DogTime’s Slobbering Hatred for Breeders II

Leslie Smith in a claustrophobic prison photo that's out of focus with bad lighting. Who wouldn't want to take that dog home?

Leslie Smith in a claustrophobic prison photo that’s out of focus with bad lighting. Who wouldn’t want to take that dog home?

In the previous two posts in the series, I introduced you to the bigoted anti-breeder and resentful anti-no kill attitude held by DogTime’s editor in chief Leslie Smith.  She called her fifth post in the series “There are no responsible breeders” which is a provocatively stupid title likely to alienate caring dog bloggers and readers who are breeders, people who got their dogs from a breeder and anyone who appreciates purebred dogs (you know, like a good portion of the market DogTime wants to attract).

Smith wanders around some before she finally gets to the breeders being evil and all that.  Before I continue with her radical slander of conscientious dog breeders, I want to look at the quizzical beginning of her post where she fails to talk about breeders at all.  She begins the attack piece with a story about a Chihuahua that was left in the “after hours drop box” of a shelter she volunteers at:

There are other, more critical reasons for the drop box, but we don’t advertise them. Like the fact that it reduces the number of animals who are simply discarded somewhere. The drop box saves owners from having to pay a relinquish fee and shields them from what they think will be the scorn or judgment of an in-person surrender. Sadly, some people are more likely to abandon an animal than to face the possibility of disapproval.

So while the idea of it breaks my heart, I’m grateful that we (and other shelters) provide a drop box. I feel much worse for the animal abandoned on the highway median. Or for the dog left tied up in the back yard when his owner is evicted. And for the kittens collected in a rubber-banded pillowcase and deposited on the snowy shelter steps in the middle of January.

So apparently she understands the concept that judgement, blame, and self-righteousness stand in the way of better outcomes for the animals so she’s willing to suck it up and miss her chance to feel haughty and look down her nose at the people who bring animals in during business hours.  Success above smugness.  But for some reason she doesn’t see her blanket condemnation of breeders as part of this same equation: she must think that shaming breeders is a good tactic.

Saying “there are no responsible breeders” is not being controversial or even provocative, it’s fervent bigotry, factually incorrect, highly offensive, and an unimaginably stupid move for someone heading up an online pet community.  It is sanctimonious hatred and DogTime should be ashamed that Leslie Smith still has a job with them.  The world doesn’t need any more hate mongers on crusades to rid the world of groups they look down on.

The next part of her post is an apologia for why DogTime lists “kill shelters” and directs traffic and funds to them. Again, she claims that helping the animals must come first, even if it doesn’t sit right in your stomach:

Why DogTime lists “kill” shelters

Open-admissions shelters (see sidebar) exist for one or both of two reasons:

There are not enough homes in a particular area willing or wanting to adopt animals in need.
There are not enough effective shelter administrators or human or financial resources in these areas to match up would-be owners with homeless animals.

Either way, this is not the fault of the animal. So it’s our obligation, to try every way we can, to find homes for these dogs and cats (birds, ferrets, rabbits, etc.). And yes, in some cases, this assistance is to the benefit of substandard shelters.

As frustrating as that fact is, it is not our goal to put open admissions shelters out of business. (We need open-admissions shelters to ensure all animals have a safe place to go should their owners no longer be able — or want — to care for them.)

So, shitty shelters are ok, we should give them money because they might save just one animal, but there is no such thing as ONE good breeder and THEY, all of them, need to go out of business to solve this problem. We’ve gone into PeTA logic here and it just gets worse.

The idea that poorly run kill shelters are “a safe place to go” is laughable at best, grotesque and callous if we’re honest about what shelters do.  Was the Bates Motel a “safe place to go” before Norman carved up Marion Crane with a knife? Was Jerry Sandusky’s summer camp a “safe place to go” before he raped boys in the showers?  Were concentration camps safe places to go before the gas was turned on?  Of course not.

Despite the aura of safety, all of these places allowed the victimization of the weak and vulnerable to occur in plain sight because they violate the public contract they pretend to honor. Hotels are a safe place for travelers, summer camps are a safe place for disadvantaged youth, and the state exists to protect the individual.

The road to the gas chamber began for many as rehoming to a ghetto–“safer for you safer for us;” then temporary internment–a “political necessity” during a time of war; then re-education or labor camps–“work shall set you free;” and only after deprivation and starvation would “the final solution” be exercised. Substandard shelters run under the same mindset: there’s a chance you’ll get free but if you fail to do so your death is a necessity, we just don’t have anywhere else to put you except into the ground.

Shelters exploit people’s belief that they are a moral choice in the disposal of their animal, that the shelter will find a good new home for Fido so you can tell yourself he’s “on a nice farm somewhere” instead of dead. One wonders how many people would still surrender their animal if the admissions desk told them the real odds their dog would find a new home.

In the last post I explained that there is only one necessary and sufficient element to explain the number of dogs that enter shelters:

People who acquire then abandon their pets are actively adding to the number of animals that need homes.  That is the only trait which is both necessary and sufficient to quantify the cause of animals in shelters.

There is also only one element to explain the number of dogs that are killed in shelters:

Shelters who fail in their mission to find all the healthy and adoptable incoming animals homes are actively adding to the number of animals that are euthanized.  That is the only trait which is both necessary and sufficient to quantify the number of animals killed in shelters.

Everything else is just an excuse for failure.  I suck at my job because they don’t pay me enough.  I suck at my job because they give me too much work to do.  I suck at my job because they ask me to do things that are too hard.  I suck at my job because the product is deficient.  I suck at my job because people don’t fall for my shitty sales technique.  I suck at my job because other people suck.  Excuses.

Normal people who have jobs understand that the reason they are employed is to continually solve problems.  Overcoming those obstacles is the entire reason that job exists.  No one just has their job done for them so they can phone it in an collect a paycheck.  But for some reason, for people like Leslie, the fact that shelters go into business to solve a very specific and repeated problem {animals come in at a given rate, animals go out at a given rate, storage capacity is X, budget is Y}, but many fail horribly over and over again, it’s not their fault.  Blame anyone but the shelter.  Heck, spend plenty of time fixing the blame, but don’t bother to fix the problem.  Curse the darkness, who needs candles?

In the real world, if you suck at your job you get fired and they replace you with someone who will get results.  In Leslie-world, you can suck as much as you want but you get a free pass because in theory you’re supposedly doing it for the good of the animals.  Results be damned, it’s the thought that counts!  This is utter perversion.

You know, it really doesn’t matter to me if a shelter never gets to a 90 to 100% save rate for their animals.  And it doesn’t matter to me if they don’t worship at the No-Kill altar or implement every last line item.  I don’t believe in No-Kill as a religion like some people, I view it only for its proactive stance toward rethinking the shelter equation.  Results over theory, life over dogma.  What WORKS over what’s easy, or what’s traditional.

What matters is that Shelters realize a few things:

(1) You are professionals, act like it.  This means running your shelter like a business not an internment camp.  Enough with the prison photos and run down facilities that look and smell bad, have some pride in your presentation. Clean your own house before you condemn others.

(2) The public is not your enemy, they are your customer.  They are not at fault for your failures. You can not condemn them, resent them, and then sell your animals to them.

(3) Breeders are not your enemy and they are not at fault for your failures, they are a competitor and you need to rise to the challenge not wallow in pity that someone else loves animals and wants to pair good pets with good people and is currently doing a lot better job of it than you are.  Up your own game instead of talking smack.

(4) Stop socially and politically exploiting animals as a fund raising strategy that dwells on the physical abuse and/or neglect they suffered in the past to invoke shame and disgust in the public.  This moral pedestal you’re trying to create with this strategy is not elevating the dogs because you’re the ones standing on it to look down on everyone else.  Stop appealing to pity and outrage,  you’ll put more dogs in more homes if you appeal to the higher emotions and reason like love, companionship, and pride.

(5) If you can foster hope and compassion for animals, have some for humans too.

In the next post in the series, I’ll get back to analyzing Smith’s continued prejudice and hate speech against breeders.

Posts in this Series:


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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.