Cooped-up curs

Today, Guss, founder of Stop Torture, Abuse & Neglect of Dogs, and PetPAC founder Hemby discuss keeping dogs in urban environments. Previously, they debated the proper response to loud and intimidating dogs, pit-bull deprogramming and the stymied "California Healthy Pets Act". Tomorrow, they'll debate the rights of dogs and humans.

Dog density can work

Dan. Before I begin, I have received a number of e-mails from dog lovers who raise questions of your animal shelter executive. One writes: "If these puppies are so young they have to be euthanized by injection into the liver, then they are probably unweaned neonates and the shelter obviously has no volunteer foster base or basic knowledge of canine husbandry. Lots of folks would love to hand-raise puppies with a little instruction, but of course that means developing good public relations and actually wanting those pups (or kittens) to live!"

Another wrote; "Sounds like Guss' friend would rather kill than pick up a phone.…"

Dan, dogs have been living in apartments for as long as there have been apartments. Why not? As long as owners are committed to providing the animal proper training and exercise, and oh yeah, keep it from barking, dogs do very well in that kind of setting.

This is where those dog breeders you love to hate come in right handy. When you buy a puppy from a responsible dog breeder, it's not an "impulse" buy. Dog breeders will consult with you to determine whether their breed is the right one for you and your family. You get a dog that is of a recognizable breed. One that grows to an expected size, shape and coat type. Healthy, well socialized, has dependable temperament and personality traits.

The dog comes with "tech support" from a person who knows their breed intimately and has nurtured them since birth. This person gives you referral service to the proper nutrition, veterinarians, trainers, groomers, dog parks and local and national breed clubs.

A responsible dog breeder has their dogs genetically screened for inherited disorders; has a return policy written into the sales contract; and has purebred dog adoption organizations available, if needed. You get a companion you can trust around your family, friends and neighbors, and your quality pet always come with a spay and neuter contract.

Now if cities would get rid of those ridiculous dog-limit laws, we could probably empty out a lot of shelters. These stupid dog limit laws have arbitrary limits that make no sense, are seldom enforced and make outlaws out of law-abiding citizens by telling them it's OK to break the law, as long as you don't get caught.

I don't like dog parks. You can keep your dog on a leash and exercise it adequately, Which, by the way is an added health benefit for the owner. Let it run loose in your apartment, home, or backyard, or get involved in an agility class running doggy obstacle courses.

Bill Hemby is the chairman and founder of PetPAC, an organization that fights for the rights of pets and their owners, and he is also the lobbyist for COPS, the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs.

Canine contentment is a lifestyle issue

Bill, Bill, Bill:

Here's your chance to walk the talk. Step out of the trailer and drive these "concerned" friends to the shelter to volunteer. They are rightly shocked about what the shelter executive said about the kill room in yesterday's article. Let us know tomorrow how many of your friends do as they say. I double-dog dare you.

You also said a mouthful when you wrote about the "tech support" breeders give.

That's because breeders see dogs as a commodity, like a box of cereal.

Rescuers provide the same guidance and after-care, except they save lives and do it for free, whereas breeders needlessly create more animals and charge a fee.

This explains a lot about your paranoia over the proposed spay-and-neuter law AB1634 or California Healthy Pets Act. Breeders are exempt from it, but are freaked out that the customer base may actually decide that it's better to save a dog's or cat's life, than to stuff your pockets. You make your living by suppressing life-saving ideas.

But I'm glad that it didn't take until Friday for my wisdom and wit to rub off on you. Yes, of course, dogs can live comfortably in an apartment. But canine contentment is a lifestyle issue, not a square footage one.

Predictably, you failed to mention that you sell dogs without first checking to see if the person's landlord actually allows dogs to live there. Rescuers do this. Do you? This is another reason why the shelters are so overcrowded.

A happy dog is a well-exercised dog; tired and snoozing the rest of the day away after a vigorous workout, depending on its age and size, of course. An apartment is as good as anywhere to sleep it off. It's the getting outside and having a good time that matters most. Echoing what I've written all week: What's good for the dog is almost always good for the person, too.

And a consistent, appropriate exercise routine also resolves an array of canine behavioral issues.

Dogs are known for their adaptability. One of the best examples of a big dog that can live comfortably in a modest home is the greyhound, which is famous for being a peaceful, gentle couch potato. And I know of more than one former guard dog that is fond of the couch.

Bill, you, and unlicensed backyard breeders on L.A.'s disgusting Santee Alley, create massive suffering and tragedy by selling dogs to anyone with cash. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has yet to crack down on this illegal trade. His deputy, Jimmy Blackman, has been duly notified but continues to look the other way.

The truth is, some people should not have a dog, regardless of where they live. If you only knew how many wonderful dogs are dumped because "we're having a baby" or "the dog is getting old." An L.A. woman recently e-mailed a friend because she is trying to dump the 13-year-old Labrador she's had since it was a pup … for both of these reasons. What a cold house that must be.

There is no crime in being dog-less. But it is sinful to have a dog, ignore it its whole life and later dump it like an empty soda can. The only thing empty in this case is that person's soul.

There are lots of great trails, beaches and parks where dogs are permitted to play off-leash. But many of them prohibit unspayed females in heat. The same should be done with un-neutered males, given the aggression factor.

Just be sure that your dog is receptive to loose, active play and can get along with other dogs. Then again, it's sometimes better to just walk your dog on a leash.

Daniel Guss is a Los Angeles-based writer and MBA who founded Stop Torture Abuse & Neglect of Dogs

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