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PETA and earthdog


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I think I may have asked this before...we are currently in the process of doing paperwork to be sanctioned to have earthdog matches and trials. Was wondering if some of you who have put on and participated have had to deal with PETA or anyone (humane societies etc) who would have objected or protested the use of live rats in earthdog events. If you have, how did you deal with it etc etc. Thanks!

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We conduct our tests on private property.

My understanding is a test in California at a public site was interrupted. I was not there. I believe the club rigged up an artificial lure (a toy on a string, essentially - which was allowed by AKC rules at the time). I believe they offered a refund to exhibitors who did not want their dogs' instincts tested using a toy. There may have been a Cairn Talk member who was there and could offer more than my hearsay.

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CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club 



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You'll have to join that mailing list to get to the archives to read the thread George referenced. Their message archives aren't public. I won't cut 'n' paste from another mailing list (per forum guidelines) but the gist of the thread seemed to be that the Sheriff's Humane Officer showed up and the test committee decided to switch to the artificial lure jig (rat-scented scrap of fur). Some dogs actually worked it while others basically said in their doggy way, "You've got to be joking." I have to say, my vote would be to pass the dogs that refused to work it, and flunk the ones that did :P

An irony: apparently there were signs all over the grounds warning people not to let their dogs into the bushes because there was rat poison all over the place. Please don't bark at your rats and stress them and by-the-way, be careful because we're busy killing these other rats by causing them to bleed to death internally.

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CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club 



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I attended the event - My dog even got an SE leg after the local humane society showed up and forced them to switch to an artificial quarry.

It was in Marin County, Ca.

Animal control in that county is run on a contract basis by the local humane society, which in turn is affiliated with PETA.

They were told that the rats were not to be used any more or they would be confiscated.

I believe they did allow them to finish the ME test in progress (under humane society supervision) before switching lures.

The club has never held another event at that large public all breed show at the local civic center.

I've been told by others that in California, any form of 'live baiting' is illegal, and an animal control officer MAY determine that earthdog is live baiting.

San Jose didn't show up at a demo in time(All the rats and tunnels had gone left), but their animal control officer reportedly said that they would check to see if the rats were 'stressed' as indicated by an increased heart rate, and if so, confiscate them and issue a fine.

If you are on private property and peta shows up, the private property owner can ask the peta people to leave, and if they refuse call the police to have them removed.

If the local animal control agency shows up as in the marin county event, there isn't anything you can do on either public or private property except to explain what is happening, that no rats are being injured, etc.

Pull out an AKC rule book and point to Chapter 2, Section 2, third paragraph. The section is titled "Judges Decisions, Responsibilities.", and the paragraph reads:

The Judge is responsible for ensuring compliance with these Regulations throughout the test, and for ensuring that quarry is properly cared for and protected during the event.

This MAY, in combination with a talk with the judges, convince them that the rats are safe, unless they are worried about 'stress' in the rats as San Jose reportedly was...

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I was there too. My retired Cairn ME, Wee Flana Een of Ironwood, was the last dog to use live bait. There were rat poison traps along some buildings about 50 yards away. My JE dog looked at the fake quarry, came back to the tunnel mouth, sort of shook his shoulders and left the den.

Strange things can happen on public property. At one event near San Francisco the Cairn club had an earthdog demo complete with live rats. There were no complaints about that at all. However, at some point one of the workers accidentally dropped an occupied rat cage.

A concerned citizen reported the club to SF animal control for not showing enough concern about the well being of the dropped rodents!! It sounds silly but an official response had to be made to animal control.

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