Most animal laws are enacted to keep the stupid people in our society from harming the rest of us. In a world in which we feel like we are over-regulated, the following laws are for your own protection:
Leash Laws – Pet owners are the last people to recognize that their pet is a danger to other pets or people. Leash laws are to help provide a level of control that an obtuse pet owner might need. Communities should NEVER allow for a law that provides for verbal control over pets; anything less than physical restraint is just a stupid plan. Sorry, I was lacking a better term for that.
Exotic Animal Laws – Many people do not have the sense when it comes to owning wild or verminous species. Exotic animal laws limit the ownership of animals that present a danger to themselves or others. In Portland, we had a person who owned a liger, in Milwaukee we had numerous people who owned verminous snakes. Sorry, here it comes again…. people who own these animals are just plain stupid. There is no point in owning a dangerous animal whether it is domestic or wild. Have you ever watched a show in which some idiot is interviewed claiming the number of times he (and it is usually is a “he”) was bitten by his verminous snakes? Sometimes you just have to ask yourself whatever happened to natural selection?
Licensing Laws – Less than 10% of the dogs entering an animal shelter wear any form of identification. The percentage is even lower for cats. For years, I created campaigns with the slogan: “A license is a phone call home for a pet without a dime.” Okay, that was a long time ago. The slogan never worked, so we purchased a pet tag engraver and began giving tags out when people reclaimed their pets. The free ID tags didn’t work; no matter how many tags we created for a pet; it would always be picked up without a tag. So, we created laws that pets that were picked up three times without identification would be microchipped.
Let’s face it, in addition to providing revenue, the pet licensing law was a means to get an animal back to the owner. The last thing we need is for owned animals taking up the necessary space in our animal shelter. In a perfect world, a pet owner would begin looking for their lost pet within 24 hours. Working in animal welfare, I learned that we don’t live in a perfect world. Many pet owners don’t seem to look for their pets at all… or, at least until the 3, 7, or 10-day stay-holding period is up. It is amazing the number of pet owners that show up after their pet has been adopted by someone else.
Most pet licensing laws require that the pet be vaccinated for rabies. Dogs and cats are the two species that are most likely to come in contact with a rabies vector species (bats, skunks, raccoons, and foxes). Rabies vaccinations are usually good for 1 or 3 years. Many veterinarians use the 1-year vaccination to force their clients to bring in their pets for an annual check-up.
Animal Cruelty – Although this is a blog about laws that protect you, a good number of people need to be told how to treat their pets. Yeah, I know; you would think that it would be common sense. But it isn’t. One of the most common complaints that animal control officers receive in the winter is that dog owners do not provide fresh water for their outdoor pets when the water bucket freezes over. In the summer months, the complaints turn to dogs left without shade or left in hot cars. I know what you are thinking, and I think that as well: a person should have to pass a test first before being allowed to be a pet owner or parent.
Dangerous Dog Laws – Some owners still will not recognize their dog as being dangerous, even after it has been declared dangerous by the local jurisdiction. Dangerous dog laws create an additional layer of safety for the community after a dog has exhibited signs of being dangerous. Those laws require additional confinement restrictions and insurance. Many dogs are euthanized when they attack or bite a person after they have been declared dangerous. Even with fatal dog attacks, it seems the only one who didn’t believe the dog was dangerous beforehand is the owner. I don’t know if this ignorance is the result of stupidity or just laziness to accept responsibility for the dog’s behavior. These laws determine when a person cannot be responsible to maintain an aggressive dog properly and then make a determination as to the need to kill the dog.
It is not uncommon for a judge to remove a dangerous dog from the community. Instead of euthanizing the dog, the judge rules that the dog should be removed from the community. In these cases, the judge just removes the dog from his community to place it upon another community to worry about. Judges don’t like to order the death of an animal and sometimes make foolish decisions.
It would be a wonderful world that if we didn’t have to live with laws, but humanity would kill itself if we didn’t have them.