Obama's Broken Promise

Last November, Obama said they were pursuing a two-dog strategy: an allergy free dog for the girls and a rescue dog--a mutt like me.

Well, according to the Washington post, the rescue mutt will never be. Obama is making a donation to the Washington D.C. Humane society instead. As Jeff La Rosa said, we can expect Portuguese Water Dogs to start showing up in shelters in another 3-6 months.

Barack, you totally blew this one. You could have saved the lives of tens or even hundreds of thousands of shelter animals across the country over the next few years.


Anonymous said...

Well, there's a slight chance you two might be right. Maybe in 3-6 months we'll start seeing more than 1 or 2 pure bred PWDs a year in LAAS shelters. I hardly think it'll have any impact on the preferred breeds for our region though.

Brad Jensen

Anonymous said...

There are MANY other breeds that are also hypo-allergenic and you CAN find them in shelters. Making a donation to a shelter is an unacceptable alternative.
They have now sentenced many more rescue dogs to death as people will now copy the Obama's and buy a purebred from a breeder.
If they had chosen a rescue dog, which would have been carefully screened by a Humane Society, it would have focused the public and media's attention on the thousands and thousands of wonderful animals waiting for a home.
Apparently a friendship was more important than keeping a promise and setting a good example.
Six million are euthanized yearly.
Will it now be seven million?

Anonymous said...

I was personally heartbroken when I heard that they got a dog from a breeder. I voted for obama, and he just broke a very basic and easy promise. I know he is busy, but a simple free online search would have kept him from breaking his promise. Whats next on his list of promises?

harry said...

I'm so saddened by his choice to make the Kennedy's happy instead of sending the politically correct message that we are killing 5 million dogs & cats in our shelters a year and yes this costs Americans thousands in taxes. There are plenty of Portuguese Water dogs on Petfinder in fact one is in Dallas under a year old. He just put the puppy millers into overdrive producing PWD's and the abuse cycle repeats itself, neverending!

Molly said...

Obama's decision to take a pure bred dog has just signed a death warrant for many dogs around the country. His decision will keep breeders and puppy mills in business for years to come as so many people will be eager to follow their president's example. And let's not forget the abuse of the breeding animals as their owners over breed in effort to fill the many orders for this newly popular breed. A lost opportunity for Obama and many lost lives for shelter dogs.

Anonymous said...

It was returned to a breeder and would have just been re-sold by the breeder. This is *NOT* a rescue dog. And making a donation isn't what they promised to do, they promised to adopt. No one made them make that promise.

Aside form the fact that there is no such thing as a hypo-allergenic dog (look up the research on it), dogs that people believe are such are very much available at shelters and breed-specific rescue groups.

What's the problem with acknowledging they went back on their word? They did. it's a documented fact so arguing about it seems...odd. They didn't promise to make a donation to a shelter when camapigning, they promised to adopt a resuce dog from a shelter and they DIDN'T. The end.

Chris said...

If you go to the Petfinder website and type in Portuguese Water dog, you will see that there is that breed of dog available at shelters across North America. So I hate hearing the argument that they aren't at shelters, so they had no choice but to go to a breeder.

When you're in the position of influence that the Obama's are in, they could have made a huge impact on shelter animal adoptions.

Instead he has to be one more politician to appease the Kennedy ego.

The Obamas claim to want to teach their children social responsibility, but instead he just gave puppy mills a huge boost. I thought he was different - what a disappointment.

Anonymous said...

We have a PWD in WLA shelter right now, owner surrender, two years old neutered male, cute. Obama should have adopted a shelter pet. He sends a message that shelter pets are not good enough for him. He must have a purebred pedigreed dog from the Kennedy's only. Sell out! There are great animals in the shelters, 25% are purebred for the snobs out there. Individual personality is what matters most, like their AKC papers. I feel the same way about humans.

Anonymous said...

He knew he did the wrong thing which is why he offered to donate a few bucks to the Humane Society. He just cost the US billions of dollars! People could have gone and adopted shelter pets. Money could have been saved besides lives. He should have said "no thanks" to the Kennedy's and gotten a poodle. We have two cute purebred black poodle pups here, remember? People were offering him shelter pets.He didn't have to do any work at all.

Anonymous said...

See Newsweek article on Breeders and the coming Obama boom in Water Dogs.

Anonymous said...

If the Obamas choose a hybrid, unethical breeders will try to cash in—and puppies are likely to suffer.
By Suzanne Smalley | NEWSWEEK
Published Apr 4, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Apr 13, 2009

The White County sheriff's department noticed the stench from a mile up the road. By the time rescuers entered the series of sheds in Sparta, Tenn., some were forced to wear respirators. Inside each shed were scores of dogs in tiny cages, many covered in feces. The sheds reeked of urine and were so frigid the officers had to set up portable heaters to work inside. Authorities, who raided the farm in February after receiving tips from angry customers who'd purchased sick puppies, discovered 300 dogs on the three-acre property—many of them malnourished, mangy and infected by parasites. Some were housed a half dozen to a cage in near total darkness. Many of the pups were "designer dogs"—trendy new breeds like puggles (which result when a pug is bred with a beagle), Maltepoos (a Maltese-poodle mix) and Chipins (a Chihuahua-pinscher cross). "It's market driven," says Melinda Merck, a forensic veterinarian who assisted with the Tennessee raid. "People just see a designer breed and say, 'I've never heard of that dog but it sounds cute'." And for puppy mills like this one, designer dogs—many of which sell for more than $1,000 apiece—have become a huge business.

The line connecting this canine hellhole to the White House is admittedly indirect. But any day now the Obama girls will bring home the puppy their father promised them in his election-night speech. In January, Obama told ABC News the family was strongly considering a Labradoodle, a Labrador-poodle hybrid that's become especially popular among allergy sufferers—a group that includes Malia Obama. Michelle Obama has said she favors a purebred Portuguese water dog; a White House spokesperson won't comment, but an announcement could come this week. No matter which breed the Obamas choose, animal-welfare advocates expect to see a "101 Dalmatians" effect: a sudden burst in popularity that results when a movie or a celebrity puts a spotlight on a particular dog, a phenomenon breeders try to capitalize on it by mass-producing similar dogs.

By all accounts, the Obamas are laboring to make a prudent decision. They've already committed to adopt a shelter dog, which thrills animal lovers. (It's also a big improvement over Vice President Biden, who in December unwittingly purchased a German shepherd from a large Pennsylvania breeder whose kennel had a recent history of unsatisfactory inspections.) But the two breeds they're considering aren't commonly found in shelters, so if other families want a similar dog, there's a good chance they'll get one bred in a puppy mill like the one raided in Tennessee. The good news is the Obama adoption comes at a time of heightened scrutiny over the practices of these dog breeders, who've been able to utilize the Internet to sidestep regulations intended to protect dogs from cruelty. More than two dozen states are passing new laws to make commercial breeders treat their living products better. Among animal-welfare advocates, much of the concern focuses on reports of inhumane practices by Amish and Mennonite dog breeders in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin. And as NEWSWEEK found during visits to Amish and Mennonite dog farms, those concerns appear warranted.

As you're driving through bucolic Lancaster County, it's impossible not to be struck by the number of worn, wooden rabbit hutches stacked beside barns. There are often no rabbits, however; inside many of the hutches are puppies, a NEWSWEEK investigation found. Often, the animals are left outside during the frigid winters. Their feet slip painfully through the cages' wire floors—and sometimes, so does their excrement, which rains on top of the dogs below when breeders stack cages to save space. Some of the dogs are nearly as big as their cages, leaving them little room to move. In front of the farms handwritten signs advertise the different breeds available. On these farms, hybrids like Labradoodles and puggles are plentiful.

Animal-welfare advocates refer to many of these operations as "puppy mills"—a catch-all term that's loosely defined as a facility that produces large numbers of puppies in less-than-ideal conditions for sale to pet stores or to consumers over the Internet. According to Bob Baker, who investigates puppy mills for the ASPCA, these dogs typically receive little if any vet care, are kept in tiny cages 24 hours a day and rarely interact with humans. "The differences all come down to raising a dog as a loving pet versus a cash crop," says Baker, who estimates there are between 5,000 and 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, with as many as 2,000 in the Amish and Mennonite countryside.

Animal-rights advocates say that culturally, the farmers who breed dogs don't see a meaningful distinction between pets and farm animals raised for slaughter. Sometimes they behave accordingly: last summer Elmer Zimmerman, a dairy farmer in Kutztown, Penn., shot and killed 70 sick dogs on his farm, avoiding big vet bills after a health warden ordered him to take the dogs in for treatment. There's no law against such behavior in many states—and in fact, because many of these farms now sell directly to consumers over the Internet, they're not even covered by the minimal U.S. Department of Agriculture standards that apply to breeders who sell to pet stores. "It's a massive loophole," says USDA spokesperson Jessica Milteer.

News of the shootings led to protests and prayer vigils outside the Zimmerman farm. Gov. Ed Rendell, a pet lover, marshaled that public outrage to push through a tough new law aimed at improving conditions at puppy mills. Under the Pennsylvania law, which goes into effect in October, wire flooring and stacked cages will be outlawed; dogs must be let outside for exercise; minimum cage sizes will be increased; and owners will be required to have every dog examined by a vet twice a year. (The regs also outlaw shooting dogs.) Legislatures in North Carolina, Washington, Oklahoma and about two dozen other states are considering or have recently passed bills to improve conditions in puppy mills, too.

The legislative crackdown isn't very popular among the Amish farmers, nor are they convinced their practices need reform. When NEWSWEEK visited the Zimmerman farm last month, Elmer hid inside, but his father defended the shootings. "It was instant—if you take them to the vet [to be put down], how would you feel lying there unable to get air for 15 minutes?" he says. Elmer's father, who declined to be named, says the uproar has led his family to abandon their breeding business, which he regrets. "It was very profitable," he says, bemoaning how new regulations will make it prohibitively expensive to raise puppies. "It's one more business that is out of our hands. Japan, Mexico—all these countries are taking our jobs," he says.

Not every Amish or Mennonite breeder treats his dogs harshly: some let their dogs out of their cages to exercise and are scrupulous about vaccinations. And there are plenty of unethical breeders who aren't Amish or Mennonite—including the owners of the Tennessee farm that authorities raided in February, who have not yet been charged but could face jail sentences. Some Lancaster breeders visited by NEWSWEEK defended their practices, saying the dogs are happy in their cages. As Elmer Zimmerman's father puts it, "it's the only way to keep a lot of dogs—to keep them penned up."

The Zimmermans did particularly well selling designer dogs—Elmer favored cockapoos, a cocker spaniel–poodle mix. "They don't shed and then people's houses don't get dirty," Elmer's father says. Amish and Mennonite dog breeders on some of the eight other farms NEWSWEEK visited cited other reasons for favoring hybrids. "It's less paperwork for me—you don't have to register them," says one Lancaster County breeder, who declined to be named—but who, according to rescue officials, has kept as many as 500 dogs on his farm. No matter which breed farmers choose, the costs of these businesses are astonishingly low, critics say. "Once they set up their cages all they have to pay for is staff and vaccines," says Kathleen Summers, director of the Humane Society's Stop Puppy Mills campaign. By some accounts, there are Amish breeders earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

It's a business that creates strange bedfellows Last year animal activist Bill Smith, who runs Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester Springs, Penn., noticed that some of the farms alleged to mistreat puppies were also producing organic dairy products, the kind bought by affluent consumers who'd be horrified their milk and yogurt are being produced alongside dogs in tiny, filthy cages. Indeed, NEWSWEEK visited one farm where a sign identified it as producing Horizon Organics dairy products, which are sold by upscale retailers like Whole Foods Market and in big-box stores like Wal-Mart. That farm, B&R Puppies in Parkesburg, Penn., was recently licensed to hold up to 250 dogs a year; inspection reports from 2007 and 2008 cited conditions as "unsatisfactory" because of squalid cages, sick dogs, pests and failure to vaccinate for rabies. When NEWSWEEK informed Horizon of B&R's puppy business, the company sent a representative to investigate. Upon finding breeding dogs at the farm, Horizon suspended its dealings with the farm. In a statement, Horizon said the farmer promised to "[close] that operation and [find] appropriate and humane homes for all of the dogs." Indeed, late last week farm owner John Stoltzfus told NEWSWEEK he'd already found new homes for the dogs "so we can still send milk to Horizon."

Ed Muzika said...

It is kind of clear that Obama was going to get a dog from Ted Kennedy for some time now. I think PWD was mentioned months ago, and Kennedy has had two of them for years.

I think Obama had this is mind when he talked about the two dog strategy, which morphed into the one dog and one donation strategy.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think the promise was kept and that promise was made to his kids.

Brad Jensen

Ed Muzika said...

Come on Brad, he told EVERYONE for months he'd get a shelter or rescue dog. The one daughter wanted a rescue or shelter dog.

How is that not a promise to keep?

He chose to go with a dog from a political mentor and friend, and both should have known better.

Obama rarely makes mistakes or mis-states. He made one here.

Anonymous said...

Watch and Listen

I will say no more on the issue.

Brad Jensen

Anonymous said...

Yes, he made a huge mistake that will cost thousands and thousands of lives and taxpayer dollars. And don't forget that Joe Biden also bought a puppy from a puppy mill. Very disappointing and just goes to show that democrats are no different than republicans when it comes to our treatment of animals and our responsibilities toward them. They just don't matter.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Brad, for posting that YouTube clip as a reminder of what Obama said. You're correct - his promise was to his daughters. Ted Kennedy had always suggested his breed of dog because of Malia's allergies. The dog was returned to a breeder.... it's not a new born pup. Let's let them enjoy it and see if by becoming dog guardians it will open their eyes to other issues that can use their support.

harry said...

That video was a sound bite only and does not weigh in the hundreds of other bits of info about the whole process of getting the dog.

The story was big even before Obama was elected and then it got bigger and bigger.

Why? Because everyone in the rescue world and who care about animals dying in the shelters were concerned he'd make the right choice, not just for his kids, but for the animals too.

Both he and Biden should have been well aware of what a statement it would have made and how many animals could have been saved if they had gotten a PWD from a shelter or a rescue. That one segment does not invalidate anything the rest of us have said here on the subject and how disappointed we are with his decision.

In fact he has never acknowledged the complexity of this issue, or stated he realized the implication of this decision, yet he can call up someone he made a careless remark to and apologize for not being politically correct in an instant. But on this issue, absolutely nothing. He did not even acknowledge the issue.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'll say just a little more on this issue (sort of). Boks wrote in his blog this morning about disappointment in the Obamas for not adopting from a shelter as pledged... posted on his blog site just a few weeks after Councilman Zine said to him, "You're a general manager of a major department in the city of Los Angeles, you shouldn't have time to blog."

Just thought it might be of some interest.

Brad Jensen

Anonymous said...

I'm with harry. Promise or no promise, Obama did not consider the ramifications of his choice, thereby minimizing the signifance of what such a decision could do. By doing so, and by taking the action he did, he contributed to more shelter deaths (all the people who would have followed his example), lost government and non profit revenue and turned his back on the plight of homeless animals across the country.

Anonymous said...

What good does his donation do? The cost of one shelter dog saved by him would do far more than any donation he gave.

Major disappointment

Ed Muzika said...

Well, maybe after being with the dog for a few years, Obama will get it. He was not raised with animals, so we need to give him a break. When Bo dies, they'll all begin to get it, if not before.

I am amazed though that everyone is amazed how big the dog story is. Haven't the political commentators and reporters AND politicians realize that the animal community is HUGE?

Oh yeh, I forgot, the animal community itself hasn't realized it.

Anonymous said...

I think the animal community thinks they're more huge than they really are. When a politician can't even mention that his family would PREFER a shelter dog and they HOPED they could balance that out... then you attack immediately and out and out lie and say that he PROMISED to get a shelter dog. I saw that live when he did that press conference and he never, ever, ever promised to get a dog from a shelter. Silly him, expressing hope that he could.

You animal community are never happy. You're like nagging old wives who are never happy no matter what you do.

And then you think you have some kind of power?

Yes, you have the power to make the average community hate you for your immature, mean actions and the company you keep like the losers who have no friends and think that animals lives should take precedence over humans.

Sickos, you are.

Ed Muzika said...

The clip Brad referred to is only one out of 3 where Obama mentions the dog. In another clip, or maybe in this one but left out, he also talked about a two-dog strategy, one a breed dog and the other a shelter dog.

Also, one of the daughters, I don't know which--I looked it up yesterday--said she wanted a shelter dog, and maybe even an adult shelter dog.

In another quote I found earlier this morning, Obama said--maybe jokingly or not, that the "puppy was a campaign promise."

Besides video there were many, many other sources of info. Brad chose only to provide a link for the version he prefers no matter what was said 30 seconds after that clip ended, the next day, etc.

Look it up yourself. Do a google. Brad's loop is not the whole story by far.

If you have watched the story unfold, the reporters and even good liberal commentators, like Keith Olbermann and all the others are astounded that the puppy story is so large compared to what they think should be large, until now the time has come when everyone accepts its large no longer wondering why.

Councilman Parks said the LA animal community was potentially the most powerful he was aware of but we were not organized.

We are not organized. We never get the word out and when we do the politicians do listen.

We beat Scwartzenegger when he was going to reduce the Hayden law, we got mandatroy spay neuter passed, and we got Angelinos to fund a $140,000,000 new shelter bond issue.

But we haven't been able to grasp how to turn the public's love for animals into something with continuous political power.

HSUS and PETA are doing that nationally, but we haven't been able to do that locally.

Now why some of you who are always attacking "animal lovers" as some sort of nutcases keep visiting this site and just throwing out bile, like Boks = Death says, what does that say about you?

Now who on earth says we have animal lives take precedence over human?

Do you mean meaningless medical research on neuron brain functioning that Lisberg does and has been doing for 20 years with no health or practical application? Is that what you are talking about?

Are you talking about opposing eating animals, as by doing that we are putting animals before people, as if people will die if they don't eat meat?

You don't make much sense unless you get specific about what you mean.

Anonymous said...

I think Commenter #23 thinks we can't guess where s/he works.

Ed Muzika said...

Quotes found in the last 10 minutes:

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle said during the presidential campaign that they had promised their two girls a dog after the election.

The Obamas repeatedly said they wanted it to be a rescued dog such as one from a shelter. Their search was complicated by daughter Malia's allergies, which would rule out many of the "mutts" the president has said he would prefer."


From a story in the Oregonian on November 5, 2008:

"People who don't follow the politics of dogs might not know how much fur flew over where the Obamas would get their pet. Should the dog be purebred or a shelter dog? It was settled when Michelle Obama said that the family would adopt a shelter dog."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'm just as disappointed as anyone that the Obamas did not pick a shelter dog.

But to call us all losers and sickos because we care about other living things too is mean spirited.

Brad Jensen

Anonymous said...

From a story in the Oregonian on November 5, 2008:

"... Should the dog be purebred or a shelter dog? It was settled when Michelle Obama said that the family would adopt a shelter dog."

Just because the Oregonian published that remark does not mean Michelle Obama actually said it. She NEVER said the family would adopt a shelter dog. She always said their preference was to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue group. That's a big difference.

The deed is done and hopefully the Obama's and Bo will have a splendid life together. Bo is already neutered, which is a great thing. You people can bitch and complain as much as you want, but it's not going to change anything. This is a new experience for the entire family, with a person who has allergy problems. Let them be and stop whining. Surely there are way more important things to bitch and moan about - like what's happening with the spay/neuter coupons in LA - a city that has a mandatory s/n law!

Anonymous said...

He joked that a dog was a campaign promise.. To his DAUGHTERS!

The story is huge because his adorable daughters wanted a dog, NOT because he didn't get a dog from a shelter. Animal rights people wanting it to be because the average person cares about shelter dogs vs breeder dogs won't make it happen.

Parks is out of his mind on most issues. Let's face facts. He's out of touch. He's not an animal lover. He knows that your friends will threaten to bomb his car or house so he appeases you by being a politician - telling you all how big and powerful you are even though you aren't.

You did not get all of those accomplishments done. Most people in the U.S. would vote for a dog law without being a crazed animal lunatic. Unlike you, they don't really care, they just feel that there should be those laws. You, the small animal community did not do that and it's laughable that you're taking credit for it.

Why and how did I get here? Another blog was talking about the animal crazies and this was one of the blogs mentioned. I had to come and see for myself if the rumors were true. You are all lumped in with the lunatics who car bomb whether you like it or not.

Where do I work? That should be a great answer. I don't! That's the best part of all. Where were you guessing that I worked? Some shelter or some breeder or something? Trying to guess to come and car bomb my car?

It's hard to come here and read silly things like I do and then not come back and respond. And by the way, I have two dogs and a cat. I do love animals. I also love my lasik eye surgery, some medications that I take, some products that I use and they're all made possible by animal testing. I guess I'm just a realist.

henry said...

I am glad someone knows for sure what both Obama parents said about the dog over the last six months, as well as what the daughters said they wanted. I am especially glad someone knows for certain what Michelle said.

Too bad this person cannot provide any evidence to back up their claim to omniscience.

What is it about you guys, giving opinions as absolute truth?

As I pointed out before, the bigger picture is whether the Obamas were going to get a shelter dog as a statement for the country to adopt shelter animals. Both knew exactly what would happen, an explosion of adoptions from shelters, or an explosion of breeders, responsible or not.

Together they chose the option that will not promote life but will insure even more death.

Their decision does nothing to reduce the expenses of shelters around the country who would have had lowered expenses if more animals were adopted more quickly, and increased them as more breeder dogs show up at shelters.

Anonymous said...

Henry, are you serious? This has been a minutely reported story for months before President Obama was even sworn in. These people give interviews, they are quoted on the record, they are Google-able.

Seriously, I thought I'd heard the frozen limit of mindless attempts to discredit animal activists' intelligence and awareness, but questioning how we know what the Obamas have said about this dog is one of the lamest things you people have ever flung.

Anonymous said...

I run a National pure breed rescue group. I did get a phone call, inquiring about the breed for the Obamas. The last thing in the world that I wanted was for a dog of the breed I rescue to get the attention the PWD is getting. I also educated them that NO BREED is hypoallergenic (many say my breed is,) some breeds are LESS hypoallergenic and that it depends what about the dog the person is allergic to, the hair, the saliva, a scratch, etc. Those inquiring were basically told we would not adopt a dog to the white house, but encouraged them to contact other breed rescues or shelters. Maybe they got the same reaction from other breed rescues and found the need to go the route they did. Our job as rescues is to protect the breed we rescue, not exploit it as is happening with the PWD and the puppy millers who will think they can make a quick buck.