Call for Resources/References

So, I’m new to the animal/breeder Yahoo Groups scene, but I’ve been thankful to find some very active and knowledgeable people.

What has distressed me in recent weeks is how the information looping these groups doesn’t seem to get out of them– specifically the stories of animal seizures (no, not the brain kind; the stealing kind), intimidation of owners, threatening fines, along with warnings (or whinings) about legislation limiting breeders or changing language about animals.

Language is sort of my currency.  I do fine distinctions all the time. When I heard that there’s a MD bill to change the language of “ownership” to that of “guardian” I just rolled my eyes and moved on.

But then I realized that what is owned is property, and currently both the 5th and 14th amendments assert (if not fully guarantee) that a person may not be deprived “of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

This could make what’s already happening more-legal. Currently, animal seizures violate the constitution, but if animals (for their own dignity, of course) were no longer property, there’s nothing to say why they wouldn’t be better off somewhere else.

This bill is scheduled for a hearing on March 1.

~ ~ ~

My goal is to compile these cases as I learn more about them and to discuss trends or patterns.

I won’t say I’m not afraid of how big this all feels, but I haven’t been able to find anywhere else this is being brought together.

And if various concerned people can offer original sources and any statistics or lists of bills actively being pushed around the country, that will give me more to work with.  Please email or comment with links to active bills, articles about bills passed or defeated, or even first-person (“It happened to me”) stories.

There are a number of angles here:

  • The legislation being proposed throughout the nation for stricter (edging into prohibitive) oversight/requirements for breeders or other animal owners.
    • Subtopic of personal responsibility and the govt deciding it needs to keep everybody safe from everything, including what they  think will be a poor decision.
  • Intimidation of ordinary/entrepreneurial citizens by Organizations With Capital Letters In Their Names
  • Impunity of said Organizations to seize and render inaccessible the animals of those intimidated.
    • Subtopic of it-would-be-funny-if-not-scary: They want animals treated as people, but
      • a) if it were children being seized parents at least can fight for visiting rights and for life-changing surgeries to be delayed/prohibited until the court-case has been decided. And
      • b) if the State swoops in and steals then returns children, the parents are not responsible for the cost of the child in foster care, because the parent was not permitted to care for the child personally.  Which leads me to the next two points
  • Altering animals as they are taken.
    • I still need to substantiate this, and the time line, but in the stories this is a standard part of seizing livestock.
    • This renders the animals unusable for their intended purpose: reducing any possible (physical) return for the violated individual to fight for their property rights:
      • the robbed will have to have the heart (and money!) to fight this fight just because “it’s the right thing to do,” knowing there’s no way to recoup the costs.
      • I can only imagine this is a calculated effort on the part of the Animal Rights Activists, because it delays the setting of a precedent where the seizing party is held liable for their misconduct.
  • And of course the insult-to-injury that I’ve heard at least two specific examples of, where the original owner is charged for (or threatened with the cost of) care of the animals not-related to actual cost or appropriate care.
    • It is an intimidation tactic, pure & simple, and it works
I am no constitutional lawyer, but if on nothing other than property rights, these citizens’ constitutional protections have been violated without recourse or compensation.

“This scenario leads me to only one conclusion… maybe we’ve all gone crazy.”

–Ginny Owens

My hope is that this lack of resistance or accountability at a societal level is perpetuated by ignorance and misunderstanding in the public at large.

My hope is that, by informing more citizens about the precedent this sets, government agencies will be under enough pressure to obey their own laws, rather than invent regulations to look busy and virtuous.

Maybe we’ll know more specific actions to take in the future, but for now, please begin by sending what you know, as close to the original source as possible.  We’ve got to move this out of urban-legend and crazy-cat-lady territory to make our best case.

Thank you so much for getting involved.

–Amy Jane Helmericks

2 thoughts on “Call for Resources/References

  1. Brooke says:

    Interesting I am curious now. I never heard of these laws.

    Btw, don’t people have better things to do with their time?

  2. Amy Jane says:

    Don’t I wish!

    I’m a little overwhelmed (having opened my eyes) and almost deleted this post– it feels like an indictment on me for not already having done more– but I can see it will take a whole blog/organized effort of its own to keep up with all this stuff.

    *Thankfully* other producers are starting to step forward, and I’ve offered to write for them if the need arises/fits.

    It really is too big for me to manage; I’ve just got a history/trigger of seeing a need and feeling that the act of seeing makes me responsible.

    (Not a nice feeling for one who sees so much…)

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