AB1634 and the Dog Club Infrastructure in California – Economic Analysis PT4
As we have verified there are over four hundred AKC dog clubs in California, who perform over one thousand approved functions. This means that a lot of people have worked very hard to gain knowledge, expertise, know-how, and competence in the sport of and the ownership of dogs. And it is even bigger than that. The other major dog registry, UKC, may have just as many clubs doing just as many things. UKC simply does not have those clubs as readily identifiable to the public as does AKC. Both organizations are honorable, clean and wholesome organizations, seeking to elevate dog ownership and appreciation in the public sector.
The members in these clubs are your sons, daughters and your neighbors. Many have been involved for several years, even decades. Most of these people have supplied other nice folks with three or four generations of puppies. I recently spoke with one elderly lady who had folks getting their fifth dog from her. Those folks were also elderly and each of their dogs had lived over twelve years.
These folks are generally trustworthy members of the community, honest and law abiding. And they are generally no different than anybody else, except for their avocation and dedication to the sport of purebred dogs. And they belong to dog clubs where they share their knowledge and enthusiasm by doing the things within the dog clubs that benefit the average dog owner and the public in general. For example:
1. They set a good example of taking care of their dogs, and encourage and assist their neighbors in doing likewise.
2. They exemplify the reasons for socializing and training their dogs to be well behaved in human society.
3. They participate in organized rescue of their breed’s cast offs, bought from irresponsible breeders for money, who offer no support to the wrong decision buyers.
4. They participate with their clubs in staging the annual shows and trials required of the club, open to the public’s observation.
5. They often work for the benefit of their local shelter, donating time, money and support within the community.
6. They contribute to animal health research, dogs in general, their particular breed and veterinary schools.
7. They provide expertise to local governments in times of crisis.
8. They provide rescue effort in times of local disaster. And they do many more things too numerous to mention.
But the main thing they do all the time is to work to produce happy, healthy, well adjusted quality dogs that parallel their breed standard. This does not mean that they are constantly breeding dogs. They are researching health issues. They scan winners of dog shows and compare pedigrees for compatibility, they converse with others in the breed, and when the time is right, when there are folks who want more than the usual number of pups produced all lined up to get one, they produce the best litter possible. And they stand behind their dogs, should the buyers have to relinquish them back to the breeder. (It is important to understand here that this is a most case situation, as some breeders talk the talk, but do not walk the walk. The club rescue groups generally know them, and could live better without them. Fortunately, they are few in number, and through club education projects are becoming more recognizable, less patronized and are rapidly disappearing from the scene.)
What will happen to these clubs, should AB1634 pass? They will exist only as long as some of the members can afford the higher fees imposed upon them. These fees are for each intact dog needed to breed, and the breeding permit needed for each litter. Remember, AB1634 allows each jurisdiction to set its own fees.
But since those who manage local shelters have never been able to cut costs over the long term, stringent fees will be imposed on club members who are these good conscientious breeders. These members will either move out of state or give up their life’s work. The clubs will cease to exist.
What will this do to the quality of the purebred dogs available in California, when all the expertise is lost? The answer is obvious. The public will have to settle for what the government allows-or the dogs produced by “bootleggers” and smugglers from Mexico. Dogs will be substandard, to say the least.
How will this affect the State of California?
The dog shows generate at least $one billion is commerce within the state. If AB1634 is enacted, dog shows and their spending harvest will go away.
Revenue in every community that has received income from dog shows will diminish by that annual amount. Keep in mind that two days of dog shows with the usual 1,000 dogs entered generate between $750,000 and $1.5 million in that community. That money will be gone. Doubt the figure? Ask the Brawley, California how much the annual Imperial Valley Kennel Club shows used to bring to that city. And that was several years ago, when the amount was less than present income, due to inflation since.
Sales of purebred dogs will be limited to the commercial outlets such as pet stores that get their pups from commercial breeding farms. It is important to note that those farms are only interested in the pedigree being accurate for the claim to “purebred” stock, negating any thought given to the “quality” or genetic cleanliness of that stock.
It is also important to realize that the 4 month spay neuter requirement will alter the appearance and health of the dog, no matter what the breed it claims to be. This problem will also contribute to further surrenders to the animal shelters due to the lack of resemblance in size, proportions and behavior of the breed. Disappointment will be the norm.
With no locally bred dogs available, the shelters will only have the commercial outlets as competition. Those commercial outlets will increase in number, and the price of all dogs will rise. This, in turn will further discourage people from owning dogs, forcing a reduction in both shelter placements and pet stores, but increasing the number of dogs in the shelters, increasing the euthanasia rates again.
And there will be no clubs, just some former members still volunteering a few hours to their local shelter and their community. I think that most of those people who had their life ripped away by AB1634 would harbor more than a little bitterness, don’t you?
Next: Economic analysis of AB1634 on the economy of the State of California. This will shock you.
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