David Almasi: I Am a Pet Owner

NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi asserts his dominance:

My wife and I adopted a dog a few months ago and now have Madison (a corgi/sheltie mix) enrolled in obedience training at a local pet store.

After Maddie performed exceptionally well at finding me hiding behind a stack of dog food, the instructor remarked on how excited she was to find her… [long pause] ummm… “owner.”

It took the instructor about 20 seconds of indecision to identify me as a pet “owner” rather than a guardian to a companion animal or some other sort of politically collect claptrap.

(I’m not sure if he was trying to not offend the humans or the dogs.)

Doing away with the notion of pet ownership is a disturbing trend that is promoted by the animal rights movement. San Francisco has gone along — it even formally threw out the term pet owner altogether.

When we first adopted Maddie, I was a bit taken aback by the fact that we went through three rigorous interviews before getting the green light. I know there are people out there with bad intent that need to be identified and weeded out, but one look at my wife’s eager face should have been able to convince anyone of her unconditional love for about 20 of the dogs up for adoption at the time. Since then, we have been a one-stop shop of care giving for Maddie: Three walks a day, free-flowing premium dog food, treats and toys out the wazoo, free health care, chauffer service to the doggy park and constant attention when we’re home (to the dismay of our two cats).

We also know that we are responsible for cleaning up after her, keeping her from harm and from harming others. Along with lacking an opposable thumb, Madison also lacks the conscience and judgment that sets humans apart from beasts.That’s what defines our relationship as ownership as opposed to guardianship.

Changing the terms of the human-pet relationship is just another step in the true goal of the animal rights movement: The total extinction of pets. Dr. Elliott Katz, president of the animal rights group In Defense of Animals cheered San Francisco’s change in semantics in 2003, saying, “The term ‘guardian’ denotes a positive relationship and mutually beneficial bond between two living beings, where constant care, attention, and affection are necessary for a thriving relationship. It instills respect for and appreciation of our companion animals.” It’s a bit deceptive, considering his 1993 statement in which he said, “It is time we demand an end to the misguided and abusive concept of animal ownership.”

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