Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Am I not a Democrat? Or is the only room on the bus for middle class, middle-aged white people ? Sure, Dems have placed Barak front-and-center. But this dedicated dog owner is looking at the issues, not the figureheads. Not the mouthpieces. Pet ownership: just for "people like us"? Best Friends Animal Society's forum included an interesting exchange recently. Readers will recall that Best Friends Animal Society, the animal rights group that believes that yes, indeed, there are dangerous dog breeds, is one of Democratic Party strategist Joe Trippi's most visible clients. One participant wrote, describing her post-Katrina experience working with low income pet owners: I came to meet people who loved their dogs with all of their heart. People who would share their last piece of food left with their dog. People with very little money, but a lot of love to share. . . They fed their dog cheap grocery store dog food because they ate cheap food. . . Does this mean that they don't love their dogs? That they aren't strongly bonded? NO! In some cases, they love them more than we can imagine because for many people, that is all they have. That sounded like people doing the best they can in difficult circumstances to me. But apparently that wasn't good enough. In fact, that writer took some serious flak from--get this--"a past board member of one of the largest humane organizations in the country": THIS POST IS JUST SCARY! Yeah, to my way of thinking these people should not have animals! These are the people who's animals wander the streets, sick and maimed, breeding indiscriminately and contributing to the horrendous pet overpopulation that we have in this country. "These people?" Now, what kind of people would that be? Poor people? Southern people? Rural people? People with working dogs? Dare I say it. . .black people? Economic thresholds for dog ownership: How high is "up"? Democratic NYC Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.--the self-described animal rights activist that wants to ban pit bulls from the City of New York--had a bad week. Again. Challenged on Vallone's proposed tethering restrictions which would require dog owners in NYC to invest in expensive fencing, his aide offered: "If you don’t have the economic means to care for a dog, you shouldn’t have a dog. If you don’t have the space to house a dog humanely, you shouldn’t have it." Wince. Marie Antoinette would have appreciated the concept. Its a variation on her ever-popular "let them eat cake" idea. But New York's many loving dog owners, the ones that don't have a lot of money in the bank, should start worrying. The roughly eleven million NYC-area residents that live in apartments and small houses with tiny backyards had better think carefully about that "enough space" idea, too. That would be eleven million traditionally Democratic Party voters, by the way. How much money and how much space are you going to require before you start taking people's dogs away from them, Mr. Vallone? What's next? Minimum bank balances? Minimum square footages? Certain dogs, certain neighborhoods . . .certain. . .people? City Councilman Mark Wojcik of Troy, New York did some very specific finger-pointing when he told the reporter for the Troy Record that. . . "You can drive through certain areas of Troy at any given time and see pitbulls all over the place." Wojcik then elaborated. . . "We want to make it as hard as possible for anybody who has a pit bull in this city." So let's be clear: its not the dogs. Its the people. Councilman Wojcik wants to use dog laws to profile and persecute "certain" people, living in "certain" areas of Troy. The War on Poverty War on the Poor . Operators like HSUS's Adam Goldfarb provided opportunist legislators with a slick new vocabulary. Stereotyping certain dog owners as gangmembers, drugdealers and criminals allows them to make derogatory racial implications and still keep their hands clean.

And some legislators aren't shy about using their new vocabulary to target low income, minority dog owners. Cheri Bryant Hamilton did it in Louisville. Laws just for the "bad areas"

How would enforcement of Councilman Vallone's anti-tethering proposal go down? Because an ordinance like his is impossible to enforce uniformly and fairly, enforcement would have to be sporadic. Based on [anonymous, telephoned in] complaints. Now, since Democratic NYC Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and his crew appear to believe that the only people who would tether a dog in excess of three hours are crackhead animal abusers (and not simply people with a puppy that will systematically devour the contents of the livingroom if he gets a chance, for example) . . . Guess who will be targeted first? Not the Upper West Side couple that leaves their dog locked in the bathroom while they're at work for 8 or 10 hours. Or the Park Slope family that crates their dog all night because she pees on the carpet. Nope. It will be the owners of a "certain" kinds of dogs, living in a "certain" parts of the city. Hypocrisy. . .elitism. . . uh, Houston? This is a major problem. Is dog ownership going to be the perk of a mostly white, mostly middle-aged, mostly middle class, pearls-and-little-white-gloves set? What a vision of the future. Looking past the carcasses of dogs surrendered to shelters because their owners can't afford to fence their yards. Looking past the distraught people that had to give up their pets, and the children that learned way too early in life that justice for "certain people" is not available. . . What will we be looking at in 20 years or so when that mostly middle class, mostly middle aged group is mostly dead and buried? Who's left owning a dog then? Anyone? Diversify or die Diversity counts. In fact, its essential. Defining dog ownership through exclusively middle class values and references will kill good dogs, and deprive caring families of their companionship. The Peter Vallones of the world don't give a shit. Am I still a Democrat?
Where is the Democratic Party in all of this? Defending the little guy?
Or solidly backing the impoundment and death of blameless family dogs that belong to "certain people", living in "certain neighborhoods"? At the end of the day, will the Democratic Party stand for the preservation of our dogs, and our ability to responsibly own them? Or not?


Bestuvall Bull Terrier said...

as much as I hate to post on BF.. I did so when I read "those people".. Those people who can't afford to have their pets altered when FORCED to should and I quote.. "have a bake sale, a yard sale ,wash cars and (my personal favorite)... collect cans".. wow..maybe Pete V will show up with a dirty car.. or maybe Levine will need a cake.. after all it is a Marie Antoinette society..

For a good laugh go to www.cahealthypets.com.. ignore the bullshit.. go directly to media and listen to Judy Mancuso ( publicist of this dreck) talk (or argue) with John and Ken.. shock jocks from LA.. pretty funny.. especially when she says that the "overpopulation" is mostly with.. you guessed it.. "Pit bulls" and "chihuahuas"...

talk about "racist".. Judy.. get a grip.. or at least get your car washed.. in the barrio..

BB said...

I've been trying for MONTHS to get The New Republic to write an article on Dems and the AR wing nuts in their (our) midst. Seriously, ther major candidates have no position statements (as far as I can tell) listed with ontheissues.org (Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich excepted). I want to know where Hillary stands, where Barak stands, where Edwards stands on animal issues.

Kerrin Winter-Churchill said...

Bravo and Right ON!