Only Five Percent

Here at the beginning of the twenty-first century, over fifty million household dogs live in the United States. Europe houses an estimated thirty-five million. … If I add Canadian dogs to these populations, I get one hundred million household dogs in the industrial West.

In the United States each year, households produce 3,700,000 puppies. Hobby breeders produce another two million, and half a million are produced by commercial breeders for department store and other retail sales. That is a turnover of 6,200,000 dogs a year. If the population is not going up or down, then 6,200,000 dogs die every year. That is a 12 percent annual mortality rate, which for a species with a life span of a little over ten years is a low mortality rate in the wild.

In the United states, four million of these dogs spend part of a year in animal shelters. For 2,400,000 of them it is the last stop. Almost 5 percent of our companion animals are dogs nobody wants, and they get “put to sleep.” Culled. Again, disaster for the individual dog. Some of this culling may be related to competition between people and dogs for food resources. People soon decide they can’t afford the dog, and turn them over to humane societies

Dogs, Lorna Coppinger

Is a five percent disposal rate really that much of a concern? The bleeding heart loud mouths would have us believe that there is an “overpopulation” problem and that it is an epidemic. So much so that they demand for (near)universal sterilization laws, moral outrage at hobby breeders, misplaced hatred of purebreds and the people who buy them.

Nathan Winograd has shown again and again that many dogs that are killed don’t need to be, but the onus is on shitty shelters that don’t get the job done, mostly because they are defeatist from the outset. Huge strides have already been made in sterilizing pets and in lowering the percent of pets that are abandoned. But this number will never be zero.

Will the bleeding heart loud mouths not be satisfied until it is, as in never? Will they be like the Christians and the Jews waiting for the next coming of their prophet/savior? And will they, in their growing frustration as their dogma fails to deliver success year after year, become even more preachy and unreasonable?

Evidence suggests that they will. Here’s a comment posted recently that is filled with references to PeTA’s veritable Book of Revelations (which documents the Pet Overpopulation Armageddon we are now living in according to their dogma):

Of course Joe Biden killed a dog [by buying a puppy instead of rescuing from a shelter]. Are you all delusional? Can you not count? Joe could have adopted a dog at a shelter or from a rescuer and opened up another spot for one of the millions of dogs dumped at shelters by people, and saved a dog from being euthanized due to over crowding. There is NO justification for breeding a dog when millions of adoptable dogs are put to death. All 3 of my rescue dogs were well behaved and lived to 15 + years old, so don’t tell me about damaged, sick dogs. Most of the people I know with “pure breeds” encounter health problems at age 7 or 8 and behavioral problems earlier due to inbreeding. The whole notion of breeding a specific type of dog is archaic.

Comment by Janice — December 12, 2008 @ 6:41 pm

Janice is a perfect example of a bleeding heart loud mouth with a savior complex. Since feeding her ego with 3 rescue dogs wasn’t sufficient (and how could it be, rescuing a dog does nothing except save that dog) to even influence the dog abandonment issue, she’s now grasping at totalitarian measures to bring about her “my bleeding heart is more important than your freedom, so I’m going to force my uniformed blather down your throat even though what I demand you do has never been effective at accomplishing the goals I want” religion.

I’ve already debunked the “buy a dog, kill a dog” fallacy. (Myth of Christmas Puppies, Parroting PeTA, Buy From a Breeder, and Adopt a PeTA pet and kill 248 more). This is a displacement tactic used by PeTA to blame someone else because they don’t want to take responsibility for killing 97% of the animals they take in. Have no doubt, it’s the shelters who kill the dogs, and in almost all cases, it’s not because they have to. It’s because they want to. Thinking you’re opening up a spot by capitulating to the kill shelters is like appeasing a terrorist. You think you’re saving lives but you’re really just making a deal with evil. You are allowing them to operate and continue their extortion.

Would you buy drugs from your neighborhood street dealer simply to take that small amount of product off the market?

As I’ve shown (Garbage In, Garbage Out), the major causes of abandoned dogs are HUMAN problems, not problems with the dogs themselves and not problems with purchased dogs or purebred dogs or even pet store dogs, or dogs given as pets.

So given that humans are imperfect and will always be such, what do we expect the natural rate of culling should be?

In economics, there is a concept called the “natural rate of unemployment.”

The natural rate of unemployment is the healthy unemployment rate that will always occur in an economy, unless it is severely overheated. Some level of unemployment results from:

  1. Frictional unemployment that comes from job turnover,
  2. Structural unemployment that is caused by a mis-match between job skills and job availability,
  3. Unemployment caused by minimum wages laws and unions.

In short, it’s economist speak for “the unemployed will always be with us” and observationally, economists place the rate at between 4% and 6%.

Given that, do you really think that the bleeding heart loud mouths are justified in breathing their fire and spitting their venom on the rest of us? I think their outrage is entirely disproportionate to the size of the problem. I think the targets of their rage are also inappropriate and thus their rage is ineffectual. They aren’t going to change the kill rate by even one dog by putting breeders out of business, ending the concept of purebred dogs or even reaching saturation levels of desexing dogs.

The first way to cut the rate is to tackle the issues that actually cause people to relinquish dogs: Moving, landlord issues, cost of pet maintenance, no time for pets, inadequate facilities, too many pets at home, pet illness, personal problems, biting, no homes for litter mates.

The second way to cut the rate is to improve the ef
ficiency of shelter placement programs: adopt the entire no-kill paradigm.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.