Exclusively Setters

Home for Irish Setter Lovers Around the World

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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OK, lets try to sort this out before I end up even more hated on this site.

Of course I have not met ALL people in Texas, Louisiana and California.
But lets assume I saw twenty dogs living this way, I am pretty certain these were not the only ones…
The people I came in to contact with were all white, middleclass Americans living in gated and non-gated communities. It stands to reason that their neighbours were of similar types. (Price-racket of houses etc). All these people where (although dog-lovers) what I personally would call non-dog-orientated-people. Meaning they did have pure-bred dogs, but no further interest in for instance training or showing.
I do realise (and I have said this before) that I am not assuming this is the only type of dog-owners about in the US.
As for quoting my text about Jaiphur, Ginger did (perhaps not on purpose) leave out the sentence prior to the lines she got so worked up about.

Also I feel that on the whole, many street dogs have a far fuller life than dogs in so called civilised countries. At least if I were a dog, I would prefer to take my chances in…

As I consider Europe (as well as the US) being (so called) civilised countries, I am as much looking at the way dogs are kept here in Europe as in the US. The reason for mentioning the back-yard-dog-keeping in the US, is that I have not come across it in the same way in northern Europé.
There are different issues here.
Of course I think dogs should be well looked after, of course I don’t think dogs should roam the cities!
BUT once we have established this, I feel there is so much more a dog needs than just to be fed and kept safe behind a fence or wall.
I think a dog (just like any human) needs more in life. And when we get a dog we should also understand this fact. Dogs have so much potential and should be able to use this through tracking, hunting, working, socialising or/and generally solving problems.

I don’t think that is too much to ask, and in that respect, the dogs in Jaiphur had a far greater life.

And please, once again…I don’t want dogs turned out in the streets, I never meant/wanted that.
I just want dogs to have a doggy-orientated life.

Ursula
We all have preconceived ideas - or call it prejudice? This discussion is helping me rethink my own impressions and I greatly appreciate the way the participants are willing to discuss (and argue) their point.
Thanks, and maybe I'll gather my thoughts and join in soon, if I dare...
"This discussion is helping me rethink my own impressions..." One of the best comments I've seen in this whole discussion that I find very interesting. The international spin on this discussion has made me think of how things are viewed and handled in other areas too.

One thing we all have in common here is that we all love our setters, if not animals in general. We treat our dogs very well (maybe even spoil them...nah, that's impossible!) and naturally tend to gravitate to others who treat their dogs as we treat ours. I think we all have to admit, no matter where we live, that there are dogs who don't live the lifestyles we think they should live. Ginger posted elsewhere about Angel and the other Irish Setters found in her area (kudos for helping them, Ginger!) that were obviously not cared for as we think is appropriate, at least recently, and possibly turned loose to fend for themselves intentionally. I'm probably the lone person here with a background of shelter and animal control (as well as rescue of which there are several of us here). I know for a fact that in both California and Colorado where I have lived that dogs spend their lives in backyards, staked out on chains or kept in small runs, or allowed to run loose (and often hit by cars!) who receive little or no human interaction that we'd feel appropriate or vet care. I doubt there is anywhere in the United States where these things don't happen.

I think the most interesting part of this discussion for me, with a shelter background, is how our differences and how we view things might affect the overpopulation issue once we get past the realm of just setters. Ursula was brave enough to post about culling litters, including for mixed breeds in Sweden. Culling is not a common practice in the United States and I have met few who openly admit doing it. Many here have said they couldn't do it! Yet when it comes to unwanted dogs some of our general public doesn't have issues with neglecting, abandoning, drowning, turning loose to survive on their own, shooting, or otherwise disposing of the dogs they allowed to survive or took into their homes. Sometimes those considered "lucky" make it to shelters just to be euthanized by injection or thrown in a gas chamber. Of course these aren't our dogs or the dogs of our friends, but these are the dogs of our society and others. Sometimes you really have to wonder who has the better system although at this time none seems foolproof!
Right then...another few thoughts on the subject and one short explanation.
The dogs in backyards I have refered to were NOT on a lead/chain or in a kennel but allowed the full freedom of the fenced (walled) in backgarden. Including swimmingpool.
So there was NO mistreatment whatsoever.
Unless you call doing nothing all life mistreatment.
To me it is not giving a dog a full life and condemming it to an utterly boring and mindless existance.

Part two is the sheltersituation in the US.
Perhaps the way it is so relativly easy to get a dog/cat that makes the pet worth so little? This was some time back but I visited New York and found a van just parked right there in the city with lettering "Adopt a pet". You could put a small stop in whilst shopping and actually see (and get to know) the dogs and cats in cages. I do not recall if you could actually take the pet with you on the spot. (I was with a non-pet person and we were on our way to a meeting) The van was crammed with people "oooing" about those lovley little puppies and poor little cats. I dont know if this method of finding new homes still exists, but to me it is totally wrong to "sell" an animal in this manner.
Of course the odd good home will be found, but I think this way you are more likley to find homes that will pick a pet on the spur of the moment. This "spur of the moment"-pet will then be the next one in line for the shelter again or disposed of in other ways.

Before anyone gets into their heads that I am now taking up a fight with ALL shelters in the US = Please STOPP fuming! I am discribing ONE situation and one situation only!!!
But then one situation is bad enough.

I honestly believe that a lot of cats and dogs are better of uthanized (spelling??) than wandering in and out of shelters and from homes to homes. Now you are all going to come down on me like a ton of bricks again, but I see it this way:
There are only a limited amount of good suitable homes about. If there is a traumazised dog that perhaps has agressive tendancies, is it worth "wasting" a good home for that dog? Is it not better to "give" that home to a dog that stands a good chance of becoming a well adapted family member?
Before you start your attack...please read the text again and THINK!
As for culling, most breeders I know do this if there is a problem with the bitch, or with the puppies (dalmation-breeders for instance where deaf puppies are put down) or where the litter is seen as being too large.
Culling is not done becourse we are a bloodthirsty lot and enjoy the process, its done for the dogs best interest in mind.


Ursula
This discussion has me thinking about Rescue Groups and Sheltors. In the United States the "Pure Bred Clubs" have organized rescue groups all across the country. So the Irish Setter Club of America has a head rescue coordinator and each little states Irish Setter Club has a head person and we all work together to rescue any setter we find on the streets, offered for free in the newspapers, found to be in the dog pounds, etc.

We try to pool our money to help save as many as we can. Its a big undertaking, Ginger is one person who has worked hard with rescue. People foster the dogs and the clubs try to find the best home for the dog.

What do other countries do if they find a Irish Setter running loose. Does it just stay on the streets fending for itself, or does someone take it in and try to find its owner, breeder, or foster it?

Our Setters are a social dog here in the US and all of my friends allow their dogs to live in the house and most are in our beds. I have a Queen sized bed and share it with four Irish Setters. I've never had just a "yard" dog.

Loma, USA
Oh Ginger, that was lovely. I like that, First Friend. I've always called my Setters my Red Friends, and that suits me just fine.

Dogs are social beast, like to be with man, and I've always been told that Irish Setters do not do well as kennel dogs, and I've found that to be true. The more we let them be part of the family the happier they are.

I'd like to hear what the other countries do with the stray Irish Setters in their towns? Is there a rescue program for them?

Loma
I think living in a small country has some big benefits: normally any irish setter found on the streets can be homed either to the owner or to the breeder. All puppies either have a tattoo ot nowadays a microchip and are registered with a central organisation called ANIS, who keeps all details of the dog. In the occasion of a stray setter finding its way to an animal shelter, quite often the breed club will be informed and will try to help re-home the dog.
Like all countries we have a problem with unwanted or ill-treated dogs. I'm afraid that is another side of human nature. Educating the public helps and we do have quite a lot of media coverage on dogs - and more recently not only the 'bad dogs' theme but really informing people what to be aware of when buying a puppy.
One problem we seem to be confronted with more and more is the well meant importing of unwanted dogs from shelters in Spain, Italy and other countries. These dogs are often ill with tick-borne diseases and have been badly treated and are not socialised. Some of these dogs are so terrified that they live in permanent fear, often leading to aggression. In these cases it would sometimes be kinder to put the animal out of it's suffering by euthanising it rather than re-home it. The time, effort and money that goes into transfering these dogs from one country to another could, in my oppinion, be put to better use by investing it in information campaigns in the countries concerned. There are quite enough dogs within the shelters in need of new homes without wanting to 'help out' other countries. I may sound harsh here, but I just don't think that by 'importing' dozens of ill-treated dogs we are not actually improving the fate of future generations of unwanted pets in those countries.
I think you are right about not importing dogs that are not suited to be rehomed. It would be kinder to put them to sleep. Such a nice way to say "killed".

Even our rescue groups here do work with the dogs in foster care to see if they can be placed in a new home. The dogs sometimes take years to socialize, and in most cases just stay with the foster home because there is no home suitable to handle a dog with a emotional problem, or a health problem.

Our locale dog pound does transport some of their highly adobtable dogs to other towns the try and give them another chance to be rehomed. Our sheltor is very small and can only house about 90 dogs, so they put down over 400 dogs a month.

Rescue works, but needs workers and money. In short supply sometimes. The English Setter rescue has a very difficult task because there are so many hunters that breed, and throw away the hunting dogs that won't hunt.

AT least with the Irish Setters they are not prized as hunting dogs as much as the English ,are so less breeders like them. I only have a litter every few years, mainly for myself and I try to have a list of puppy buyers before I breed.

Loma
Oh Loma, how awful! The sheer number of dogs euthanized in what is considered a 'small' shelter.
Many consider Switzerland to have too many rules and regulations concerning animals (farm animals too) but I do believe that it is possibly thanks to these we see much less cases of dogs being dumped or mistreated.
I read somewhere that of ALL the dogs euthanized, only something like less than 10% are due to health disorders, but 90% due to behaviour problems. This clearly shows up the importance of two things: excellent socialising of puppies during the crucial period (4th - 12th week) plus the importance of adequate education for dog owners!
We have about the same situation as Susan in Switzerland. All puppies sold MUST be either tattooed or have a microchip. This way the owner or breeder can be traced if a dog is found. Normally setters dont end up in shelters but are dealt with at a much earlier stage. We have a rehoming-service in the breedclub and the owner can get in contact with them to see if there is anyone suitable on the waitinglist.
I have very few of my puppies needing a new home, no more than a handful during all my years. The owners have contacted me and I have either sent them along to the breedclub to see if there was anyone suitable there to take the dog, or in some cases we have put an ad in the paper with my phonenumber. That means that I am the one sorting out suitable people.
Last time it was the other way around.
The owner contacted me, put an ad in the paper and on the internet and then picked out two suitable candidates. I then got to have long talks with these two people and the owner and I chose together...
I live near the third biggest town in Sweden and have good contact with the dogshelter. As far as I am aware, there has only been one single setter for the last 15 years. This was before the ID-law. So there was no way to trace the dogs owner.
But a new home was found for him without problems...unfortunatly he kept trying to escape so the new owners ended up with a massive fence.

We also have the same problems with imported stray dogs from Spain and Portugal as Susan mentioned. Many of these dogs have never been indoors or on a lead and have very serious mental problems.
We do not have dogs running and fending for themselves ever!
If we find a dog, it is to be taken to the police or you try to find the owner yourself (if the dog is marked with a tattoo).
So not the same problem as in the US.
Well that is good to know. I envisioned dogs running all over the place with no homes to go to.

Loma
I had no idea, but I tell you what Susan...you need nerves of steel for this inernetting.......:-)))))

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