Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mandatory Spay/Neuter (MSN) Doesn't Work

I've previously posted facts showing that mandatory spay/neuter increases, rather than reduces the number of dogs turned in to the local humane societies.

On the other side of things, it doesn't stop people who want a dog from getting one. For example, 75% of the puppies from our last litter went to performance and companion homes in areas where MSN is in place. Good for me, of course. But it certainly means MSN is pretty useless.

And, then there's the national report on puppies being brought in from other countries:

Consumer demand for pure-bred and cross-bred puppies coupled with strict new domestic breeding laws is believed to be driving importation numbers even higher than four years ago. To exacerbate the problem, federal regulators have no real way of tracking exactly how many dogs are brought in the country, where they come from, where they are going and whether importers are following up on vaccination requirements for underage puppies.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) tracks anti-puppy mill legislation and saw a huge jump after 2008, with 90 bills introduced across 33 states — five of them adopted in 2009. "There's a campaign, clearly well-organized, to bring these bills forward," says Adrian Hochstedt, AVMA's assistant director of state legislative and regulatory affairs.

Additionally, foreign countries make it easier to breed dogs because of loose animal-health standards, contends California attorney John Hoffman, who has crusaded against puppy importers on behalf of various breed groups.

For instance, one French Bulldog group he provided services for claims there are now more French Bulldogs imported into the United States than are bred here, because artificial insemination and cesarean deliveries can be performed cheaper by unlicensed veterinary workers in other countries.

"The sale over the Internet of both commercially bred puppies and imported puppies has become a big business — and probably considerably outstrips sales of puppies through pet shops," Hoffman said during testimony before Congress in 2006 on an importation law that never passed. "USDA regulations prohibit carriers from accepting animals for transport without a health certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian and from transporting puppies younger than 8 weeks. It appears that both regulations are routinely flouted by commercial puppy exporters abroad. That health certificates are being forged is evidenced by the large incidence of illness and death among puppies within a day or two of arrival in the United States."

Many of these imported dogs are irresponsibly bred with a host of genetic problems and are shipped young — too young to vaccinate — to meet market demand. Importers often lie about age and health issues on a dog's records and get away with it, Hoffman claims.

But importers for profit aren't the only violators. One rescue organization alone imported 295 dogs from the Middle East in 2006, according to Galland and Marano's article, and even veterinarians can be pulled into a laissez-faire attitude about pet importation.

Galland's 2009 article reveals a 2007 case of a puppy imported from India by a Washington state veterinarian. The dog was given to another veterinarian, bit veterinary clinic staff and another dog while showing signs of rabies, but wasn't diagnosed with the disease until another veterinarian brought it to Alaska. Eight people had to be treated for rabies.

Several rabies cases in imported dogs have been tracked in recent years, as well as cases of other diseases long-eradicated in the United States, like screwworm. Screwworms are monitored by the USDA and could cause up to $750 million in livestock production losses, the article notes. New World screwworms were eradicated from the United States in 1966, and Old World screwworm had never been seen in this country until it was found in a puppy imported from Singapore to Massachusetts in 2007.


So, which would you rather have people buy - that imported puppy that whose background you don't know and that has had no shots etc. Or, a puppy from someone like myself that tests the parents and provides exceptional care for the puppies?