Sunday, July 25, 2010

A primer for Texas pet owners

Last week, a blogger named P J Boosinger published two important posts after doing a LOT of research and homework into our fair state's current search and seizure laws.

I strongly urge anyone who owns more than one or two animals to read the blog entry Sniffing for Due Process. It explains how frighteningly easy it is for someone with ties to the local branch of the HSUS or SPCA, or city's animal control department -- in other words, anyone with some power to abuse -- to come into your home or kennel, seize your animals, and accuse you of animal cruelty.

We've all seen media coverage of accused hoarders' and abusers' homes. But all we see is what the media chooses to show us. You can bet that they're going to go for what will pull in the most viewers.

Furthermore, your local anchor person may or may not be accurate with numbers of animals, their conditions -- the catchphrase here is always "deplorable" -- or if the animals' owner is even charged with a crime. But once your face is on the 6:00 news with the phrase "animal cruelty" next to it, you might as well emigrate to Greenland unless you can afford a good attorney.

There are plenty of cases of unjust animal seizures. The motives are often greed, especially in the cases of purebred or rare animals. Details of two of these follow:

A licensed bird breeder is raided by a local chapter of the SPCA.
During the seizure, the SPCA manages to kill some of the birds they were "saving" by improperly transporting them. The breeder's surviving birds are eventually returned and no charges are filed.

A dog breeder in South Dakota is illegally raided by the HSUS and a local rescue center.
Before the charges are dropped, at least 28 of the dogs die while under the care of the local "rescue" group. After the raid, the HSUS issued some self-congratulatory PR then promptly decamped, leaving the local rescue group with a six-figure bill for care and feeding of the 170+ dogs. The breeder's legal costs forced him to sell some of his property, and he still does not know the fate of most of his dogs.

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