Friday, April 24, 2009

My Ding A Ling...

While I am not suggesting people do not alter their pets, I am suggesting that perhaps care needs to be taken with the age of altering and that those who do alter their dogs understand there are medical risks that must be considered and additional care that needs to be taken.

Please read this link an abstract from "Orthopedic Practice" a human journal, this article is about the prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament injury in altered dogs :

To me this is suggestive that hormones play a role in connective tissue health with our dogs. I don't know what the answer is to - what will satisfy or perhaps balance health and social stigmas related to unaltered pet, but I do know as a society we need to look to finding answers and alternatives. I also know in my heart and mind the government has no business telling anyone what is right for their animals medically without first getting some of the bazillion questions answered that do relate to health over social stigma. Or maybe a better statement is - I know in my mind and my heart that as a society we need to look harder at education over easy fixes.

Later down the page here I will get into what I think some of the things we can do as owners of altered animals can do to better the health of our animals but first you are going to have to indulge me in some political points related to animal health first.

In some 33 states across our nation there are bills being heard by our legislators that have to do with legislation regarding companion animals, dogs and cats, but mainly dogs. In a very high percentage of these administrative laws (bills before our legislators) there is reference to how people keep their animals, sexually intact or sexually altered (spayed or neutered), restrictions imposed in these bills on how many intact animals one can own regardless of the persons ACTUAL intent for the individual dog.

Lets forget for a moment that in most states dogs are considered personal property the same as your car, your gun, your shoes because we undoubtedly do without question think differently about our dogs (right?) than we do these inadament personal items. Lets also put it in perspective -

Do we have laws that dictate how many cars one can personally own (cars can pollute our air) no we do not. At least in Oregon we do not...

Do we have laws that dictate how many guns one can personally own (guns in the wrong hands can be very dangerous) no we do not. At least in Oregon we do not...

On shoes well maybe we should have some laws about what trends can be recycled... I am 51 and there is no way I am going back to platform shoes just to be in...

So why dogs? Does our government spend more on housing unwanted dogs than we spend on storing unwanted confiscated cars guns and ugly shoes? Probably more on guns and cars than ugly shoes but you get my point, or I hope you do...

Stay tuned for my next installment nameless yet but will have to do with the medical issue I promise...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009


WA 5651 Passed both the Senate and House is now awaiting the Governor's signature. Here is the bill that will go into affect 1/1/2010 if the Governor signs:

History on the bill is here:

While most of this appears to be common sense there are still problems with the bill. No one disputes that dogs should be cared for in a humane manner and that humane deserves a definition, however dictating to someone how many dogs one can own based on sexual orientation is a breach of civil liberties. Dogs are private property and with that: One dog (1) or One Hundred (100) can be abused, denied humane treatment. So how do standards of care and numbers of dogs owned relate where laws should be concerned? Why does someone with 10 intact dogs need to require humane housing and someone with 1 or 9 does not? Why are those on this list exempt:

(4) This section does not apply to the following:

19 (a) A publicly operated animal control facility or animal shelter;

20 (b) A private, charitable not-for-profit humane society or animal

21 adoption organization;

22 (c) A veterinary facility;

23 (d) A retail pet store;

24 (e) A research institution;

25 (f) A boarding facility; or

26 (g) A grooming facility.

27 (5) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to a commercial

28 dog breeder licensed, before the effective date of this act, by the

29 United States department of agriculture pursuant to the federal animal

30 welfare act (Title 7 U.S.C. Sec. 2131 et seq.).

If you live in WA state I urge you to write to Governor Gregoire ( ) and politely advise her that while you applaud the WA state legislators for their efforts, this bill needs to not be passed. It simply is flawed. The answers to the above questions as provided by the WA State Legislators in the form of WA5651 is insufficient, discriminatory, and possibly unconstitutional via civil liberty laws regarding personal property.

Gina Heitz

Woodburn Oregon

*who will not be affected by this in any way...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

April 4, 2009

Dear Representative Komp and Jan Franke, Legislative Assistant -

The following is what I hope to be my last words on HB2470. I do acknowledge the CPC Members have worked very hard on this bill and they have attempted to revise it to a satisfactory position, but I must still say I oppose any number caps being put in place at the state level. I ask that you reflect on one of my first correspondences with you where I appealed to the use of common sense regarding legislation that encompasses the whole as legislation generally does. I do believe there is a target group that HB2470 might constructively affect, however, that group is much smaller than the majority, and I guarantee you they will find a way around the law, they always do. In this case the hobbyists who are numbers fold, responsible ethical individuals that will be severely penalized by this are the majority.

I would again like to call your attention to the numbers published by the USDA for Oregon on class A and B dealers/brokers. In Oregon we have a total of 15 breeders that are USDA classified. Perhaps if our existing laws were better enforced we might see improvement. Which I also have to say is very hard for me to write, because simply I do not see that we have a problem. Where are the "puppy mills" the HSUS is trying to save Oregon from? How many animal cruelty cases revolving around dogs in Oregon have we had in say the last 10 years?
On that note here is my letter to the committee.

I will be in attendance as well Monday April 6th for the work session.

April 3, 2009
To The House Consumer Protection Committee Members -
CC: Representative Betty Komp

RE: HB2470 Oppose Before you vote on HB2470 I wanted to take a few minutes of your time and thank you for looking out for Oregon. I appreciate the time and effort you have all put into hearings and work groups in this matter. Through this process I have become aware that Oregon is currently a national leader in animal cruelty laws, but that enforcement has been lacking. Which may be in part why you and I have come to where we have today. But on that I also I would like to voice a special note of thanks and recognition to Representative Weidner for taking the lead against applying caps on numbers of dogs owned by citizens, and his suggestion that this issue be sent to an interm task force. I feel he is basing these suggestions on facts, logic, compassion and new insights.

I believe the entire committee has learned a great deal about Oregon's own dedicated animal advocates through this process, dog and cat enthusiasts, animal professionals - trainers, veterinarians, who all care not only for Oregon as a state that leads, but for it's animals small and large. None of us oppose change or betterment but the bottom line is - Is HB2470 truly the answer? As it is written today I do not believe it targets where there might be problems, I believe the net HB2470 casts is too wide. If this bill passes with numerical caps included it will simply push the disreputable breeding operations further underground. It will hurt responsible ethical breeders, in some cases completely eradicating them. These would be the same ethical responsible breeders that have met with you, written to you and who are dedicated to education and action over reaction.

In the closing of the hearing on March 30th, I don't think it could have been said better when Chairman Holvey said, and this is why we hold public hearings. So with that I will once again say thank you for listening to Oregon's animal welfare advocates. Good luck to us all on Monday!

Sincerely, Virginia Marie Carr Heitz aka Gina Heitz

my address
District 22

Attachment: (1) printable version of this email

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Public Notice and Appeal
Burns puppy mill dogs in the care of
A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation
Federal ID No. 93-1112566
$$$ DONATE $$$

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The following is my email in reply to an email I received from my Representative Betty Komp which indicated to me that Betty was interested in looking to workable verbiage for HB2470. Betty indicated she does feel there needs to be a cap, but that she supports a common sense approach.

March 26, 2009 Betty - if I may ...

Let me see if I can help you with some deductive logic here why I feel (as do most AW's ) number caps do not work for state laws. Individual counties, cities depending on population of an area is another story. Basically there in lies part of the answer - more local control to be reasonable and equitable to citizens and to not penalize those who do choose to live rural so that they can for what ever reason exercise their right have multiple dogs, or other companion animals. To me this is basic common sense - want to have animals move to the country! That's is exactly what we did :-) And mind you when we did there were no numbers restrictions in place...

As far as hobbyist's are concerned lets see if I can briefly describe to you why it is that we often will have more than 10 intact dogs (intersex). It starts out with one really nice representative of the breed that does well in the chosen sport. When that dog grows up (generally after the age of 2 is considered "grown up" in dogs) that dog in this case a female is bred, the top one or two puppies is retained by the breeder for future exhibition. A "kennel" is born, that person picks a prefix, (kennel name) and becomes known as ( we will use me here) as Brier Goldens. Jump ahead ten years, after many successes in exhibition and several well planned breedings 4 to 5 over 3 generations and retaining puppies here we are. Grandma, great grandma, great great grandma, is now 10 might be spayed, but if she is still actively showing in AKC conformation events she can not be altered to be eligible to compete in regular classes. (My foundation bitch Kaycee was showing and winning at age 14 in non-regular classes, she was altered) Also along the line of this whole ride of 10 years, the hobbyist has purchased a couple of male dogs so that he/she can maintain a good working breeding program that is not interbred. Jumping ahead another 5 years - here we sit - Grandma may have passed on, maybe not, (my personal dogs tend to live to be 13 to 14) But anyway the breeder now has - 4 to 5 intact males ranging in age of 13 to 1 year old. Six intact females ranging in age of 7 years to 6 months of age. Two females age 7 that have each had two litters of puppies, one female age 6 that has had one litter, one female age 4 that has had two litters, one female age 2 with a litter, and two young females coming up to be exhibited between 18 months and 6 months of age. Bingo over the limit... Oh and maybe the breeder wants to keep a puppy from the current litter... Who are "we" to say this is unacceptable, as long as these animals are being cared for in a manner that is in keeping with good animal husbandry? For the record these dogs that are exhibiting must be in tip top condition, which means they can not be sloppy, living in cramped conditions. Point?

As far as how an irresponsible breeder gets to where they get to, I covered in my letter to you of March 19th regarding Ted Tellefson which you can revisit on my blog if you would like to:

I also think you might want to read some of the information on this page of the NAIA website as well as to the legality of imposing numbers on a state wide level:

I feel very strongly that Oregon's responsible dog owners will untie along with other companion animal species owners should HB2470 pass with number limits. One more ditty on numbers, did you go to the USDA links I sent (also referenced again on my blog) Do we have a problem in Oregon? I do not think we do, with so few USDA brokers and dealers - with mostly the brokers importing from out of state I have to question the numbers motive - HSUS motive?

Regarding Lemon laws I believe this link says it all:

But just to elaborate on that I have attached to this some of my personal documents I send home with my puppy homes, all of which potential owners must acknowledge reading prior to me accepting their deposit on a given litter . These particular documents pertain to my last litter of 13 puppies, but have gone basically unchanged for the past 10 years.

So in closing I hope that this is met with what it truly intends, an offer of education! Perhaps we will meet on the 30th, I do have an appt with your staff person Andrea at 1:00 on the 30th.

Best, Gina

* Attachments:

Individual puppy evaluation
Parents clearance information
Go Home Notes
Ownership V Guardianship
Pet Puppy Contract & Disclosures

* to anyone reading this blog that would like to have copies of these documents please send an email to:
subject line: send attachments HB2470 Komp

Thursday, March 19, 2009

WAIT! RE: 2470 and Burns Puppy Mill

March 19, 2009

Dear Representatives Holvey and Komp -

In light of what has transpired in Burns Oregon this week I am angry and while I am going to try to temper that anger I do feel that you need to hear my thoughts as well as my proposed suggestions and plea if you will; I will try to be brief but this is a story of ten years in the making.

How is it that Ted Tellefson became who he is today? I will tell you it was not for a lack of responsible breeders trying to educate him as well as refusing to sell him dogs. In 1999 I was contacted by Mr. Tellefson by telephone, at that time he told me he lived in Prineville and that he wanted to supplement his income by breeding and selling Golden Retrievers as pets, he had a genuine love for the breed in his words. I spent a good deal of time explaining to Mr. Tellefson in several phone conversations what all was involved in being a responsible breeder and that while yes there was money to be made breeding and selling dogs there was also potential for loss as well as heartache and death of beloved companions if uneducated people just set out to become breeders, not to mention the impact on the innocent dogs and public.

I explained to him the importance of affiliations, mentorship, and a sense of community. That all of these items were necessary to be successful, and for the majority of responsible breeders breeding was a bi-product of their love for the breed and the sports related to canines. That breeding was not generally their first and foremost aspiration. I made him aware of the American Kennel Club (AKC) Golden Retriever Club of America, (GRCA) Pacific Rim Golden Retriever Club of Oregon (PRGRCO) websites, phone numbers, etc as well as other resources. I tried the education route, and I tried to use "kid gloves" with Mr. Tellefson, but bottom line when push came to shove I flat out refused to sell him dogs. I then contacted my peers through out the state, my local Golden club, other Golden clubs nation wide as well as the GRCA and various all breed and breed specific rescue groups. I put in a phone call to the Crook County Sheriffs office ( I was unable to find specific information for dog control) to apprise the county that there may be a problem brewing in Prineville. I know also that others that live in the area did the same. I do not know if the county ever responded to any of these efforts. I can tell you I was told that since I did not live in Crook County and I was not adversely affected my heads up was appreciated but also discounted. So basically I was just spending my time emptily lamenting to a bureaucracy. That did not detour me however...

Moving forward - I know it to be a fact that besides myself, several other responsible dog owners/breeders/rescue volunteers took the time to not only try to educate Mr. Tellefson we also attempted to educate the general public to beware of him specifically, and perhaps most importantly how to go about looking for a responsible breeder. So there you have it - this is how Mr. Tellefson (in part) became who he is today. A man with close to 200 dogs with no customer base. He chose to ignore the offerings from many to educate him. And we the people who care for the breed were actually able to educate some of the general public hence helping to dry up his customer base. Unfortunately this took nearly 11 years and in that time frame we all can see today what happened.

Now please indulge me this pick a breed, any breed (purebred AKC recognized breed). Go to that breeds parent club web site and look for information on how to purchase a puppy. I am confident you will agree the information is out there, and easily accessible. Here are a few to check out, top 4 breeds by AKC registration statistics.
* Labrador Retrievers
* Yorkshire Terriers
* German Shepherd Dogs
* Golden Retrievers

On to my suggestions, I strongly urge the Oregon State Legislators to embrace looking to education over legislation. Please re-look at who you are accepting mentorship from and please look to the models in place by the NAIA, our own local bred, born and raised Animal Welfare lobby group.

Specifically this link and the ones it leads you to:

Please do not penalize Oregon's honest, respectful, responsible breeders with ambiguous state wide limits, unseasonal demands on the status of how they choose to manage their private property (dogs in Oregon are defined as private property) - suggesting that all unaltered dogs over the age of 4 months are a liability of some sort. Please look to pro choice in the interest of the individual animal and a citizens rights to maintain their property as they see fit.

Specifically this link which talks about health concerns re spay/neuter:

Please give "us" the benefit of doubt in dealing with our customers, lemon laws that do not protect the seller as well as th buyer surely will prove to be failure. Education over legislation here is paramount.

Let us not open Oregon up to litigation that is not in Oregon's best interest. Can we revisit the spotted owl, or should we? Oregon like the rest of the nation is struggling to survive some very tough social and economic times. Do we really need to become a "police state" where our animals are concerned?

I ask too that you look into the USDA files regarding class A and class B dealers/brokers. * Where does Oregon stand here, how many class A USDA dealers are listed? How many class B brokers are listed and what are the definitions of each of these? Who will HB2470 affect? Pet stores who are clearly not referred to as responsible places to purchase dogs or responsible breeders who are who ALL the experts suggest the public look to?

* Class A is a Dealer and Class B is a Broker. In closing please take the time too to read (copy below) and reflect on what is going on in Kentucky right now and I beg of you to please please look to better mentorship. My vote is for NAIA!

Sincerely, Gina Heitz
District 22

Attachment: March 18, 2009 Michael J. O'Connell, Esq. Jefferson County Attorney Hall of Justice, Suite 2086 600 W. Jefferson Street Louisville, KY 40202 Dear Mr. O'Connell: As you know, this law firm represents several entities and individuals currently involved in litigation with Louisville Metro Government ("the City") concerning the legality of Louisville's animal ordinance. The purpose of this letter is to notify the City of what appears to be a new, and likely an illegal, practice of Louisville Metro Animal Services ("LMAS") relating to the sale of puppies. From what we have learned, it appears that LMAS has recently been using questionable law enforcement tactics in an effort to enforce a provision of the animal ordinance in circumstances where it is not even applicable. The apparent targets of this effort are animal owners engaged in the occasional sale of puppies -- a perfectly legal and unregulated practice. One of LMAS's typical "sting" operations seems to go as follows. LMAS will identify a potential target --someone with puppies for sale -- by reviewing advertisements for sales of puppies in the newspaper or elsewhere. An LMAS employee will contact the seller of the puppies and pose as an interested buyer. The LMAS employee will solicit an invitation to view the puppies at the seller's home. The "undercover" LMAS employee will view the puppies at the seller's home and will then arrange surreptitiously for LMAS officers or police officers to appear at the home -- without a warrant -- and demand entry. Puppies and dogs will be seized from the home and the seller will be cited for attempting to sell a puppy without a "Class A Kennel License." The animals are then effectively held for ransom at LMAS until the owner complies with a host of extraordinary burdens imposed by LMAS -- including microchipping, spaying or neutering the animals, and imposing exorbitant fees and fines. There may be variations on this theme, but in each scenario LMAS appears to be using questionable techniques to enforce an inapplicable law. Section 91.027(A) of the animal ordinance prohibits a sale, or advertisement for sale, of an animal by any person required to be licensed under 91.020 and 91.023. Section 91.020 requires that “dogs” be licensed. Since “dogs” are defined elsewhere as canines “four months of age or older,” there is no prohibition on the sale of puppies under four months. Section 91.023 requires licenses for, among other things, persons who operate a "Class A Kennel or Cattery." A "Class A Kennel or Cattery" is defined as an "establishment where dogs and/or puppies or cats and/or kittens are kept for the primary purpose of breeding, buying, or selling such animals…" One who operates a Class A Kennel is required to pay a yearly license fee of $150 and must comply with numerous other requirements. See 91.120 (requiring, among other things, that owners of Class A Kennel facilities comply with the standards applicable to boarding kennels, which mandates individual enclosures for each animal, daily cleaning of the enclosures with disinfectant, and floors constructed of metal, fiberglass, concrete or three inches of gravel). Plainly, all animal owners who sell a litter of puppies are not operating an "establishment" for the "primary purpose" of selling animals and therefore are not required to obtain a Class A Kennel License. As such, it appears that LMAS is engaged in a blanket effort to enforce a provision of the ordinance against people to whom the provision does not apply. It is bad enough for LMAS to (either intentionally or unintentionally) misapply the laws for which LMAS bears the responsibility of enforcing. But it is extremely troubling that, in furtherance of this clear misapplication of the law, LMAS is using law enforcement techniques that are constitutionally suspect. It may be the case that this new enforcement effort results in ancillary "benefits" to LMAS in the form of revenue raised from selling the seized puppies to the public as adopted animals or extracting high fees from people to “reclaim” hisor her animals. Regardless, the current practices of LMAS as set forth above must cease or my clients will be forced to take appropriate action. Finally, we continue not to understand how the director of LMAS, Gilles Meloche, is able to enforce any provision of the animal ordinance in light of the fact that he is not, and is not qualified to be, a peace officer within the meaning of Kentucky law. I will look forward to your response regarding the foregoing. Thank you. Michael J. O'Connell, Esq.

Oregon HB 2470 2009

Representatives Holvey and Komp -
CC: Patti Strand NAIA

I was unable to attend the public hearing on HB 2470 March 13th, however I did with interest listen to the hearing testimony in it's entirety via a voice file this past weekend on my home computer, which I must say tempered my view of the situation, however does not sway my position that HB 2470 is not good and it needs work. I will not go into what I think is wrong with the proposal as I believe there was adequate apposing testimony on the hearing day. I have also already addressed Representative Komp via email with my personal view of a nay vote. But what I would like to go into with you now is looking to who the committee should consist of that looks at this and proposes a re-write should one be forthcoming as Representative Holvey has indicated there could be. First and foremost I feel it is imperative that all of the Legislative Representatives votng on HB2470 take the time to educate themselves on what the difference is between Animal Rights Activist Organizations and Animal Welfare Organizations so that the playing field can be leveled. To accomplish this I feel the best place to begin is by looking to what causes each supports and goes after, if you will - in society. Is an organization that suggests radical unbending rules be applied to everyone, who we want to look to, as our chosen advocates and mentors, or should we look to an organization that offers models and case studies that support situations that are both profitable and workable for the majority? Most importantly equitable to our companion animals, in this case canines. So bottom line - I strongly urge you - our legislators to include NAIA representatives in any and all communications regarding the drafting of bills that could become ordinances or laws, that pertain to animals and the rights of citizens to maintain them as personal property, as NAIA is truly a Animal Welfare Organization Lobby Group. In closing, I will be attending the March 23rd NAIA Lobby Day at the State Capitol, I hope to have the opportunity to meet both of you face to face! But in case that does not happen, I would like to offer the following ditty about myself in a effort to support my qualifications to recommend NAIA be utilized by our legislators. Who I am, what I do to support the community regarding dogs briefly as an individual: As an individual, I am part of the solution, I maintain a website that is a labor of love, but not with out cost to me personally. My time, the cost of placing the information on the internet and maintaining it. My website is very easy to find and is referenced many places on the internet. Please take a moment to google Golden Retrievers in Oregon - I currently appear today, March 16th 2009 as the 4th entry on the first page of google as: "goldens". Clicking on my home page provides many links to many resources regarding Golden Retrievers that easily translates to all breed and even mixed breed dogs. Educational material that most importantly points to how to look for a pet responsibly. Which is where I believe our focus should be. I am a pet groomer that works from home, I field calls regarding a variety of public concerns regarding pets . Health concerns, feeding, training, housing, and of course grooming. I am always available to help where I can and I try to provide rational advise and accessible affordable resources to anyone who seeks me out. Try giving me a call some time, I won't know who you are... As a Hobby breeder I provide support to not only those who purchase pets from me, but again to anyone who seeks me out. I have housed multiple dogs of multiple breeds including mixed breeds in my home over the years that have been displaced, abused, or simply are in need of re-homing. On a personal level no dog I have produced has been placed by the original owner into any kind of a private rescue situation or public shelter. With regards to re-homing my own "produce" - in the 16 years I have been breeding have I needed to help re-home 4 dogs. All other dogs I have placed/sold are in their original homes I placed them in or are deceased but lived their lives as cherished family companions. Who I am in the community of responsible dog owners: I am a member in good standing of both the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA), Pacific Rim Golden Retriever Club of Oregon (PRGRCO) and NAIA, I currently do not hold any positions within the GRCA or NAIA, but I do hold several positions within PRGRCO. I am the chair of the following committees: Members Education and Public Education, I am the Lesion for PRGRCO to Golden Bond Golden Retriever Rescue our local Oregon non profit organization that takes in, cares for and placed unwanted Golden Retrievers. I have fulfilled my duties to these possessions to the satisfaction of the board of directors and the membership at large of PRGRCO. I sit on the Puppy Referral Committee and I provide public education via written and spoken word via email, telephone and public speaking. I am on the Show Committee, the Hunting Committee, and lastly the Legislative Action Committee. Sincerely,
Gina Heitz
District 22