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Legislation Issues

Ask yourself:

  • Who are my elected representatives, and which ones are dog-friendly?
  • If mandatory spay-neuter is introduced in my county, what will I do?
  • If Animal Control tells me I have too many dogs, what will I do with them?
  • If my community says my breed is dangerous, what will happen if my breed is outlawed?
  • Can I afford to have my vet bills doubled, tripled, quadrupled if my community adopts the guardian term in their animal ordinance?

About the word "Guardian"

There's a very real threat to all dog owners coming from the Animal Rights movement. These groups are well-funded; frequently call themselves "Welfare" organizations, but spend little or no money on helping animal shelters or rescue.

Let's be absolutely clear on this point -

Animal Rights: Seeks to end all animal ownership; to liberate all animals from their relationship with humans.

Animal Welfare: Seeks to ensure that all animals are treated in a caring, responsible manner.

To achieve their goals, one of the methods the Animal Rights movement uses is legislation. Besides drafting model Mandatory Spay/Neuter and Breeder Licensing ordinances that effectually penalize all dog owners - one of their primary campaigns is to have the word "Guardian" substituted for "Owner" in local, county and state laws.

It usually appears something like this in a draft ordinance or bill:

Section X.xx - Definitions.

Guardian means owner.

Guardian. It sounds innocent enough. Even well-meaning. Warm, fuzzy, caring - after all, we love our dogs and often go to great lengths to ensure their comfort. But what does guardian mean in the legal sense?

  1. An interested party could actually sue a guardian on behalf of the animal "ward".1
  2. A guardian has a fiduciary relationship with his or her ward, and must act in the ward's best interest at all times.
  3. Guardians may be removed if they:
    •   fail to use ordinary care and diligence;
    •   fail to perform their duties or demonstrate a lack of capacity to perform them in a suitable manner;
    •   are convicted of a felony;
    •   or have a certain type of conflict of interest with their ward's interest.2

What this means:

  • Someone can take away your property via the legal system
  • The courts will be bogged down by frivolous lawsuits brought about to argue over the "best interests" of your dog
  • Veterinarians will need to carry expensive malpractice insurance, and in some instances, may refuse to treat a sick animal, due to liability issues

Imagine wanting to neuter your six month old puppy, but your neighbor thinks it's bad for the dog so takes you to court to petition for guardianship.

Imagine that your cousin thinks you should put your dog on life support, even though it's abundantly clear that at age 14, your dog's quality of life has greatly diminished.

Imagine your vet bills soaring in order to cover the additional malpractice insurance required. Imagine the number of animals that will be abandoned or euthanized because of the prohibitive cost of vet care.

So there you have it - a very effective strategy to end ownership based on a "warm, fuzzy sentiment" that on the surface, appears harmless.

If dogs were not legally property, they could not be bought, sold, impounded, and indeed, protected from undue seizure under the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution.

While we may prefer to consider our dogs as our canine companions and family members - under the law - they MUST remain personal property. Albeit, a very special kind of property that is protected by the Federal Animal Welfare Act.

1. California Veterinary Medical Association on Owner vs Guardian Key Messages (1/29/04).

2. Los Angeles City Attorney, letter to the LA Board of Animal Services Commissioners, (9/2/02).

Read more about the Animal Rights movement:

The 12 Step Agenda





is the HOPE that the
Thomas B. Reed (1886)

"You do not examine legislation in light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered." Lyndon B. Johnson

also see:



10 Commandments for Heading off Bad Dog Legislation

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