Rescuing Maui's fire victims
News and headlines for August 12 - August 18, 2023
These are some of the stories making headlines in animal protection:
Aurora, CO, passed a law banning the retail sale of commercially-bred dogs and cats in pet stores. Under the new law, pet stores can partner with rescue groups and animal shelters to have animals available.
Such laws do three things:
Encourage people to adopt/rescue;
Educate the community about dog and cat (and rabbit) abuse in mills;
Stop that abuse.
And they work. Thanks to the passage of these laws nationwide, the number of commercial breeders in the U.S. has declined by 30%, and “Nebraska Department of Agriculture records show that half of the state’s commercial dog and cat breeders have left the business.”
Pet stores generally get their animals from Commercial Breeding Enterprises (CBEs), commonly called “puppy mills.” And CBEs engage in systematic neglect and abuse of animals, leaving severe emotional and physical scars on the victims. One in four former breeding dogs have significant health problems, are more likely to suffer from aggression, and many are psychologically and emotionally shut down, compulsively staring at nothing.
An article in The New York Times about why the city pound closed its doors to cats and kittens blames the public for surrendering their pandemic-adopted animals in large numbers and for not adopting animals in sufficient numbers.
A review of the pound’s statistics and restrictive adoption policies, however, proves that the author gets it egregiously wrong. Intakes remain low. So far this year, New York City has taken in 26% fewer dogs and 33% fewer cats than in 2019, a rate that is 1/20th the national average.
In addition, people want to adopt, but the shelter’s new policies make it very hard, including asking people to have an approved online application before visiting and then failing to respond to people who submit applications. The city pound also reduced adoption hours, turns adopters away, and discourages families with children from visiting.
Aside from misreporting about why ACC is closing its doors to cats and kittens, The New York Times article is also internally contradictory. On the one hand, [the article states...] that ACC “euthanizes animals only if they have medical or behavioral problems that would make it difficult for them to be adopted” — a claim no one believes. On the other, [the author...] writes that ACC recently put a dog who is “friendly, playful and shy” on the kill list, as well as a “highly social and playful dog” and a cat who enjoys “cheek and chin scratches.”
A recent article laments the lack of street dogs in the U.S. and other developed nations and calls for the “reintroduction of free-ranging dogs in those places where they have been wiped out in the name of civilization.”
These views are part of a disturbing trend of scholars unduly romanticizing the past by appealing to “ancient wisdom” as better, more conducive to happiness, and more “natural.” They argue that modernity undermines human and animal flourishing — a claim at odds with clear evidence of progress regarding people and dogs. In addition to arguing that dogs should be allowed to roam freely, some authors even call for an end to living with dogs (“pet-keeping”).
While I agree that we should have never rounded up and killed community dogs in the United States, now that they are largely gone, there is no compelling reason to intentionally reintroduce them — and many reasons not to.
As more people turn to rescue and adoption and more shelters embrace progressive policies, the number of communities placing over 95% and as high as 99% of the animals is increasing: