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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dogs In Your Purse And "Exotic" Animals...As Pets?

An excellent article by Jon Bastian, published just a few days ago on Cesar Millan's web site, caught our attention for its thoughtful and well-reasoned statement about the trend of small dogs treated by some celebrities as "accessories", and the ramifications of that trend. According to this piece, it was nearly eight years ago that Paris Hilton was first spotted in her television show with her Chihuahua Tinkerbell, tucked under her arm or peeking from her designer handbag. Other celebrities followed suit, and soon toy breeds were in demand by everyone who wanted to look and act like a celebrity.

Many toy breeds were then over bred to meet that excessive demand, and soon there was an over abundance of ill-behaved and un-socialized tiny dogs, many of whom ended up in shelters. According to this article, a study conducted recently in the United Kingdom found that "the number of toy dogs abandoned by their owners has increased by forty-four percent." Cesar's solution is to let these tiny breeds be dogs just like any other size canine: "Do you think a dog is happy being carried around like a purse all day? The answer is 'No'. Dogs need to get around on their own four legs. They need to walk-it's in their genes..."

Hang with us, we're not done yet! I've bet most of you have heard by now of the outlandish events that happened here in Ohio just two days ago regarding the keeping of, and then the freeing of, and then the killing of over 50 "exotic" (we prefer to call them "wild") animals. Here's the short version of this story: a convicted felon and animal abuser is legally keeping approximately 56 wild animals-like lions and tigers and bears and such-on his property in cages for years. On Tuesday evening, he decided to open all of the cages so the animals could run free and went inside his home and killed himself. Subsequently, 49 of those animals were killed by the local sheriff's department to prevent, well, panic, and possibly human and domestic animal deaths. Read one of the many articles on this horrific event in the Columbus Dispatch here: www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2011/10/20/tragedy-waiting-to-happen.html.

Now what do these seemingly unrelated topics have in common? We think it's this: Many humans insist on treating all other animals, whether long domesticated or wild, as accessories or babies or anything but the species that they are-they simply don't respect the animal as a separate species with its own needs. Apparently 21 states (but not Ohio) ban the importation and ownership of wild animals like this guy in Ohio had, and for good reason: unless you're a legitimate breeder working with zoos to preserve a particular species, wild animals should not be kept as pets-that's contrary to their nature, dangerous to everyone involved and disrespectful to the animal and his needs. As Bastion said in his article about "Hollywood Handbag Hounds",  "...remember to let a dog be a dog and to protect by respect."

We'd love to hear what you think!


Two French Bulldogs said...

we saw the article..cool
Benny & Lily

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. I agree completely. I cringe every time I see someone refer to a dog as a fur baby or label themselves as a dog's mom or dad.

I read a piece yesterday by someone who lamented the fact that dogs are now kept inside all day, cooped up instead of being allowed to live outside most of the time to do what dogs do... who are the idiots that decided it was cruel to leave dogs outside? And there are shelters that will not let you adopt a dog unless you promise to keep it inside the house. What nonsense. A dog left outside is not being abused as long as it has food, water and shelter.

Okay I'm done. Thanks for letting me vent. Tank's Asst. --NOT HIS MOTHER!

petflow said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Renee DeMartin and Mugs said...

The breeding and ownership of exotic animals in the US is big business.
I'm glad to hear that 21 states ban both. Many are given up for "canned hunts". It is grotesque that these animals are kept as pets or in roadside
"zoos", often in confining cages.
However, the slaughter of these animals was unconscionable. There are
several rescue facilities that take in unwanted and abused exotics and give them a place for life. They should have been tranquilized, then cared for until responsible rescue facilities could be found. Or even at
least some of the larger zoos could have helped. Obviously they were confused when first released and probably would not have been an immediate threat. Instead after being set free, they are mercilessly slaughtered. The photo I saw was horrific.
Gee, I'm glad PetFlow had such a pertinent comment....whoever the hell they are.

Hannah Stephenson said...

So upsetting. These are meaningful lives that we sign up to protect and nurture.

I think of Mary Oliver's piece on wildness....

Hannah Stephenson said...

....or was it Annie Dillard? Or both.

Kari in Alaska said...

Big Carl refuses to ride in a purse

Stop on by for a visit

Unknown said...

Somehow I have until now missed the fact that you are in OH. I have avoided the news, but still can't shake this story :( I am horrified that this happened & wish that there had been a different outcome for the poor animals who had no choice in this. I am glad that no one was injured. And for the ownership of wild animals to be legal in a state that widely bans bully breeds is mind blowing to me.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think that there are lots of folks out there that truly love animals, but have no clue that carrying a dog around in a purse is NOT in the animal's best interest. So we have to become organized.

AND we need to become less hostile. And by we I mean the collective WE -those of us who love animals. We're not winning friends when we attack people. We have to attract them with sugar, and let them learn on their own that some of the stuff their doing is not good.

Bocci said...

Let's keep all of these comments coming on the sometimes controversial subjects we introduce, including this one! I want everyone to feel free to express their opinions about topics raised in our posts (and other related topics) in a firm, even strident way. That's all we ask is that when doing so, you respect the fact that for the most part, they are opinions rather than facts, and not to insult one another in the process of commenting.

Sagira said...

This week has been crazy around here for sure. I was very sorry that the animals had to lose their lives because of an irresponsible owner. Sad that the lives were lost, but I understand why things were done to protect human life as well. I hope that the laws here in Ohio do change. I saw a great post on Facebook today that was a sign that said something along the lines of In ohio you can own exotic animals but Pit Bulls are to die. Makes no sense that we are killing pit bulls that could be the sweetest of dogs just because of them being a bully breed but then people can have a really dangerous animal on their property that can really do some damage. Makes no sense to me.

sarah @ dog separation anxiety cure said...

Normally I would totally agree with you but just a couple days ago I saw a friends dog who used to be carried around in one of those things as a pup out of necessity (going on the city bus for example) get SO excited when he saw the bag brought out. In fairness, his was a mini kennel and he did get to walk and go to parks and play etc. but it reminded me that not all dogs are alike and some dogs might enjoy being carried around in bags... and I think it is okay as long as you don't ignore their other needs. I do not with people who just buy dogs as an accessory and don't fulfill their canine needs which in turn is why those dogs are under-socialized and frustrated and end up being given up to shelters.

Unknown said...


Do you know about dog breeders.Did you know Before buying a dog from a breeder you should take the time to ask a few questions. Ask around to see what the breeder's reputation is in the area and try to get a list of past customers to contact and enquire about their experience with the breeder.For more tips you can take a look at-See more at dog breeders

Thanks & welcome.
Aleena katherin

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