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Pets may get a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T [fighting animal ownership]
The Register Guard ^ | 8 May 02 | By SUSAN PALMER

Posted on 05/08/2002 12:04:39 PM PDT by Glutton

Pets may get a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T

By SUSAN PALMER 
The Register-Guard

 

Recommend this story to others.

 
A dog is not a toaster, a cat is not a sofa and a fish is certainly not a bicycle. So how come animals have "owners"?

The outdated language harkens back to once-common attitudes that women were the property of their spouses and black slaves were the property of those who employed them, animal welfare activists say.

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dogs in the park

Activists want the Eugene City Council to replace "animal owner" with "animal guardian" in city code language dealing with pets. Elizabeth Jayne, 21, "guardian" of 8-month-old Moose, is all for the change, saying, "I think it's great if it makes more people respect animals more." At rear are Teman Erhart and his dog, Dasi.

Photo: NICOLE DeVITO / The Register-Guard

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The relationship between people and pets deserves a more respectful term, activists say, and they want the Eugene City Council to lead the way by replacing "animal owner" with "animal guardian" in city code language dealing with pets.

Councilors will take up the topic in a work session today, along with several animal control issues.

Proponents of the proposal aren't naive enough to believe a change in the language will result in an immediate reduction in animal abandonment or abuse, said David Duemler, a member of the Animal Welfare Network of Lane County. Rather it's a first step in getting people to change the way they think about animals, he said.

"The term owner carries no connotation of responsibility. ... It fails to distinguish between a living being and an inanimate piece of property," Duemler wrote in a January letter to the council.

Duemler, who teaches psychology at Lane Community College, said the relationship between language and behavior is subtle but real.

"In the long-term, the language we use can affect people's intuitions and their attitudes often in a way we're not aware of, and that can lead to a change in behavior," he said.

The local group's drive is part of a national movement spearheaded by In Defense of Animals, a nonprofit animal welfare agency based in California.

Several cities and at least one state have rewritten their codes to include the word "guardian," Duemler said, including Boulder, Colo., Berkeley, Calif., West Hollywood, Calif., and Rhode Island.

Those who love animals have been down this road before, said Diana Huntington of Junction City, also an Animal Welfare Network member.

"Twenty years ago the term 'animal rights' seemed outrageous and ludicrous," Huntington said.

Now "animal rights" is such a part of the culture that seventh-graders at Jefferson Middle School where she teaches frequently choose animals rights projects as part of their social justice curriculum, she said.

Students recently discussed the ethics of capturing elephants, training them to do circus tricks and hauling them around the world in cages, she said.

Changing city code language does no harm and costs almost nothing, she said.

But a memo to councilors relays the city attorney's concerns that the word "guardian" has legal meanings in city and state statutes, where it's used almost exclusively in temporary caregiver situations. The memo, written by city staffer Mary Walston, proposed an alternate term of "animal keeper."

In Boulder, where city councilors voted for the new language two years ago, there was some discussion about what rights the word "guardian" might imply, said Boulder City Councilor Dan Corson.

"There was some talk of, does this make the pet a ward of the state, does it give the pet a set of legal rights? The conclusion was that it did not," he said.

Corson, who lives with two dogs, a cat and two rabbits, said he wasn't a strong supporter of the measure, but didn't believe it would do any harm.

Most of the nine Boulder councilors supported it, and most letters to the editor of the Boulder paper on the subject were supportive, although some called the language change silly, he said.

Examples of changes in Boulder since the new language was enacted:

The Boulder newspaper, the Daily Camera, has used the term and a sign listing rules at a dog park incorporated the word, said Jan McHugh-Smith, executive director of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.

At least one Eugene councilor, Gary Pape, said he has no problem using the term "guardian" in existing city code. But he said he's much more concerned with the other topics on the meeting agenda.

Those include complaints and service requests related to wildlife, county and city differences in the definition of dangerous dogs, licensing of cats and the ongoing work of the Animal Control Task Force set up by Lane County Commissioner Bill Dwyer.

"We need to go into more depth on animal ordinances," Pape said "We've had some problems that have been brought to my attention at least in my ward with people not being responsible with animals and we need to address that."

CITY COUNCIL WORK SESSION



TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: animalhusbandry; peta; pets
have you hugged your pet (OPPS!), I mean ward today?
1 posted on 05/08/2002 12:04:40 PM PDT by Glutton
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To: Glutton
Figures they're meeting in the "McNutt" room.
2 posted on 05/08/2002 12:08:00 PM PDT by Shermy
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To: Glutton
Cheese is alive. I am a cheese gaurdian.
3 posted on 05/08/2002 12:09:26 PM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: Glutton
My Timberwolf is bought and paid for, that makes him MINE! I own him. He knows it! Blackbird.
4 posted on 05/08/2002 12:10:05 PM PDT by BlackbirdSST
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To: Glutton
My cats own me.
5 posted on 05/08/2002 12:10:09 PM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan
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To: Born to Conserve
I am a beer guardian.
6 posted on 05/08/2002 12:10:57 PM PDT by B Knotts
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To: Glutton
Oooh boy... I wish I lived in Eugene... Must be nice to have no real problems to deal with at City Council meetings.

"The term owner carries no connotation of responsibility..."

She has obviously never "owned" anything that hurt somebody. I think ownership has a lot more responsibility attached to it than "guardianship" does. Nevermind. Why am I picking at the details... the whole thing is whacked.

7 posted on 05/08/2002 12:11:24 PM PDT by HairOfTheDog
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To: Shermy
LOL! I think you may have cracked the secret as to why there are so many squirrels to be found at city hall in Eugene, Oregon.
8 posted on 05/08/2002 12:11:51 PM PDT by Glutton
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To: Glutton
Freakin' liberals. Once again they show how vacuous and brain-dead they are. I was in Boulder recently and it it so obvious to me that it was a liberal infested area. I'm sooooo glad I don't live there, or in Eugene.
9 posted on 05/08/2002 12:12:33 PM PDT by AlaskaErik
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To: Glutton
MaiseyJane must have read this article this morning. She's been very busy unplugging the computer, meowing furiously, stalking across my desk, and showing other signs of insurection. Maybe she'll start her own country.
10 posted on 05/08/2002 12:13:36 PM PDT by PoisedWoman
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To: All
My wife and I show our dogs at AKC events and last year one of these "nuts" tried to "free" or dogs. I caught her and just about knocked her out. I turned her over to security. She was babbaling about how no one had the right to "own" a dog.
11 posted on 05/08/2002 12:15:43 PM PDT by MP5SD
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To: Glutton
Several cities and at least one state have rewritten their codes to include the word "guardian," Duemler said, including Boulder, Colo., Berkeley, Calif., West Hollywood, Calif., and Rhode Island.

Gore Country – Land of Idiots

12 posted on 05/08/2002 12:16:24 PM PDT by dead
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
But, are the mice he or she brings home prey, or oppressed victims? And as a guardian, can you be sued by the mice's family for failing to control your ward? Yuies!

This is one for the books. You could dance on the head of a pin all day and night splitting hairs on language changes like this.

It is opvious this is an intermediate step to gaining more animal rights. They just have cut the process into such tiny steps, they hope nobody will notice what they are doing.

We've seen this little game before, haven't we?

13 posted on 05/08/2002 12:18:35 PM PDT by Glutton
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To: Glutton
opvious=obvious
14 posted on 05/08/2002 12:20:14 PM PDT by Glutton
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To: Glutton
Isn't that photo a bit cruel? I mean, shouldn't the collar be around the "guardian's" neck? Where's the outrage?
15 posted on 05/08/2002 12:21:11 PM PDT by browardchad
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To: Glutton
Yep, lose control of the language and you lose control of the issue.
16 posted on 05/08/2002 12:22:35 PM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan
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To: Glutton
I guess I'm just the "guardian" of a freezer full of deer, duck, squirrel and wild turkey meat. I wonder if the crappie and bream in the other freezer need a guardian also?
17 posted on 05/08/2002 12:25:57 PM PDT by AUgrad
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To: B Knotts

I am a beer guardian.

Me too, albeit a poor one...

18 posted on 05/08/2002 12:27:16 PM PDT by Caipirabob
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
That's what I was going to say. Our owners are just little people in furry coats. They just allow us to stay in the same house. But rubbing, string, food, and nudging must be provided whenever requested
19 posted on 05/08/2002 12:28:04 PM PDT by billbears
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To: Glutton
The term owner carries no connotation of responsibility. ...

You've got to be kidding.

20 posted on 05/08/2002 12:31:35 PM PDT by geaux
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
Every year here, the Shriner's Circus is bullied by a large contingent of picketers over their "cruelty to animals."

Strange how none of them offer to replace the monies the Shriners raise for charities if their circus is banned.

I also have been treated to a lecture about the evils of exploiting honeybees by using honey in my coffee by a local vegan. It pays to watch this and other animal rights based movements. The end results of going all the way to where these activists wish to go might be too much to take.

Just because some people are dumber then then their pets. and have the common sense of a dog chasing it's tail, the rest of us should not have to suffer.

21 posted on 05/08/2002 12:32:03 PM PDT by Glutton
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To: Glutton
"Twenty years ago the term 'animal rights' seemed outrageous and ludicrous," Huntington said.

Ummmm.....still sounds outrageous and ludicrous. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

22 posted on 05/08/2002 12:35:34 PM PDT by wbill
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To: HairOfTheDog
Don't bring logic into this! It is all about feelings!
23 posted on 05/08/2002 12:36:56 PM PDT by CyberCowboy777
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To: Glutton
"....harkens back to the once-common attitudes the women were the property of their spouses and black slaves were the property of those who employed them, animal activists say."

You know what the problems are with these examples? They're HUMAN examples. In both cases,the property is a HUMAN BEING. I fully believe that it is wrong for one human to own another. HOWEVER, it is in no way whatsoever WRONG to own an animal. GET WITH THE PROGRAM!!

24 posted on 05/08/2002 12:40:28 PM PDT by 4mycountry
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To: Glutton
I'd support them in this struggle only IF they then take up the cause on behalf of oppressed toasters, sofas, and bicycles everywhere.
25 posted on 05/08/2002 12:43:04 PM PDT by MarineDad
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To: browardchad
In the caption to the pic,the nice lady is a guardian while the rotten,horrible man is with "his" dog.
26 posted on 05/08/2002 12:43:25 PM PDT by Free Trapper
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To: Glutton
As an aside, I'd be very suprised if any animal rights wackos take better care of their animals than me...
27 posted on 05/08/2002 12:43:55 PM PDT by GodBlessRonaldReagan
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To: PoisedWoman
Well, I would suggest to MaiseyJane she fight to have dogs reclassified as "interns" if she truly wants to have a positive impact.

Hey, if this could keep another poor dog from having Bill Clinton in charge of him or her, (he is planning to replace Buddy) some good could come of this movement.

28 posted on 05/08/2002 12:47:22 PM PDT by Glutton
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To: Glutton
From the adminitrative law of this particular city - "Pets must register with a city agency and obtain a "pet license." Each pet license must include an identification tag that is to be worn around the animal's neck on a chain or collar. The identification tag must have, on one side, the name, address and 'phone number of the pet's guardian and, on the other, at least one specie specific receipe."
29 posted on 05/08/2002 12:51:35 PM PDT by Tacis
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To: GodBlessRonaldReagan
The worst ones locally sneer at people for "having animal slaves." Unless of course the owner of the animal is homeless, or course.

Strange how a transient using a cute puppy as a lead-in for a handout is immune to this sort od snide "re-education efforts."

30 posted on 05/08/2002 12:53:14 PM PDT by Glutton
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To: HairOfTheDog
Yer right. Some people clearly don't have enough real things to worry about, and way too much time in which to do it.
31 posted on 05/08/2002 12:54:44 PM PDT by Own Drummer
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To: Glutton
How about this. If people are no longer an animals "owner" then lets remove them from any responsibility of being liable for the animals actions.

Those just convicted for the dog mauling that killed their neighbor in California should be released from jail immediatly.

32 posted on 05/08/2002 12:56:26 PM PDT by Phantom Lord
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To: PoisedWoman
How are YOUR dog and cat? MY dog is fine. She belongs to ME, and I love her.

g

33 posted on 05/08/2002 12:59:15 PM PDT by Geezerette
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To: Shermy
"A dog is not a toaster.... The outdated language harkens back to once-common attitudes that women were the property of their spouses"

Wow!! A woman is no better than a dog now.

I regret getting upset over those rappers who referred to women as 'my bitches'.

34 posted on 05/08/2002 1:08:33 PM PDT by laotzu
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To: Glutton
A dog is not a toaster, a cat is not a sofa and a fish is certainly not a bicycle. So how come animals have "owners"?

The outdated language harkens back to once-common attitudes that women were the property of their spouses and black slaves were the property of those who employed them, animal welfare activists say.

And this kind of language hearkens back to all too common attitudes that people and animals have the same inherent value.

35 posted on 05/16/2002 8:14:43 AM PDT by Terriergal
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