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Breed Neutral Laws: Consumer Protection and Animal Welfare

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Drayton Michaels, CTC is the owner of Urban Dawgs Dog Training in Red Banks, NJ. He also holds a Certification in Dog Training and Behavior Counseling from the San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers (known as “the Harvard for dog trainers”). 

What we should be asking for instead of Breed Specific Legislature:

We have consumer protection, and then we have animal welfare. So it’s a twofold issue. And if you have somebody training your dog who is using fear and pain based methods and they are creating problems and giving you misinformation that’s no different than if I hire a contractor they come in and they break down a wall in my home unnecessarily.

Why can’t we just regulate trainers?

Regulating the profession is not the answer and the reason why is because if you go to regulate the profession then all of the shock color trainers and the prong collar trainers and all the little “whispers” are going to come in and say that we need to be represented too and politicians don’t get it.

What should we do then?

The answer, if you really want to know how to fix this, is you go to the cruelty laws, and you add an addendum that includes professional dog trainers in a companion animal context. There’s only one state in the country that has that, and that’s Massachusetts. So, there is already language for, so we do have a precedent set, and there’s been plenty of dogs trainers who been sued and gone to jail for abusing dogs in training context.

If you look at cruelty laws a lot of times have language like dogs cannot be overworked or overburdened. Well, if you have if you have a dog who’s been repeatedly shocked or kicked or choked, wouldn’t you say that is overburdening the dog right? Overworking them? So if you have the addendum and you know, you have to be, you know the exacted the wording and for me, it would be, you cannot cause a dog fear or pain in the contexts of pet dog training, that simple.