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Where do pet owners rights end and animal rights begin?

Koteburo
March 10th, 2012, 03:29 AM
As someone who has animals under her care I know I have certain power of choice for some things and the same goes for everyone
For example feeding: The best I can provide according to my budget
Names, toys, playing time, what kind of training, if I want to groom it in certain way or not, at home or at a pet groomer and so on.
But often I hear this argument "It is my personal choice to...
Declaw my cat, cut my dog's tail (and in some case ears), not to spay or neuter my pet and breed him/her.
"It is my choice and my choice only and no one's going to tell me how to deal with my animals"

But then I say to what point it should be your choice?
Shouldn't they have some intrinsic rights (animals) ?
Shouldn't there be a limit to what we can do to them under the excuse that they "belong" to us? (besides the obvious limits such as torture and murder)

*No one should breed their pets unless you are a professional breeder <-- And even in that case I have mixed feelings but OK let's leave it at: No one should breed their pets unless you are a professional breeder because it's not all that bad (depending on the breeder )

*Declawing is an extreme practice that is only in the benefit of the owner.

I've had animals of extremely unique nature that I loved immensely do you think I wouldn't want to have a kitten or a puppy from them, something to hold on to now that they're gone?
However and even when they were so amazing and unique I neutered/spayed them.

So anyways I'm literally ranting but after all this is the rants section and I get kind of frustrated when I keep seeing this mind set.
And some of these people can be very caring and loving for their animals and they might be nice peeps as well but I think they should think a bit more about their pets and less about themselves on these issues and also see the big picture. If you want another dog or another cat instead of breeding why not adopting one.

OK I better stop or I'm going to start going in circles with this...
Any thoughts on that?

TokyoParrot
March 10th, 2012, 05:00 AM
I think one problem is that there is no end to where this argument can lead.

I mean, how about pet owners who feed their pets absolute crap? Super cheap kibble, for example. Or refuse to take them to the vet unless it's REALLY serious, possibly threatening the animal's life.

How about cat owners who keep their cats outside either part of the time or all of the time? (Or dog owners, for that matter.)

There are always going to be cases in which you have to allow the pet owner to use their own judgment.

For example, my three cats live 100% outside. They used to be indoors, but one of the dogs chases them to no end, so they packed up and moved outside year-round. (They have a window open by which they can come and go inside as they please, but choose not to use it except maybe twice a year if they smell something particularly nice cooking and haven't eaten yet.)

They have their own specially-built nest (with an electric blanket in the winter) on the front porch that is sheltered from rain and from wind on 3.5 sides, but is made from clear plastic so that they can see out. They are fed home-cooked meals using real meat, not fed cheap garbage.

Time-wise, space-wise, and financially, I am able to take another probably half a dozen cats or so, but no rescue group where I live will give a cat to an owner who does not keep the cats indoors 24/7. I am not able to do that. So no more cats for me.

We do not have shelters in Japan, so cats that are taken in to the euthanasia center are usually gassed the following day. (Dogs that are "dropped off" by their owners are also killed the following day. Dogs that are picked up by animal control as strays are given 7 days for the owner to claim them, then gassed if not claimed.)

So, the rescue groups think I am horrible because I let my cats live outside (this is such a major sin that they will not even consider my application). On the other hand, I think they are horrible because if they would let me have another few cats, they could save that many from a guaranteed fate of being KILLED.

Would a cat be at greater risk living with me (outside) then living indoors 24/7? Absolutely, YES. They could catch pneumonia or get hit by a car or get into a fight with a feral. None of these risks would exist inside.

Does that mean that it is better to simply say, "Well, we'll just let the cat be gassed, then."? In my view, absolutely not.

At the same time, for many health issues my cats have a much lower risk, because they get real food and I go to the vet weekly because of my elderly dogs, so if they have so much as a sniffle they get immediate medical attention, which most people do not or cannot do for their animals.

Yet these "rescue" groups would rather let the animal be gassed than let it live with me.

My point is that there are no absolutes in life. I think it's possible to say "Generally speaking, it would be better to do XYZ" but that simply won't apply to all cases.

BenMax
March 10th, 2012, 08:05 AM
A good rant I dare say.

While animals remain in the eyes of the law as 'owned things' such as a couch or table set, then the owner is in all rights to do as they please - how disturbing is that. Yes they can mutilate by docking, cropping, and declawing. They can breed until their hearts are content, and discard when no longer wanted. Pathetic that we are not held accountable for not following through with good pet ownership.

I think the most frustrating thing is trying to work around the law to educate people on all the subjects pertaining to animal 'ownership'. We are not backed by those laws because in Canada, 'animals' falls under the Minister of Agriculture which emcompasses livestock. Because domestics are grouped into this insane umbrella, there is a problem then on how livestock is treated and how they would govern any cruelty which is so apparent with the livestock that are slaughtered and bred for our tastebuds. Livestock goes through such horrors that it would be impossible to pass a law to protect them and our domestics.

Humans are selfish. We live by entitlement. We are impulsive and though we are considered the 'superior being' we certainly do not use our gifted 10% of our brain capacity to differientiate rights from wrongs. Na - we just internally justify what we are doing by manipulating our thoughts and coming up with ridiculous excuses as to why we should breed, or mutilate to produce that gorgeous animal that man has fabricated to fit in this perfect little box.

Rescues, shelters and people have collaborated together to try and educate because our law makers obviously do not see the importance in animal welfare. So I guess we keep plugging away and try desperately to pass on knowledge so that we can prevent more pregnancies or unnecessary surgeries. Some may consider and appreciate the words of wisdom, and others will choose to ignore. Nothing can really be done, but we must remember that there is a domino effect. Maybe one person will consider and research and become a spokesperson and animal advocate, and someone else will do the same. I know that this is what happened to me way back. I had no idea 18 years ago..but I sure know now.

Koteburo
March 10th, 2012, 08:11 AM
@BenMax I can't believe how well you have expressed exactly the I feel about this and as you said the key problem with this is the "property" title.
In a lot of places if you want to take legal action it has to be under destruction of property. To me that is just outrageous.
They are not an object. And it all comes down to the fact of our superiority complex, always and forever being so sure that we are better than anything else and that we OWN everything on this land to do as we please with it. We're self centered and selfish with delusions of grandeur.
I do believe we have potential though but ... There's a long, long way to go still

@TokyoParrot Oh I know this is not a simple subject but there are things like declawing that does not compare (at least to me) to having them outdoors. Declawing is just wrong.
My parents have a similar situation as yours but the cats sleep inside the house at night and during the day they go in and out as they please. Most don't leave the garden area but some like to venture further and we have had loses in the past due to that.
They're many cats, they have a dog too that chases them and play with them so during the day that's what they do. They have a terrace too with a roof and furniture where they can nap as well and be safe.
But for example they are ALL neutered and spayed, they all get medical attention immediately if needed. The ones who need to be groomed due to long hair or old age are groomed and so on.
Some people feed mega cheap kibble because they don't have much of a choice and some do it because they don't want to spend more on the cat even if they can afford it so there is a difference there.
So most things are not absolute but there are some basics things that should be common sense.
On your comment about not allowing you to adopt more because you have them in your yard but well taken care of. Of course that is heaven compared to putting them to sleep. I understand the rescues concerns about outdoors though on the other side I'm sure they're well taken care of with you.
In here mine are indoors because I don't have a situation like yours inside the place and they will remain that way. Eventually when I move I would love to build a catio for them to enjoy the semi-outdoors.

P.S. I wish people would start some no-kill shelters over there :pray:

TokyoParrot
March 10th, 2012, 08:54 AM
Declawing is just wrong.

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

Again, though, I am going to disagree. I really think many things are a case-by-case issue.

As for declawing, I can easily imagine a family in which one spouse says, "We are NOT adopting a cat; we just got new furniture" and they finally compromise on getting a cat but declawing it. Again, that's one extra cat that didn't get gassed today.

I would never declaw my cat, but if it comes down to a choice between "bringing the cat home but declawing it" or "leaving it at the shelter", by all means, bring it home with you.

I agree with you about the mega-cheap kibble. I mentioned it as an example of what some might consider unacceptable. In my mind, no, it's not ideal, but better than not adopting the cat at all. It's another example of "far from perfect, but better than the alternative".

So I think we can't really say very many absolutes about what people should or should not do. We can only gently nudge them in a better direction.

BTW, we do have a very few privately run no-kill NPO shelters in Japan, but nothing like what they have in the US or Canada. Unfortunately they all got VERY full very quickly after the huge earthquake/tsunami/Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, so no more intakes.

Many of them built extra emergency shelter space with donations that came in immediately after the disaster, but donations have dried up and now they have to feed all these animals, who number well beyond what they are capable of handling financially.

(I mean, the NPO was taking care of let's say 50 animals before the quake, and had the financial support to be able to do so more-or-less successfully, but are now taking care of 300, yet only have the ongoing financial support sufficient to take care of the original 50.) So, a bit of a mess over here, really.

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the quake/nuclear disaster, so maybe some people will make some donations in remembrance of the day.

Love4himies
March 10th, 2012, 09:17 AM
Again, though, I am going to disagree. I really think many things are a case-by-case issue.

As for declawing, I can easily imagine a family in which one spouse says, "We are NOT adopting a cat; we just got new furniture" and they finally compromise on getting a cat but declawing it. Again, that's one extra cat that didn't get gassed today.

I would never declaw my cat, but if it comes down to a choice between "bringing the cat home but declawing it" or "leaving it at the shelter", by all means, bring it home with you.



Are you kidding me? That's the very argument vets make to justify mutilating a cat. A human has NO right to inflict possible life long pain just because they are ignorant to a cat's needs. If furniture is more important than quality of life of the animal, then the cat is not truly loved and should not be placed in that home. Cats can't speak to express phantom pain that occurs due to lost limbs.

Education is key on retraining humans to a cat's natural instincts and the importance to include quality cat stands in strategic places so the cats do not feel the need to scratch at furniture. I've had up to 14 cats in my house at one time and many fosters have come and gone and have never had ONE cat scratch my furniture. Again, I ask why don't we pull out all of a dog's teeth when we adopt one because of the "possibility" of it biting a human????

I also believe that if a human takes on the responsibility of taking care of an animal, they do what is best to ensure the safety of the animal. Placing cats outside without supervision is jeopardizing that safety. They do not realize the dangers and it is up to the human to make the best decisions as a parent would for their children.

TokyoParrot
March 10th, 2012, 09:49 AM
We're just going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

If it's a choice between adopting an animal but getting it declawed or letting it stay at the shelter and get gassed a week later, I absolutely would encourage the person to adopt it.

I would also push them not to declaw the cat (and I have never declawed any of my 10+ cats I've had over the years, nor ever considered it) but I have a hard time understanding the argument that the animal should be left there to get gassed.

Meanwhile, you have a hard time understanding how I could imagine some circumstances in which declawing would be a better solution than the animal dying. So really, we're just going to have to agree to disagree here.

By the way, I don't think it's true to argue that the animal would be unloved. I am thinking of a specific case I know of, in which the husband had put his foot down because of the furniture but the wife totally dotes on the cat.

TokyoParrot
March 10th, 2012, 10:08 AM
I also believe that if a human takes on the responsibility of taking care of an animal, they do what is best to ensure the safety of the animal. Placing cats outside without supervision is jeopardizing that safety. They do not realize the dangers and it is up to the human to make the best decisions as a parent would for their children.

Sorry, I forgot to respond to this one.

As I mentioned, that is exactly what the rescue groups here say. That is their right, as they have guardianship of the animal and can place the animal where they choose.

But I think if you ask the cats if they would rather take their chances living in my yard or being put to death the week after they are brought in to the shelter, I'm guessing the cats would prefer coming to live with me. That is in fact what it comes down to: increased risk, or certain death within days.

Yes, it is increasing the risks that they have to face. They could get hit by a car, or get feline AIDS from one of the ferals, or catch pneumonia. Absolutely there is a higher risk than if they were indoor cats. But these are cats that have a guaranteed mortality rate of 100% within 7 days if they do not find a home. My opinion is that the increase in danger living outdoors is infinitely preferable to them getting put down.

I realize some will disagree (the rescue groups over here certainly do-- they would rather the cats just get gassed). I am OK with that-- I just accept that we see this in different ways.

Koteburo
March 10th, 2012, 10:20 AM
Creating awareness can actually make a big difference. The only problem is that it doesn't happen soon enough for us who love them and for the animals who need urgently to be rescued.

Let me tell you a quick story about people who became aware:
My parents always liked animals however they were of the stone age idea that cats can be outside all the time, and took them too long to spay/neuter (we had a few littlers because of that a long time ago) for example. Do they hate cats? No. But they weren't really aware of what cats really need and the reality of the care they need and many of the other responsibilities as cats "parents"
I proudly must say what they have told me now: You've changed us. Somehow and not without getting in trouble with them many times through the years I changed them. They are way more sensible to their needs and about their care now. The yard is now fenced, they are in the garden only in the day and by 6 PM they start collecting them and taking list to make sure they're all inside among many other things. Now they are way more tender with them and love them more than what they did before they became aware.
So there I made a change and I bet many people here had made changes and created awareness.

sugarcatmom
March 10th, 2012, 11:11 AM
If it's a choice between adopting an animal but getting it declawed or letting it stay at the shelter and get gassed a week later, I absolutely would encourage the person to adopt it.


I don't want to turn this into an argument about declawing, but I can't let this comment go unchallenged, sorry! :o

This concept of declaw vs death is greatly exaggerated and seems to be the last flailing attempt by pro-declawers (I don't mean you, I'm talking mostly about the vets that still enjoy the profits of performing this mutilation) to justify their existence. So how is it that in countries where the procedure is banned, their shelters aren't bursting at the seams with unwanted cats, or their cat-kill rates aren't exponentially higher than in the countries where declaws are still permitted? Perhaps, when the option of a declaw is taken away, public attitude towards cats change and it's just accepted that that's the way it is: CATS HAVE CLAWS. End of story. If you want one, you work with that feature, not conveniently (for you, and only you) eliminate it.

More info from the wonderful Paw Project: http://www.pawproject.org/faqs/

Do declawed cats find homes more easily because they won't damage furniture? Do people abandon or euthanize their cats, if veterinarians do not perform a declawing procedure?

Actually, declawed cats seem to lose their homes BECAUSE they were declawed! There is evidence that declawed cats are disproportionately abandoned to shelters, and that declawed cats may be euthanized more often because of the behavioral and physical problems that the cat begins to exhibit because the cat was declawed.

Pet owners typically cite protection of their furnishings as being foremost among their reasons for having a cat declawed; however, such owners may not realize that the pain and other complications from the surgery can cause behavioral problems that are even worse than the problems for which the cat's toes were originally amputated:

A cat can still bite a child and may have to resort to doing so since the cat has been robbed of its primary defense: its claws.

A cat whose paws hurt when digging in a litter box may avoid the litter box altogether. If someone is intolerant of a cat scratching furniture, that person is most certainly going to be intolerant of a cat biting or not using the litter box!

In a 1996 JAVMA article, Gary Patronek, VMD, PhD, using multivariate statistical analysis, found that declawed cats were at an increased risk of relinquishment to animal shelters and that among relinquished cats, 52.4% of declawed cats were reported to exhibit litter box avoidance, compared to 29.1% of non-declawed cats.

The risk of cats being relinquished to pounds if the owner cannot declaw the animal is grossly overestimated by the veterinary profession. In a survey of owners of cats that had been declawed and their veterinarians, reported by Dr. Gary Landsberg in Veterinary Forum (September 1994), only 4% of the owners said they would have relinquished their pet had it not been declawed. In contrast, the veterinarians in the survey speculated that 50% of the owners would have relinquished their pets.

We could reasonably expect that if cat owners knew the risks and alternatives to declawing and if veterinarians took a more active role in offering and assisting with the alternatives (such as nail caps and nail trimming), the 4% figure would be further reduced. As veterinarian Nicholas Dodman, board-certified animal behaviorist and Professor at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, has said, "There are very few people of this ilk (who would euthanize a cat if it could not be declawed) who could not be reeducated by an enthusiastic and well-informed veterinarian as to the inhumanity of this approach."

Janet Scarlett, DVM, of Cornell University, in the article, "The Role of Veterinary Practitioners in Reducing Dog and Cat Relinquishments and Euthanasias," JAVMA (February 1, 2002), states that client counseling is "probably the most effective means by which veterinarians can influence the number of dogs and cats surrendered to animal shelters today." Veterinarians have an opportunity to intervene because people relinquishing pets are veterinary clients.

An estimated 5070% of pets in shelters had visited the veterinarian in the year preceding relinquishment. Yet, Dr. Scarlett reports, "Only 25% of veterinarians routinely actively identify and treat behavioral problems." She writes, "Less than a third felt confident of their ability to treat common behavioral problems. Perhaps even more disturbing, only 11.1% of veterinarians felt it was the veterinarian's responsibility, rather than the client's, to initiate discussion about behavioral problems." Dr. Scarlett admonishes veterinarians to ask specifically about problem behaviors to uncover problems that clients are reluctant to mention or that they may not realize can be modified. Once identified, appropriate interventions can be recommended.

It seems clear that the real solution to the euthanasia concern will be convincing veterinarians to offer proper education. Treating a behavioral problem such as scratching with a surgical procedure went out of fashion with lobotomy. Declawing can cause worse behavior problems like not using the litter box and biting. These new behaviors can easily lead to abandonment and death.

TokyoParrot
March 10th, 2012, 11:39 AM
Super interesting-- thanks for that article. I'm learning a lot tonight.

ownedbycats
March 10th, 2012, 12:24 PM
I've been thinking about since yesterday. I think the line comes when what the owner is doing causes the animal pain or injury. Dressing your animal in silly clothes doesn't hurt the animal. Declawing and docking all cause possible life-long pain. I found a reference to a study here, point 4: http://rufflyspeaking.net/blog/cropping-and-docking-part-2-docking/ . Human patients who complained of phantom pain after amputations were studied and the doctors found neuromas (mat of nerves) at the amputation sites. A small sample of dogs whose tails had been amputated had similar neuromas at the site, implying they were suffering similar phantom pain.
It wasn't a good study because they studied only 3 dogs. I am not a doctor, but given that amputated tails form these neuromas I suspect from the statistics of behavior problems in declawed cats that they are experiencing the same pain from neuromas caused by the amputations involved in declawing.
To me, anything that causes lifelong pain in an animal for merely cosmetic or convenience is inexcusable. A medical or safety reason, like the tail broke and won't heal, fine. My dog looks better with no tail, wrong. Declawing cat because of a claw deformity or vicious (not just rough play) attacks on humans, yes. Declawing because the cat scratches the furniture, wrong.

14+kitties
March 10th, 2012, 12:39 PM
Maybe the title of this should be where do pet owners' rights end and pet owners' RESPONSIBILITY start?
Just as it is a privilege and not a right to drive maybe it should be a privilege to own a pet and not a right? Responsibility goes a long long way.
If you value inanimate objects (read furniture) above a living breathing thing then please do not take on the "responsibility" of that living breathing thing.
I'm sure if cats could talk and tell us their preferences between living a life filled with pain and forever having to change their very walking stance (among other things) because of having part of their foot cut off or being put down a large amount would opt for the being put down. JMO of course.

Koteburo
March 10th, 2012, 06:36 PM
Responsibility is really a key word as posted above. It's not a right but a privilege and a responsibility as long as we don't learn that mutilations for convenience or aesthetic reasons will continue.
And where ownedbycats draws the line seems like common sense as well, as long as you don't injure them however parting from this premise where do spay/neuter fit in this case?
By not spaying/neutering you are not immediately hurting your cat or dog but it could have long to mid term health consequences as well as the consequences of breeding and all the homeless cats and dogs around the world.

Shaykeija
March 10th, 2012, 07:32 PM
De clawing or any mutilation in any animal is just as wrong as female and male circumcision done on humans....just my :2cents:

Goldfields
March 10th, 2012, 08:02 PM
I'm very anti de-clawing and imagine it might be deemed as cruelty to animals in my country, so this is an interesting thread. I just wanted to add my thoughts on the sort of pain a cat might suffer. At the moment I am getting nerve pain in two toes that my Dr thinks is due to a slipping vertebrae. It hits like a lightning bolt and is excruciatingly painful, and at night often causing me to swear and get out of bed even though I'm exhausted. If that nerve pain is akin to what cats feel after de-clawing, then sorry, they would be better off dead! Leave the claws alone, trim them, it only takes a minute to do that, be kind to the poor animal.

Love4himies
March 11th, 2012, 08:10 AM
I'm very anti de-clawing and imagine it might be deemed as cruelty to animals in my country, so this is an interesting thread. I just wanted to add my thoughts on the sort of pain a cat might suffer. At the moment I am getting nerve pain in two toes that my Dr thinks is due to a slipping vertebrae. It hits like a lightning bolt and is excruciatingly painful, and at night often causing me to swear and get out of bed even though I'm exhausted. If that nerve pain is akin to what cats feel after de-clawing, then sorry, they would be better off dead! Leave the claws alone, trim them, it only takes a minute to do that, be kind to the poor animal.

Thank you for posting your experience GF, I am sorry you are going through that.

In speaking to the two people that have had limbs cut off (one a finger, the other an arm), they too said without their pain meds, which they are both addicted to now, they too would find life pretty unbearable.

As 14+ stated, don't take on the responsibility of a life if you can't offer it a quality life and value your material items more so.

BenMax
March 11th, 2012, 08:27 AM
I'm very anti de-clawing and imagine it might be deemed as cruelty to animals in my country, so this is an interesting thread. I just wanted to add my thoughts on the sort of pain a cat might suffer. At the moment I am getting nerve pain in two toes that my Dr thinks is due to a slipping vertebrae. It hits like a lightning bolt and is excruciatingly painful, and at night often causing me to swear and get out of bed even though I'm exhausted. If that nerve pain is akin to what cats feel after de-clawing, then sorry, they would be better off dead! Leave the claws alone, trim them, it only takes a minute to do that, be kind to the poor animal.

Very well said Goldfields. I could not agree more.
:offtopic: So sorry you are having such bad pain.. that sounds absolutely terrible.

Goldfields
March 11th, 2012, 12:18 PM
It's pretty painful and I felt I needed to explain that this is what the cats might feel. At its worst I honestly did think I'd rather die than face putting up with it all the time. Know exactly how your friends feel, L4H. I'll say goodnight, it is VERY late here, so hoping I'm tired enough to stay asleep this time.