PROVIDING INFORMATION AND ANALYSES OF ANIMAL ISSUES IN LOS ANGELES
Prices of Portuguese Water Dogs Rising. Breeder Predicts General Mayhem
Barack Obama with daughters Malia (C) Sasha (R) and new puppy, Bo. Jeff T. Green / Getty Images
In a disappointing deja vu, President Obama is getting a dog from a breeder, just as VP Joe Biden did. However, Obama's decision is much more disappointing than Biden's, considering his previous commitment to rescue a dog and his participation in Jana Kohl's book on puppy mills, "A Rare Breed of Love" (Buy Direct).
Barack Obama poses with Baby, a rescued dog, for the book "A Rare Breed of Love." Photo by Robert Sebree
The Obama's new puppy is a Portugese Water Dog named Bo, a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy, who got the dog from a breeder. The dog made his public debut on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday. Kohl now feels betrayed, as many animal advocates do.
I'm also very disappointed in Obama's decision, and withHSUS's press release on this subject, which congratulates the Obama's on accepting this "second chance" dog, just because the dog had been returned to the breeder by the previous family who purchased him. As PETA very clearly states, "The new first dog, Bo, is not a rescue." The dog was a gift to which the Obama's consented, and according to People.com, Kennedy "had been lobbying the Obamas to get a Portuguese Water Dog (or PWD) for months."
Because of his position in the public eye, Obama's decision affects more than the one dog he could have rescued from a shelter. Even before Bo made his public debut, Obama's anticipated decision created a demand for these purebred dogs:
When the Obamas announced earlier this year the breed was on their short list, (Mitch Horowitz, a dog breeder) started receiving three or four inquiries daily . . . "People are going to reproduce these dogs however they can," he said. "Prices have already gone up a lot. It's going to be general mayhem."
One newspaper article compares the popularity of these dogs to the popularity of Jackie Kennedy's pillbox hat. Unfortunately, a dog cannot be placed on a shelf in the closet when the next trend comes along. The increased demand for these dogs will lead to more dogs being bred, which will lead to more dogs suffering in puppy mills and dying in shelters.
Althouh PETA reports that the dog has been neutered, and Ecorazzi reports that Obama is making a donation to a "Humane Society," (it is unclear exactly which organization will receive the donation) this damage control is too little too late. As Kohl responded to The Vote Blog of the Christian Science Monitor regarding the donation: “That’s baloney,” Kohl said. “It’s farcical. They’re donating money to urge people not to do what they did.”
I agree wholeheartedly with Kohl. Donating money after the fact will do little to curb the damage. Not only is Obama setting a terrible example for the country, but he reneged on a promise he had made to animal advocates during the election.
Animal advocates are expressing their disappointment to the White House through theironline webform.