That line is associated with the speech of the same name be famed Civil Rights Leader the Reverend Martin Luther King. It was a great speech and since it was given much has changed for the better. Imagine if the great Dr. King would see what is happening with "man's best friend" today. What would he say as more and more dogs and breeds are being singled out for harsh, even barbaric treatment?
As for me... I too have a dream. I look to the day when a dog is judged by the content of its character and not its breed... I have a dream.
I look to the day when legislators will find their calling in educating public responsibility instead of the impossible task of legislating public responsibility... I have a dream.
I look to the day when our children are taught "Responsible Pet Ownership 101" from kindergarten through college and execute that responsibility... I have a dream.
I look to the day when Animal Rights Organizations (AROs) whose ideas and intentions for us and our dogs...represent less than 3 percent of the world's inhabitants will stop trying to eliminate companion animals from the planet... I have a dream
Imagine the figure of a German Shepherd Dog. Imagine a red circle and a diagonal bar going through that figure. We've seen these signs before and this one would mean "No GSD."
Now that California Senate Bill 861 Speier (D) Palo alto has been enacted into law, such a sign is not out of the question at all. SB 861 allows any city in the State to declare any breed "dangerous."
The city may then set rules and regulations that will control the dangerous dogs. SB 861 also gives these cities the go on declaring a mandatory spay and neuter regulation. Such a law may name any breed deemed dangerous, but will almost surely contain the following: Pit Bull Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, or any Pit Bull like dog or breed. Such a description would of course, include "Rufus," the Best In Show dog from the Westminster Kennel Club. "Rufus" is a champion Colored Bull Terrier that just won one of the most prestigious dog shows in the world.
Imagine that sign I described saying "No Rufus." Thanks to SB 861 that very sign will mean "Rufus" will be persona non grata in Los Angeles. This and similar legislation being introduced all over the United States is exactly what the Animal Rights Organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) are trying to pass that will make owning and showing dogs more difficult.
It's here and about time that you ask yourself "What Can I Do?" I have the answer right on the tip of my fingers. The first thing is to stop making donations to the AROs that sponsor such legislation. Each year, in highly misleading ad campaigns, groups such as HSUS, PETA, and DDAL would make you believe their purpose is to "Ban Puppy Mills", "Save the Whales" or "Protect Baby Harp Seals". All of these are admirable causes but that's not what they use your donations to do. Some 95 percent of those donations go to advancing the Animal Rights Cause -- donations in the hundreds of millions of dollars that come from unsuspecting, kind-hearted folks just like you.
The second thing is to support groups that work against those organizations that would take away your sport and take away your dogs. The GSDCA (German Shepherd Dog Club of America) sponsors a committee named RALEEF (Responsible Animal Legislation Education Effort Federation) that works to educate members regarding good and bad legislation and other tactics bent on affecting our members and our members' dogs. You can learn more about RALEFF by going to the club web site at http://www.gsdca.org [clicking on the GSDCA link will open a new window] or contact us directly at RALEEF@bellsouth.net.
RALEEF has members in each of the nine regions who will work to educate you to the dangers we face. There are other organizations RALEEF works with such as the American Canine Foundation. ACF was one of the groups responsible for over-turning a Breed Specific Legislation case in Ohio and has filed a similar suit against CA SB 861. The American kennel Club (http://www.akc.org) is another partner against the AROs as is the National Animal Interest Alliance or NAIA. Find them online at http://www.naiaonline.org.
Virtually every state has a group or a federation dedicated to fighting for the rights of dogs and their owners... There comes that "I have a dream" again.
The third thing to do is to support such groups. Volunteer where you can or donate to help fund the effort.
One day I look to the time when parent clubs....all across the United States and Canada....will band together in a combined effort to halt the AROs' onslaught....I have a Dream.
It stands to reason that if the AROs succeed in their efforts, there won't be a need for any parent club anywhere. The GSDC of A and RALEEF will embark on just such an effort. At the April board meeting, a letter from our President Lew Bunch was introduced to the board and will be sent to every parent club president. We will assist any on-going efforts they have or assist them in setting up their own RALEEF-styled committee. I want to see us meet and plan those strategies that will save our sport and our breeds.
Now comes the most important question of all.... What will you all do to "make my dreams come true?"
Please follow this link to another excellent article by Paul Root.