Personal Rights could swing the 2016 vote for enlightened dog owners. Does your presidential candidate know or care anything about dogs? Does he even own a dog?
CROPPED EARS, DOCKED TAILS: THE AMERICAN WAY
by CinDee Byer, Top Journalist Nominee
The right to crop, dock, or even to own certain breeds is under challenge and to dog fanciers, it signifies the freedom of choice which has made America great.
A Government stepping between qualified veterinarians and their clients is simply UN-AMERICAN. The right to choose, where to live, who to marry, how to worship, these are among our most valued freedoms and today, they are being challenged in courtrooms across our country.
On July 4, 1776 the Declaration Of Independence was formally adopted, a result of American opposition to British policy. Today we in America enjoy many freedoms, one of which is the ability to preserve our breeds as they were intended. With that ability comes the Right to continue traditional and beneficial practices such as trimming ears and docking tails. Most of our friends around the world are not so privileged today.
One of the freedoms we must defend is the right to make responsible medical choices for ourselves, our family and our pets. This is a fundamental freedom our sons and daughters in the military fight for every day.
One of our great American war heroes and a notable breeder of Doberman Pinschers was George Howard Earle III, Governor of Pennsylvania during WWI. Governor Earle was not afraid to stand up for his freedom. He once told Hitler to his face "I have nothing against Germans I just don't like you!” Governor Earle was not only a great Democratic leader and war hero, he was the first spokesman for the Doberman Pincher Club of America. Governor Earle brought with him to the A.K.C. the first American cropped and docked standard of the Doberman Pinscher.
Governor Earle was not the only American icon to believe in cropping and docking of certain breeds. Many well-known figures and U.S. Presidents throughout our history owned cropped and/or docked breeds, including the Kennedys and the Bushs. At our state capital in Harrisburg there is a mural over the main rotunda depicting William Penn and another cropped breed, the Great Dane. This cropped breed is our official state dog. Does this mean Pennsylvania was built by inhumane evildoers? Of course not. Yet, when we vilify a simple preventative and corrective surgery such as the trimming of ears then we vilify all those people who believe in those procedures. We dishonor our leaders, all veterinarians who trim ears, and the freedom to be Americans.
I am passionate about our history as Americans. I am equally proud of American breeders and their dedication to the preservation of purebred dogs, especially the cropped and/or docked breeds.
We are a nation with inalienable rights, one of which is the freedom of choice. One of our first choices when entering the dog world is choosing a breed and by so doing, accepting the standard of the breed, especially if we choose to compete in the breed ring! We should also take the time to understand that most breed standards were created with health longevity and performance in mind.
So is cropping ears a matter of personal preference or are there health reasons? A widely known fact in the veterinary field is that chronic ear infections are one of the top 10 health problems (1) in dogs today. These infections are painful and difficult to resolve and found mainly in the dropped-eared dogs. Dogs with pricked ears allow air to circulate thus preventing bacteria from growing and causing the painful infections. That is why cropping or trimming ears in many circles is considered a preventative surgery to protect the dog’s health. The dog with infected dropped ears shakes its head incessantly to rid its ear of the offending intruder. With unnaturally long ears, this often results in a hematoma of the ear flaps. Bacterial ear infections and subsequent ear-shaking and scratching trauma can be prevented by a one-time procedure called cropping.
When commenting on non-therapeutic and medically unnecessary Dr. Al W. Stinson D.V.M. Professor Emeritus College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, Director of Legislative Affairs says and I quote "Ooops! What other surgical procedures are performed for non-therapeutic reasons: removal of the ovary and uterus are operations widely supported by the veterinary profession. Must these organs be pathologically defective before medically indicated? This kind of legislation is what I label "slippery slope" or incrementalism".
People say leave the ears “natural” but actually, that isn’t natural at all. NO WILD CANID has drop ears. No fox, coyote, dingo, etc. None. You know what happens when we tinker with Mother Nature. We love our drop-eared breeds but they do have “ear problems.”
I have heard it said that a puppy would not want this procedure to be performed on it. It’s a common argument against trimming ears. But we are smarter than that mundane argument used by the animal rights people to chip away our freedoms. So let’s ask…
Some decisions we as adults make are made with our knowledge, a professional’s advice, and our child or pet’s best interest in mind. But let’s pretend we are a puppy. Do we ask the puppy how he feels about inoculations, teeth cleaning, the collar and lead that restrains him or the fence around its yard?
As crazy as this seems, Austria last year began enacting laws against pet owners who restrain their pets with leashes and fences because it is inhumane!
Dare we ask the puppy’s feelings on surgical procedures? I don't believe there is any puppy alive who would ask to be sterilized. Abdominal surgery is far more risky and traumatic than docking a tail or trimming ear cartilage and yet spaying and neutering is done each day across the world - and at younger and younger ages. No veterinarian would deny that spaying and neutering are invasive health-altering surgeries that permanently alter the body’s chemistry, induce adverse health effects, and complications due to castration and hysterectomy can be life threatening.
What if human parents were compelled to sterilize their young children to prevent unwanted pregnancies later in life? Worse things have happened in other countries. The ironic part of this whole cropping and docking issue is that the radicals who are concerned about a puppy’s pain and trauma are the same people who seek to eliminate your freedom of choice. They seek to take away your RIGHT to manage and control your own personal property. If they can convince you that banning something as simple as docking a dog’s tail or trimming its ears, it will not be long before they are knocking down your door demanding mandatory sterilization of your pets and next, it will be your right to own a certain breed. In fact, challenging your right to “own” a pet has become a popular position among the animal rights radicals.
If we had eliminated every procedure that someone somewhere deemed medically unnecessary many of our medical scientific advancements would not exist. A scientific mind is an open mind. Perhaps that explains what we humans do to ourselves. Before condemning cropping and docking, let's discuss what is necessary or unnecessary in society depending on whose eyeglasses one is looking through.
Dr. William D. Hope, D.V.M., a veterinarian in Pennsylvania who crops with the new technology of lasers (no blood - no stitches) says he believes in the golden rule "Do unto your pet as you would have done to you." Asked about cropping and docking, Dr. Hope says "each person will answer this statement differently but how we answer and the ability to proceed as we see fit is what makes our country great".