Why the Numbers Game isn’t a Game

Note: There is a story regarding the seizure of the Murder Hollow Bassets in Philadelphia circulating on message boards, e-mail lists and blogs. I have no way of knowing the full facts of the case or whether the post making the rounds is accurate. But to my mind, even if we totally discount it as fiction, the scenario is at least plausible which is what concerns me most. And since I just covered the topic of legislation by numbers yesterday, I thought I’d add some additional thoughts. Added: PSPCA has posted a bit about the seizure on their website. Added, 8-7-09: A blog at Philly.com has posted on the case as well. Added, 8-8-09: Article at Philadelphia Daily News

As I have often said, legislation sponsored by HSUS and other animal rights lobbyists fails to take into account that number-of-dogs does not correlate to quality-of-care. There are good dog owners who keep more than the number of dogs HSUS tells lawmakers is ok. That number by the way, varies from state to state and even within states – so why do we need a number- of-dogs stipulation in legislation exactly? If we can’t come up with a consistent number for the country to point at and shout “Bad owner!”, how can we possibly place any stock in “X is too many for here but Y is too many there”? It makes no sense. Breeders have different setups. One might be perfectly outfitted to care for 15 dogs very well while another living right across the street may be ill equipped to care for 2 dogs. But they would both fall under the same numbers rule.

And while we’re at it, warrantless searches and seizures of dogs, included in many of these HSUS sponsored bills, are prohibited by the US Constitution. I know there are some Constitutional law experts who own dogs and I hope one of them will step up and help the many dog owners who have had their dogs seized illegally or been coerced into surrendering them by crafty liars in fancy logo jackets.

I can guess what many of you are thinking: That’s just paranoia and things like that don’t happen to normal dog owners who take care of their dogs. Maybe you’re right.

My view is that this is exactly why these laws are dangerous: They dress themselves up as “puppy mill cruelty” bills but effectively target most all dog breeders. They lull dog owners into thinking the laws would never be used against them because they are responsible owners. But once these extremists get a foot in the door, they will whittle away at the rights of dog breeders and owners “until there are none”. From the city of Philadelphia:

Limits on animals are currently not based on size of property. At this time, a resident may keep 12 cats and/or dogs in a property. This Law is currently under review for an amendment to decrease this number. [emphasis=mine]

See what I’m saying? These laws aren’t about the cruelty of puppy mills, although groups like HSUS like to solicit donations under that guise. They are, even if unintentionally, about driving dog breeders out of business – all breeders. And eventually putting an end to dog ownership. But hey, maybe I’m just a tin foil hat wearing freak. Maybe they won’t come for your dogs. Maybe.

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