Oct 12

Free Speech?.

Free Speech?  I wonder sometimes, since honesty seems to be something that gets you kicked out of certain circles instead of people listening and trying to work out problems or differences.

Realizing that our readers could be from other countries, let me preface this article by saying that free speech is something highly valued in the United States, and even protected by our Constitution.

However, it is not just when you speak your mind about a political issue that you need to be prepared to be attacked or discriminated against. Sure, you can say whatever you want to, but be prepared to face the consequences.  Recently, I wrote to a website that I have always highly respected, because of their work on dog bite research.  I offered to allow them to do guest posts on this site, and offered to write for them if they ever needed guest authors who had extensive behavioral training experience.

First I received an unsigned email reply, telling me that my website seemed to be geared towards dog show and rescue people, so it would not be a good fit for them.  I wrote back, explaining all of my experience (and included a link to my bio which you can also see on the About Us part of this website).  I am right smack in the middle....if dogs were a political party, I would be an Independent, if they were a religion, I would be non-denominational!  I did request a reply from someone with a name, so the founder of their organization was the one who eventually wrote back politely declining any sharing of posts, etc, because our philosophies are not a good "fit".  Anyone who knows me personally knows I devoted years and years of my life studying dog aggression and researching fatal dog bite attacks, and I have been interviewed many times by local media while still in NC, particularly after fatal dog attacks took place. So it is interesting that simply because I happen to be a dog rescue volunteer and I show dogs, I am considered the enemy of people who are trying to protect the public from dog bites!

So strange...cannot help but make you wonder about WHY these  people are doing this work.  For the public's safety, okay, I will buy that.  But definitely they are not doing it to educate people about dogs and how to keep from getting bitten by choosing the right dog for their family in the first place, or training and managing their pets so that they will never bite anyone.  They are not doing it to make sure that dogs get a chance at life by being bred only by responsible individuals, and placed or adopted by people who understand dogs and know how to weed out aggressive dogs and adopt out dogs that will make good family pets. I don't really think they care much about dogs, but this is JUST MY OPINION folks...perhaps they have a financial or political agenda that is closer to that of PETA, who don't even believe that dogs should be pet animals.

You know what?  We will never solve anything like the dog bite epidemic or the heartbreaking issue of pet overpopulation (which causes millions of dogs and cats to be killed at shelters each year) if we cannot work together.  Rescue folks, the ETHICAL breeders are not your enemy.  They hate unethical breeding practices as much, if not more, than you do.  Breeders, you don't have to abandon helping animal welfare and rescue organizations just because some animal rights advocates have gone off the deep end.

I wish I were younger, wealthier, healthier and had more energy.  If I could turn back the clock ten years ago, where I was those things, then I think  I would concentrate on developing a group of dog lovers, who had common sense, from all areas of the dog world, to work on the issues that are facing us today.  Because if we keep fighting each other, and becoming more and more self-righteous instead of working together, so much less is going to get done. And before you know it, we could all lose our rights to own the dogs we love.

Would love to know your thoughts on this subject...do YOU have suggestions as to how to get dog people to work together?





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Comments (6)
  • Joni

    Wow, what an interesting reaction from those folks at that website! Their loss, however. Yes, indeed, they sound like PETA under another guise. I guess not someone you would truly like to be associated with, anyway; it is a good thing they showed their true colors. It is truly a strange world these days when people who do their best to raise healthy, happy dogs are vilified almost as criminals and people who achieve success in their lives are looked upon with disdain BECAUSE of that success. Hard to figure people out. :-/
    Thanks for the interesting post, Melanie.

  • Melanie S

    Thanks Joni. I was so shocked...I had even, in my initial contact to them, said if they did not accept articles from dog trainers, I had tons of research from where I had copied articles from journals up at Cornell, etc and now that I was not working on writing a book on the subject, I would be glad to send to them if they had any use for it. Also articles from Captain Haggerty's informal magazine that he did for years, that always had articles in it about the details of fatal attacks.
    Isn't that weird, that they did not even ask for this? I had said I would give it to them, no charge. I'll look up the link to their website and email to you but I don't want to glorify it by giving it any PR here. m

  • Debi Smith  - Breeders and Rescues

    I couldn't agree with you more on every point. I have not found the dog bite site to be very 'rescue friendly' at all. One of the first things that all rescuers have to learn is that we cannot save all of them. What I have seen in the last few years is that there is a 'new beginning' between a lot of breed rescue groups and responsible, reputable breeders. I can tell you that many Dalmatian breeders have become very supportive of rescue, help pull from shelters, drive transports, donate their time and their money to help.

    I think somewhere years ago, a breeder and a rescue person had a fight over the issue and it spread like wildfire. We as a breed rescue, love Dalmatians. We don't want the breed to die out over the next years. I do support responsible breeding.

    As far as the dog-bite site goes...they are not worth your time or effort.


  • Melanie S

    Debi, I know you know where I am coming from...feeling protective about a breed that does have some poorly bred dogs that should not be adopted out, but also has some very wonderful, worthy ones. In some ways, Dalmatians and Siberians are a bit alike!
    Again, thank you for the photo of the serious bite you endured. How wise of you to think through the circumstances instead of immediately putting down the dog. I have met some wonderful dogs who might bite when terrified, when first pulled from the shelter but who ended up being very sweet dogs. I have also met some that were friendly at the shelter but after pulled, within weeks when the honeymoon period was over, were total brats because they were actually very dominant dogs, undercover!
    It is soooo hard to really judge a dog's temperament when they are in a shelter, or even for the first few days when they first come out, don't you think?

  • Christine  - Wish I knew!

    I wish I knew how to deal with this issue, too. In my experience working on various animal welfare issues, from this one to others such as factory farming, the drama I've encountered dealing with different groups & their agendas has sometimes been more heartbreaking than the issues themselves.

  • Melanie S

    Christine, it is so odd, because they actually lose donors and supporters by being so self-righteous and closed off, so in the end, it is the animals who suffer for the people's attitudes.

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