August 3, 2019
Animal Rights Whack-A-Mole in Kitsap County, Washington
Here’s something you may not know. The animal rights movement loses a lot. You probably think that animal rights activists are out celebrating their victories every night but the truth is that they are constantly defeated at the federal, state, and local levels.
How can that be, you ask, when they are constantly in the news? That’s because they are loud and obnoxious. They are the epitome of the squeaky wheel. Even when they are led off in handcuffs they are happy to video the scene and post it online so they can raise money for bail.
But animal rights activists are persistent. They play the long game.
If they lose with bills at the federal level – and they do lose with bills, year after year after year – they try to get changes made through regulatory agencies. If that doesn’t work to their satisfaction, they move down to the state government level and try to get what they want, one state at a time.
When they are thwarted by state governments, they go local. Activists can turn up in your city or town and start whispering in the ears of your local council members.
When a bill that would have banned the sale of puppies and kittens from breeders was defeated with the help of The Cavalry Group in Washington’s state capitol, animal rights activists began singling out individual pet stores in the state.
That’s how Jack Munro found himself at the center of a fight in Kitsap County Washington this year. Jack, who used to show and breed Collies and Shelties, is the owner of Farmland Feed and Pets in Kitsap County where he’s been in business for 43 years.
In December 2018, just after Christmas, Jack says he got a call from a county council member telling him that in five days they intended to vote on a measure that would put him out of business. He was told that he could see the proposed ordinance online. He had no input in writing the ordinance. The ordinance would ban his store from selling pets unless they came from the local shelter or rescue group.
It took seven months, but the ordinance was finally passed on July 22, 2019. The Cavalry Group mounted several large e-mail campaigns on behalf of Farmland to fight the ordinance. The county council received thousands of e-mails asking them to reject the proposed ordinance. The council told Jack, “No more emails!” According to Jack, many people turned out on behalf of Farmland at each reading of the ordinance. When it came to the date of the final vote the council moved the vote several times. No public comments were allowed for the final vote.
Jack would originally have been required to stop selling his animals immediately but that has been amended. He now has a year to stop selling his puppies and kittens.
Jack says that he will never sell shelter animals in his store. He has had a decades-long positive relationship with a professional licensed and inspected dog breeder in Kansas who has supplied him with puppies for the store. Through Farmland he has sold puppies with a 5-generation pedigree that were DNA-tested. They came with pictures of the parents, a complete medical record, a health guarantee, a free visit to the vet, and they were microchipped. The kittens in his store come from local people who drop them off. He gets them for free or never pays more than $10 for the really cute ones. They don’t come from breeders. Yet critics claim that Jack is only selling puppies and kittens for the money.
Per the local humane society, some 6,000 dogs were rehomed in Kitsap County in 2018. Three-thousand of them came from out of state. Thousands of dogs are brought into Washington from out of state by “rescue” groups every year, not all of them legally. Jack sells about 400 dogs per year at Farmland and only 3 percent of them ever have a problem. That’s 12 dogs. And Farmland’s dogs have a health guarantee and a contract.
Puppies at the local humane society in Kitsap County are $350. Purebred dogs are $250-$500. Kittens are $175. Before you can get any pet at the humane society you have to fill out an application and you have to be “approved.”
Jack is well-liked and some local people in the community, even people who do not particularly like commercial dog breeders, have said that they felt bad about this ordinance and putting Farmland out of business. According to Jack, even the local council members told him that they didn’t like forcing a local business to close.
Local ordinances banning pet stores from selling puppies from breeders, like the one that is forcing Farmland to close, are being passed all over the United States. Local governments are often pressured by animal activists to pick winners and losers in business because the activists are pushy and outspoken. Sometimes proposed ordinances are hidden so the public doesn’t know about them until after they are passed; votes are moved at the last minute; people who oppose an ordinance are not notified of changes; people affected by ordinances and their supporters are not given timely access to proposed drafts. This is the worst kind of dirty politics and it’s being played in our hometowns, affecting our animals and our businesses.
These ordinances can be passed anywhere and affect any of us. Today it’s pet stores but tomorrow it could be an ordinance to ban dog breeding or whether you can own pets at all. Good people are being driven out of business because of the animal rights agenda. This is not fair or honest government. Local government should not be agenda-driven and it shouldn’t pick winners and losers in business based on animal rights ideology. We all need to stand up to these bad ordinances and bills when they appear. It’s important to remember, ‘animal rights’ means, no animals left! It’s happening incrementally. We need to fight together and protect our rights.
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Carlotta Cooper is vice president of Sportsmens’ & Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance and a Team Member and regular contributing writer for The Cavalry Group, a member-based company working to defend the private property rights of animal owners and animal enterprise nationwide. Follow The Cavalry Group on Facebook, MeWe, Instagram, and Twitter.
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