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I have never been in "contact" with so many american dog- and catowners and seing that I was somewhat wrong about the american handler system, I would like to ask three questions. Just so that i dont carry on making sweeping judgements. :-)

1. Debarking.
I have met a few people in New York with de-barked dogs. = dogs that have had their vocal-cords cut so that noone is disturbed by their barking. These people were not what I would call "proper" dog people, but none the less... How often is this actually done? I have never heard of a swedish vet that would perform an operation like that.

2. Castration.
Only recently are we allowed to castrate dogs in Sweden for other than medical reasons. I have heard that this is done quite frequantly on both dogs and bitches in the US that are considered "pets". And, at an early age as well. If this is so, how do you deal with the setters coats? The few castrated (all for medical reasons) irish setters I have seen, all have that fluffy and weird coat that is almost impossible to deal with.

3. Declawing.
Surgically removing the claws on cats that are living indoors. As I understand it, this operation is done so that they dont scratch the furniture. To me this sounds cruel and is nothing a vet in Sweden would perform either. But I have met a few of those declawed cats in America, so this makes me think it is after all done quite often. Is this correct?

Please dont misunderstand me, I am not attacking or accusing anyone american, I would just like to know!
And preferably understand the practice.

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Ursula wilby said. >It just shows up the differances in our differant cultures.<

Kind of compares to the culling discussion. I don't know a single breeder that culls in America, or should I say " will admit they cull". None of my breeder friends do.

A lot of American show dogs are debarked, not the setters so much, but the smaller breeds . We almost all have our dogs dew claws removed when they are 3 to 4 days old. Cat people that keep their cats indoors do dewclaw them. My Moms cat is declawed. I have a shop cat at work and he has his claws because he is allowed to come and go all day long.

Most pet people do not keep their dogs or cats intact as they don't want to breed and a lot of the area's in the states have a higher license fee if your animal isn't fixed.

Some of the states governments are trying to pass laws that all dogs and cats have to be fixed by the time they are 4 months old or you will be fined if found out. We are fighting these people all the time to keep the right to own a intact animal.

Some places require a breeders license to own a intact animal. Such a pity we have to spend so much time and money to fight for the right to have "rights". But that's America. Freedom for all.

Loma, USA
On the debarking comment, my story both reads like Ginger's point number 1. Both of my dogs came to me debarked. I don't like it because they seem to cough more than normal. The people who I got my dogs from had to because of neighbor complaints.

On castration, I think that is just a birth or litter control issue in most cases. There are literally thouands of dogs in the States looking for good homes. These are also the first dogs I have had that haven't been fixed since I usually get rescues.

I have gotten my dogs nails quicked when they are under for getting a dental or microchipped to help protect my flooring. I can't imagine getting a dog fully declawed.
You lot over there are full of surprises!
So what are quicked nails? I suppose they are "killed" quicks to that you can cut the nails shorter, correct?
We still do it the hard way...cutting as short as possible...
i cut the nails with a normal tool, whatever it is called. if you turn the paw, you can see where the quick ends, so you know where to cut. poor odin is very afraid of cutting nails, tries to hide under the bed or the farest corner but danka for example keeps on sleeping and i have the feeling that she likes it.. :-)
i have never seen a dremel here, by the way. and don't know anybody who uses it - not meaning that they don't exist, maybe i haven't met the right people yet :)
I understand that there is a huge problem with unwanted pets, there is amost all over the world.

And as to the culteral differances, (Im now sticking out my neck as far as it will possibly reach) I have been to China a couple of times. I have watched dogs in their "normal" life and I have watched them being slaughtered for food in the street. I have spoken to lots of chinese people about this, and actually, I have an easier time understanding the chinese way than the american way.
Thinking of declawing a cat for instance.
In many western and so called civalised countrys, we may care for certain animals, pamper them and humanize them, and the rest we dump.
Either through having them put to sleep (sounds so much better than killing...slaughtering) or one that used to be quite a favorite = let them out on a motorway.
Dogs in the parts of China (south-west) I visited have a great time! They all have homes (the once I met lived indoors with the owners), roam free as they whish, are loved (yes!) and they represent a value!
If anyone thought that dogmeat will be served as anything else, they are mistaken! Dog-meat is a delicacy!
And as such fetches a high price.
A dog will pay for the schooling of one child for a year. A lot of money, and well worth taking care of and being kind to!
If I was a dog, I may consider a free doggy-life in china (with a nasty end) better than being unwanted, shut up all my life in someones backyard, debarked and then just dumped.
Hey I can see you all loving me for THIS!!!!!!!!
Will all my friends on this site withdraw (I noticed you could do that) and stop being my friends now?
I wonder.
And yes we are talking about cultural differances here.
Put to sleep?
Perfectly OK!
ALL OF IT!!!!!
Depending on where you live.

Allright, Im prepared...you can all come down on me like a ton of bricks now.
Hello again Ginger...no I do not want to specifically "have a go" at anything american.
And I do not want to offend you!
And I certainly dont want you to give up putting up great pictures on this site either!
Neither do I want to miss out on your viewpoints when it comes to disscussions!
I am just thinking of how we see things differently depending on where we stand. And to me that is an interesting viewpoint.
True enough, this has very little to do with irish setters as such. Its more of a general pet-question. When traveling about (and being interested in dogs/cats etc) you can not help but notice the different way people have animals and the different ways that people behave towards them.
I have seen and heard of the three particular customs used by some petowners in the US. The debarking and the declawing I came across in New York.
The early castrations I have read about.
Particually the declawing and the debarking to me seem very alien and therefore I reacted at the time.
I am certain if you were at my house whilst I was contemplating culling a litter that I thought was too big or that the bitch could not cope with, you would react in the same way. You would (as I have) ask yourself: Is this just one or two people doing this or is this common practice?
Now I could (at the time) only ask the owners of the declawed cats and debarked dogs I actually came into contact with. I can not go up to strangers with a dog in New York and ask if their dog was debarked.
This site, being worldwide, gave me the opportunity to find out more, and I took it.
And yes, I wanted to understand.
And I still want to understand.
Just as I went to China and wanted to understand.
And I felt I did.
I do appologise if you feel I am particually getting at Americans. That is not my intention.
I do feel that we in the so called civilised countrys (US and Europe etc) have a tendency to throw stones in glasshouses. We are quick off the mark when it comes to criticising anything that is alien to us.
And yes, we all make those sweeping statements. We sometimes see only black and white and only our version of black and white!
Perhaps we should now and again stop and think.
Perhaps the way we treat dogs is after all not the best?
At least not the best if we look at it from the dogs viewpoint.

Perhaps discussions like this one eventually mean that we learn something from each other?
That would be great I think!
I have for instance found out about differant state-laws regarding uncastrated dogs. I have found out about breeders licences (never knew anything about that). I have found out that it can be difficult trying to actually keep a dog uncastrated.

All this information has been great! And I would never have found out without asking the questions.
So, once again Ginger, nothing personal just taking the reflection of different cultures one step further...

Very late in this but found this discussion interesting and enjoyed your honesty. I personally don't believe in debarking dogs or declawing cats. Both practices are being looked upon less and less favorably in the states to the point that it can be difficult to find a vet who will do the procedures in some areas, however, I can't say I'd be against someone doing either in all circumstances (ie. choice between keeping dog or turning into animal shelter due to neighbors complaints of noise, declawing cat or turning loose to fend for self due to condo restrictions, etc).

Your posting regarding spaying and neutering was what I found the most interesting. We encourage it in the states primarily because of the pet overpopulation problem that exists here. There are simply not enough homes for all the dogs and cats here. I have spent many years in animal sheltering and rescue. I've had to euthanize 8,000 dogs, mostly mixed breeds, and cats a year. Never have been able to figure out what to do with that many animals that don't have homes since life on the streets does not treat animals well here. I've also been active in foster and rescue to save as many lives as possible from the same system where I've euthanized them. It is a vicious cycle.

Does Sweden not have a pet overpopulation problem? And if not, why not? Is culling common to keep numbers down? Obviously there is also a human responsibility aspect but seems like there has to be something more. Curious to see your answers or those of others from different countries.

great to hear from you!
I am pleased to hear that the declawing and debarking at least seems to be looked upon less favorably than it appeared to at first.
I felt that if I with my disscussion at least stopped ONE cat being declawed or ONE dog debarked, it would have been worth while starting. And I hope that is going to be one of the great things about this site...the fact that hopefully we will learn from each other and at least THINK about how other countrys handle pet-problems.

Now to point two (the one you found most interesting), the castrating and spaying.
I have spent some times at shelters in Sweden (writing about them and finding out how they function). And have done the same in both New Delhi and Jaiphur (India).

In Sweden we do have problems with unwanted pets, yes. We have a lot of problems with especially cats.
They cost next to nothing to get, they are playful, pretty and great toys for children...and then, a cat will survive out in the wild, will it not? So = easy to dump! This is the problem cat-lovers are facing here.
I write a collum for a womans magazine over here regarding cats and dogs and keep nagging away (as much as the editor will let me) at people to kastrate their cats.

When it comes to unwanted dogs, the picture is slightly different. The dogs that normally make it to the shelters have generally a few thing in common. They are crossbred, mostly male, around a year old and lacking basic training. Very seldom do you find a purebred dog with a pedigree in a shelter. Here once again money comes in. A purebred dog costs money and breeders tend to be very strikt with whom they will sell a puppy to. Of course there are exceptions to every rule, but as the Kennelclub is so strikt, it means that if the breeder "misbehaves" too much, he will not be able to register his litters and then...the market for purebred (but not accepted by the kennelclub)-litters is limited.
And the price for these puppies lower.
Anyone paying a decent admount of money for a puppy will not dump it! This puppy/dog will not be let out to roam the streets, produce unwanted puppies etc.
So generally people tend to look after their dogs well and spend a lot of time and effort so that the dog is happy and healthy...that definatly means NO ROAMING!
So no unwanted puppies...and if by chance (you may not have closed ALL doors and end up with an unwanted visitor etc), there are abortioninjections to be had (I have used this method once) or HEAVY culling where you leave perhaps two crossbreed-puppies alive.
These two you can then find GOOD homes for, instead of having to reduce your standards and search high and low for homes for perhaps 12 crossbred puppies.
Do I make sense?
Is there anything unclear Katy?
And yes I will be honest :-)))
Katy, as you are working with shelters (or at least have been) I have attached a word document of an article written for an american animal-web-site. It may be interesting to see how for instance Jaiphur deals with these problems.
Hope you can open the file!
." At least if I were a dog, I would prefer to take my chances in the streets of Jaipur rather than spending most of my days cooped up all on my own in somebody’s home, only to be taken for an uninspiring walk twice a day. Or, as is common in for instance the US, being shut up in a backyard for most of my life."

I think this is a unfair statement about American's. On the whole we take pretty good care of our pet's, and prove a safe enviroment for them to live in. Dogs are companion animals and live where we live. I know people take their dogs hiking, swiming, to the beach, up on the mountains, not just short walks and kept as prisoners in a small back yard.

My own dogs have a little short of a acre to run on, but they like being in the house with me more than roaming the streets. Thank God, that's why I have them. Companionship is the key.

We chose to keep them safe from traffic and being attacked by other roaming dogs, there fore they are in fenced yards. Plus we get fines by the locale authorities if our dogs are running free. We have leash laws in most towns and cities. Dogs are not allowed to roam free.

When I was a little kid the dog did run free in my town, but rules and laws have been made and we must obey or be fines, or worse yet, lose our right to own a animal.

I see nothing wrong with a dog living in his yard or owners home. Do you let your dogs run free with no restrictions? Is there no leash law in your town?

Loma, USA
Hello Loma and Ginger,
I think you have got yourself worked up totally without reason.
What you are replying to is an article about a shelter in Jaiphur (India) where the conditions (if you read once again) are totally differant to anything we are used to in our western societies. I included it NOT to say that we should turn dogs out in the street but to show (once again) that dogs live and are kept in very differant ways around the world.

I have not gone on to that subject before, but there are differances in keeping dogs in the warmer states of the US compared to say a lot of european countrys. I think that the climate has a lot to do with it, but once again, I think it is also a differance of attitute.
Perhaps during my trips to the US I just by chance came upon exactly the wrong people? But I stayed with several people where the dogs (and the dogs of the neighbors) were kept in the walled back-yard, looked after and fed. These were friendly nice social dogs, but as far as I was told (and I saw no evidence otherwise) the dogs stayed in the back yards for most of their lives.
They slept outside and never came in the house.
They were not taken for walks.
I am now talking about Louisiana, Texas and California. These dogs were in no way mistreated, quite the opposite, they were loved by their owners (who considered themselves dog-lovers). But they still had an utterly BORING and dull existance. If you read the article about Jaiphur again, you will also find a referance to "being taken on uninspiring walks" = that would be the side that is certainly more dominant in at least the northern european countrys.
Equally BORING.
I believe that a any dog has a right to have a fuller and more interesting life than that!
And of course I know that people come in all types, you have owners in the US understanding the needs of a dog just as you have owners in Europe knowing less than nothing.
Please read the text and think one more time: AM I ATTACKING THE US OR AM I QUESTIONING SOMETHING ELSE?
I think the answer is clear.
This is in no way an attack on the US.

And yes, I will certainly continue saying the same thing: Looking at things from a dogs viewpoint, a free life with things to sniff out and flocks of friends would beat sitting in a backyard or being taken for mindless walks around the block.

(Who NEVER suggested that dogs should be let loose in our towns and citys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
There are plenty of countries around the world with bad dog owners, I dont think any country is exempt!! I am ashamed to say that Ireland, for instance, has a very bad record of careless dog owners and our laws do exist to help protect animals but the manpower to implement these laws is in very short supply!! So we see many free ranging dogs here(who have owners who think it is cruel to keep a dog in!!?)Well it is much more cruel to let a dog go out on busy roads or perhaps chase cars or people and generally have no definate rules or guidance(dogs, like children ,prefer to have boundaries!) I also hate to see pets who never get out for a walk or run either!! But at least in a back garden the dog is safe from the big bad world! Having said that there are also many, many great pet owners who would do anything for their pets and take great care of them!!!! There are good and bad owners everywhere!




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