Wednesday, July 23, 2008

AB 1634 - Senate Vote - Please Help

Cross Posted with Permission from

AB 1634 will face its final hurdle in the California state legislature over the next few weeks. The bill was "gut amended" in June into a different bill, one that on the surface appeared to remove many objections. Unfortunately the new AB 1634 is arguably worse than the old bill. If Californians don't seriously step up the response, this bill will soon pass the California state legislature. If the governor doesn't veto it will become illegal to own an intact dog or intact cat in California.

As Assembly member Levine explained in his testimony before the Senate Local Government Committee several weeks ago, AB 1634 makes owning an intact dog or intact cat a "secondary offense", analogous to the seat belt law which made driving without a seat belt a secondary offense.

Make no mistake about what this means. It means that owning an intact dog or cat will be illegal in California, no exceptions. No exceptions for registered purebreds. No exceptions for dogs or cats owned by responsible breeders. No exceptions for police dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, detection dogs, hunting dogs, working farm and ranch dogs, or any other dog. There are no longer any exemptions or ways to obtain intact permits in AB 1634. All that was removed when the bill was gut amended.

Furthermore, the primary offense that activates the fines and sterilization mandate in AB 1634 includes "complaints" -- mere allegations that need not be valid or proven. Your neighbor can complain that your intact dog was in his yard, and even if you can prove the allegation was untrue, even if no one believes the allegation, you can still be fined or ordered to sterilize your dog. Mr. Levine used this very example in his committee testimony.

AB 1634 will be voted on in the full California State Senate sometime between August 5 and August 31 (the deadline). It already passed the Assembly.

The State Senate is not receiving as much opposition to the new AB 1634 as they had about the previous versions. I have spoken with Senate staff and heard this message. I am seeing only a small fraction of the response that we had last year. Your letters, faxes, and emails sent last year don't count anymore.

If Californians don't seriously step up the response, this bill will pass the California state legislature. We managed to stop the old bill and can stop this one. We cannot stop it with well-reasoned arguments alone. It doesn't work that way. We can stop it if those arguments come from tens of thousands of Californians. If you own an intact dog or intact cat in California, if you want responsible dog or cat breeding to continue in California, or if you just don't like the idea of the state government declaring all intact dogs and cats illegal, then please take action now. There is no longer any time to wait.

Ways that you can take action are on the home page of the Save Our Dogs website. Some of them only take a few minutes of your time (a brief phone call to your state senator's office and a customizable email using NAIA's capwiz that already has major objections for you to select). The most effective thing you can do is to visit the district office of your state senator and discuss your objections.

A review of the major objections to the bill is here, formatted as a sample letter you can edit as you see fit.

Please help.
Laura Sanborn

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back to Pescadero, July 20

We went back to Willowside Ranch in Pescadero again this weekend for an AHBA trial on Sunday. In contrast to "hot" Dixon, CA, it was typically cool, foggy, and misty in Pescadero--that great coastal dog/sheep trialling weather!

Bid got 86.5 points in HRD-III (sheep) for a 12th HTCH leg.

Coal took third place in a fairly competitive HRD-II (sheep) class for his first leg at that level.

Even Chief got in some practice on his obedience during the down time, with several willing participants helping with his stand for exam. With persistence, we may get there!

The dogs worked very well and the level of competition was very high. Many thanks to the Pescadero crew for providing us with another fun day of AHBA trialling in a fantastic facility.

Lambtown USA July 19

Saturday we enjoyed a sheep/wool festival in Dixon, CA called Lambtown USA. A small USBCHA style trial was held in addition to the other sheep-related festivities. Both Coal and Bid ran well on the St. Croix cross sheep. Coal was first in Novice-Novice and Bid was third in Pro-Novice. Scores are here:

Many thanks once again to the Spencer family for offering us such fine and enjoyable dog trialling events.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Willowside Ranch, July 12-13

We had a fun weekend at a USBCHA trial at my favorite spot, the Willowside Ranch in historic Pescadero, CA.

Bid ran in Pro-Novice and on Sunday we actually got around the course in good form, but timed out at the pen. His outrun was gorgeous and parts of the drive were also very nice. It was encouraging after a few trialling experiences lately where Bid and I seemed to have no luck, not to mention "handler error" rearing its ugly head!

Thanks to NCWSA for working hard to put on this lovely trial at a wonderful location with friendly folks all around.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Down to the Wire--AB1634

AB 1634 is supposed to be heard in the California Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday July 14, 2008.

Please contact your Senator if you are a California resident, and state to them that you are opposed to this bill. Please contact each member of the Appropriations Committee as well.

The following websites have information and talking points. The NAIA Trust has a letter-writing tool that could not be easier to use. The Save Our Dogs site has a letter that fiscal information can be drawn from.

Time is of the essence! Do not wait. Do not expect others to fight this battle for you.

If passed AB 1634 will spell the end of the working dog in California.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Marin County Fair, July 6th

Today we ran in the Marin County Fair in a RESDA-sponsored sheepdog trial. It is always a lot of fun, no matter how the trial turns out, to participate in a vanishing slice of small-town America--a county fair with animal exhibitions. The crowds were huge and adoring of the dogs and sheep--as if we were all an endangered species--which I guess we are (especially considering that AB 1634 is alive and oh-so-well).

Bid got a poor lot of sheep, ran 8th of 21 dogs, and we didn’t have a very good run, with only 16 points out of 50. It was definitely not his fault and he worked hard for every point. Of the 3 sheep, one wanted to come to me all the time like a “school” sheep (plus she wanted to stand and fight); another wanted to run the complete opposite direction all the time, and one was “medium” which if I’d had 3 like him/her we would have been fine. We timed out at the pen, not due to Bid’s effort but the sheep were just not cooperating. Oh well -- that’s show biz!

Coal ran last and ended up with 37 points out of 50 (I believe the winner had 46 pts and 2nd place had 43 so we were not that far out of it) and 10th place…getting a big purple ribbon. He did well, had a nice group of sheep (I was worried that Coal would get another uneven lot like Bid, since they would be the last set in the pen but they had brought one extra set of 3, thank goodness). Coal is still a bit headstrong and I’ve got to get better control in order to place better but I was overall quite pleased with him. I think it was another good experience for him in a strange place because he thought twice about running out for them, but did. Coal got a lot of compliments and had some adoring fans in the crowd.

Next weekend it is USBCHA driveaway for Bid only down in Pescadero (cool!) in Pro-Novice.

The following weekend we have one day of driveaway in Dixon (Lambtown USA) where I have both dogs entered and on Sunday an AHBA in Pescadero (both dogs).

I have one dog entered at the next/last fair (Sonoma County which is closest to home) that I will do this year, and I will probably take Coal at this point and leave Bid to the big open-field trials where he does better.

4th of July in Carmel

Once again we escaped to Carmel, CA over the 4th, so as to avoid the firecrackers in the neighborhood at home. The added benefit was visiting with old and dear friends from Illinois who were also in Carmel for vacation. On July 3rd, the skies were blue and the sea just as crystal clear.

The terrible fires near Big Sur were not an issue except for added murkiness in the skies on July 4th at the beach.

One of the many art galleries in Carmel displays some of the "blue dog" artist's works.

Here is the courtyard of our favorite dog-friendly inn, The Vagabond's House.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Pool Time

Summer is here and it's time to fill up the pool. The guys are so excited!

So excited we can't wait for the water to jump in:

Waiting a bit more patiently: