dvm - January 2011 - (Page 46)
DV M Ne w s m a g a z i n e | d v m 3 6 0 . c om
Not ready to rally
Your story “Rally against Prop B” (Nov. 16) did not paint an entirely accurate picture of the veterinary community’s reaction to Missouri’s Proposition B, the ballot measure to crack down on puppy mill abuses by establishing common sense standards for the care of dogs.
Finding dogs for homes?
Regarding the Nov. 2010 article titled "Supply and Demand" about transport of animals, infectious diseases are an obvious area of concern for veterinarians. Distemper, parvovirus, demodex, scabies, heartworm, etc., are seen in higher numbers than usual in imported pups. These are tangible, easy-to-recognize problems with transport. But what about the less tangible implications of shifting focus from local unwanted dogs to distant ones? What is the problem transport is trying to solve? Is it the perceived lack of supply of adoptable unwanted puppies or overpopulation in the exporting states? (I call it perceived because we have plenty of homeless dogs in Massachusetts.) If the goal is to decrease overpopulation, shipping pups from one place to another seems an odd approach. We have successful strategies in the northeast for controlling dog overpopulation, and none of them include shipping puppies up north! For shelters whose primary focus is to find homes for homeless dogs, survival may push them to start shipping what I call “cute and cuddlies” from down south. Most of these importing shelters take in few if any local homeless dogs “referring” them instead to the local open shelters. I believe there are troubling unforeseen consequences to this trend. Sheltering used to mean finding homes for homeless dogs, now it has shifted to finding dogs for homes. High adoption fees, transport fees and “pull” fees paid to the exporting shelters are now the norm. To my mind, this mission differs from animal sheltering. Many of these groups do not serve the local community, unless someone needs a convenient place to get a puppy. So what is the harm? Isn’t this a win-win situation? where do these dogs go? No community has zero homeless dogs. B) Open-admission shelters bear the entire burden of true animal sheltering vital to our communities. Public perception (including many veterinarians) is that “no kill” is better. Donations and goodwill are siphoned away from the shelters actually caring for local animals. These open shelters in Massachusetts are rare, overburdened and broke. If importing is not likely to be stopped entirely, and like many misguided exploits the feeling is addictive, then permanent laws or regulations should be considered in ALL states. These regulations should not only address the obvious issues of diseases but the less obvious ones previously discussed. Examples of regulations that may help level the shelter playing field include: • Mandatory spay/neuter BEFORE adoption; • Permanent microchipping with the contact info of the importing rescue. This would allow them to learn about unsuccessful adoptions and enable them to step up and be the “forever” shelter for every puppy they place. For some shelters to get a “high” from importing hundreds of cute and cuddly pups without any accountability or responsibility automatically burdens open shelters with the fall out from failed adoptions. These open shelters cannot afford to clean up behind this trend. I believe permanent responsibility for every transported pup may educate those involved about how fleeting that “high” may really be. I agree with AVMA that educating potential adopters is important, but placing the burden on them is unfair. These are unsuspecting members of the public who believe they are “doing the right thing” by adopting. Transporting shelters and the veterinarians who support them are the responsible parties. The onus is on them to be truthful with potential adopters. . — Lorna Grande, DVM
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“Leading voices for veterinary medicine ... were actively involved in the campaign.”
More than 100 Missouri veterinarians and veterinary clinics across the state publicly endorsed Prop B, many of whom have treated dogs rescued from Missouri’s puppy mills and have seen first-hand the animal health and welfare problems caused by these mills. Leading voices for veterinary medicine in the state were actively involved in the campaign, such as Dr. C.B. Chastain, a professor of small-animal medicine who served on the Puppy Mill Reform Council and wrote guest opinion columns on Prop B for local newspapers, and Dr. Connie Medling, staff veterinarian for the Humane Society of Missouri who appeared in TV commercials urg-
ing support for Prop B. Some people who voted against the measure were wrongly told that existing regulations on dog breeding are adequate. They are not. Under pre-Prop B rules, a dog can be in a cage just six inches longer than her body; she can be confined in that cage and never let out; she need not ever see a veterinarian; and a dog can be huddled in a wire cage in the middle of winter—exposed to freezing temperatures. All of that is legal under existing rules, and that’s why we needed Prop B. The new regulations—requiring adequate and clean food and water, exercise, properly sized and sanitary cages, veterinary care, protection from extreme heat and cold and adequate time between breeding cycles, are very reasonable, as Missourians of good will—including veterinarians and responsible breeders—know. Prop B also provides a one-year phase-in so breeders have plenty of time to comply with these new standards. Missourians were right to approve Prop B, and the many Missouri veterinarians who supported the measure helped to achieve this advance for the welfare of dogs.
— Susan B. Krebsbach, DVM Possible harm: Ve t e r i n a r y C o n s u lta n t A) Most importing shelters in our H u m a n e S o c i e t y V e t e r i n a r y area do not shelter many local homeM e d i c a l A s s o c i at i o n less dogs. If they do, the percentage is O r e g o n , Wi s . tiny compared to the numbers they import. If these “no kill” shelters do not accept many local unwanted dogs,
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of dvm - January 2011
dvm - January 2011
A New Pledge
Red Flags Rule
Let's Talk About It
dvm - January 2011