In 1952, Patti Page recorded a novelty song, “How Much is the Doggie in the Window.” It reached No. 1 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts in 1953 and sold over two million copies. The song was wildly popular across a wide demographic audience, and dog sales rose 8% nationally as a result of the song. Future generations will wonder what this song is all about since radical animal activists and over sentimentalized consumers are in the process of putting pet shops out of business.
Puppies are extremely cute; and, if you are a dog lover like me, dogs in general are just pretty darn cool. Yet, today, dogs are quickly becoming both emotionally and legally on par with human children. It is common to hear them referred to as fur babies and dog owners as pet parents. This societal shift is having some very serious consequences. People’s irrational response to how dogs are bred, fed, and sold is setting dangerous legal precedents. In a free, capitalistic economy, governments are, with the support of voters, passing laws that make the sale of dogs illegal simply based on where they were born.
California’s Assembly Bill 485 has passed, making California the first state to ban the sale of commercially-bred pets in pet stores statewide. Under this new law, it is illegal for pet stores to sell pets bought from a commercial breeder. Instead, the animals available at California pet stores will have to be rescue/shelter pets that are in need of a home. If you think this is just another nutty law from California, think again.
Crest Hill has become the latest Illinois community to limit where pet stores may obtain the animals they sell. The city council in the southwest Chicago suburb voted unanimously to ban stores from offering pets obtained from large commercial breeders. Last month, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the city of Chicago’s right to enact a similar ban in 2015.
Supporters of these laws say they are justified because dogs that come from “puppy mills” are “abused” and raised in “unhealthy conditions.” This is the same argument used against livestock farms. Animals raised on “factory farms” are “abused” and live in “unhealthy conditions.” Puppies today, pigs tomorrow.
For several years, Indiana animal breeders and animal care experts at Purdue have been working to craft a set of standards for dog breeding operations. Yet, this science will not survive the onslaught of emotionality that surrounds the issue of dogs. In 1952, Patti Page asked the question, “How much is that doggie in the window?” In 2009, Ms. Page answered the question when she said, “The answer is ‘too much.’ And I don’t just mean the price tag on the puppies in pet stores. The real cost is in the suffering of the mother dogs back at the puppy mill. That’s where most pet store puppies come from. And that kind of cruelty is too high a price to pay.” How long will it be before people feel the same way about the meat they eat? That is what the animal activists are counting on!
By Gary Truitt
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