Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Freedom of choice in California? Heading for the crapper. Dog ownership stripped down to conditional custody of sterile animals You're just there to pay the bills. Do ya feel lucky now, dude? Do ya? This ain't about "breeder's rights" in California. Hell, no. Lloyd Levine, the Democratic Assemblyman and animal extremist tool from Van Nuys, may be struggling to keep the spotlight focused on those nasty dog and cat "breeders" but he just took aim at the homes, and pets, of well over 15,000,000 dog owners and 13,000,000 cat owners in California. Levine thinks they aren't smart enough to make veterinary care decisions. So he wants the State of California to do it for them: surgical sterilization at 16 weeks of age.
So get ready to deal with it.
No exceptions for California pet owners. None. Zero. No way, no how.
What's that? You don't want your dog or cat to undergo surgery? You're worried about --
the cost?
the anesthesia?
the health impact of castration?
Maybe you like your dog or cat just fine "as is"?
You just want a little time to think it over?
You like to make your own decisions about the dogs and cats you live with?
You think 16 weeks is a tender age for major surgery?
Tough shit.
Lloyd Levine thinks he knows how to manage your pets better than you do.
Where's the money going to come from, Lloyd? Who's going to pay for all of this blood-letting, anyway? My vet charges $600 to spay a dog. So can I send Lloyd Levine the bill? Huh?
There are no funding provisions attached to Levine's AB 1634 . California pet owners are on their own. They have to either find the money to spay or neuter their dogs and cats, or face a $500 fine for each intact animal they're convicted of owning.
That leaves low-income dog and cat owners between a rock and hard place. Will economically stressed, fearful owners be forced to turn their pets in to shelters? Will they simply release them in public parks? Who's gonna pay the bill for sheltering (and probably killing) all of those pets that currently have homes? Any thoughts on that, Lloyd?
Let's run Lloyd Levine's numbers. Shall we?
Because this part is interesting.
Lloyd's Van Nuys neighborhood shows a median household income significantly below the California average. His assembly district also has a significant minority population.
Actually, let me rephrase that. "People like Lloyd" are in the minority in his Assembly district.
Levine claims he's been working on a mandatory spay-neuter proposal for ten years. But what makes me think he didn't have the residents of Assembly District 40 in mind when he sponsored this proposal?
Maybe its the way it discriminates against them.
Levine already announced his candidacy for the California Senate. He has his eye on SD 23, currently held by (also term-limited) Sheila Kuehl. Lloyd Levine thinks he might be movin' on up in the world, it seems.
Is Lloyd counting chickens before they hatch?
Levine sure as hell won't be the only one running for SD-23. Expect outgoing Members of the Assembly Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) and Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood), or even newly minted members Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica) and Mike Feuer (D-West L.A.).
Could be. Outraged, pet loving Dems are already on the move. At least one local observer doesn't like his chances for Kuehl's seat at all.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, no friend to Lloyd Levine, editorialized in a piece titled "Drastic Overreach: Pet sterilization plan should be scrapped"--
"It's dismaying that Levine's bill passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee thanks to unanimous support from the panel's Democrats. We hope that every Assembly Democrat takes an independent, fresh look at AB 1634 and not just go along with Levine because of that “D” after his name.
Pet overpopulation is a complex issue. Decisions on how to deal with it shouldn't be driven by partisanship. "
They're right.
Gross interference in the lives and civil liberties of law-abiding citizens is NOT a Democratic value.
Laws that disproportionately penalize the poor? NOT a Democratic value.
Furthering the agenda of special interests and extremists? So NOT a Democratic value.
Sticking it to 60+ percent of the voting population?
Geez, I hope someone somewhere at Democratic Party Central realizes how NOT a Democratic value that is.
Lloyd, baby. Wake up and smell the dog!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Does Lloyd Levine think California dog owners are stupid? Too stupid to make good decisions about their dogs? Under Levine's AB 1634, all California dogs get the knife Those gonads have got to go. Under Democrat Lloyd Levine's master plan mandating sterilization of all dogs over four months of age in the state of California, people with intact dogs don't have a prayer. Their ability to make veterinary care decisions about the animals they live with is going to be excised with a scalpel. The Animal Council calculates that the Levine plan will require the re-write of 536 municipal and county animal control ordinances, leaving dog owners and enforcement personnel alike scrambling to comprehend the new regulations. Demon rum, cocaine, and dogs: Is there a connection? In Lloyd Levine's mind, there sure is. Levine justified his proposal by expressing obstinate faith in a legislative concept that has failed, over and over again. The leaky faucet thing. Again. "This legislation will be the equivalent of turning off the spigot on a leaky pipe,” said Assembly member Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys). “If you’ve got water leaking into your basement, you can bail all you want, you can get buckets and friends with buckets, but until you turn off the pipe, you’re going to continue having water leaking into the basement." Yeah. Right. Just like Prohibition fixed alcoholism . Not. Unforeseen consequences What everyone but Lloyd Levine remembers from high school is that Prohibition promoted organized crime and the increased use of cocaine and opium. It cost boatloads of money, and accomplished nothing. Substance abuse rampages on. Want to discuss the war on drugs, anyone? Where demand exists, supply follows. A mass castration of responsibly owned dogs will not break the cycle of impulsively-purchased puppies that are later surrendered to shelters, and shelter populations are already falling fast in California. Inhumanely transported, sickly, very young puppies from Mexico and elsewhere are already a serious problem in California. Will the problem grow, following implementation of AB 1634? "Compassionate choices" in the Golden State Levine's recent press release promotes his empathy for those facing difficult end-of-life scenarios and his support of their ability to make decisions for themselves. Lloyd Levine is pro-choice, in a pro-choice state. In fact, the Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California gave him a "100%" thumbs up rating. So why the hell does Levine think its okay to interfere with people making veterinary care decisions about their dogs and cats? I'm not getting Lloyd Levine, and I'm not alone. The blogosphere war cry? Lloyd Levine, call your office. Democrats and Nanny-state Nonsense: the downside of smug elitism "Democrats who control the [California] Legislature are more eager than ever to micromanage our lives, in the smug and elitist certainty that most people are too dumb to do what's best for them. . ." Smug and elitist? Absolutely. But is Levine's mandatory sterilization plan "micromanagement"? Or is it way too much involvement in the civil liberties of law abiding citizens? Maybe Lloyd doesn't see much of a difference. "I guess the government is trying to be the nanny, or the parent, or the supervisor," acknowledged Assemblyman Lloyd Levine ... . "And you know what? Sometimes the nanny is right, sometimes the parents are right — oftentimes the parents are right." With all of the requirements, regulations and fees placed on the owners of intact dogs, AB 1634 will make it almost impossible to own a dog in the state of California without agreeing to have it surgically sterilized at four months of age. So what does that mean? It means no more small, hobby breeders in California. They won't be able to function with AB 1634 in place. No more hunting dogs, and no more true working dogs. Those dogs are typically intact, and bred by their owners. Dogs with special skills will be mostly gone within a generation, leaving only sterile pets in the state of California. Dog breeding will become the exclusive domain of large-scale commercial breeders that can afford to invest in the many permits and fees AB 1634 will require. Run, Lloyd, run! What makes Lloyd Levine run? He's term limited, but something tells me he's got a plan for his future. He's young, he's ambitious, and he's a career politician. What makes him think that such a draconian, useless proposal--one that strips civil liberties from law-abiding citizens--is acceptable? Is this where the Democratic Party is headed? Let's hope not. There's room for all kinds of dogs and dog owners in the Golden State, because California really is a place where the freedom of choice matters. Lloyd Levine, don't bother with calling your office. Call your constituents.

They want to know why you think they're not smart enough to make decisions about their own dogs.

Call, Lloyd, call!

Or just keep running. And hope you've got enough speed.

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?