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Her nightmare could be yours! Animal Control and police officers take your dogs over a breeder/kennel license violation you didn't even know exists. What she did when Animal Rights knocked on her door...


February 11, 2013 | TheDogPress.com

Barbara J. Andrews, Editor-In-Chief, SAAB Member


what do you do when animal control comes knocking at your door?“What is that?” you ask innocently while your mind churns, is that what they called it online? No, wait, it was the Dog Breeder License Act. What is the Animal Control guy saying?


The dog warden, hands on hips (you notice one hand is resting on a pistol!) states gruffly “You are over the legal limit of three un-spayed females, you sold a dog without a permit, and you have a litter of puppies but your vet did not examine the mother dog prior to breeding. We are here to take your dogs.”


You can’t remember how things got this far but you clearly remember reading that animal control can euthanize dogs. Kill them!!! You start to protest but the armed dog warden you learn is now called "Animal Control Officer" has backup. A Police Officer stands beside him and the local SPCA truck is in your driveway. You begin to panic, thinking of the Group-winning bitch here to be bred to your stud dog, oh no, and the 3-week old litter in the den. Your old boy is nudging the back of your knees, his cold nose the only touch of reality in this surreal nightmare. The AC officer is peeking around you at something. He thunders “You have two adult dogs in the house with a litter of puppies!” Oh My God! Another violation.


Suddenly you are running, running, gasping for breath, terrified, your legs getting weaker. They are right behind you, there’s a cliff and you leap – and it feels like your thumb is broken. You look down and see your thumb being rolled back and forth by someone’s hand. What?! You are being fingerprinted, just like on TV. Why didn’t you go get that kennel license and let them do the criminal background check and fingerprint you then? You had nothing to hide. But wait, now you are standing at a counter writing check after check, paying stacks of license fees and fines and your broken thumb won’t hold the pen right and they are coming to inspect you.


You scream “Don’t take my dogs!!!


And you wake up, right hand crumpled under your cheek, thumb twisted in the necklace you forgot to remove. “Oh thank you Lord” you breathe deeply, still shaken. There’s tapping on your bedroom door and your son says “Mom, what’s wrong? Why were you yelling? Are you okay?” Groggy and trying to make light of it, you tell him it was just a bad dream, “a nightmare like you used to have… go back to bed honey. Everything is fine.”


Oh but it’s not. You can’t sleep so you get up and go to the kitchen for milk. On second thought, might as well make it coffee. Switch on the pot, switch on the computer, switch on your brain.


It will be daylight soon and you’ll call in sick. You can’t afford it but you can’t afford to let another day go by without going to the courthouse and asking for the kennel license application form. You can probably fill it out right there and pay with a credit card. Right. Damn the Humane Society, SPCA, Animal Control, all of them! You'll sell Susie instead of spaying her to comply with that damn law. The puppies will soon be ready to go and that pick male will have to be sold too. You grapple with the per-dog fee on top of the yearly license, and sighing, admit you just can’t afford the luxury of keeping three males even if one of them is twelve years old. Illinois makes no allowance for old dogs.


Pouring coffee, you realize if you don’t keep the male puppy, you’ll have to ship Maggie because she can’t be bred to Skipper, too close. How will you manage? And what will it be like, having inspectors come into your home poking around? Will it bother the kids? What about the shows? The handler has been wonderful to work with and Skipper has started to do really well in the Groups. Oh well, he’ll just have to come home.


But what’s the point? Suddenly you are overwhelmed and stirring the coffee, the tears finally come. You love your dogs. They are part of the family. Your husband will soon be reassigned and be here with you. He can fix anything. And then, dropping your head in both hands, sobbing aloud, you realize there is not one damn thing he can do about a state law! He can go off and fight a war, he can put a rocket together and blow up things but he can’t fight city hall, Animal Control, the SPCA or HSUS, and all the others with their hand out. Now they have license laws, kennel laws, an endless list of ways to beat you down. They have won.


It’s too late now. Gasping, tears streaming, your mind churning, reliving your worst nightmare. There's no way to fight back. Shaking your head, you admit to your own lack of initiative. You made time for all the day-in, day-out things that seemed more important than fighting animal rights whackos, writing letters, making calls, and getting to know the council member who lives on the next block.


Wiping your eyes, blowing your nose on the napkin, you sit alone with only your guilt to keep you company at 5:30 in the morning. Well, it’s decision time. You get up and pour more coffee, absentmindedly reach for the cream. What to do? The answer is hard but obvious. Forget the courthouse today. Or any other day. Bring Skipper home, let the dogs go, all but three which is all they allow without a breeder or kennel license. Sell Skipper because the two old dogs have to stay. Sell a bitch on co-own, get a puppy back later for the family but that’s it, it’s over. They won.


You stir the coffee, take a sip, resolved now. Yes, you can do this thing. It will hurt, like cutting off your arm but for your sanity and your family, you have to get out of dogs. Then “they” will leave you alone, no more hiding dogs, no more nightmares.


Standing up, you force a smile, telling yourself “I’ll be Miss Compliance, I won't worry about animal control, the humane society, SPCA, or any kind of animal rights legislation. No more crazy laws, I have rights. They will leave me alone and everything will be fine.”


Your nightmare is just beginning.


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