The time has come for an outright ban on dog breeding for profit, but don’t expect government help

At basically any time of the year, it’s quite common to see on public billboards throughout the community such as those located at the Rimbey Co-op and the Grand Hotel for example, a number of notices and advertisements posted by dog breeders – including most with very colourful photographs, trying to sell the puppies for a variety of prices, most of which are in the amount of several hundreds of dollars – or even more.

But following a recent news article that appeared on one of the province’s largest television networks, many who believe that the problem of homeless and abandoned pets in Alberta has reached the point – or beyond, where it’s time to consider outlawing the breeding of dogs for profit all together.

In case you missed it, according to the newscast the Edmonton Humane Society euthanized more than 1,700 dogs and cats in 2008 while enduring substantial costs to both the Society and those who financial support it and other similar organizations. Further, the Calgary Humane Society euthanized another 400 or so cats and dogs in the same time period leading one to believe that province-wide, somewhere between 3,000 and 3,500 pets are put down annually in Alberta for nothing more than being born. Additionally, we may as well double that number when considering the amount of unwanted pets that freeze and/or starve to death every year.

It’s also interesting to see on many of the postings from dog breeders how they insist on doing background checks and ask an assortment of other questions to prospective buyers to ensure that their puppies end up in a home with responsible and caring owners.

And while their diligence and compassion is an admirable quality, it begs the question: where is that sense of compassion when it comes to the thousands of stray pets out there?

After all, when you strip away the warm and fuzzy façade on the exterior, these people breed dogs for profit, and that’s the bottom line.

As such, many in any community who possess a genuine sense of care and compassion for homeless critters see those who breed pets for profit, and those who purchase puppies from them, as people who are compounding a problem that shouldn’t really even exist.

In fact, if you’re considering purchasing a new pet, wouldn’t it make a whole lot more sense to consider a visit to an animal shelter such as the one operated by our new friends at the Old MacDonald Kennels near Ponoka rather than plunking down $350 or $650 or more, on the table of a dog breeder?

In fact, if you really want to do the right thing, and if you’re prepared to drop that kind of money, why not give it all to a not-for-profit, no-kill animal shelter such as the one listed above; pick out the animal of your choice, and become part of the solution rather than part of the problem?

After all, be it a new puppy or an older dog, and be they a purebred or simply a mutt off the street, they’ll still give you their unconditional love no matter what because they don’t call dogs man’s best friend for nothing. Oh, and let’s not forget about all the homeless and abandoned cats out there either.

It goes without saying that an outright ban on breeding dogs for profit would take some serious leadership on the part of the provincial government – something that, unfortunately, you’ll most likely never see due to the fact that if they’re turning their backs on senior citizens in Alberta, they most certainly have no intentions of defending homeless animals.

So with that it’s up to the public – that being you and me, to take matters into our own hands to make a difference because after all, if we don’t do it, who will?

On that level, here are a few suggestions that you and I can do despite the overwhelming apathy on the part of the government.

For one thing, we all realize that mistake happen and if your dog or cat ends up pregnant; you may want to consider having them spayed or neutered.

Secondly, feel free to approach those who administer the above-mentioned notice boards and encourage them to ban all advertisements pertaining to the sale of bred dogs for profit. And if that doesn’t work…

Feel free to simply rip the advertisement off the board and throw it away in a garbage can. And don’t worry about getting busted for it because after a bit of research, it has come to light that anyone who willingly leaves anything in the public domain automatically relinquishes any rights to it. In other words, be it a posting on a public message board or a pair of old shoes under a park bench, whoever left those items can no longer claim any ownership making them fair game for all. But please, just be sure to leave the ones giving away puppies and kittens for free alone.

To summarize, it’s painfully obvious that the provincial government won’t step in to fix this highly unnecessary practice, and because of that, there’s really only one of two options left – either the problem goes on forever, or the public steps in and tries to fix it themselves.

Which leaves only one question: are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem?

* * *

In sticking with the theme of bringing the issue of abandoned and mistreated critters and those who contribute to the problem to the forefront, you may want to consider packing up the kids for an early summer holiday and taking a trip to McBride, B.C. in mid-June so you and your rug rats can see first-hand, justice in action and what happens to those who do not properly care for their animals.

Why there and why then?

Because on June 12, Edmonton-based lawyer Frank Mackay will stand in a courtroom full of his peers and be forced to digest a big old plateful of the previously-mentioned justice for abandoning two horses for the better part of four months in the Rockies to fend for themselves during one of the most brutal winters in recent memory.

The horses in question – Belle, a three year-old mare which was suffering from rain scald and frostbite, and Sundance, a 14 year-old gelding which lost most of its tail to lice and sustained a hoof injury, were rescued by a group of snowmobilers who luckily came across them in the wilderness, have since made full recoveries and have found new homes.

But by the sounds of it, that plateful of justice is going to be awfully big because Mackay will have to answer to two counts under the Criminal Code of Canada – those being for abandoning an animal in distress, and for causing an animal unnecessary pain and suffering. He’ll also be facing a separate charge under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

If convicted, Mackay faces a maximum fine of $10,000, up to five years in prison and a prohibition from owning animals.

But don’t feel too sorry for Mackay if he ends up doing some time in the Big House. At least he’ll have plenty of clients to ply his trade on.

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