A while back I wrote about an incident where a lady joking told me I should be ashamed for buying Kip from a breeder instead of adopting a dog. Leia, Rocco, and Sandy’s owner from Rocco’s House pondered if emptying shelters would make the general public more responsible by eliminating the option altogether.
It got me thinking about what it would actually take for people to be responsible for their dogs. To begin with, I recently learned that you need to register your dog. Not with AKC, not at the Humane Society or your Vet, but in the city you live in. Is this common sense? Well, if it was I must lack a great deal of it. Kip is my first dog and no one ever told me that I needed to register my dog. The breeder, the vet, the numerous different staff at different pet stores, the dog daycare all required me to have his vaccinations and neutering on occasion, but not one asked if I had registered Kip with the city.
I just happened to run across it on a forum one day (it wasn’t even a dog related forum) where someone asked if they needed to register their dog. What a great question! I looked it up and found out that it actually is required by the city and there’s an annual renewal policy that can include fines if you’re late with your renewal payment. They also send you a tag that your dog is required to wear at all times.
The fact that no one ever mentioned that such registration exists just goes to show just how well it’s enforced. It’s sad but when rules or laws are not enforced, nobody cares. So what rules are kept by the general public? I think that rules related to cars and driving are pretty significant in the U.S. Of course, there are some traffic rules that people tend to never keep (speeding) but for the most part it’s not as bad as some countries and you actually do run across cops that pull people over for violations.
So what if we start at the very beginning? The main problems seem to be that A. There are simply more dogs then there are people that want to raise them. B. There are too many irresponsible people who abandon their dogs and add to reason A.
How could we solve problem A? Let’s say that all dog breeders are required to have a permit. Permit’s are only given to people who fully understand and will work towards breeding the healthiest puppies they can by trying to eliminate genetic problems and such. Every puppy that is born is required to be microchipped and neutered/spayed. When a puppy is sold to an individual the microchip acts like a vehicle license and the owner must be registered to that microchip. That way if a dog/puppy is abandoned, authorities can see who is responsible for it. This responsibility would encourage anyone who is giving or selling a dog to make sure the microchip is updated with the correct new owner’s information. By neuter/spaying all puppies to owners that don’t hold a permit as a breeder, it would stop backyard breeders. Also, if breeder’s were required to have at least a litter’s worth of potential buyer’s on a waitlist before allowing a litter to be bred, then it would help ensure there arn’t more puppies than there are people that can raise them.
What about problem B? We could go on to say that anyone who wishes to buy a puppy must have gone through the required training and own a license (like how we have to pass a driving exam to have a driver’s license). This would envolve one class that educates a potential owner on dog behavior and how we can’t expect them to understand English or human manners. I think it would also be important for the human and dog to also attend at least one clicker training course while the dog is still a puppy so that the puppy can socialize in an environment that does not encourage habits such as jumping up and getting overly excited when meeting people and dogs. The problem isn’t that there arn’t enough people who would like to gush over and pet your puppy on the street. The problem is that most people don’t understand that you’re not supposed to let that adorable darling puppy jump up on you, and that you shouldn’t reward them for it, and you should most definiately not hold their paws to help them stay standing. They also don’t understand that a puppy nor the puppy’s owner may not feel comfortable with a stranger running up and giving kisses on their nose without permission (this really happened to me, twice. I was mortified).
And finally, I think that a dog nutrition course and a Q&A class covering potty training, crate training, and teething/chewing should be required as well.
So let’s see. We’ve eliminated an excuse for people who abandon their dogs at shelters because “I can’t potty train my dog” and “I didn’t understand the responsibility.” We’ve also potentially eliminated the amount of people who would abandon their dogs on the street because of the microchipping system, and we’ve reduced the population of dogs in general through a strict breeding system.
Finally, I think they should let us include dogs as a dependant on tax returns. Dog toys, chews, training, treats for training, good quality dog food, vet bills, vaccines, flea preventatives add up to be a lot. Oh yes the people with kid’s and don’t understand what it means to have a dog will roll their eyes and tell you how much more expensive and amount of responsiblity having a child is. Yes, I am aware of that. But I’m not asking for the same amount of deduction as a child. I’d just like to point out that most of the population has some sort of pet and it costs a hefty amount and some sort of deduction would be nice. Hey, I live in a city where on average there are more dogs than children in each household!