AR Follies 2: Albuquerque

Meanwhile, close to home, Albuquerque residents soon can choose between having all their dogs neutered and microchipped or owning them under even MORE restrictive rules.

I am not remotely exaggerating. The original “simple, fair” regs promoted by Albuquerque mayor Marty Chavez were ” that all dogs and cats be spayed or neutered, provides the service for free or people who cannot afford it, requires dogs and cats to be micro- chipped, and provides an exception for bona fide breeders ” [ whatever they may be– State decides of course– SB] (City councilman Don Harris, Albuquerque Journal 29 April.) This is bad enough for any minor breeder with its $150 fee for intact animals, and NOBODY microchips my dogs and birds!

But the reaction to this is not the status quo ante; it is a bill so mind- boggling it could have been written by Wayne Pacelle. From the same source:

“On Monday, the City Council will vote on a very different animal ordinance, Sally Mayer’s Humane And Ethical Rules and Treatment (HEART) Ordinance. The ordinance contains the spay, neuter and microchip provisions. However, they are a small component of a proposal that is as breathtakingly radical as it is totalitarian….

“The ordinance would create unlimited liability for the city. It states that “the City has the responsibility to ptotect animals in the City.” The courts do not impose that duty on the city with respect to people (unless they are in the city’s custody). If passed, whenever pigeons are killed, animal rights activists may have a cuase of action against the city….

“The proposal equates animals and people in many respects – referring to animals “incarcerated” at the animal shelter, referring to “foster care” for animals and providing a “safe haven” for animals dropped off at animal shelters….

“Any person holding a permit – for instance, breeders – would have to have a background check, an inspection of his or her home and be subjected to warrantless follow-up searches by the city. City officials can look through paperwork that the owner must maintain for three years until after the animal dies. Every dog or cat owner must provide the city with the names of two other people who will take care of their animals in the event the owners cannot…

“Purebred aimal breeders must pay a fee of $150 per intact animal per year, and get a permit for every litter before the puppies or kittens are born…

“The ordinance equates animal abuse with domestic violence by requiring that all violoations of the lengthly law would constitute a petty misdemeanor requiring a court appearance….

“The HEART ordinance, once understood, conjures up a National Lampoon style skit of a team of Animal Control Police coming into your home without a warrant and arresting you for mistreating your bunny. It is not funny, however, becasue that is actually what the ordinance would allow.”

I most certainly have a personal interest here. Three of my intact lurcher pups are in working homes in Albuquerque, and one of my forthcoming tazis is going there. (The tazis have taken most of my income and energy for the last five years and are genetic gold, the only Asian saluki-type dogs in North America, the only ones of that stock whose ancestors have never stopped hunting, and a likely source of genes for working salukis as well as a distinct population of their own). I have given all these dogs away for expenses in order to place them well, and intend to breed them all. I certainly couldn’t afford such fees or, probably, survive a hostile inspection with my 120- year- old house and dusty yard. (I’m sure they would be especially fair to a falconer and hunter).

But forget me. Where, O hunters and purebred dog fans, do you think your dogs will come from? Will there be any? If there are, will they cost $5000 apiece?

If this bill passes there will be pressure on all New Mexican towns to do likewise. And I, who have lived in this town for 26 years, will be considering northeastern Montana, as I am too poor to afford my own ranch…

Update: Wayne Pacelle personally challenges governor and presidential hopeful Bill Richardson on cockfighting. It’s a lose- lose situation for Richardson– a Hispanic hot button issue (pro- cockfihghting) and a national loser.

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