Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent readers of this blog know we don't often surrender our little digital soapbox to guest posters. (You were expecting some sort of non-sequiter there weren't you? Go ahead, admit it, you think we're so predictable).

Anyway, we were poking around in the Texas legislature the other day, making our displeasure known regarding HB 1451 which is a puppy mill regulation bill. A puppy mill regulation bill that specifically excludes greyhounds. To wit:
Sec. 802.003.  APPLICABILITY OF CHAPTER. (a)  This chapter
does not affect the applicability of any other law, rule, order,
ordinance, or other legal requirement of the federal government,
this state, or a political subdivision of this state.

       (b)  This chapter does not prevent a municipality or county
from prohibiting or further regulating by order or ordinance the
possession, breeding, or selling of dogs or cats.   

       (c)  This chapter does not apply to an animal regulated under
the Texas Racing Act (Article 179e, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes).

Notice the bolded section. Yep. All dogs are created equal...except for greyhounds. Now, we've had this talk before, but it doesn't seem to have penetrated certain legislative crania, so we were contemplating dispatching a little missive to the Lone Star State detailing our concerns in our unique Ironicus Maximus way when we ran across the literary stylings of one Elizabeth Fritz.

Now, we don't know Ms. Fritz personally, but when we read the letter she wrote to the Texan legislators responsible for this latest foray into irrationality, we wish we did. See for yourself:

Dear Representative Thompson and Members of the House Committee on Licensing & Administrative Procedures:

Hello!  Let me introduce you to my dog, Gunther Augustus!

Before Gunther Augustus came to live with me in Michigan, he was Pluto Tyme, and had a long career on the dog tracks.  His papers state that he was born in Texas, then went to race in Virginia, and then wound up in Florida.  Gunther was a very fast dog, so he stayed on the race circuit longer than most.

Most greyhounds have an average lifespan of three years.  Gunther came to us at the age of eight.  

Some dogs don't make the cut and are euthanized.  Some dogs don't even have that luxury--some are poisoned, starved to death, neglected, shot, decapitated, or suffer malignant diseases that slowly kill them over time.  Your current legislation condones these acts under H.B. 1451.

A few years back, the nation watched in horror as 49 pit bulls were rescued from Michael Vick's dog fighting enclave in Virginia.  Federal prosecutors and animal welfare activists changed the fates of those dogs and worked tirelessly to educate the public about the welfare of pit bulls.  I'm very glad those dogs--victims of illegal dogfighting--got a second chance.  Those dogs were treated as animals, NOT as commodities.  

Your current legislation exempts greyhound breeders from anti-cruelty legislation, lumping these guys in with cows and pigs and chickens.  That means that breeders can use any despicable means to train and house these dogs, as well as how to dispose of them and treat them.

Imagine.  Imagine your family pet being subjected to the horrors of the racetrack kennel.  When I look at Gunther's face, I cringe to think of the atrocities to which he was subjected.

I strongly encourage this committee to protect the lives of thousands of greyhounds.  No animal--not pigs, not cows, not chickens, and not greyhounds, should be treated inhumanely.  No human being should be 'protected' from the law when it comes to cruelty towards animals.  Consider Gunther and the thousands of other Texas greyhounds your legislation has affected. 

Please make the right choice and make anti-cruelty legislation applicable to greyhound breeders and kennels.


Elizabeth Anne Fritz-Cottle, MSW
Gunther Augustus, Retired Racer, Beloved Friend
You know, Opie, we can't think of a thing to add. What about you?

Opie is a happy-go-lucky guy who is still young at heart. He is friendly, trusting, affectionate, and playful. He follows the foster dad everywhere. He will put his front legs on the bed in the morning and paw at you to be petted. Opie looks especially cute when he is feeling very alert and points both ears straight up with just the tips curled over. He also loves to sit when he thinks he hears someone near the cookie jar. Opie would do well as an only dog or with other dogs. He has lots of energy for a senior and appreciates going for a walk or playing outside. He would be happy in a working family, or one that is home more often. He would probably do well with well-mannered children. He loves to be outside, so a family that would include him in outdoor activities would be great. His size would allow him to fit well in a smaller home or condo. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.


greygarious said...

I.M. and E.F-C., you Michiganders (ites,ers,ians???)know your way around a quill and inkwell! Excelsior! Really, now that Mollie Ivins and Anne Richards are gone, other than Jim Hightower and Austin, is there any reason for Texas to exist?

Nancy said...

Wonderful. Simply wonderful! And you are correct. I would love to meet Ms. Fritz and I applaud her letter.

James said...

Wow. I'm going to write a letter. Probably won't mean anything coming from the only lefty in the county, but it's worth a try. Thanks for letting me know.

FRITZ said...

Thank you, all, for your kind responses in regards to my letter to Texan legislators. More importantly, thanks for your support of these wonderful friends.

Elizabeth A. Fritz-Cottle