlife agency ladies changes that fact.

The bottom line is the dog is caught between growing areas of coddled wolves on the outside and a growing body of laws, regulations, and Gestapo tactics by animal rights activists masquerading as “public servants” on the inside. Anyone who does not see the inevitable end of all this is a ripe customer for the infamous bridge sale in Brooklyn.

The breeders are sold out by the rescuers. Pet owners are sold out by politicians in search of votes. National organizations represent show dogs but not farm dogs. Urban dog owners send money to animal rights outfits. The same thing is happening with hunting. Big game hunters express disdain for bear hunters who use dogs. Ducks Unlimited runs for cover when guns are threatened in Canada. Eastern hunters yawn when cougar hunting is prohibited “out west.” It is all reminiscent of Europeans playing one tribe against another to gain complete control of some foreign land. It worked then and it is working now. We may have computers and satellites but human nature remains just as vulnerable to exploitation as ever.

* Collars. As a reminder of how such things (dogs, wolves, and humans) have always been “joined at the hip”, an observation is in order. Years ago my wife and I were completing a tour of Leeds Castle in England. That’s the one surrounded by water that you have probably seen numerous times in pictures. As we left, I noticed a door near the gate with a sign saying, “Dog Collar Museum.” I entered a small room full of old collars collected by some long gone aristocratic lady. There were leather collars, wooden collars, metal collars, choke collars and some I can no longer remember. They went back 500 years (about when the castle was built) but some of the oldest were the most interesting. They nearly all had metal spikes on them just like the ones drawn on cartoon bulldogs to make them look tough. When I asked about them, the curator said the following: Up until a couple of hundred years ago there were wolves in England. For centuries pedestrians and people on coaches kept dogs nearby as they traveled. The dogs gave warning of wolves or other people who might be dangerous. It was a well known fact that wolves would kill the dogs if they strayed too far from their masters. It was also well known that wolves tear out the throat (as they still do today) to quickly kill the dog. It was felt that the spikes on the collar would delay the wolf long enough for the master to either kill the wolf or drive it off before it killed the dog.

Unless and until dog owners and hunters can come together, how can we expect animal owners, animal users, public land users, ranchers, loggers, etc., etc. to come together? We face a determined foe and nothing short of working together will keep that companion/hunting/watch/pet/guide/etc. dog in our family or our future. The time is growing short.