CA AB 241 was apparently passed by the CA Senate yesterday. The bill, according to the American Kennel Club, “will prohibit businesses and individuals who buys or sells cats and dogs from owning more than a combined total of 50 intact dogs or cats” (including puppies/kittens). I’ve blogged many times about why purported pet “protection” legislation that states number of pets determines quality of care makes no sense to me. Quality husbandry never has been and never will be determined by numbers of dog owned. One dog owned by a person can be neglected/abused. So can two dogs. As can 12 or 37 or 62. By the same token, all those same numbers of dogs might be well cared for by an owner. Granted the more dogs owned, the more help needed to provide quality care.
Another reason I find these numbers bills troubling is that the numbers vary greatly all across the country. In CA, HSUS says 50 is the magic number which equals “puppy mill”. But in NC, HSUS said owning 15 bitches was the puppy miller indicator. And there are other numbers in similar bills all over the country. Why the inconsistency? If indeed quality of care is determined by number of dogs owned, shouldn’t there be one number for all owners? If a NC breeder is a “puppy miller” because she owns 15 bitches but then moves to CA, does she become a “responsible breeder” because she’s well under the 50 limit?
But to me, perhaps the most disturbing element of these bills is that, in my crystal ball opinion, it will not stop at 50 (or 15 or whatever). This is a foot in the door, a chance to say, “Surely we can all agree that only an evil puppy miller would have more than 50 dogs”. If the anti-pet lobbyists in CA don’t try to get this number lowered in future, I’ll eat my hat.
In Philadelphia currently, the pet limit is 12 but there are efforts underway to get that number reduced. There’s no way to know if those efforts will be successful but assuming for the sake of discussion they are, perhaps the number will be reduced to 8. Then possibly a future amendment will cut it to 4. Noticing a trend here? This hasn’t happened – yet – but surely we’d be unwise to ignore the potential for having our rights as pet owners legislated away from us.
The anti-pet lobbyists don’t stand up and say, “We want a foot in the door so that eventually we can eliminate the right to own pets” because that would sound crazy. Instead they say things like “protecting pets” and “cruel puppy mills” which all sound dandy. And to those of us paying attention to the possible future direction of these laws, the lobbyists say, “That sounds crazy”. Clever work.