Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On the hunt for a better solution

Hunting season is almost here and it won't be long before we'll all have to wear our bright orange vests when we go for our morning hike. If I wanted to do more than hike in the woods with my dogs, there would be a lot more work involved getting ready for the season.
Even though I've had military survival training, I'd still have to take a Firearms Safety course and the hunter safety course (the subject of how anyone who spends time in the woods should do that anyway is a separate topic for another day).
Without the Firearm Safety Course, I wouldn't be able to get an FAC ( Firearms Acquisition Certificate. Without the FAC, I wouldn't be able to buy a rifle to hunt with, nor in the foreseeable future would I be able to buy ammunition.
I would also need both courses to get a Nova Scotia Wildlife Resources Client Card. Without that, I wouldn't be able to get a hunting licence.
Hunting can be an expensive sport ( the subject of how sporting it is when the deer can't shoot back is my private personal opinion and the big reason I don't hunt ) If I wanted to cut corners, I might be able to find hunting apparel on Kijiji, but by their own rules I would not be able to buy the rifle or the ammunition there.
If you want to stir up some heated debate at your next social gathering ... suggest that there should be legislation to ban the traffic of living breathing sentient being on the free online ad sites. The politest responses invariably include at least one of:
  1. that would infringe on personal freedom
  2. how else could most people afford a purebred
  3. adoption screenings are an invasion of personal privacy
  4. it saves lives by finding new homes for pets, and my personal favourite
  5. "free to a good home" is a great way for people who can't afford a pet to get one

Sadly, the ones who really pay the price for this "liberty" are both the animals and the kind hearted animal lovers :

  1. When the personal freedom that is infringed upon is that of puppy brokers like the Benoits. The reality is that it provides a layer of anonymity that allows puppy mills and backyard breeders to overbreed inadequately housed animals as they capitalize on the natural desire for pet ownership.
  2. There is a reason that purebreds are expensive. Reputable breeders carefully screen for genetic traits and disorders. Puppies come to their new homes with their vaccines, a health guarantee and a lifetime of breeder support. Kijiji's curbside guarantee will not help inexperienced petowners prepare for their new best friend or cope with the journey from cute puppy to well socialized dog. When 'purebreds' are advertised as not having two CKC registered parents, that means that someone has been breeding a dog without breeding rights... that the original breeder felt was unsuitable in some way for breeding. It isn't just a matter of 'getting what you pay for' its the heartbreak and expense involved when medical and behavior issues arise. Many of the 'free to a good home' listings originally started with the purchase of a purebred puppy from this source.
  3. in this electronic age, personal privacy is a tough thing to hang on to. The average person puts more information on their Facebook Account than is asked for in applications for reputable rescues and breeders. The process is meant to prevent heartache by matching pets to the applicants with an appropriate lifestyle and commitment level.
  4. Sadly the 'free to a good home' section is brimming with potential problems. When someone has no time for the puppy they failed to train, the offspring of the pet they didn't spay, the 8 year old that they have overbred for years and the faithful old friends that are developing health issues, where do you think they get listed. Nobody has to work through the knots and find a better solution as long as this is available. Nor do people want to know how many times the seemingly 'humane' solution winds up becoming a feeder, a breeder or being taken out to a back road and dumped.
  5. before the keyboards catch on fire, it costs money to do anything in this life. Even without being extravagant, pets need to eat and will need regular vet care. It will cost at least twice the adoption fee to vaccinate and alter the youngsters.

The reality is that this is consumer protection legislation. First time pet owners often bring more love than experience to the table. Shouldn't they be protected from the unscruplulous looking to prey on their very natural desire for a pet?

Efforts made by animal advocates to address this issue with Kijiji have been repeatedly rebuffed. Why won't Kijiji let its customers list baby walkers? Because its illegal to sell them anymore. Why aren't weapons allowed? Because its against the law. As would it be to list drugs, alcohol or porn. Straight sweet and simple.

What time is it? Its always time to remember that the single thing that all politicians of all stripes respond to is strong voter feedback. Now that the fall session has started, its time to remind our MLA's that this this is important issue to the animal loving .... and voting community (click on Members - Constituencies if you do not know the appropriate email and phone numbers.)

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