Dog Blog Comment (Spay/Neuter)

My friend Eric forwarded an interesting post by a Canadian dog trainer (not Gregg) who looks to the falconry permitting scheme as a possible answer for the mandatory spay/neuter situation in the dog breeding world. It reads in part:

“How come the falconers have learned to control the breeding of falcons without spaying and neutering their birds, yet dog people have not?”In the old days they had things like kennel masters and breed keepers. I do not see why a developed country like Canada can not create professional breed surveyors who regulate the breeding of dogs.”It takes time to become a falconer. You have to apprentice. Then you graduate to being allowed to own one falcon. And then over time you can have two and then three. And then finally you are allowed to breed falcons under conditions.”Why can they not set up a similar situation with dogs? Perhaps if it took more studying, apprenticing, mandatory training classes and so forth to own a dog then there would be less people getting them. That would control pet over population far more than mandatory spaying/neutering ever will.”

The blog post did not allow comments so I emailed the author my thoughts:

“As a falconer I appreciate your positive comments about our sport and the permit scheme we operate under (I’m an American, but I presume the Canadian system is very similar).

“We are facing a sweep of mandatory spay/neuter laws across the country and many of us find it as alarming as you do. We would welcome any relief from the growing threat to pet and working-animal ownership posed by the “animal rights” lobby.

“But be careful what you wish for in further governmental oversight and permitting. Falconry is the most highly-regulated field sport in our country, and that chafes us plenty. We have an honorable and ancient apprenticeship tradition, one that (given the difficulty of the sport in general) has served as an excellent “gatekeeper” and schooling mechanism for centuries. The federal and state permitting does little to enhance this existing system, and does much to detract from it by applying paperwork and legal penalties for non-compliance.

“We feel the government’s role is to regulate and conserve the public wildlife resources we use (the wild-trapped hawks and our wild quarries); we do not feel it should weigh in on the breeding and treatment of captive bred hawks or become a falconry police force.

“Since dog breeders and trainers use an existing domestic stock, which should be considered private property, we feel the government should have little or nothing to say about it—-provided the rights of others are not impacted.

“Preserving the traditions and techniques of your sport, and the dogs themselves, should be up to you.”

Anyone else care to weigh in?

8 thoughts on “Dog Blog Comment (Spay/Neuter)”

  1. I know nothing about falcons and falconry. But even I can see that breeding falcons in captivity in NO WAY compares to dog breeding. Falconry is a very specialized practice with a small number of practitioners, compared to the general population. Practically everybody has had, currently has, knows somebody who has, or is planning to have, a dog. Pet dogs are everywhere. The vast majority of dogs bred on purpose are bred to be pets. Who decides the proper way to breed a pet? Show breeders? Commercial breeders? Animal rights activists? You think any backyard breeders are going to be allowed on that committee? Frankly, I don’t want someone else telling me how to take care of my dogs or whether I can breed them or not, and under what circumstances. That’s big stinky can of worms that should remain closed.

    Mandatory spay/neutering laws have nothing to do with population control, or controlling breeding to make sure dogs are ‘properly bred.’ For officials they are simply a feel good band-aid to slap on a complex problem. Far easier than to actually do some research and find out why dogs end up in shelters, then address those issues. For ARAs spay/neuter laws are all about punishing people who breed and who want purebred dogs as workers or companions. (Don’t you know that ll dogs are the same? For every pup born a shelter dog dies! If you want a dog go to the shelter!) Passing laws with complicated breeding permit schemes are simply a way of weeding out some breeders (make it too expensive or troublesome and many people will just stop doing it) and making the rest easier to find. ARAs work the same way with any other use of animals: agriculture, research, fur, hunting, etc. They try to make it so expensive and so much trouble that it is no longer worth the effort to continue. That blog entry shows a good deal of ignorance about what is actually going on behind the scenes of these types of laws.

  2. It seems that a though examination of the authors and supporters of the positive rash of spay/neuter and radical kennel ‘reform’ legislation reveals the same players under the covers – mainly HSUS, an organization dedicated to the elimination of the private ownership of animals — ALL animals.

    Despite the public front and the cute ‘save the animal victims of Katrina’ TV spots, the HSUS is essentially a Animal Rights PAC. All the money that they collect goes to forwarding their extreme AR agenda.

    I urge EVERYONE who cares about their dogs, sport, or personal rights to support the American Sporting Dog Alliance —

    I also suggest that a few letters sent to elected representatives and making your views known in a factual way will be a lot better when these laws are being formulated, rather than after the fact.

    These proposals are popping up in states across the nation – without any basis in the principles of animal husbandry, privet property rights, or the concerns of ordinary citizens. The time to act is now.

  3. I’m with Nightmare. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The best I can do with my tazis if “only purebred” legislation comes is to have each critiqued and evaluated by the Society for the perpetuation of the desert- bred Saluki (SPDBS) for three generations, assuming I can find three qualified judges that like my hounds. Show and AKC people dismiss “Country OF Origin” dogs as mutts, and governments go where they point. No thanks!

  4. Matt,

    I don’t think he is suggesting that the government control breeding. A brief look at his web site (interesting to say the least) and it looks like he is suggesting a European type of system.

    Each breed club sets its own requirements and appoints breed wardens and judges to oversee it. Long and short, the dogsl have to pass certain health evaluations and be judged at a breed survey called a Körung. The Körung looks at conformation and temperament. So theoretically, the most beautiful dog could be deemed unworthy to breed if the temperament was poor.

    I’m simply talking about the working dogs, I don’t know what they do with the toy breeds but I know that the hunting dogs (the only breeds in Germany that are still allowed to crop and dock) have a similar system with their own requirements.

    All of this simply means that it is a little tougher to play by the rules, and, it is a system that has produced some good dogs. But in reality, it doesn’t stop the “producers”. You can still breed “whatever” to “whomever” without regard to all of the above, if you are not worried about registration papers.

    Besides, adopting the European system wouldn’t help the fight against the animal right elements since Europe has an even tougher time against the radicals than we do. The crop and dock battle is already lost to them and don’t tell them that the little stumpy looking dog on the end of your leash is a Pit Bull because most bull breeds aren’t even allowed in many European countries.

    The owner of one of our Giant Schnauzer puppies spends much of her time in Germany. When she takes the dog out in public, she is mandated by law to carry a muzzle. If someone expresses a concern about the dog, she must muzzle the dog. She has had to do this on several occasions because someone expressed a fear of black dogs.

    You know….killer canines………….like Rina.


  5. As much as the Germans love their dogs — they let them sit by the tables in restaurants — they alo love regulations. The idea of a breed club deciding whether you can breed your purebred dog is antithetical to the development of lines within a breed. You end up breeding what the breed nazis think is what you ought to have.

    Examples of German bred and American bred versatile hunting dogs is an example. German dogs are bred to hunt ANYTHING – even wild boar, so they are ‘sharp’ and inclined towards fur. Not so good for a bird dog, which is what most Americans use their versatile dogs for.

    I am certainly not opposed to some regulation for the welfare of animals in kennels, and to limit cruel treatment. But the balance between private property rights and animal ‘rights’ weighs heavily towards the latter.


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