Why It’s Cruel to Keep Dogs as “Pets”

An unnatural existence

Stolen from your mother as a youngster, confined, controlled, surgically altered, and bored for hours on end. Imagine yourself as a "pet" dog.

You retain many of the instincts of your wild ancestors such as the desire to run free at your own will, eat fresh food as nature intended, and to have the constant company of your own family members as you explore your territory and take in the sounds and smells of the natural world.

Now place yourself in a small Manhattan apartment, enduring the intermittent company of your beloved master with your ability to see the world and even use the bathroom remaining on their terms only. You only occasionally get to meet members of your own species, many of which have been so strangely altered due to selective breeding that the natural order ceases to exist. Your range consists of wherever your owner takes you, on a leash of course. It is a confusing, distressing and unnatural existence.

Facts about the dog trade

  • There are Approximately 83.3 million owned dogs in the United States.
  • 70% of dog owners own one dog
  • 6-8 million dogs enter shelters each year, and an estimated 3-4 million healthy cats and dogs are euthanized yearly.
  • Across the country, privately-held dogs held have escaped from their fenced in yards and have attacked humans and other animals — with sometimes fatal results.
  • Many dogs can transmit deadly diseases — including MRSA, lyme disease and salmonellosis — to humans.
  • The CDC states that "Nearly 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, half of these are children.1 One in five dog bites results in injuries serious enough to require medical attention."
  • Puppy mills are breeding factory farms that hold dogs in cramped cages and force female dogs to breed every time they are in heat (a 5 year old dog gives birth to 10 litters).

Dogs are often kept in crates

Source

Domestication is cruel

Many owners of dogs think that they love their “pets” and that they are members of their families, but the reality is that these animals are being denied their freedom that people mistakenly think they no longer desire because they have been “domesticated”.

All too often, people think that because a practice has been around for ages, it can't be unethical. It is true that dogs have evolved with mankind for centuries, but the relationship started as a symbiotic one where wolves would accompany humans free-ranging in a wild and natural existence. Eventually, the reciprocal relationship of humans and dogs devolved to exploitation and abuse.


The Suffering of Pure Breds

Many dogs are forcibly “selectively bred” (and their puppies abducted) to have unnatural traits and suffer from health problems, shortened life spans, and impaired mental development. These once wild and magnificent animals have been altered to be entirely dependent on humans, with only a few dog breeds capable of providing for themselves in the wild.

People think that they have successfully altered nature to such an extent that this once wild wolf is now as good as a human child with stunted cognition, perfectly suited for confinement. Most dogs have no choice but to endure an existence with humans for their social, physical, and psychological needs, but these needs are on a large scale, often not met.

Puppy mills flourish

Dog Breeding and the Dog Trade

If a domesticated dog is lucky enough to not to be bred with numerous intentional deformities (and some breeds are even forced to go through surgery to alter their appearance), it is still yanked away from its parents at a young age to be sold to humans as a “pet” through ‘pet’ stores or breeders. Dog ownership has grown to such popularity that many ‘surplus’ dogs languish in shelters, waiting to get adopted by the species that created them, and often unsuccessfully.

Dogs that suffer from ‘behavioral problems’ (these are often dogs that express their natural, repressed instincts) are put to death because they make less than optimal “pets”. Other dogs can even suffer the same fate simply because they are large, black, and unappealing to new families.

To combat the ‘pet overpopulation problem’, it is recommended for most dog owners to ‘spay or neuter’ their animals. These words are a nice way of saying castration, or mutilating the dog’s reproductive organs. Would you want your genitals severed in the name of human population control? Many studies show that such a procedure causes hormone imbalances and increased risk of some ailments.

After dogs go through this procedure, most are fed boring and inadequate dried kibble that is not anywhere near what their natural diet should consist of or taste like. These inferior diets lead to illness, bad breath, and life threatening dental diseases.

Psychological Welfare

What happens if you work regular 9-5 hour jobs like most Americans? Dogs must spend unnatural amounts of time waiting for their owners to return. No matter how much we selectively breed dogs to suit our lifestyles, no dogs prefer loneliness. Sometimes dogs less resilient to this mistreatment acquire mental problems that are referred to as “separation anxiety”, but owners brush it off as acceptable and may confine their dogs to a crate (barely enough room for the dog to turn around in) as a result.


Stereotypic behavior in shelter dogs

Dogs have been known to suffer from depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and other mental and emotional problems in captivity. Often under-exercised and under-stimulated, some dogs may become unnaturally lethargic, leading to weight gain.

Many dogs are so far removed from their natural behavior that they do not know how to get along with other dogs. These dogs when available for adoption are simply titled 'must be adopted to a one dog household', but often are suffering from profound anxiety disorders and neurosis.

People pay top dollar for some dog breeds that are deformed in the name of aesthetics.
People pay top dollar for some dog breeds that are deformed in the name of aesthetics. | Source

Dogs Carry and Transmit Disease

Dog ownership helps spread disease among the public. Dogs can carry and transmit to humans: brucellosis, campylobacteriosis, cryptosporidosis, giardia, MRSA, lyme disease, rabies, ringworm, salmonellosis, toxocariasis, and others.

Diseases spread by dogs are often under-reported as well, making owners of dogs more susceptible to ignoring the risk. Dogs also spread many diseases through their waste in the environment, so it is not only the owners who are at risk.

While many owners pick up after dogs, there are more than enough remnants of their fecal matter to transmit illness to children who play in the areas where they have eliminated. Not all dogs are vaccinated for rabies (and dogs love to chase and fight with animals that carry rabies) and can acquire the deadly disease and spread it unbeknownst to the owner through a bite or scratch. Recently people have even acquired diseases from commercial pet food. Raw diets for dogs are closer to their natural diet but also can transmit germs.

Source

Dogs are a dangerous public safety hazard!

Every year, Americas are reminded that their domesticated pets still retain defensive and predatory instincts. Dog attacks on people are extremely common in comparison to all other pets. In fact, around 50 percent of all homeowner insurance liability claims that are paid out are due to dog attacks. In 2011, the total cost amounted to $479 million.

Also under-reported are less severe bites that the owners and their acquaintances sustain because they do not want to report their beloved pets. Approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Even bites and scratches from dogs can become infected with bacteria such as Capnocytophaga ochracea or Pasteurella multocida and become life threatening if the infection reaches the bone. Dog attacks result in approximately 20-30 fatalities each year, with most of the victims consisting of young children.


End This Cruel Practice

Simply put, breeding dogs to be "pets" is a wrong and cruel act that is detrimental for our society. Wild wolves were never meant to be the pet project of humans solely for their amusement and company. Dogs should be with members of their own species, free to make their own decisions. Humans have each other to provide companionship, and small children can have very realistic stuffed toys if they want a mammal to play with. Live animals are no substitute for good parenting.

What Can You Do?

Unfortunately, the problem of “pet” dogs is extremely prominent. We need to support laws that ban the breeding of these animals. If you must have a dog, please only adopt one, and try to give it as much freedom as possible in its confined and unnatural existence. Together, we can phase out the practice of breeding and owning dogs as “pets”.


IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING SET IT FREE. LIVE AND LET LIVE.

The bottom line is that people don't have the right to manipulate or to breed dogs and cats... If people want toys, they should buy inanimate objects. If they want companionship, they should seek it with their own kind.

— Ingrid Newkirk, Animals, May 1993 (PETA)

Source


Disclaimer: Does everything written above sound like a load of irritating nonsense? Perhaps your first reaction was, "that's not true about my dog", or, "that may be true...but". Maybe you are certain that you or your friend's conduct of dog ownership does not support the dark side of captive canines, and surely the benefits and fulfillment that dog ownership entails for people exceeds the negative impacts that occur. Well, be advised that most, if not all of what is presented in this hub is true, in its own misleading way.

This is the emotionally manipulative and toxic rhetoric that I face everyday and is used to urge legislative officials to ban non-domesticated pets in captivity for private owners and even zoological facilities. My bullet point list toward the beginning of this article is partially ripped and modified from the webpage "10 fast facts about exotic pets"


Stemming from the ideology of animal rights, essentially, any argument against 'exotic pet' ownership is calling into question pet ownership in general.

People with uncommon pets are easier targets and are subjected to public scrutiny because their choice of species is unlike that of the majority. There is also a dominant assumption that all of these animals are dangerous or unsuitable for captivity with little or no evidence, just ideological viewpoints. It should be understood that "exotic pet" does NOT pertain only to large dangerous carnivores.

Animal rights groups attempt to remove the complexities of the issue and propose that an enormous group of animals simply can't properly co-exist with their caretakers in captivity by exploiting the ignorance of the unknowing public.

Responsible pet owners pay taxes and are also contributing members of society who do not deserve to suffer not being able to do what they want with their lives. It's time that pet owners of every kind are afforded the same consideration for their lifestyle choices that are given to owners of dogs and cats.

Ownership of animals is a property right that is and should remain protected by the Constitution.

A person's choice, livelihood, and pursuit of happiness should not be determined by another individual's arbitrary emotional sentiment.

More by this Author


Comments 214 comments

Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia 4 years ago from Philippines

Everyone is entitled to their very own opinion. I won't argue with you, but I don't agree either.


The Writers Dog 4 years ago

I am with Maria on this one.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Maria and the Writer's Dog, Thanks for commenting, and it's OK to disagree and explain why. I just hope you've skimmed the entire hub, as I'm not clear on what you're objecting to...


Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia 4 years ago from Philippines

oh Melissa sorry for that maybe because we are both dog people that I cannot agree with you on some. well I can speak for myself only, I just assumed Writer's dog is a dog lover because of his username. Don't wanna mention by details because like I said I don't want to argue about these things. I am reading some of your hubs to try to know you, and I think you have a peculiar outlook as far as animals are concern. well as long as you care for them I am ok with that....


The Writers Dog 4 years ago

Well cared for, well trained and socialised dogs are no more dangerous than your average human.

There has been one reported dog attack in my home state in Australia in the time that there have been four reported mass shootings in the United States.

Therefore, it could be said that Americans are more dangerous than dogs, and should not be allowed to breed. That would just be stupid.

Enough said.


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

Well written article and I can understand where it is coming from. My tegu is nothing like my dog and, although we have never had a discussion on the subject, I do not think he minds being locked up. I do not believe in incarceration without criminal offense (crating) for an animal as intelligent as a dog, however, and I wonder if some of the people who write articles on wild animals are not looking at it from that point of view. I am definitely not a PETA supporter, but I would hate the idea of locking up my dog. Difficult subject, how do we know what is right and wrong?


Raptorcat profile image

Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

Let's disabuse author of a few failings in knowledge, here.

1. Domesticated animals (dogs, cats, some types of birds) are bred for domestication, NOT for the wild. Many current breeds cannot survive without human assistance at all. This is a process of breeding that took, literally hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of years.

2. Those that are wild, should not be held as domestic animals. There are ratings for an animal from feral to domesticated (f - 0 being a wild animal, f-1 raised from a feral animal as a domesticated, etc.). This is how dogs and cats originally became domesticated and purpose-bred.

3. People are exactly the same as dogs in one very important respect: BOTH are social animals and we need each other.

3a. Did you know that dogs do not see us as people, but as "funny-looking dogs"? Cats see us the same way.

4. Animal "rights" is a sham created by charlatans who use it to get the gullible to donate millions of dollars every year to their cause, so that THEY THEMSELVES don't have to do real work like you and me. The queen of them, Ingrid Newkirk, has even been on the record as stating that she really doesn't care about animals.....a pretty damning admission to the failure of her belief.

5. Animals do need room to play, so if you have a dog or cat, you need a home that is not too small for the type and energy level of the animal. Any half-decent trainer could tell you that if any of the AR nuts out there would just do a little homework on the subject.

6. ALL animals "kept as pets", should be well cared for no differently than a responsible parent would care for their own children. For most people, their dog or cat IS as much their own child as a human child.

7. There are verifiable health benefits to both the pet and the owner for keeping a dog (or cat). This is supported through the AMA and the APA. Just look up the benefits of emotional support. therapy and service animals for proof of that.

7a. As I type this, my emotional support dog (Pekingese mix) is curled up on my lap, feeling safe and secure that his "daddy" will keep him safe and secure, my wife's GSD is curled up in the living room, relaxing and our foster is relaxing, knowing that he is safe while we seek a forever home for him.

7b. My support dog is also a certified therapy dog and we make weekly visits to hospitals and retirement homes and the benefits of those visits to both the dog, who enjoys the visits and the attention, as well as the patients/residents is very visible.

So please, don't give us this garbage of how these animals would be better off left out in the wild. With the exceptions of the ones that are born to the wild (Wolves, coyotes, dingos etc.), domesticated dogs and cats are as ill-suited for it as AR nuts are to living off the land.

And if that sounds a bit harsh, well, realize that animals are more important to me than they are to people who talk about separating us from them without understanding them in the least, and like many who care about animal WELFARE, we are tired of the disinformation professed by supposed animal "rights" people.


Sarra Garrett 4 years ago

Ms. Smith. Its sad to see that you have never had a best friend in a dog. I feel sorry for you. First, as a retired insurance adjuster I have investigated claims where the homeowners dog has bitten someone and guess what, the person bit was either a burgular or taunting the dog causing it to bite. I myself have let loose one of my dogs to bring down a burglar and hold him until the police arrived. My dog saved my life! Good Dog.

A small percentage of people who own dogs are irresponsible dog owners to include the idiots who take a beautiful breed like the Pitbul and turn it into a killing machine.

Comparing spaying and neutering a dog to cutting of a 'humans genetals' is shall I say an ignorant statement. The best thing you can do for your dog is to spay and neuter. This not only keeps them healthy like preventing cancers, it also prevents unwanted puppies which is the current problem in the United States. It would be in your better interest to write a hub about the cumcision of young women in African tribes....now that's wrong.

All dogs in pet stores come from puppy mills. These poor dogs are kept in small wire cages for their entire life without ever touching grass. They are bred, rebred and inbred cusing mental issues, sickness and deformaties. You need to get your facts straight.

I have 5 dogs that all have been rescued. They are either blind, old have one eye or abandonded. I do work outside of the house and they are left for 8-10 hours. They sleep the entire time I am gone and they have the ability to go outside if needed. I know a lot of dog owners don't have theability to allow their dogs to go outside while they are gone, however if they are living in an apartment tey are usually well exercised and well socalized.

I am currently writing a manuscript on dogs for therapy for children. Dogs are wonderful creatures. They are loyal, they listen, they love you unconditionally and are literally mans best friend.


Sarra Garrett 4 years ago

I just read your profile and you might want to change it as it states yourself you 'keep' wild animals. Seems to me your thoughts and beliefs are a little mixed up.


DoItForHer 4 years ago

I'm surprised at the amount of people who aren't reading your Hub all the way through. Perhaps a more definitive statement at the end or a small instruction at the beginning would clarify?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Maria Cecilia, I would like to encourage you to read on :)


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

@ Raptorcat Thank you very much for your comment and reaction. My hub challenges the contention that domesticated pets are problem-free living with humans in terms of them ending up in cruel situations or being potentially dangerous. This hub was actually a 'walk in my shoes' type of hub so people could experience what I experience when I get attacked for the pets I want to keep. Maybe my 'disclaimer' at the end wasn't entirely clear enough. This hub supports ownership of all animals that are responsibly cared for. But I do want to address some of your reply.

I understand that dogs are domesticated but people use this as a defining characteristic that makes an animal OK to keep in captivity vs. undomesticated animals. Not all domesticated animals actually like people. I disagree that dogs think humans are dogs. My dog acts 100% different when dogs are around vs. humans. She cries and acts emotional when she sees a dog but barely gives humans a glance. I also think that room to play is not so useful if the dog has nothing to do while alone. I do crate my dog when no one is home (we have an alarm system). There is hardly any difference. People could find this to be cruel because they compare themselves to a species that is not like them. The same thing occurs with captive non-domesticated animals.

I strongly agree that pets have health benefits and that all pets should be responsibly cared for. Why should bad pet owners penalize those that aren't? I was hoping this hub would make people think more profoundly about pets in captivity. My pets are just as important to me as dogs are to dog owners, but people want to create bans so I have nowhere to go, or until I can no longer own them. That has an immense impact on my life, and the main reason this is happening is because people are ignorant to their needs in captivity and are uncomfortable about the idea, even if my animals are no more 'dangerous' than a dog.

So my 'disclaimer' was included at the end so it could create the right effect, which indeed should be irritantance. Again, I have a dog and I'm not against keeping them (but I do agree with some of what is written here). Thanks again.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you for your comment Sarra Garrett. I do have a dog, she's in the first picture of this hub. This article was a tad bit satirical, but written in the the form of articles that demean other pets. The "disclaimer" explains my real position, although many of what I've written about dogs here are true. Does that mean dog ownership is immoral? Of course not. If we gave dogs the life we would want for ourselves, we wouldn't have them. No one would castrate themselves even if they knew it would improve their health. People for some reason feel as though they can compare their wants and needs to animals when there is little or no evidence for it. So again, I certainly do not stand against dog ownership.

Thank you for taking the time to view my hub.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Hi Sarra Garrett. Yes, I 'keep', 'own', 'care for' what would be considered a wild animal. Although they have never been in the wild. No different from owning a cockatiel or hedgehog. I think reading the 'disclaimer' at the end of this hub should clear up my beliefs. Thank you for commenting!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Haha Doitforher, I know it was a little vague. I do want people to experience the same reaction as I do when reading one of the hundreds of attacks against my lifestyle, and I think that worked so far. Thing is much of what I state in this hub is true, in my opinion. The biggest pathetic thing about it is the resolution to eliminate dog ownership. If we eliminated everything that had issues associated with it, we'd just basically cease to exist. Issues with exotics are species specific. I would like people to demand facts over emotion. Thanks for commenting.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you DrMark for reading it all :) Yes, that's another issue. Many dog owners do leave their pets alone in secluded locations. No amount of domestication will make them enjoy that existence. Owning wild pets has really given me a new perspective on keeping ANY animal captive, and I see issues with how some domesticated animals are treated. People are more concerned with the non-domesticated status of my animals than the issues with domestics. My hub about the problems with giving dogs away for free even failed to really phase anyone. But a well-cared for pet wallaby, for instance, will make people fly off the handle. It's really all because people are uncomfortable with the idea. Myself? I wonder how people wouldn't want to live the way I do. But we're all different.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Would it be though? Haha, I understand what you're saying writers dog. People just want to pay attention to 'unusual' sources of a potential fatality. It all boils down to people who are not concerned with the important role that pets play in our society. When people are OK with throwing out bans of pets like they are banning a type of chair, it is very telling.


Raptorcat profile image

Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

@Melissa A Smith The thing about dogs seeing us as "funny looking dogs" is something that I got from a number of different trainers and other related sites where dog behavior and psychology are part and parcel of the conversation and instruction.

Some dogs do behave differently because of individual personality traits and/or levels of socialization.

Part of understanding that is what makes it clear that they see us as the same, only in an Alpha or Omega position in their "pack". It is also the reason that dogs feel "special" when they are allowed to sit in your lap or sleep on your bed with you or curl up next to you on the couch.

In a pack, the Alpha and Omega have their own place to rest, normally just separated enough from the main body of the pack to let the rest know that they are the leaders. Only their pups and special members of the pack get to share that space with them.

So, with that in mind, dogs see us as their Alpha/Omega Pack leaders and, by proxy, as funny-looking dogs.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

@ raptorcat Maybe some dogs do, but I don't think this is the case with mine. They do vary tremendously in temperament. Mine is a little more independent-minded and disrespects me on multiple occasions, lol. Other dogs seem to think they are special just being with any human, no matter what their position in the 'hierarchy' is. Hmm, I wish I added that into the article, that many dogs are trained with the use of coercive force, whether or not it is breed-specific. I question if all dogs are suitable for that approach.


Sarra Garrett 4 years ago

I'll retract my 'angered' comment. I guess I didn't appreciate the satirical way you wrote it. There are many unresponsible dog owners out there and that just ticks me off, that's why there is such a problem in shelters being over crowded and dogs being put down on a daily basis. If I could, I would take them all home, but that is impossible. I rescue the older ones that no one wants anymore and currently have 5 dogs which are my best friends. So, please accept my apologies. You certainly did a good job in getting a reaction amongst animal lovers.


Raptorcat profile image

Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

@Melissa, that "disrespect", as you call it, is the dog's way of challenging your position as pack leader. According to many of the trainers that I have talked to, including my late Uncle, who trained my first dog (I was 5 when I got him), his two hunting dogs and his family dog (the family dog attacked him a couple of times when she thought that he was hurting us kids during play - he taught her to protect women and children), a dog will try to challenge the "Alpha's" authority from time to time, as they get older. That is why maintaining your own Alpha position, through training and discipline is critical.

The Coercive force method is an outdated method, these days, and doesn't really work nearly as well as the newer methods do. No responsible trainer or breeder uses that method any longer. The newer methods of positive reinforcement work better, even though they require more effort on the part of the trainer/owner, but they are more effective in the long run. Even a stubborn dog, and few are as stubborn as Pekingese (my dog, Max and our foster dog, Dancer), yet they can still be taught obedience and good behavior without the use of harmful force/coercive training methods. Based on your description, it sounds like your dog just needs to have his/her discipline worked on. With proper obedience training and work on your part, the dog will change that behavior and start treating you as the pack leader again, without question. There are also a number of tricks that dogs use on their pups when teaching them to behave, such as "ground and growl" (which works good for misbehaving puppies, but is harder to do with adult dogs), redirection, to prevent dogs from chewing up your good shoes (also great with puppies as they spend a great deal of time teething) and using the "growl method" or gutteral sounding"UHUH" instead of "NO" to train them away from a bad behavior.

You can learn a lot about dog behavior and training by watching a well trained bitch with her pups, too; if you get the opportunity to do so. Not a lot of people do get that chance, which is why trainers are so helpful.

Dogs ARE IN FACT (I wish we could use italics) pack animals, not too different in behavior patterns from humans, which is why we get along so well and have done so for so many millenia.

Some dogs feel extra special just being with humans because they have never been given the discipline training to realize that they are not the pack leaders, but simply a part of the pack. Not to say that they are not special to us, quite the contrary, they are very special to us and they need discipline and proper behavior training just as our own children do to become good citizens. My Pekingese, Max is a rescue, yet within 6 months of getting him, he not only became certified as a therapy dog (for hospital visits and such) and my emotional support dog (for my PTSD), but also earned his Canine Good Citizenship certification. In his case, he had a good start in training before I got him, but it still required some work on my part to train him up, the rest of the way, for the testing.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Sarra Garrett, I wrote it in the same exact format that organizations like Born Free, The Humane Society of the United States, Big Cat Rescue, the ASPCA, and others have on their websites against owners of other species of animal. It is indeed annoying and your anger is justified. Pet owners/animal care takers shouldn't be treated this way. We need to try to stop the bad without ruining the lives of the good. I agree in that I wish I could help all of the dogs from bad owners.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Yes Raptorcat I've heard that before about my dog but I just don't know. I do often employ techniques similar to what you've described, I don't have many issues with her chewing things she shouldn't or listening to me with that but she can't be off-leash (being outside the house is completely different), ignores me sometimes and she acts worse with people who aren't me. She is also reserved with strangers and other dogs. I don't think her breed type is as dependent as others. I couldn't see any positive reinforcement training techniques getting her to meet the qualifications of the CGS. She would have to want the reward more than the undesired action. I don't know if every dog is the same as the other in responding to the pack mentality, they vary so much. Is it possible?


Raptorcat profile image

Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

Yes, Melissa, they can be very different. Our GSD mix is also shy with people, at least until she gets to know them, but she is VERY friendly with other dogs and oftentimes with kids as well. Trust me that it is a behavior that can be trained out if you want it to change.

Here's a small sampling of some of the links that I have for you and others to check out. The first one is from the American Temperament Testing Society and the second is from the AKC. The rest cover a bit of a range to be helpful:

http://www.atts.org/index.html

http://www.akc.org/

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/nonverbal-communi...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/top-10-smartest-d...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/do-animals-have-e...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/pets/animal-commu...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/mirror-mirror.htm...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/scientists-find-d...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-spirituality-...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/why-dogs-bury-thi...

http://www.atts.org/index.html

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/what-does-your-do...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/5373379/...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/dogs-are-smarter-...

http://www.all-creatures.org/stories/a-beane-cleve...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/what-your-dogs-ta...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/09052...

http://www.pawnation.com/

http://hubpages.com/animals/Dog-Language-101...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-fun-dog-facts-...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/best-and-worst-pe...

http://www.petplace.com/dogs/dog-facts-the-answers...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/how-to-reduce-pet...

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/what-animals-teac...


Lioness 4 years ago

Fewsh. I thought you were actually serious! I Know: Lets set all pet dogs free, into the wild! (I wonder how long they would last; a week?)


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Lioness, my article doesn't promote releasing dogs, but to stop breeding them and phase out the 'cruel practice', ending their misery in human captivity. Haha.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

This is probably my favorite Hub on the entirety of this website. I just love the way you've portrayed dogs as pets... It's the same way every idiot out there portrays exotics. Biased text never leads to anything good, and I thank you for doing this. Hopefully it will wake some people up.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Haha, thank you. I like it too, I'm always trying to find better ways to communicate to people about this subject. And unsurprisingly, when the same rhetoric is directed to their own pets, it gets a bigger reaction. That's because dogs have been deemed OK but the social mindset, and anything else is automatically rejected.


Raptorcat profile image

Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

Melissa, is that statement, "phase out the 'cruel practice', ending their misery in human captivity.", really your sentiment?

Because if it is, then people need to know that dogs are not "in captivity" (that is a position that the sanctioned eco-terrorists at Peta believe) as much as domesticated and purpose bred; a history of symbiotic interaction that goes back to the very beginnings of tribal existence for humans.

Dog breeds for the past few thousand years have as little in common with their ancestors (or the current breeds of wild dog/wolf/coyote) as we do with the first proto-humans that initially bred them.

The problem is not breeding, but over-breeding. With shelters oftentimes running to capacity because of unwanted dogs, there is a problem, but unwanted is not always the case, either. Many shelters get animals because of the housing crisis, where a family loses their home and is forced to give up their pet because where they are going either won't allow animals or is too small to give the dog a proper home.

The breeding issue cannot solve that particular problem; so, as we can all see, our fates and the fates of these animals are too intertwined for the foolish idea of "ending canine captivity" by humans, as they are not captive any more than our own children are. Our relationship to each other is interconnected in ways that go well beyond the simple-minded "slave/master" mentality.

Dogs are much more; they are companion, confidant, protector, "child", and so much more. How many of us can say that much about even our human family members/friends?

And let's all look at some of the news stories that come out about all of the dogs that have gone well beyond to save lives without even being trained for it; one case in particular comes to mind, recently, where the dog wasn't even the owned by the child that he saved, but belonged to a neighbor. The child got lost and it was the neighbor's dog who went searching for the child and found her.

Until we change our mindset, as a society, back to recognizing the insurmountable contribution that dogs provide in human society, as we used to have before idiots like Peta came along with their propaganda, we will have this discussion over and over again. Calling dogs "captive", is both a lie and delusional; not in keeping with the deeper connection that our two species have between us.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Hi Raptorcat, I don't believe in that sentiment at all. I was using the rhetoric that other people use toward me to describe my keeping of non-domesticated pets (that animal belongs in the wild, it is cruel to keep that animal, ect.) . PETA is one of those groups, but also the Humane Society of the United States, Big Cat Rescue, Born Free, The Animal Legal Defense Fund, and the list goes on for ages.

This article is satirical, but most about what I've stated about dogs in it is true. Did you know dogs could spread illness? Why are exotic pets targeted about this aspect of their existence when dogs are not? This was the point I was trying to create. Although I disagree about dogs not being captive. How are they not captive? Farm animals also go back a long way with human evolution, are they not captives for this reason? The behavior of dogs doesn't negate the fact that they are captive animals. My dog is not free to roam where she wants. She stays in the house and in the crate for a part of the day. This is indeed captivity. And remember, I use dogs as an example because they are nearly universally accepted by our society as pets. But there are many 'exotic pets' like birds, small mammals, and reptiles that are also accepted even if they are semi-domesticated or not domesticated at all, with no evolutionary history of evolving with humans. If I wanted to keep for an example, a fennec fox, why is it wrong?


Raptorcat profile image

Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

Oh.Okay.

Well I hold HSUS with the same contempt as I do Peta, since they are in bed together as of a couple of years ago. Those other groups, I don't know much about except for the ADL which is listed as a domestic terrorist group by the FBI.

No. Dogs and farm animals are not captive at all. They are, for the purposes of this discussion, effectively domesticated. You will not find cows, as we know them, existing in the wild, as we will never find dogs, as we know them existing in the wild, as a species.

They are all the products of specialized breeding over thousands of years. Most people have no clue about all of the modified farm products that we get. I am certain that if a banana, as it grows in the wild, were served to you, you wouldn't know what it was, as they are also the product of selective modification for food production, just as cows and goats and chickens have been.

It is a dishonest argument to compare these animals to others that are indistinguishable from their wild counterparts; a pet wolf, or fox or coyote or tiger/lion/bobcat/etc. are a very different situation these days from how it was thousands or millions of years ago when they were first domesticated.

Like religious doctrine, we need to see these things in context. Back then, it was a different world with different priorities and now, with our changed priorities and purpose bred domestic/farm animals, we need to deal with that in context of what THESE animals, today need and no some perceived ideology of what we think is the humane thing to do. If it comes to releasing these animals into the wild to survive on their own, it would be more humane to just kill them all, which is almost as bad as just releasing them to have to survive on their own. They no longer have it in them to survive more than a generation or two without the influence of mankind. And in the case of farm animals, animal experts give them less than a single generation.

So if you wanted to keep a Fennec fox, or lion, or tiger as a pet, it would be wrong because those are all wild animals, not bred as domesticated animals. Again, the difference is context. dogs are bred as domesticated animals, wolves are not. Your question shows the same kind of disingenuous argument that A/R nuts use to justify their position.

It is an apples/oranges comparison.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

There isn't a single definition in the dictionary that defines 'captive' as 'non-domesticated', so I'm not so sure why you are insisting this logic on to me. Any animal held in captivity is captive. This even applies to humans that are imprisoned. Feral dogs and cats are not captive. Those that live in homes are. Captivity refers to restrainment and that's not debatable. Many 'domesticated' animals have returned to the wild. I saw wild turkeys on my way to school this morning, and they appear very similar to 'domestics'. Type in 'wild cockatiel' and you will recognize the familiar face from Petcos around the country.

In no way am I saying that non-domesticated pets make just as good pets as domesticated animals. Here is what I'm saying: The word 'domesticated' is just a word describing the amount of selective breeding an animal has went through, but it is not some magic charm that makes problems with keeping that animal non-existent or prevents them from ending up in cruel situations. I am judging these animals on their own merits, not the words or selective breeding they are a result of. That is just a matter of genome. The genetic information does not say 'this animal belongs to a human', they are just the most adaptable to human situations; more adaptable to being the pets of people who don't need to make radical changes to their lifestyles. But a 'lesser wrong' doesn't make a right. And in fact, the modern human dwelling has changed significantly from where dogs originally 'domesticated themselves'. You cannot 'breed away' a dog's preference for companionship, ability to carry disease, non-'desire' to be surgically altered or desire to run at their own will (but you can use behavioral 'modification'), yet responsible exotic pet keepers are accused of infringing on their animal's freedom when their animals are fine.

People just assume dogs enjoy everything that's done to them, but I have observed that even in abusive situations dogs seem to maintain their cool. The dog's pet quality is not so much a result of its continued breeding over millions of years, but that dogs have a genetic type that allows for such severe changes to their behavioral and physical characteristics. No chicken should be living in a house despite domestication. What REALLY matters is your ability to respond to the animal's needs, regardless of a domesticated status. There are bad/good dog owners and bad/good exotic pet owners. Yet, exotic pets are not so widely kept, and they enjoy not being bred in massive amounts, possibly leading to their being euthanized in a healthy state when their owner moves (iguanas are an exception to this). I judge animals on their own attributes with captivity. Saying that an animal is domesticated is meaningless to me. Wild bananas and grocery store bananas are still bananas (which I would recognize, since I grow them). One being touched by a human doesn't make it less of a fruit.


Raptorcat profile image

Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

Using your logic, children are captive too. Do you think of your children as being "held captive"? How about older folks in nursing homes who need inordinate levels of personal attention?

Think about what you are implying with the usage of that word. Taken to the levels that they often are applied to animals, they could be just as easily applied to ALL living things in human society; including the captors.

As with children or adults to old to care for themselves, the word captive is abused when applied to keeping animals as pets, because, in all of those cases, they are in our care, not held as prisoners. We are responsible for their welfare.

That is what makes the word "captive" and any of it's variations, both insulting and dishonest usage of the word.


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Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Children are under the care of their parents because that is a natural part of human and mammalian development. It is assumed that once children have gained the ability to take care of themselves they will leave voluntarily. Children are not captive, they require adult supervision and training for a section of their lives. But after they reach a certain age children have a right to their freedom. Dogs nowhere near have the same rights as human children and the relationship between a dog and a human is not as natural and voluntary as existence in a wolf pack. Wolves do not employ leashes to contain submissive members of their pack. Living in a modern human society is not natural.


Raptorcat profile image

Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

Nice try, but that does not hold water for children with mental retardation or the extreme elderly. And when we consider that most dogs hold the equal intelligence of a 5 to 7 yo child, it really becomes more like having a child with those special needs.

The logic behind using the word captive is a clear case of reductio absurdum; taking an idea to it's extreme and using that as the basis for one's argument.

We care for our animals, we do not keep them captive any more than parents keep their children captive or, in the case of fostering of animals, until they are found proper, loving homes. And in those cases, we are much like an adoption agency.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Hmm, I'd say it was a very good try because it disproved your claim about children. And as for mentally compromised individuals, since you believe dogs are essentially disabled children, you are then admitting that we are intentionally producing and selling animals with disabilities, which I touched upon in this article (deformities from selective breeding where dogs cannot give birth naturally, have bad health. and other qualities that make it impossible for them to make it on their own). We are breeding dogs that are forcibly 'our children' because we curve their natural survival abilities but not everything about what makes the dog's desires similar to wild animals. We also need to alter them surgically to curve their hormonal urges so we have something of the equivalent of a child-adult. That doesn't sound ethical. No one intentionally has a disabled child, but when the unfortunate event occurs, they either must be cared for unnaturally for life or they won't survive.

I have no experience with people like this but I must imagine things must be hard on them at times. Many of them are also still allowed more freedom than dogs. It's the same with people whose advanced age debilitates them to an extent that they can no longer care for themselves, and after enjoying, say, 75 years of complete freedom, their restriction in the care of another is not unlike a person remaining in a hospital when they are extremely ill. None of these things should be ethical to intentionally bring upon animals (I don't technically believe all this, but I'm using the logic of others). No one wants to be compromised at an old age but sometimes it's just a fact of life (sometimes lifestyle changes can prevent it). People want to die free and in control of their lives. I think 'Gran Torino' illustrates this quite well, haha.

I agree with your last sentence and that's how I see our relationship with exotic pets. My whole point in saying all of this is that the ideology directed against people with non-domesticated pets does not measure up when you look at the societal 'acceptable' pet situations. A person with an intelligent attitude with pet care should be entitled to raise a non-domestic just as the average person raises a domestic.


Raptorcat profile image

Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

I never said that dogs a mentally disabled children. What I said is that the average dog has intelligence equal to a human child of 5-7 years old.

And once again, you are taking the reducto ad absurdum argument, which is a dishonest debate tactic normally used by far right wing republicans, creationists and militant vegans.

Their natural survival instincts have been bred out of them much the same way that society has bred them out of most of our human population.

I don't believe in having exotic pets. THAT is what is not natural for the animals as exotics are not domesticated, they are, quite correctly, feral.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

"you are taking the reducto ad absurdum argument"

I wish I could address this part of your assertion but I don't really understand it, sorry. But I still think there's a lot more to animals that you are glossing over. 'Feral', 'domesticated'...those are just words. Ferrets are domesticated and still considered exotic. I only care about how the animal fares in captivity and I'm not seeing how this is an irrational view. I also don't see how domestication excuses dog 'mistreatment' that I've spoken of. I think that if I were making logical fallacies here it would be simple to reveal as false. I think it is a fallacy to assume that a lack of a survival instinct means dogs enjoy such treatment more than a non-domestic. I also have to mention that the word 'feral' generally applies to domesticated animals who have re-wilded themselves. And it is entirely possible that hand-raised exotics if released would perish because they do not know how to survive as well.


Raptorcat profile image

Raptorcat 4 years ago from North Lauderdale, FL

Reducto ad absurdum - king a point to it's extreme and using that as the rule, rather than the exception.

Using the word "captive" as what we do with domesticated animals is one example that you use. Then twisting my words in the claim that I compared dogs to mentally retarded children is another. Do I really need to go on?

Feral often does refer to re-wilded animals, but in those cases, it is 1st or second gen wild-born. It is more accurately used in reference to animals that are, naturally wild, thus the "F" ratings for animals at various stages of domesticity. F-0 is a wild animal, F-1 is 1st gen born domesticated, etc., to full domestication (usually about 4th or 5th gen and after some selective breeding).


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

I'm really trying to understand. Your definition seems different from what's online: "the refutation of a proposition by demonstrating the inevitably absurd conclusion to which it would logically lead."

What is the absurd conclusion of insisting dogs are captive?

Dogs are captive animals based on the dictionary's definition as well as my own. I don't know what else to say about that.

'Twisting your words' as you suggest I've done doesn't seem to follow that line of logic. Obviously I wasn't saying you said dogs and children are the same animals, but you said they are "like" each other and I don't think it sounds ethical (on the grounds that people insist exotic pet keeping is unethical) to intentionally produce disabled animals to meet our needs.


Mom Kat profile image

Mom Kat 4 years ago from USA

The definition of "pet" is: a household animal kept for companionship. So I'm not understanding why it is wrong to have a domesticated animal as a companion.

Being against animal cruelty, abuse, neglect, and maltreatment is one thing, but to go as far as to say that it is wrong to keep a dog as a pet - per your title... is taking it a bit far.

We currently have 2 dogs. We live "in town" with a fairly large fenced in back yard. During the warmer months the back door is always left open for them to come in and out as they please or need.

The first was acquired because my hubbies ex-wife was moving to a new home that didn't allow pets - as it was supposedly purchased as his daughter's pet, I told him to accept the dog into our home since I think it would have been cruel to take him away from everyone he knew and bonded with. At least here, he will still get to see 2 of the people he has known since he was a puppy.

The second dog we have was acquired by us rescuing him from an animal hoarder's home. He was not treated well there.

We love our animal family members very much. We take our dogs for walks, feed them well, make sure they get exercise and affection. We study up on "the pecking order" so we know how they relate to certain actions & so that we don't end up confusing them.

For example, when walking through a doorway, the pack leader is to go first. We make sure that either myself or my hubby walks through the doorway first when leaving and returning from walks - this way the dog knows who is the alpha in the family "pack" order. (as 1 example)

I'm against animal cruelty. I just can't support the banning of having "pets" all together. Again, a pet is a companion. A companion is someone you treat with love, respect, and kindness...


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you for your comment Mom Kat. The final paragraph of this hub states I wrote this to raise awareness for what I consider to be 'pet intolerance', or, when keepers who choose uncommon undomesticated pets face criticism for many of what's written in this article about dogs. Many people blindly accept that dogs are fine, and immediately assume that all exotic animals, such as for instance like my genet which I have a hub about here, are 'bad pets' and I'm wrong for owning one. I'm glad to hear that you rescued your dogs and that you are invested in their well being, but not everyone will be. The same goes for me and my exotic pets. Dogs being more prominently bred and readily available will be compromised finding a good home. This is unfortunate, but dogs owners who are responsible should not be accused of the actions of those who aren't. Here I used the same logic that animal rights people use to ban exotic pets, and most of what I've written is true.


Karl 4 years ago

I used to live on a farm, with a massive wide open space and we kept dogs that would help with getting the cows to the milking shed and the rest of the time they would run free around the grounds and play with me and my bro (yes they lived outside and had many buildings and haystacks to sleep in) and in that environment I don't think there is a problem.

I now live in a town and I must agree that it is VERY cruel to keep dogs in an urban environment and after having seen how my dogs lived I couldn't keep a dog where I am now and maintain a clear conscience!

They are a prisoner in your home with no freedom (how selfish we are as a race astounds me) and I totally agree that keeping dogs as pets is as cruel as it gets, they are trapped inside and only allowed air when they are tied to a rope and you can be bothered to walk them (just take a second to think about that)!

It is also incredibly unhygienic and creates a real risk to your health (especially if you let your dog in the bed)!

What I find more astonishing is the way that it is still accepted as the norm today and such a small population of us see how cruel it is... just look at this post and the comments it has had!

Morals change over time and things that were once accepted as the norm become outrageous cruelty (take the beating of children as an example) and it is about time that we re-evaluated the cruelty of keeping dogs particularly in urban environments.

If people must keep pets then why not keep an animal that is adapted to the environment like pigeons or cats, with a cat flap your cat need not be a prisoner like your dog!.... (don't tell me your dog has a flap as we all know it only leads to a penned in garden.. in prison this is known as 'The Yard')

Last off, there is an advert on this page that says 'Help your dog cope with stress? Adaptil - makes dogs well behaved'........ WTF!, WTFF!

Here is a better way for it to 'cope with stress'... stop keeping them as prisoners!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Exactly, Karl.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

Allowing your cat a "door flap" which would grant them freedom to run higgaldy piggaldy all over the neighborhood unattended should be illegal.

What is the bigger crime? A) Keeping your cat safe and happy inside the comfort of your own home, or B) Allowing your cat the "freedom" of its "natural instinct" to be what it "truly desires" which would freely allow it to get FIV from the toms in the alley, naturally contract botflies from the vole it ate that morning, and then meet its painful end under the tires of a truck on the road out front?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Haha, exactly. I hear so many people sob over their animals getting hit by cars and it's THEIR FAULT. Proper pet care requires the owner to keep their animals safe, and letting them outside is a negligent, hazardous thing to do that also results in the deaths of already pressured wildlife. Not to mention, basic comment sense indicates that pets, being the property of a person, should remain on that person's property. Not someone's flowerbed, or raiding their bird feeders.


karl 4 years ago

lol, that's a easy question; I would say A is much worse... how would you rather live, locked up in a room 'safe' or to have the freedom we are all born with?

BTW; a house cat is not happy, it's crazy, if you imprison anything animal or human then they eventually loose there mind (its the old black room theory)!

So they crap in your flower bed, get a cat scarer or just don't care, they do bury it.

Unfortunately a fact of life is that things die, I know I would much rather have the freedom I was born with though and run the risk of being run over, die in another accident or contract an illness rather than be kept as a prisoner and go stir crazy (it's kind of a no-brainer).

All we can do in life is offer others the same respect we expect to be awarded to ourselves.

I think with any of the questions posed the response is 'how would you feel if it was you?'


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Hello 'Karl' you should write that you are responding to Shaddie. I find your logic to be rather ridiculous. Housecats are not 'crazy' when they are properly cared for, you have no proof of your emotionally-driven and intellectually bankrupt claims. People who inadequately care for cats release them outside. Maybe some people find it unusual to spend time with them as one would with a dog, but despite lack of excessive sociability they have these requirements. Cats are not intelligent enough to weigh the consequences of their actions, perhaps if they were then a comparison to a human's mind would make more sense.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

I'm sorry, but only a masochist would prefer living in a world full of lethal dangers, disease, and squalor over a comfortable home, affection from loved ones, and reliable food sources.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Those people are out there Shaddie, lol. You never know. Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side , even if it's dead.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

I suppose you are right, Melissa. People become enamored by that which they find to be novel, I only wish they would stop projecting their romantic ideals on animals.


Karl 3 years ago

First I was responding to both of you.

Second, don't resort to abuse because you can't get your point across, I didn't attack you personally so a trollish comment like 'your emotionally driven and intellectually bankrupt claims' is simply uncalled for!

My beliefs are just as valid as yours!

Also the things I have said are facts! Look up black room syndrome.

I also don't know where from my comment you got 'people who inadequetly care for cats release them outside', first we are not talking about poor cat care so this is a totally irrelevant point to make and secondly I do not agree with anyone who does this.

I understand that my comment my have challenged your belief systems but this doesn't give you the right to attack me personally. Respond to the issue and don't go off on a tangent trying to twist my words......peace


Karl 3 years ago

Shaddie: again you are twisting my words! I didn't say I would want to live without a home or love, I said I want the option of freedom. Manipulating my text to suit your argument is silly and calling me a masochist is incorrect, unfair and again trollish. The point is that imprisonment of any living thing is wrong! Again, I don't need to attack you personally to make a point!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

"Also the things I have said are facts! Look up black room syndrome."

Ok, I just did. Didn't find anything. Please provide proof to your claims that appear to refute every other non-animal rights-driven scientific work with a simplistic generalization, or I reserve my right to call it 'intellectually-bankrupt'. I don't have any appreciation for nonsense like that and this conversation won't go anywhere with you insisting something exists without proof. Trust me, I haven't 'attacked' you, haha. You have no idea. I am seriously biting my tongue.


C. Walters 3 years ago

This is an excellent satire and a perfect illustration of how illogical some radical animal rights activists' positions are. The core of their argument is that animals value the same thing that humans value and what makes humans happy is what makes animals happy.

Unfortunately this is based on the viewpoint of a human living in a developed first-world country. Humans living in first-world countries place a high value on freedom, love, companionship, and intellectual stimulation since their basic needs such as food, shelter, and protection from predators are already taken care of with little effort. And many people naively assume that things like "freedom" and such are the key to an animal's happiness as well.

But an animal's primary needs are food, shelter, and protection from predators. And what better place to get those needs met than by being a human's pet! Dogs living with humans may not be "free" and they may not have the companionship of a large pack, but they don't have any uncertainty as to when their next meal is coming or whether they'll be safe sleeping somewhere in the night. Being free of those stresses is a form of 'happiness' , whatever that even means in the context of an animal's psyche. 'Happiness' is a human construct.

It's human nature to project our humanity onto non-human objects and animals -- we even give our pets human names -- but it's simply wishful thinking. Dogs do not have the emotional and intellectual complexity of humans. It's not a cruel thing to say, it's simply a fact. To argue that animals in general are 'unhappy' being pets is ludicrous.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

C.Walters, Exactly, couldn't have said it better myself!


kez 3 years ago

Melissa, let me start by saying this is a great article, its thought provoking and has raised a great debate, I did notice (forgive me for pointing this out to you) however that it is rather funny reading your posts how you agree with everyone's first post then go on to attack them later on (I think this is really just your wording... it comes over as rather aggressive), I think Karl had a point (although he could have been more eloquent and perhaps a little more diplomatic in his approach). I think it's funny that it was responded to as an absolute (i.e. if it's not this way then it has to be absolutely the other), there is a great quote that says 'only fools deal in absolutes' and it is rather apt in this circumstance (especially seeing as your article is basically the same as his views).

Shaddie; I thought I should define what a Masochist is so I copied this from the dictionary: mas·och·ist [mas-uh-kist]:

1. Psychiatry. a person who has masochism, the condition in which sexual or other gratification depends on one's suffering physical pain or humiliation.

2. a person who is gratified by pain, degradation, etc., that is self-imposed or imposed by others.

3. a person who finds pleasure in self-denial, submissiveness, etc.

Therefore I will agree with Karl that your comment is a little crazy (I really hate the trollish mentality of calling people names like that and anyone who understands the word would see you as a little stupid for using it out of context like that.... it's on a par with people who say 'Hitler would have done that').

Karl; I agree with a lot of what you have said, I think it is cruel to keep animals in a urban environment and often wonder why people would want to keep one in that setting.

I think you should have expanded on your claim about House cats however and perhaps checked your wording, I know what you mean in that a cat that has no access to the outside can go a little 'Stir Crazy' (black room syndrome is 'Dark room syndrome' and is related to radiology... you must have confused these) as my Husband gets this at his practice from time to time and has said to me that keeping a cat indoors all the time makes them a little weird.

Stir crazy or Cabin Fever is a psychological condition and the phrase that dates to 1908 according to the Oxford English Dictionary and the online Etymology Dictionary. Used among inmates in prison, it referred to a prisoner who became mentally unbalanced because of prolonged incarceration. (Wikipedia definition)

Again, this is a great article and I have really enjoyed reading peoples views and beliefs (I particularly liked Karls line 'Morals change over time and things that were once accepted as the norm become outrageous cruelty....' this really made me think).


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

"...how you agree with everyone's first post then go on to attack them later on.."

Hi Kez, I don't know what you mean by this, unless you're talking about my "exactly, Karl" reply. I found his post to be so ridiculous that I replied to it sarcastically. Perhaps that wasn't obvious enough. I wanted to make a point on how inane the position of animal rights-minded people can become, and that even dog owners are not safe. So yes, I probably sound "aggressive" because this directly effects me. I have something to lose within this debate, keep that in mind. Perhaps I must state again that I believe we should be able to own dogs, reptiles, exotic mammals, anything that we can care for properly despite a person's non-agreement. How would you feel if someone told you that you are abusing your children? I also don't enjoy being accused of not being able to recognize that I am inflicting cruel conditions on my pets. I'm not clueless and naïve.

Hows this for an absolute: "a house cat is not happy, it's crazy"

Why didn't you address this with Karl? Cats behave exactly as one would expect them too when all of their needs are met. What EVIDENCE suggests they are "crazy"?

Crazy:

1. mentally deranged; demented; insane.

2. senseless; impractical; totally unsound: a crazy scheme.

Explain to me the 'mental imbalances' or upsets to homeostatic balance that have been recorded or observed with situations of traditionally owned cats kept in the home.

"I really hate the trollish mentality of calling people names like that"

No you don't. You're not fooling anyone.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 3 years ago from Washington state

Dear Kez,

I'm sorry, but you must be confused (as most people who don't read many books are when they hear the word 'masochist' or any variation thereof). In actuality, the word 'masochist' can, and often is, used to describe a person who willingly places themselves in a position of less-than-agreeable treatment; ie, Karl's idea a "feline freedom" which is rampant with danger. It does not necessarily imply anything sexual. Words often have multiple meanings. I wouldn't expect you to understand though, words can be complicated sometimes and it's okay if you don't catch on at first.

You may have copied some definitions from Ye Olde Dictionary.com, but I can copy things from the internet too. For example, an alternative meaning for the word 'masochism' (which for some reason you are bizarrely fixated on) that does not command sexual involvement:

"A willingness or tendency to subject oneself to unpleasant or trying experiences." - http://www.thefreedictionary.com/masochistic

Anyone who went to college should know this. I really am not trying to degrade anyone, but let's be honest here. You couldn't find anything else in my statements to pick at and so you grasped at the only hold you thought you had - which in this case was a word you did not realize had a meaning outside of the bedroom. I don't know what you're trying to prove with this.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Right Shaddie, that poster didn't like what you were saying and how I treated 'Karl' so he or she decided to pick on you with something that had nothing at all to do with what this hub is about, and pretended that the matter was so pressing that the poster had to forfeit his or her conversational 'standards' to imply that you are 'stupid' over it. What a joke.


Kez 3 years ago

haha more personal attacks!

Shaddie: whilst I am sure your copy and paste is much better than mine I am fairly sure I covered the variations of the meaning in points 2 and 3 (point 2 states: 'a person who is gratified by pain, degradation, etc., that is self-imposed or imposed by others.') so trying to make out that I am stupid and 'don't read many books' is extraordinarily argumentative, trollish and incorrect and I would argue that it is you who can not read as you couldn't even read my post in full let alone understand it!

My favourite troll post of yours is this: Anyone who went to college should know this. I really am not trying to degrade anyone, but...' are people who didn't go to collage below you some how... (I was waiting for you to say 'im not racist, but...)!?

Further to this you have added nothing to this debate, you have simply attacked people personally why would you choose to gang up on people and throw abuse at them personally?!

Aristotle said 'It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it' perhaps you could take this to heart and consider peoples views before you attack them on a personal level?

Melissa A Smith: Did you notice that most of my post was positive and supported your article, as the author you should expect some criticism!?

There is even a line that says 'forgive me for pointing this out to you', I wasn't trying to offend you, just add some constructive criticism.

Just read through the comments (all of them, not just the ones concerning Karl), you often start by saying how you agree with a post then a couple of posts later you totally change your tune, usually when someone has an apposing view to the post you agreed with. Considering you are the author of the article I would have thought you had some very strong views of your own.

I simply agreed that IN AN URBAN ENVIRONMENT it is cruel to keep animals that require air and freedom!

I didn't make the crazy cat claim, I just corrected Karl's terminology, my husband is a vet and he has often said how cats that are trapped inside there whole life go a little nut's.. to be honest I don't really care and I am certainly not going to look for evidence to back up someone else's post, perhaps this is something you could have a look at yourself?

To say 'Right Shaddie, that poster didn't like what you were saying and how I treated 'Karl' so he or she decided to pick on you with something that had nothing at all to do with what this hub is about, and pretended that the matter was so pressing that the poster had to forfeit his or her conversational 'standards' to imply that you are 'stupid' over it. What a joke.'... Tell me what exactly has your beloved Shaddie added to this other than abuse?

I didn't 'imply' that Shaddie was stupid, I tried to point out to her that people will think she is stupid for attacking someone on a personal level instead of offering a different opinion and adding to the debate. All she did was call a poster (and contributor to your article) a name and now she has gone on to imply that I am stupid for not understanding the word Masochist despite my post stating exactly what she has pointed out in here last post!

I also think you will find that my post does address some of the issues raised in this article, this would be why I said that I agree with what Karl said about animals in a urban environment and I ended my post with 'Again, this is a great article and I have really enjoyed reading peoples views and beliefs (I particularly liked Karls line 'Morals change over time and things that were once accepted as the norm become outrageous cruelty....' this really made me think).'

Also; Yes, I really do hate the trollish mentality of calling people names like that, shaddie should have added to this and what she did was detract from your article (you didn't do yourself any favours by agreeing with her either)!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Kez you aren't adding anything to this discussion. You need to look in the mirror with all of your accusations, you started the inflammatory speech. I dedicate a lot of time to the subject of animal welfare and arguing animal behavioral topics so simply saying 'urban-living cats are crazy, my husband is a vet and he said so' will simply just not cut it. If you "don't care" then this just proves my point; I research this topic constantly and then you simply show up with your husband's opinion and nothing more for who knows why. I take animal cruelty seriously. I don't know how bored you must be, but if you DON'T CARE and yet continue to reply here to argue about the definition of "masochism", my comments to other people and other unrelated nonsense I believe this makes you the troll and you well test my patience in allowing your comments. I want people to be able to view comments without pointless clutter. (Shaddie you can address whatever Kez was replying to your about).


Kez 3 years ago

OK, so when I said 'let me start by saying this is a great article, its thought provoking and has raised a great debate', 'I think Karl had a point (although he could have been more eloquent and perhaps a little more diplomatic in his approach)' and 'Karl; I agree with a lot of what you have said, I think it is cruel to keep animals in a urban environment and often wonder why people would want to keep one in that setting.'...... this didn't add to the article or share opinions at all??

As I said, I didn't make that point about cats, Karl did, I just corrected his phrasing and add that my husband mentioned it, I didn't argue the case or say that I had any opinion on it, I in fact said (as you did manage to read) 'I don't really care about that' and suggested that if you want to find out more about it you look for yourself... why would I look into something I have no opinion or interest in?

What on earth is wrong with you, can you not make it through to the end of a post or do your eyes just see what they want to???

I have given you ample explanations but if you are to close minded to even acknowledge them then that is your short fall.

I wasn't being 'inflammatory' I just tried to give you some constructive criticism about your skitsofrenic posts that one minute say one thing then the next the total opposite (don't try to lie your way out of it by saying it was a 'sarcastic' comment, that's obvious that is bull)

I'm sorry that you are unable to take a tiny amount of criticism especially when it was phrased so nicely. I hate to think what you are like in person!

Yes, I attacked your beloved shaddie (who I will add has made no comment about the subject and has only attacked others on a personal level) but only because she attacked others.

I suppose this is because I agreed with Karl of a couple of his thoughts who had an opinion other than your own (I quoted Aristotle in my last post and you would do well to take it to heart; 'It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.')!

You have said 'if you DON'T CARE and yet continue to reply here to argue about the definition of "masochism", my comments' . Again, did you read my post at all? You can't take two completely unrelated comments from a post and mash them together to suit your twisted fantasy of what you think I said, the only reason I brought up masochism again was to point out that I had said exactly what shaddie was arguing back at me for (another 'lovely' person who can't read a whole post)!

Others have commented more than once about how you like to twist words and this is no different! You are incapable of reading a post in full and taking the time to understand it, you cherry pick lines and phrases that suit your clouded judgement and often mash them together to give you what you need and worst of all you deal in absolutes, everything has to be absolutely one way or absolutely the other and this allows you to make false assumptions about others views.

I also notice that you choose what questions to answer and only answer ones you can throw your own brand of abuse at!

It is you dear who need to look in a mirror, I have (as I have said) taken in all of this article, it had effected my current views and I enjoyed entertaining the views of others (I did enjoy it to start with before you chose to cherry pick some lines and twist my words). I didn't enjoy the personal attacks and thought that by addressing them you as the author would see them for what they were but I was clearly mistaken and rather than addressing these issues you decided to attack me for pointing them out (probably because of my one criticism of you).

I won't post again on any of your articles .... mostly because you seam to enjoy twisting peoples words to suit your twisted sense of morality!

Enjoy your crazy life, I wish you the best for the future (you will need it)!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Kez, your post was about as "diplomatic" as your alleged last post here was. You were hoping that I would be blinded to this fact by calling this a "great article" but that backfired. It's funny that you get to cherry-pick your quotes:

" there is a great quote that says 'only fools deal in absolutes"

"Therefore I will agree with Karl that your comment is a little crazy (I really hate the trollish mentality of calling people names like that and anyone who understands the word would see you as a little stupid for using it out of context like that"

To which I pointed out that your claim has no evidence and that your reply to Shaddie was passive-aggressive. I don't appreciate dishonesty. Your replies remind me of someone I have spoken to in the past. Either way, I have no idea what you mean by "skitsofrenic posts" and this is the third time that you've mentioned that without posting what you mean while you keep reposting other unnecessary quotes. Goodbye.


MelChi profile image

MelChi 3 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

Hi Melissa, you've commented on one of my animal articles before, so as a fellow animal lover, I thought I'd come over to check out one of yours. And of course, I landed on this much debated one. First off, thank you for taking the time to bring up a few valid points. I agree with most of what you say, but not with everything.

I AGREE....

1) I agree that animals caged up or kept in confinement is cruel. I think zoos and circuses are the cruelest of them all. I'm not talking about nature reserves or animal sanctuaries that are large and built to promote awareness of animals, and help maintain a species. I'm talking about those small, cold cages in zoos where animals are forced to sit in day in and day out for the sole purpose of having people gawking at them all day long. I've been to zoos, and my heart crushed. I used to love the circus when I was younger, until I found out how these poor animals are treated, whipped, prodded with hooks, and goodness knows what else so that they can again - "entertain" humans.

2) People should stop breeding dogs. I'm helping out at a nearby animal shelter, and anyone who feels differently, only needs to spend time in one to fully understand what I'm saying. Those dogs are strays, or abused, or just dropped off because their owners couldn't be bothered to walk them, or they "dug in the garden". They sit there waiting for someone to adopt them - hardly getting out to walk, and most of the time, they're put down. Don't even get me started on the way they're put down either. They're lined up and injected right in front of each other. So to all who think buying a pet from a breeder is a good thing, just do yourself (and all those cats and dogs) a favour, and visit a shelter. See how many MILLIONS of animals are waiting to die because of greedy pet shop owners and breeders.

Good points, and I'm glad you brought them up.

I DISAGREE...

1) On your point that dogs shouldn't be kept as pets. I tried to read through all the comments, and I apologize if this has been brought up already. If you have a big enough garden and are committed to walking your dog every single day - then no, I don't think it's cruel. They have the use of the entire garden, and most often, inside the house as well. If I had space, we'd have two dogs to keep each other company. Luckily, I work at home during the day - one of the reasons I decided to do this, so that one day when we have children and dogs, I can be at home to look after them. What I don't agree with is how people can think that it's okay to keep any type of bird, hamster, mouse, snake, spider, etc in a cage or glass tank to gawk at all day. This is beyond cruel. Birds are meant to fly. Snakes aren't meant to be put in glass coffee tables. It infuriates me, and I can't understand how people don't understand this.

2) The second point I disagree with is how you say a majority of dogs attack. Have you ever watched or read dog trainers shows/books? Do you watch Ceaser Millan at all? I've grown up with so many dogs during my life. It's about the way they are TREATED. Do you know how many little kids pull tails of dogs or cats? Or how owners shout or smack their animals for stupid things because they've had a bad day? Or how many animals are abused in the care of their owners? Are you telling me you're really shocked by how many eventually get so fed up, they lash out, and then they're the ones to blame? I'm sorry - I completely disagree. The way your animal behaves is a statement on how you care for it, or how the previous owners care. Again, take a visit to the shelter. Some dogs are so traumatized there is no hope, unfortunately. Some are so scared they cower in their cages. I spent half an hour to forty minutes with one. It took that long to bond and gain trust. And she was like a different dog. Smiling and running as we walked. I can't understand how people don't want to spend quality time CARING for their pets.

It's a good article, and very though provoking. I think you needed to get across things, and people need to be more aware. But, I don't think it's cruel to keep dogs as pets given what I've mentioned or that most of them simply just attack people. They are only dangerous as a result of the way in which they are treated.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for commenting MelChi and I think there was a misunderstanding as to the true intentions of this passage, but that's good because I know that I need to revise some of my wording and I can dispense to you some important information.

I do support zoos and dog ownership, as well as ownership of many unconventional animals being kept as pets or in a form of captivity. Why have I criticized dog ownership here? I wanted to show people how easy it is to direct criticism toward any animal-owning situation since none of them are flawless and conflict-free. People don't question common animal-keeping practices because they are used to it, and immediately judge places like zoos or exotic pet owners. Many people feel as though domestication makes dogs 100% suited for our modernized pet keeping practices, and this isn't true, I will expand more on the domestication argument in a future hub.

1) Zoos are not one similar entity, and they vary like individuals. I don't know which zoos you have attended that you would consider them to have 'cold cages', but it is so easy for emotion to take over upon viewing these scenarios if you aren't seeing the big picture. Which zoos are you referring to?

2) I don't like dog breeding either and used to be an advocate of stopping it but I now no longer believe it is my place to force other people what to do in most situations. I think 'mill breeders' should be phased out and we should start paying attention to which specific breeds are particular are growing at an out of control rate.

3) We disagree on caging small animals like snakes, spiders, and rodents. I require sound evidence that this is compromising the welfare of these specific species. Bird caretakers vary, and people who are not doing enough for their birds should not have any effect on those who have happy, healthy pet birds. What should be focused on is getting group A to be like group B.

4) Ceaser Millan has questionable training techniques that are often criticized. I believe such criticism is valid because he operates on the pretense that dogs are wolves, but they aren't. This is of course a great example of the controversy that exists with dog care. How do we know if we are doing harm? The only real way we can know for sure are ample numbers of studies, not emotional speculation. I'm glad you brought up the rampant behavioral problems that exist with domesticated dogs. This was the point I was trying to make; that these issues exist for all species. I believe in proper animal welfare standards but not from banning everyone from doing things because we disagree with it when there is no death or extreme mistreatment occurring.


MelChi profile image

MelChi 3 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

Hi Melissa, I'm afraid we will need to agree to disagree on one or two of your points. The first being zoos. This is my personal opinion, I don't think ANY animal should be forced into a confined space that has bars. Sometimes this is necessary at an animal shelter if the dog/cat is sick and need to be treated, and then they can mingle with the rest - and that's fine. It is NOT okay to keep monkeys in cages, tigers in cages, seals in small confined spaces, etc. I certainly hope your zoos look like nature reserves, because I've been to animal reserves and sanctuaries here (I'm in South Africa) and they are HUGE. The zoos are poorly run, with small confined spaces. They are a disgrace. Having said that, I think we disagree on this topic and that's fine. I don't see any reason why an animal should be locked up for people to gawk at all day long. It's pathetic.

As far as breeding is concerned, I think it's our voice as animal lovers to try and help spread the message as much as we can that breeders should be shut down. I read earlier this week that they are doing this somewhere in the States (can't remember the name of the town), and that they are hoping it spreads throughout. That is a huge accomplishment, because people spoke about it.

I don't have evidence to support my dislike for caging of snakes, birds, etc. That's my personal opinion. I don't think it's right at all. We will have to agree to disagree on this one I'm afraid.

I think you misunderstood my last point. I didn't say that I disagree with animal welfares, because I don't. I am grateful that they are there. What I meant was, people need to stop always blaming the animals if an attack happens. Some animals are too traumatized and lash out because they've been severely abused or neglected. That's understandable. Most of the time, these poor animals are put down because there is nothing that can be done to help them. Other animals who lash out, are usually those that have been hit, teased, shouted at continously, abused, etc. And then, I'm sorry - but you really can't blame the animal for that. How would you feel? Wouldn't you also want to lash out given the opportunity?

Melissa, I have seen and heard far too much about the way in which animals are treated. Yes, Man was put on this earth to look after them, to hunt them for FOOD (not for sport I might add - but this is another topic altogether). But this isn't happening everywhere. Animals are abused, dumped on the side of the road or at a shelter if they're lucky, used for experiments (also another topic for another day), hunted for the fun of it - as a "sport", forced into tiny cages or confined spaces for the pure pleasure of humans. Give me a break. If the people who love animals don't speak out for them, who will???


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

That's OK, Not everyone agrees with what I write here so your apprehension is not atypical, that's why I write what I write. Most of my opinions are based on something other than a personal feeling, that's why I feel obliged to offer the same open-mindedness toward situations that don't appeal to me, hoping to get the same in return. I can't vouch for any zoos overseas, but still, I can assure you that bars do not harm animals, poor husbandry does. The wild offers plenty of cruelty as well. I don't think I've blamed animals for anything, perhaps maybe except cetaceans (in another hub), although there are cases of well-cared for pets attacking. There are no guarantees. Sometimes it's because of hormonal outbursts, or a misunderstanding of behavior. Dogs are individuals. Sometimes helpless infants are attacked. This is the owner's fault because dogs shouldn't really be trusted unsupervised around small children. Sometimes people make small mistakes and pay huge prices. I speak out against issues that I think are harming animals (animal welfare is the philosophy of having wellness standards for animals being used for human benefit).


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 3 years ago from Washington state

MelChi, I would like to offer some of my experiences/thoughts on the topic of zoos. You mentioned that you live in South Africa, and as I read that, a light bulb went on in my head. I suddenly am aware of the conditions that you've become accustomed to associating with the "zoos" in your area, and I can completely understand how you would be against such organizations. With the exception of Australia and some European countries, zoos outside of North America are often old, and, as you described them above, "cold." Most countries have nowhere near the standards of care that we in the United States do, and it is clearly evident in the manner that they keep their creatures.

I have lived in and visited Japan on several occasions, and have frequented many zoos, parks, and "sanctuaries" across the island. Japan is far from being considered an impoverished or uneducated country, yet at all the zoos I visited (between the years of 1988 and 2006, anyway), there was a severe lack of what we in America would consider basic husbandry requirements. Many of these "zoos" seem to be in a perpetual state of what zoos were in the 1930s, with very little attempts to modernize or evolve into today's standards at all. At these zoos I have seen animals agitated to dangerous levels (showing aggression towards onlookers or one another, with no zookeeper around to intervene), animals thin beyond belief or riddled with scars and parasites, and even animals dead in their enclosures. These zoos are atrocious, and MelChi, I understand how difficult it is to remain rational when you witness those kinds of things.

But you must understand that those zoos are NOT all zoos. Thankfully, things here in the United States, and many places across the world, are beyond a thousand times better. Better for the animals, better for the community, better for wildlife, and definitely better for zoo-goers such as myself. The local zoo here in Washington has beautiful enclosures for their animals, and it is constantly updating their habitats to improve and rejuvenate. Enrichment is a requirement for pretty much anything that is not a reptile or amphibian, and the health and comfort of the animals are clearly seen in the way they act with one another, and their keepers. As someone who works very closely with exotic animals and considers herself to be rather astute in assessing the conditions of different animals, I approve of zoos like this wholeheartedly, and will always support them.

As Melissa stated above, "bars do not harm animals, poor husbandry does." I could not agree more. Zoos are not the inherent problem - improper care is what we should all be working hard to educate for and fight against.

I am curious whether or not you consider the National Zoological Gardens a "sanctuary" or a zoo? The Zoological Garden is located in South Africa and it is considered to be one of the world's greatest zoos. Though I have never visited it, from what I've heard it is not anything like the dank, concrete environment you talk about in your posts.


Hippy 3 years ago

I love my dogs so much that I stopped eating meat; they didn't follow suit. I also made sure I earned enough money that my wife could give up work to spend all day with them and we let them sleep in our bedroom so they are never alone.


Jennifer Madison profile image

Jennifer Madison 3 years ago from Lohmar

Wow I have never seen an article with so many long and emotional comments. This subject surely touches a lot of people. I think you mentioned some very good points. I think you know a lot about animals and animal welfare. However, I need to say that everyone has a dog inside a small Manhattan apartment. By the way, I am completely opposed to having dogs in the city. Dogs don't belong in cities. I live in a suburb right next to forests, rivers and grasslands. I walk my dogs three times a day. They run free and discover the nature, play with other dogs. Sometimes I ride my bike next to them so that they run more. My dogs often get fresh meat and I feed them organic dog food regularly. They also sleep in our bedroom. And last but not least, I work at home. Which means I am with them 24/7. Rarely I go out without them. And whenever I am not at home they keep each other company. I often see play together.my dogs love company. Whenever the doorbell rings they are all excited about who it might be this time. It often is my mom who takes them on long walks through the forest. I do believe that my dogs are happier than all the city dogs in the world. You actually gave me the idea to write a hub about it.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Jennifer, it sounds like your dogs may have an ideal life out in the country always in the company of their 'pack'. So I guess the bigger question here is, just how jeopardized is the well-being of dogs that don't have this and is it enough to call their situation cruelty? I've also seen people call keeping cats indoors cruelty, which is sad because outdoor cats kill other animals, which I consider cruel. It's not just city dogs, I live in the suburbs but my dog must be left alone frequently. Most people don't work at home, often it really isn't a choice. Is it fair to tell us that we shouldn't have dogs? Where is the line?


Tim 3 years ago

Hi Melissa,

I've worked in a boarding kennels for about 15 years and I have to say, what you write in this hub is so so true. The amount of dogs that I have seen ruined, mistreated, psychologically disturbed or otherwise ill over the years is tragic to say the least. I personally have a great affinity for animals, but I feel ashamed of myself and of the human race as a whole that we continue to treat animals like this. In one way it reminds me of a saying that if you could do it to an animal you could do it to a human, and we most certainly have over the years. Cruelty to each other, mass extinction, genocide, ethnic cleansing, genetic grooming, we are guilty of all of these, not just to ourselves, but mostly to the animals we encounter, they, in a way, become our practice in the art of cruelty to one another.

I have seen many animals come and go throughout the years; horses, rabbits, snakes, dogs cats, you name it, and one thing that I can say for all species is this; that they deserve to be respected as sentient and aware beings. These animals are not stupid, they are not devoid of emotion. They have minds and are conscious. They are clever in ways we can't see or choose not to because we just label them constantly as inferior beings. We need to step back and realize and start thinking differently about our animals.

We spend billions researching life on other planets, hoping to find out that we are not alone, when if we even invested half that amount in to better understanding and communicating with, and I mean really communicating with what we already have, we could all live so harmoniously.

Please, keep up the good work, you're doing a brilliant job!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you, I do need to update this hub however.


Adam Sambell 3 years ago

Great. Now I can't even get a damned pet. I was thinking about getting one, or 'rescuing' one from an animal shelter, but it seems you've rendered my want for companionship, useless. I can't really socialize well with people, and hence I do it better with animals, not saying the two of those are co-related.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I hope you're joking. Adam Sambell, seriously, get a pet. I don't socialize well with people either and it's one of the only lights in this life. This article was meant to show how ridiculous anti-pet arguments are.


Mark Ewbie profile image

Mark Ewbie 3 years ago from Euroland

Excellent article - well above the usual HP standard! Interesting and thought-provoking comment. From a dog-lover...


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

What 'comment' are you referring to? I hope you're not trying to play games here.


Mark Ewbie profile image

Mark Ewbie 3 years ago from Euroland

Not at all. By 'comment' I meant the article as a whole - the whole piece well-written, thought-provoking and interesting.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I'm sorry, I've had about 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep in the last 5 days. I should clarify that I do not support what this article says (about it being cruel to keep dogs).


Quinnzel 3 years ago

After reading a few of your articles my thoughts are you are very well spoken, and very good at composing articulate arguments.

You also really seem to go extremely one way or the other.

This article especially. Yes dogs can have many awful things happen in the breeding industry. Its not going to change until people stop making money sadly. Just like orca/dolphins shows and zoos.

The best a dog lover can do is love and give the animal everything they can. I'd much rather my beloved little shoggoth be snuggled and playing with me then who knows where else.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Quinnzel. Hopefully this article doesn't inspire people to hate dog ownership, but just be the best owners they can be. And to also understand that they are not unique from owners of other pets.


CurryGuyFromIndia 3 years ago

To Ms. Smith: Your article is a very emotional one, however, while I believe that you have given common sense arguments but these are not grounded in reality.

Firstly, you cannot exactly compare humans with dogs when it comes to "feelings". We are not having the same brain and hence it is doubtful that putting ourselves in the "dog's shoe" is a good reason to support the argument that dogs do not feel great while being domesticated.

Secondly, the research in dog psychology shows that they prefer human company compared to even their own siblings. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/... . I believe that our treatment of dogs should be more "dogane" than "humane". If you love dogs treat them in a fashion which is most desired by them. In this case I believe that they desire the human company the most.

Furthermore, in wild, various natural forces such as rain, flood, draught AND other plants & animals shape the evolution of any animal such as wolfs. We, the humans, also happen to be one such "animal" and had our mark on other plants and animals, in this case, wolfs/dogs. I believe, it is wrong to make a dichotomy of nature and humans. We the humans are very much a part of natural world and NOT a separate entity. There is nothing "supernatural" any human can do. The selective breeding which we did and are still doing was a part of natural evolution of dogs. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/23... covers more of scientific facts behinds this process.

Lastly, I agree that the process of dog breeding should be regulated and there should be social and may be legal norms around "dog ownership". I do not know about America but I guess in any civilized country there are norms around cruelty against animals. I believe these should be grounded in scientific research and not to the whims of individuals.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

CurryGuyFromIndia, don't you see how you've just validated my point about leaving dogs alone from their caretakers? Anyway, this article isn't really serious, I agree that humans are not separate from nature and that you can't compare humans and animals. Many people like to condemn everything we do. I was making a point about the logic of criticizing any captive animal practice because it is 'unnatural', such as with zoos and exotic pets.


carmen4 3 years ago

i'm sorry Melissa but I am very confused with you entirely! I am not sure if you are trying to make a point or trying to put your opinions out there, but to me they are very unclear. Right now I don't like you, because you say one thing to another and that is confusing to me. can you tell me Clearly what you are trying to achieve with this article


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Sorry it was unclear carmen. I am applying the same logic here that many use when assessing non-domesticated animals in captivity, but with dogs. An example is that people complain about confining wild animals, but are OK with it being done with dogs.


Anon Coward 3 years ago

"Secondly, the research in dog psychology shows that they prefer human company compared to even their own siblings. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/"

I'm pretty sure almost any animal would prefer to hang out with humans instead of their own kind, especially if raised from birth by humans.

All of my cats have hated other cats. When I'm in the room, my betta fish all come to the front of their tanks and watch me go about my business. When I put my hands in the tank, the come up to investigate. They would attack their own kind. I can pick up my bearded dragon with no resistance at all from him, yet he is hostile to his own kind. If I allow him to free roam in my room, he runs to me when spooked by something.

I have read that dogs do not form special attachments with their family members like humans do, and that feral dogs live mostly solitary lives. IMO, a human simply has "more to offer" to a dog than its sibling does, thus they prefer them.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Anon, those animals you described are solitary and thus more territorial toward their own kind so it makes sense.


Another Anon 3 years ago

Having read some of your other things on here, I was kind of surprised by this one.... but then I realized what the real point was: to show people how ridiculous they are when they do this with other animals. You made the topic more personal for many, and I hope all those zoo and aquarium hating folks realize how ridiculous they are when they spout this stuff about the animals that I work with... the ones I know are happy and healthy, but have no way of changing their set minds.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks JJ, I was hoping to take people for a walk in our shoes.


Rylan 2 years ago

False


Felicity 2 years ago

Sadly, as on owner of three dogs I was in complete agreement with all your points up until the disclaimer.

I love all animals but there's nothing that cheers me up quite as much as seeing a wagging tail. Dogs do so much for us human-folk (providing comfort, security, assistance and joy) but for every spoilt pooch with a loving home, there's many more living on the streets, awaiting euthanasia at a local pound or facing neglect and abuse.

We bred them to be completely dependant and trusting, only to abuse that trust. My dogs have brought some much happiness to my life, but if I had the option of putting an end to breeding of domestic dogs I would.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Well Felicity, there is no such thing as an ideal life. Humans don't just abuse animals, they abuse each other. And animals also abuse each other. Just a fact of life.


MarcosPensar123 2 years ago

Melissa, i don't know you but i really surprise with this post, because you criticized the Blackfish and in this post you write against pets. Very contradictory.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

You misunderstood this post Marcos, because you didn't read it all. Your other posts are removed by the way.


MarcosPensar123 2 years ago

Of course that you woul remove my other comments. I already knew, because I cursed you. No problem. So, anyway, your arguments is so weak.

If you get to sleep, knowing that a orca, which should be in the ocean, is stuck in a tank, you're just another HYPOCRITE.


Coral 2 years ago

I actually read the title of this article and told myself there was no point that could be made to change my mind. I stand corrected; however, because I thought this article was a great read, and definitely made me reconsider some of my previous ideas.

Reading through the comments, I feel like it is really difficult for people to accept the fact that while we may love our pets, we are not necessarily giving them an ideal life, and it's important to own up to our faults as humans.

I don't know that I agree with each and every point in this article, but I love to be challenged and will absolutely put more thought into these ideas.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Coral.


Brett M. 2 years ago

It appears you are no aware that there's more evidence to support dogs subjecting themselves to humans (i.e. becoming pets) than humans taking dogs out of the wild for domestication. In addition, dogs have a pack mentality. They don't see themselves as pet's but as a member of your pack. That being said, you do point out some flaws with the process of training a dog. When it comes down to it, be the pack leader not the dog owner. A dog considers itself family not property, you should do the same.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Sure, dogs are members of a human's pack, but then again, so are hand-raised lions.


Erin 2 years ago

Dogs aren't tame wolves, their domestication process started naturally when wolves with a low flight or fright threshold started scavenging in wastelands. As generations tame wolves bred amongst each other, creating tamer wolves, human selection entered the domestication process, humans realised that the now tame wolves are great hunting partners, and a symbiotic relationship was established. These tame wolves started to evolve in order to adapt to their environment and scavenging habits better, and therefore started to look more like the dogs we know today. It is only much later, that humans started to breed different dog breeds for different purposes. Our dogs today can not be compared to the wolf in any means.


Erin 2 years ago

@ CurryGuyFromIndia - Recent Scientific studies have proven that dogs do have same feelings that humans have. I think you find this article interesting. (sorry if my english is bad) - they could finally do successful MRI on dogs. https://pethelpful.com/dogs/A-New-Study-May-Foreve...


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Erin, tame refers to non-domesticated animals or something that was previously wild (like a tamed feral cat), so obviously, dogs aren't tame wolves unless they've been pre-wild.


Amanda 2 years ago

This. Was. Awesome. I'd read several of your articles before, so I noted the satirical tone and figured out why you'd done it; you absolutely hit the nail on the head.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Glad you appreciated it Amanda!


kblover profile image

kblover 2 years ago from USA

I think I'm confused reading this. But then again, I'm more a "how do dogs work?" type person than getting into any battle about "should" and "should not", both of which are just one group's opinion trying to be forced on the other "side". How dogs work is more objective so I'm more comfortable there.

I'll always believe in pet ownership, though I agree with what others said that dogs don't see themselves as "pets" but as pack/members of a cooperative social unit. They want to know what their role is, what's expected, as much consistency as possible (since our human world and rules probably make zero sense to them so some consistency helps them manage and understand, which makes them less anxious/uncertain) and how to work together to achieve a common goal for the survival of all.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

I agree kblover, dogs don't see themselves as pets. I don't think any animals do.


dearabbysmom profile image

dearabbysmom 2 years ago from Indiana

I loved this...very thought provoking when the reader applies what you wrote about dog ownership toward exotic pets. Not having owned any exotic animals, I've never considered how one might have to fight to justify their choice. I guess I'm surprised how many people read this and argued about 'dogs as pets' points, as I don't think that was your actual message.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks a lot dearabbysmom, glad you understood this article!


B. Halden 2 years ago

This is a specious argument; unlike exotic pets, modern dog breeds are a result of co-evolution to such a degree that following a human's gaze and reacting to gestures is instinctual, much like a human infant. Their ecological niche is human companionship because that's what they evolved to take advantage of.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

B. Halden, NO dogs have evolved for life in a modern human household. That's just like saying they've evolved to eat kibble. Tolerate it as they might, that is not optimum nutrition for them and it ruins their teeth.


R.Morgan 2 years ago

Could not agree with this article more. Every morning from my train I see dozens of dogs in the back garden of homes on their own, usually cold, always bored.

Their "owners" will proclaim themselves as animal lovers, but no animal lover would entrap an animal like this for their own self-gratifying needs.


B. Halden 2 years ago

Whether or not dogs evolved to eat kibble is beside the point -- they are a product of co-evolution and the greater majority of breeds aren't suited for life in the wild due to being wholly removed from natural selective pressure for innumerable generations, but the same cannot be said of exotic pets. Dogs evolved to live alongside humans, hence why they differ dramatically from wild canids, and have been an extremely successful species because of it.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

It's not "beside the point". They are being forced to eat what isn't natural for them, period. My bird is also not suited for the wild despite having the same DNA as wild birds. He's afraid to leave my room and would have a heart attack if released in Venezuela. Hell, MY ancestors lived wild and I also would have a heart attack if expected to live in an African jungle. If I amputate my pet's leg, it also won't be suited for the wild. Is that ethical? Why is it OK to 'selectively breed' incapacitates and call that "evolved to live alongside humans"?


Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

You had my feathers ruffled there for a minute. I was become so upset about the position you took. I am so glad that I read all the way to th end. I am of the opinion that a pet owner should be able to own whatever pet he or she will. I believe that owner must be responsible for the proper care and attention to the pet. I do believe in restrictions, but not so much.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Sounds good Rodric29!


Harper G 2 years ago

Good article. I was taken in for a bit, but I managed to read all the way through & was pleasantly surprised.

I live in Pennsylvania, which has even more restrictive "exotic pet" bans than most of the US. For instance, ferrets (de-scented & fixed) are considered "exotic pets" & are therefore illegal.

Sadly, there are entire websites full of people who would actually agree with the satirical part of your article. (Though those people usually make the "dogs are unnatural" claims, usually while simultaneously promoting cat ownership - with no sense of irony.)

I'm glad to see someone turn the exotic-ban argument around on those who use it; maybe the pet-killing hypocrites at PETA's main office will see it & stop using their tired rhetoric.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Harper, PA is hell from what I hear. Glad you understood the article. Some thought I was serious and commended me. I had no words for them. I'm afraid that's where we're headed.


Pharmd646 2 years ago

I am not sure where you are getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this info for my mission. dgdeedk


Steve 2 years ago

Hi, I'm dad-against animal cruelty, but please accept many of us consider the environment before we buy a dog, I live next to a park and woodland, work at home, allow him to range around the whole house and gardens, and we have a lot of dogs in our neighbourhood my dog meets daily. He also runs off-leash in wild places for at least 90 minutes every day. We feed him v well and he is a very healthy happy dog. Are you saying this is cruel?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Do you think it is?


Priscilla 2 years ago

I agree that all animals can be free. But domesticed dogs or pets can barely survive in the wild at this point. SO in the end the best thing we can do is stop breeding and continue to support adoption and give these animals the best we can.


Tevo77777 2 years ago

Dude!

It's dude right, I'm kinda just guessing by flipping a coin here. (Insert proper pro-noun), I'm very confused by this message right here. Just bear with me for a second.

"Hello, my name is Meliss A Smith and I think zoos are fine, here is evidence why."

"Oh...This makes sense."

"Also here is a long list of reasons why dolphins are not perfect."

"I had a feeling they were up to no good."

"Did I mention that I collect exotic animals."

"Cool?"

"I think dogs shouldn't be pets, it's wrong."

"Wait....Why do you own exotics then? You just told me zoos were fine and they are filled with wild animals not used to humans. After all this you tell me that dogs, who have lived with humans for years and are so dependent on us they can't last very long in the wild....Y-You say they shouldn't be pets?"

"Yes, they shouldn't be pets, I have lots of information on this and even you know a lot of it makes sense."

"Well then what would they eat in the wild? How would they avoid predators? Are they strong enough and fit enough to make it out there? Do you know how many coyotes and wolves love to eat dogs?"

I don't like to put words into peoples mouths or appear to be when I am not, but this is kinda what I'm seeing by reading what I read so far today. I'm very confused and as your statements don't stick to the same bias....It's making me ask why.

Could you explain yourself? Am I crazy for thinking this? Would some explanations explain why zoos are okay and pet dogs are bad...I mean you've already proven your debate skills before and we all know you can find information to prove your point.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Tevo77777-- If you read this whole article you wouldn't have written such a smart-alecky comment. How many 'dudes' do you know named Melissa?


Tevo77777 2 years ago

I'm used to boys and girls with names that don't match their gender.

As for the rest of it, I didn't notice the very bottom of the content and I sorta just spaced out as I read it. Why exactly is this content here and posed so...IDK misleading in that it seems to be what you think till that little bit at the bottom?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Because that's the point of it, to have dog owners experience what I experience with my exotic pets. It supposed to annoy and enrage; "who could call ME cruel for caring for a dog! My dog is well-cared for and happy!" People get to label exotic pet owners and enjoy universal acceptance with their pets.


Tevo77777 2 years ago

Well, then I guess my reaction was not quite what was expected.

I never really understood why people keep deadly snakes however. I'm aware snakes aren't very smart and don't have much of a reaction to their holding pens, but what do you get out of owning that kind of snake exactly?

I mean, if you had a pet wolf trained not to maul people then you could watch it run around or whatever it would do, but do snakes do anything exciting? I mean my rabbit is in a cage part of the day, is held for a bit, and twice a week gets to run around for hours. My rabbit however reacts to me, makes noises when I give it certain foods, and reacts to who picks it up.

I don't think snakes are quite like that.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

If you don't know why people would want one I guess you'll never know. I don't understand how people can be so interested in sports, cars, and celebrities.



Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

OLI--what does that have to do with this article?


Deathmonkey7 profile image

Deathmonkey7 2 years ago from Huntington, West Virginia

Sorry, but I strongly disagree with this article. Dogs are no longer anything like the wild wolves. They were bred over time for the sole purpose of being companions. They've had thousands of years of selective breeding. Most of their wild instincts are either gone or suppressed.

Go ahead, go to someones home and let their dog out. Hell, I've kept a lot of my dogs outside so they would be free to roam and I've never had a dog run away. They stay because they feel that they are part of my family just as I feel they are. There's no "captivity" involved. A domesticated dogs instinct is to crave human attention.

It is true that at one point wild animals had to be captured and held against their will in order for modern dogs to exist, but that was thousands of years ago.

One thing I will agree with you on is the breeding of "pure" breeds. It causes birth defects and health problems and is generally a bad practice.


Travis Wakeman profile image

Travis Wakeman 2 years ago

I'm just curious, if this is what you think of the ethics of keeps a dog as a pet, what is your view on cats?

Overall the title seems like it doesn't quite suit the article. I get the sense from the title that all dog ownership is bad, and yet from this article you only elaborate on abuses that some dogs experience under some owners.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Hi Deathmonkey7, I don't really think it's wrong to keep dogs as pets, I'm making a statement against people who think it's wrong to keep other animals as pets. But dogs ARE in captivity, many are loyal captives, but that doesn't change anything. They have limited freedom that they must tolerate. Should a dog want to run out, they are not given that choice. My dog when younger would run away often if she successfully wormed her way past an exciting person. My dog is unique from others dogs probably because she expresses less of the traits that more 'loyal' dogs do, that are similar to some wild animals. She has a 'cat-like' way of ignoring my commands when she is more enticed by something else (food, chance to run outside).


Anonymous Confused Poster 2 years ago

Excuse me... but as a long time dog lover and trainer... WHAT ON EARTH IS SHE TALKING ABOUT WHEN SHE STATES "some breeds are even forced to go through surgery to alter their appearance"???

WHAT BREED HAS TO BE SURGICALLY ALTERED TO MEET BREED STANDARD???


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

"you only elaborate on abuses that some dogs experience under some owners"

Exactly. This article is meant to show the same logic that people apply to owners of exotic pets. You can guarantee 100% that if an abused pet kangaroo is found somewhere, all exotic pet owners will be criticized.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Anonymous Confused Poster--Doberman pinschers go through tail docking and ear cropping. Schipperkes have their tails removed. So do rottweilers. Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.


Deathmonkey7 profile image

Deathmonkey7 2 years ago from Huntington, West Virginia

There's a major difference between domestic dogs and most exotic animals. Most exotic animals still have a strong instinct to kill, and have no special breeding for human companionship. Not only that, but many exotic animals are directly taken from their natural habitats whereas domestic dogs have no natural habitat.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Deathmonkey7-- Of course there's a major difference between dogs and most exotic animals. There's also a major difference between dogs and most domesticated animals. Cats are one domesticated animal with a strong instinct to kill, but so are some dogs. Some exotic animals have no instinct to kill, like zebras, capybaras, and even hand-raised bobcats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ8xI17IKWU

'Special breeding' is highly irrelevant. Every dog that has ever killed a person has been 'specially bred'. Furthermore, the only exotic animals that are regularly removed from the wild for the pet trade in the U.S. are fish and reptiles. It just doesn't make sense in most cases to capture wild animals as pets, with the exception of those listed and birds, however it is illegal with birds. Nearly most or all exotic mammals you see in captivity, whether in a zoo or as a pet, are captive-bred.

See how this isn't as easy as you thought it would be?


Travis Wakeman profile image

Travis Wakeman 2 years ago

What do you think about dog owners who take great care of their dogs and give them a great life though? From your article title it seems like you are against all dog ownership whatsoever.


Deathmonkey7 profile image

Deathmonkey7 2 years ago from Huntington, West Virginia

Melissa Smith - There is a huge market for animals for the exotic pet market. Even those that are "protected" are dwindling in the wild because of illegal trapping. Cats may have an instinct to kill, but in the case of domesticated cats they don't have the capability to kill people unless perhaps they are small infants. And a very large number of animals kept in zoos are in fact from the wild, though many of them are also captive-bred. Those from the wild are usually cases where they are saved from almost certain death, though.

In the case of exotic pets, I'm not necessarily against all exotic pets. For instance, smaller rodents of an exotic nature are perfectly fine, in my opinion. And while it may be true that some dogs do kill, in proportion to the number of dogs that exist I think you'd find that they kill in a far lesser amount than deaths from most exotic animals such as apes, tigers, lions, and other larger predators.

Those are largely the exotic animals I'm against captivity of, though I am against others to an extent.


Breck123 2 years ago

@ Deathmonkey7. I'm pretty sure that domestic dogs kill WAY more people then exotics. I'm pretty sure that there is even a hub about this.


Deathmonkey7 profile image

Deathmonkey7 2 years ago from Huntington, West Virginia

@Breck123 - I guess you missed the part where I said "in proportion to the number of dogs that exist"

Meaning there are millions of dogs, but not many exotic animals, therefore it's only natural that you'll have more deaths by dog even if they're very rare.


Breck123 2 years ago

It appears I did miss that one part. And, if we are speaking in proportion, a large number of dog attacks happen on the public rather then the owner, while with exotics, the majority of attacks happen on the owner (who should know that there is a risk with certain animals), than the public.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Travis Wakeman--I'm kidding in this article. Please read the rest.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Deathmonkey7-- You have no evidence to suggest that exotic animals cause more deaths in relation to their populations, you are just assuming. None of us know the real answer. I'm confused on why people with extremely little knowledge about these matters attempt to argue with me about this. You probably have no idea which animal species are 'protected but dwindling', or why. All threatened animals have their own complex reasons why their populations are decreasing or why people trap them. I'm tired of the generalizations. Everyone just assumes that it's the simple matter of eliminating exotic pets, and I can assure you that will do little or nothing to solve these problems.

" I think you'd find that they kill in a far lesser amount than deaths from most exotic animals such as apes"

Even if there were 3 'apes' in captivity, the percentage of deaths they caused would be 0%. Unless of course, you mean humans.

"Those from the wild are usually cases where they are saved from almost certain death"

Now you are just making things up as you go along. Show me some evidence for everything you're saying. I honestly don't know how people work up the nerve to assert vague assumptions to me when I'm obviously obsessed with this subject. It's insulting. Please tell me which species are in decline mainly from the American exotic pet trade. I do not want to hear about animals like slow lorises, which no one owns in this country, so we clearly aren't the cause. They are to my understanding mostly sold in their country of origin or exported illegally to Russia/Japan.


Travis Wakeman profile image

Travis Wakeman 2 years ago

Found it. People who scan your article might not though. Can I suggest a boldface title? There are a lot of people who still might not get the satire even after reading it all the way through...


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

I've decided that this doesn't really bother me.


Deathmonkey7 profile image

Deathmonkey7 2 years ago from Huntington, West Virginia

Species in decline from pet trade:

http://m.phys.org/news/2013-03-demand-exotic-pets-...

http://www.bornfreeusa.org/mbw/a2a_overview.php

Rare parrot species seem to suffer the worst, but reptiles, turtles, big cats and more are mentioned.

Animals taken from natural habitats for zoos:

http://napleszoo.com/Visitor_Info/top-ten-question...

An answer from a zoo keeper who interestingly specifically mentions some animals also being saved from illegal exotic pet trade. as I said, though, the ones from their habitats are largely in cases of their protection.

You may be right that there haven't been any deaths from apes.. yet. But it's not for a lack of trying. I know several people have been permanently disfigured from pet chimpanzees. As for other people killed by exotic pets:

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/wild/animal-...

I'm also curious why it has to be American exotic pet trade. It has the same detrimental effect no matter where it takes place.


Breck123 2 years ago

" The vast majority of creatures seen in zoos, were born in the zoo." That was taken from the link you supplied, Deathmonkey7.


Deathmonkey7 profile image

Deathmonkey7 2 years ago from Huntington, West Virginia

How does that contradict anything I said?


Breck123 2 years ago

You stated that a large number of animals in zoos are taken from the wild, although you did say many are captive bred. The way you put it makes it look like the number of wild caught animals are almost equal to the number of captive bred ones. In reality, most of the animals in North American zoos are captive bred. Even if some confiscated illegal wild caught animals were sent to zoos, it would only be equal to a fraction of the number of captive bred animals in zoos.


George Abreu profile image

George Abreu 2 years ago from Palm Beach, FL

While I would understand your premise, if dogs never evolved from wolves. However, because we have domesticated the dog, they do not have the necessary instinct and predatory behavior they had as wolves. Making them unable to survive with humans. We have made dogs dependent on us.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Deathmonkey7 -- So instead of acknowledging your ignorance, you've done what 99% of my detractors do when I ask for evidence: do a quick Google search, probably with the phrase 'exotic pet trade bad for environment' and the like, and it always comes up with agenda-driven groups, with the most common being Born Free. Another highly typical occurrence with people like you is that you start arguing with me about how bad and dangerous exotic pets are, but when asked about your claims of species decline, you provide a bunch of links about PARROTS, which I'm sure is NOT what you had in mind with your initial complaint.

You've decided to let your links do the talking, and cannot provide the name of a single species, what a surprise. Your first link, generic BS with no real information. The second, Born Free of course, mentions only one specific species, stating captive breeding of Amazona oratrix has failed to help because : "This decline has continued despite the wide availability of captive-reared yellow-headed Amazons for pet purposes." Their logic used to claim that there is no evidence that captive breeding will lead to a decrease in animals being caught is unsurprisingly not used towards the idea that banning exotic pets will stop the already illegal practice of trapping the birds, and it certainly will do nothing to resolve their MORE SEVERE threats of habitat loss and purposeless killing:

"The species's population is estimated to be in very rapid decline, owing to habitat loss and degradation and levels of trapping and persecution."

http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet....

They do not know what percentage, if any, makes it into the U.S. and this is important (to me) BECAUSE I want to know that if I'm forced to stop keeping pets on the pretense that it will stop wild species decline, will it? Or would it be due to the feel goodism of people who don't like the idea of people owning species while they face hardship in the wild? If I don't keep pets will locals stop catching and keeping pets? If giving up pet keeping will not HELP this cause then I certainly don't see why I would want to. People's feelings matter nothing to me.

"Animals taken from natural habitats for zoos"

Your link disproves what you said! This is what happens when you spout off assumptions to people who've actually done research.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

George Abreu-- Making animals dependent on us doesn't sound very ethical, does that sound right? Would you want that done to you?


George Abreu profile image

George Abreu 2 years ago from Palm Beach, FL

I mean I guess it isn't very ethical in my book, so in a large sense, I do agree with you. But with history down on the books, and evolution doing what it did (because we forced evolutions hand, breeding the least aggressive ones, and creating the domesticated dog we see now) to disown them completely, would also most likely kill them, so in laymen terms, I guess I would say that we made our bed, and now we have to sleep in it. While I do see your point completely, we as a species muddled the waters to much to fix it. BTW, I loved the article, I never thought of dogs (if not most pets) in that light


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

George Abreu-- It just shows that there are different ways of looking at things.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

I beg to differ too. Where are they all going to live if not domesticated? What is their source of food going to be? How are they going to be protected from things like ticks and other animals that will eat them. What are you going to do when their breeding takes over the cities and world eventually? Many do not and refuse to see that the "natural" way is also inhumane. Have you ever watch a coyote kill a cats or another dog? Is that humane to watch cats and dogs get killed and eaten for food as well. I just do not agree with your points.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Lady Guinevere-- You're missing the point. They 'shouldn't EXIST' in the first place.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

Dogs and cats should not exist???? That is nonsense. They have existed a very long time before we even domesticated them.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Lady Guinevere-- I don't think I can get through to you. Domesticated dogs did not exist before humans, that's virtually impossible. Please read this -entire- article, including the end.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

So what are you proposing, that we let them all go free and no more intervention with their care???? BTW I did read your whole article...all the way down to the end. I simply disagree with you.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Lady Guinevere-- Then you would know that the point of this article is to be pro-ALL pets.


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 2 years ago from West Virginia

Ahhh so you are one of those who thinks that no none should own a pet or an animal? I do not agree with that for the simple fact that you have never seen a pet that is truly happy being with humans. I am sorry about that. Have a good night.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Lady Guinevere-- Are you being serious? Look at my avatar. LOOK at my articles.


Weis on the rocks profile image

Weis on the rocks 2 years ago

I don't know how you do it Melissa. The patience you exhibit when confronted by blatant and incessant stupidity is worthy of sainthood. That or this site has strict rules and active mods. Most of these people who couldn't comprehend your article can vote - to me that's scarier than any exotic pet. They can reproduce as well...holy shit...


Dog lover 2 years ago

You, my dear, are Batshit crazy. The end.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Dog lover--for 'being against keeping dogs' or supporting exotic pet ownership?


B. Halden 2 years ago

Going back to your response, your wild bird won't survive in your city because it's a wild bird. Whatever climate you live in probably isn't the one it evolved to live in, so it will either starve to death or be killed by crows. This isn't the same for dogs, where they can't really survive in the wild anywhere because that's not what they've evolved to do.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

B. Halden-- I didn't say MY climate, I specifically said Venezuela, where his species is from. If you take a wild animal out of the wild as a baby and raise it in captivity, that animal will be highly unlikely to survive on its own, EVEN if you release it in the habitat it hails from. This is extremely common knowledge. This is why the more educated animal rights activists are not hoping to release SeaWorld's orcas into the ocean. On the other hand, a stray dog born outside of captivity has a better chance of survival in the 'wild'. Feral cats are technically domesticated but proliferate profusely, again, common knowledge. The notion that wild animals are better survivors than human-selected pets doesn't hold water, period. It's nature vs. nurture. It depends on what animals, what location, and how that animal is raised.


naturalself1 2 years ago

A refreshing read. An honestly written article about about nonhuman beings in captivity. Thank you!


Astrid 2 years ago

It's amazing how the comments demonstrate that almost NO ONE read the entire article!! Hah!!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Yes Astrid, I didn't know how to handle it, so I eventually stopped correcting people.


Ash 2 years ago

PETA is batshit nuts.

Also, please apply the "no one's emotional reactions should dictate what I do with my life/pets/etc" to your extremely emotional letter on prekilled vs. live prey.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Ash, that is a simplified sentence, but it does not apply to allowing people to outright kill animals in cruel ways. I certainly wasn't trying to advocate that any action resulting in an 'emotional response', such as beating a dog to death with a baseball bat, feeding live animals to snakes, dog fighting, or other forms of torture should be allowed in our society. If I want to keep a pet responsibly, that should be my right. It is not my right to directly torture, whether for food for myself or a pet. Unfortunately this needs to be spelled out for you.


Dawn 2 years ago

I think this is somewhat peculiar honestly. I mean, even if we banned having dogs as pets there would be a much greater problem with dogs spreading diseases and biting humans because they wouldn't have owners to vaccinate them or train them. If dogs weren't pets and were allowed to remain unfixed they would overpopulate, causing many to die from hunger, dogs establishing packs and threatening humans and livestock, and there would be too many dogs and eventually people would have to euthanize as many of these feral dogs as possible. I know that my dogs don't suffer to much xD I live on a 1000+ acre ranch and they run free, i have four dogs and they are close companions. They aren't caged of fenced up, so if they wanted to leave they could. But they do love me and their family so that is why they stay. I do respect and understand your opinion though, thank you for your time :)


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Wow, 1000 acres. Sounds great Dawn!


lol 2 years ago

I can't tell if this is serious or not, dogs are domesticated, they have genes specifically created to live with humans. So we should basically throw our dogs into the wild and make them find their own companionship and food, along with being hunted by larger animals, sure


Abolist-vegan 2 years ago

Right on, but author-lady get real. Humans are the most selfish creatures on the planet earth, and most first-worlders love their little companion-slaves. Arguing with them that they're keeping them in bondage, separating them from their families, and so forth, is INCREDIBLE TRUE but ineffective. No one is going to listen to you, they'll write you off as some animal-rights-extremist, and go back to blocking out the stuff they don't want to hear. They'll block out the crippling condition of pedigree dogs, they'll block out how long their dogs spend in their houses all day, they'll block out how puppies whine and cry when they're separated from their mothers and their litter mates, they'll block out how they leash their animals so they won't get away, they'll block out how millions of animals are killed in shelters because humans find them "useless", and they'll block out whatever they want to block out. Remember, these are the same fuckers who financially support farmers to kill baby cows so we can drink from their lactating mothers. Humans don't care, and they probably never will.


Frida Nyberg profile image

Frida Nyberg 2 years ago from Sweden

Abolist-vegan - Did you read the disclaimer? This article is "satire", attempting to use the same arguments against dog ownership as people do against exotic pet ownership. The author has both exotics and at least one dog, as far as I'm aware.

To Melissa - I borrowed a couple of quotes and the idea when I made this picture today: http://s14.postimg.org/z5rqm9pxb/Dog_captivity.png

I've seen so much exotic pet-hate lately that I had to do it.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Yes Frida, my dog is the white one in the picture, lol. That's an awesome picture! I think I will post the link here and share that when I get into arguments with the usual fools.


T.C. 2 years ago

Sorry, can't agree.


Alex 2 years ago

It is believed that dogs are descended from wolves who followed ancient humans and scavenged on their waste. Even if they were "freed," I suspect they would most likely stay close to human civilization and pick through our garbage. And if they turn to predation, I think it could do tremendous damage to local ecosystems. The domesticated dog does not fit into any natural food chain.


Anas 2 years ago

Thank you for posting this article. While I'm not surprised about the amount of negative feedback you've gotten from it (since the majority of westerners consider themselves 'animal people' by keeping pets imprisoned in their homes on their own terms), it's really surprising to me that no one here is taking a step back and thinking about all the points you mentioned (the overall picture) without getting emotional or biased. I personally love animals, and in all honesty, I never gave this much thought but it only recently hit me. The "concept" of animal domestication is pretty much animal cruelty. Breeding animals for our own benefit & entertainment, and twisting them into these pathetic creatures that are 100% dependent on us is just so disturbing when I think of it now. Sure, domesticated dogs can't survive on their own, but we are the ones to blame for that.


Jamie L Gearheart profile image

Jamie L Gearheart 23 months ago from Hi Hat, Kentucky

Wow is this article even for real! I understand that they need to be free and not be in a house or confined all the time. I love my cats, and I tried letting them go outside but they wanted right back in. I have strays that I have taken in, they come to my house starving and needing my help. So I help them. I wont let a animals starve just because oh its their nature and they can fend for themselves. I let my cats out, they were outside cats and they hate it outside. My cats are spoiled and healthy. If you seen what I see everyday, the strays on the street here starving, no shelter, freezing to death, and just lonely then it would change your mind. This article disturbed me. I will never read another thing from this person. I love my animals and if they want outside to live, they can but they don't.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 23 months ago from New York Author

Jamie L, the article is satire. Please keep your cats inside.


ADogLover 23 months ago

Just saying, domestic dogs actually AREN'T bred to be in the wild. In my opinion, they are perfectly happy where they are. My two dogs often socialize with one another, with us, and with other dogs and humans. Neither of them come from puppy mills; I have a beagle/dachshund mix from a shelter and an australian shepherd from a breeder in Florida. They both love running around on our 3 acre property. All I'm saying is that you don't need to be against keeping dogs as pets, just be against the things that are actually harming them. For example, puppy mills, dog fighting rings, backyard breeders, and irresponsible owners.

Thanks, -a proud dog owner.


Thorough Reader 23 months ago

Thank you for this article.... and I apoligize for everybody who read the title and inmediately flew down to the comments. People, if you are going to comment about the article, please read it first.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 23 months ago from New York Author

"All I'm saying is that you don't need to be against keeping dogs as pets, just be against the things that are actually harming them."

Thank you!


Karen 20 months ago

Your logic is flawed on so many levels, but particularly this one: dogs, or or their predecessors, selected humans, not the other way around. Humans provided food; wolves provided security. A centuries old, symbiotic relationship was born.

While certain breeding practices (like making “teacup” size dogs) are deplorable, the dog/human bond is healthy and necessary for the longevity of both species.

The rest of your argument is just silly.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 20 months ago from New York Author

Karen, this article states exactly that:

"It is true that dogs have evolved with mankind for centuries, but the relationship started as a symbiotic one where wolves would accompany humans free-ranging in a wild and natural existence. Eventually, the reciprocal relationship of humans and dogs devolved to exploitation and abuse."

Are you going to deny that our relationship with dogs is an exploitative one? Are dogs not sold? Forcibly altered? Mates selected? Homes selected? Forcibly confined? Bred with an incredibly amount of deformities for mere aesthetics that does often impact LONGEVITY? What is it so deplorable to produce teacups but not chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers, and heck, the entire toy group?

Why do people cling to the argument about how domestication STARTED while ignoring how it is TODAY?


John 20 months ago

Well I don't agree with nearly anything you say, but I'll say that I'm impressed by how much effort you put in for how few people actually regularly read your articles.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 20 months ago from New York Author

Translation for John's comment : I don't agree with what you say so I'll resort to nasty little put downs to try and upset the author because I'm too big of a cretin to rebut it or move on.


Katelynn 19 months ago

I'll admit, when I first started reading your article I was like, "is this person for real?!" But then I got to the end and felt so much better. I get where you're coming from. I personally wouldn't call my dog a captive, but that is just the visceral reaction to the word. They pretty much are one in the same. If you are caring for your pets, whether exotic or not, then who am I to judge you? Like with pitbulls, it's the irresponsible owners that make the news. Final thought, it's amazing how many people didn't really read the article.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 19 months ago from New York Author

Finally someone who gets it Katelynn!


san-m profile image

san-m 19 months ago

Melissa,

Thanks for writing this. I feel exactly the way you do. Humans have bred dogs to perfectly fit their lifestyle. The most common explanation people have is that 'No matter what my day is like, my dog is always eagerly waiting to see me'. Yes, this dog is inevitably made so dependent on it''s owner that it has no choice. It has to rely on it's owner for affection and food. The whole idea is just wrong. Dogs and other pets are meant to be among their own kind!

Some may feel that I never had the affection of a dog and hence I don't understand. I grew up with a pet dog till i was about 10.

1. My first dog passed away.. I don't know how. I remember finding it adorable.

2. I remember my 2nd dog when it came home as a puppy. I adored it and played with it. It had to move to a village (where it had a lot more space and freedom) because my family moved to a big city and wasn't very suitable for dogs. But my dog ran away and died under a bus :(

3. My neighbor's dog attacked my friend right in front of me when I was 11. The dog was ferocious and seemed frustrated being on a leash all the time and living in between people.

Just because a majority of the population is already having dogs as pets it doesn't make it okay!

The real problem though is that it's more difficult to have a relationship with human than with a dog cause it's mutual with a human being and with a dog, it's there for you no matter what. So people find that having a god is a better arrangement to get some guaranteed affection?


Adela 18 months ago

This article is completely correct. a few more points ... people who own dogs usually suffer from ego issues and if you speak with them they go on about what the dog does for them as opposed to their love for the animal. Something is clearly amiss when someone feels the need to go outside their own species for companionship or protection. Humans have taken one of nature's most magnificent predators and turned them into a more pathetic version of themselves. ever hear of a wolf freezing or starving to death? thought not. Domestication of dogs is an act of extreme selfishness and abomination.


Frida Nyberg profile image

Frida Nyberg 18 months ago from Sweden

This article is satire... and yes, wolves definitely starve and freeze (happens easily when you don't get enough food) to death. They're not superheroes or gods, they're animals.


ajar u 17 months ago

if dogs and cats run around the area you will get more disease and sick my country had this kind of problem.I stay in Asia,in Asia plenty dogs and cats run around, do you know what happen you can hear them fighting every time,the blood drip everywhere and dirty digging out rubbish,flea and thick in every area even on people skin now day tick has increase,i still remember more and more road kill animal is know as cats & dogs.However,many tourist from other country feel unhappy and uncomfortable because of unclean animals that running around into the restaurant to find food. So do you want to eat with cats & dogs all with bad skin and torn skin with blood and tick some of it even scratch until the fur turn into blood ? Imagine that how I feel about that.

I feel proud that some country have dogs and cats shelter it was so good the vet can treat them away from sick and

You really don't know about it how we feel many people in Asia or what ever country really pet their cats & dogs in wrong way "it is similar idea what just you say do not keep them as pet" it was totally chaos you know animal still food in restaurant early in the morning when we start cooking the cat tick fall all over the kitchen floor and table.

I feel good too that some country has animal shelter and save them from bothering people while working and than who wants pets can go to shelter to adopt one or more


Harry Reud 17 months ago

You are all morons


Chad 15 months ago

OK, dog lovers, cat lovers, pet lovers whatever you want to call yourself. Holly Bahgoalies. What the main overall sense of purpose here...you know the kind of underlying messages that creep up and get you thinking about things, is this......there is a major and I mean a major over population pet problem because PEOPLE do not want to bring their pets up in the responsible way. There's no reason that( I work as a canvasser) that in any given neighborhood around the populated city I live in has houses with single dogs in them..barking uncontrollably like they have some kind of rabies disease. Seriously, this is proof that dogs are not only sensitive about territory but think about it. If they are sensitive about territory what give any argument that they should be pets validity. None! We never should've f'ed with them in the first place but now of course we have and neighborhoods are popping up everywhere with crazy ass owners leaving their crazy ass single dogs alone everyday. Get some sense, get some smarts and look at the big picture. Not just about how you feel personally about your pet..because I'm sure they are the "best"


anti slavery 14 months ago

I value all life form as equal. Yes a carrot has just as much the right to live without stress just as much as bugs just as much as animals just as much as humans. No one is superior in term of life. Yes I will defend and protect my own species over other living forms but it doesn't mean that we are better than anything else.

Owning animals as pet is slavery. Not all human slaves where mistreated but they were "owned" and dictated how to act. Pets are not free. therefor pets are slaves. Slavery is cruelty.


Tina009 13 months ago

I do not agree that a cat kept in house is happier than a cat who lives in a house and has access to go outside with the risk of being hit with a car.

If you let a cat go outside and then stop allowing it to her, she will sit in front of your door and won't stop meowing until you let her out, that is a fact, she is stating a opinion: I want to go out!

She doesn't know of dangers of being outside? Well animals that live in wild are at danger everyday of being eaten, get sick or injured to the point they will die of that injury, it certainly cant be true that an animal would chose a safe life within 4 walls in front of a free life to go wherever it wants even if it is risky as well a human wouldn't choose it.

How can you say a cat is happier indoors than on a risk of getting hurt outside your home while at the same time asking for all animals to live free at the wild???

You can make a cat chase laser everyday and it still isn't the same as chasing a mouse outside. As cats grew adult also they lose interest for their cat toys and they will eventually stop chasing them while they will still chase other smaller living being outside of the house and Im saying this from experience from having cats that were only house cats and cats that were go-out cats and I even had a cat who was half of her life in house and the other half house+outdoors and she chose outdoors herself I didn't force her to go out but as she did she kept close to the house, only my garden and neighbor's garden, going in and out when she wanted.

Saying a cat is happier withing 4 walls than going outside is like saying a tiger is happier in a cage than in a jungle.

I also read several books about cat behavior and domestication along with watching shows about wild life and vets talking about animals and so I do think I know a thing or two about cats.

I do not claim the life cats have with humans are perfect lives mostly depending on how their owners treat them and where they live but a cat is a animal that kept most of the characteristics of her wild ancestor, and if a cat lives in a village with a lot of nature with its owner and is free to go outside when she wants it can almost not get more natural then that since she can do everything a wild cat would do + get extra food and a warm bed from a human. such animal is also obviously choosing to come back for that extra food and petting. the cat domestication began when human started to put small houses for cats around their barns so cats would hunt mice for them and in return cats got a warm place to sleep and extra food and they chose to stay for a easier life!

I do believe the similar thing happened with a dog, when you offer food to any animal that animal is probably going to keep coming back as well as the birds come back to the place you leave bread for them.

The another thing is that humans started to lock animals in cages limiting their freedom of movement and exploiting them to the points of torture. Every human in my opinion that wants to have a pet should provide as natural conditions for them as possible.


Maria Rosano 13 months ago

Most of the objections to the theme of the article are by dog owners. Of course they want to defend their stance as they are emotionally attached to the animal and only see what they want to see. Any captivity of an animal is wrong. If people stop keeping pets then the supply of specially bred animals will decline with the decline of demand. Think long and hard about what you are doing before deciding to get a pet. Getting a pet is a totally selfish act as there is much more in it for you than the pet, no matter how you decide to rationalise it in your head.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 13 months ago from New York Author

Tina009: I don't think I ever said a cat is happier indoors, but the wildlife (except coyotes who appreciate your pets) will be, and the (intelligent) humans. The only logical way to care for a 'pet' is to contain it. Anything else should be illegal and frowned upon. You shouldn't be able to let your cat 'choose' to intrude on my property. I do not want it there, and I shouldn't have to deal with any inconveniences that YOU cause me because your pet is not a part of the natural environment. I only tolerate native animals and I should have every right to take your pet away if you refuse to care for it.


Tala 11 months ago

Love this article, and it's amazing how many people didn't actually understand the point of it. It only took my own bit of skimming to actually figure out its nature. I also love your other articles! I've just discovered them, and love them to bits, to be honest. I don't have a goldfish to my name, but I am a big dog lover, and on top of that I am very okay with exotic pet ownership under the right hands. Thanks for your work!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 11 months ago from New York Author

Thank you Tala.


Patz 10 months ago

totally agree with the author on this one!...


Reinaldo M Vieira 9 months ago

I agree 100% with the author.

I think people that don't agree are just in too deep into this cycle that they will try to justify their behavior, with a complete disregard of the facts.

How would YOU like to be taken from your mother and siblings, and forced to be somebody´s emotional comfort toy.

Tell me now how your dog can go outside whenever he wants, he can eat whenever he wants, be with his siblings whenever he wants, see his parents? He can't right??? He is captured! He is your emotional slave.

AS much as you take good care of your "pet" he would be better off with his siblings and mother - and the fact that he has been domesticated throughout ages doesn't make it correct. Think now, is everything that mankind done throughout ages correct?

We need to re-think a lot of things in modern society, this is one of those things.

BTW I am not a tree-hugger, PETA supporter, I am just a person with a brain and 2 dogs that I really love, and I am not a hypocrite - if I could turn back time I would leave these dogs with their parents, but the truth is - somebody would have bought them anyways - so I will try my best to care for them and give them the company of their own breed to socialize with.

But there shouldn't be a market for pets - just like we outlawed slavery, pets have become our emotional slaves - and this is wrong... I try this line of reasoning with my brother, but I can see his EMOTIONS and PRIDE cloud his thinking, nobody likes to be wrong, especially when they themselves bought their "pet".


Reinaldo M Vieira 9 months ago

"Disclaimer: Does everything written above sound like a load of irritating nonsense?" - The Author

Well truthfully, none of it sounds like nonsense. The fact that the author would write all of that to later justify owning exotic animals makes this article a bit twisted, like sure, let us list all of these facts and then ignore them completely so that we can now also own "exotic" animals...


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 9 months ago from New York Author

Such 'facts' written here are overly simplistic generalizations and half-truths, just like the exotic pet trade, and that is the point of this article. Plus there is BS assumptions about how dogs 'feel' about this treatment, again, like what exotic pet owners hear. The article is supposed to make you think beyond the dogma, but if you are so easily swayed by these types of logically fallacious arguments it might not work for you.


kakster 7 months ago

I care for a dog (inherited!) that I constantly feel sorry for because he is stuck in a yard all day...no dog companionship, nothing to hunt or forage or interesting to do, anxiously awaiting my return from work to get a quick walk (cause I'm tired!), eat, and lay around doing nothing the whole evening...the most boring existence I can imagine! I can only guess that I'm not alone in this scenario. No animal was meant to live this way. I can see having a pet if you're saving it from abuse, or if you're home a lot to give it fairly constant companionship, but mostly I see pet ownership as enslavement for personal gain. Most of your article rang very true! Obviously we can't set them "all free", so I'm not saying I have a solution to this circular frenzy we humans have taken to extremes.


kakster 7 months ago

BTW, high five, Reinaldo! Agree totally. Melissa, you had me up until the disclaimer...were sharing most of my long held views. Except for some rescue situations, I believe that the vast majority of "pet ownership" is for self-gratification, even if the pet is "treated" as a member of the royal family. Just add up all the "happy/interesting times" your pet has over the course of a typical day and see how little it comes to. Then compare that to what a free/natural existence would be like for them (not that they can have that...we've made that bed already). By far, my dog's "happiest" times are when I find a wooded area to let him off the leash and run/sniff/pee/poop/chase/bark (i.e. be a dog!). And what a dejected look when it's time to go back on the leash. Just my 2.5 cents worth...don't expect to change anyone's thinking!


KeviBrown827 profile image

KeviBrown827 5 months ago

Sounds like something PETA would write. Set the dogs free, and then when we have roving packs of canines ruining the ecosystem, more than they already are, then what do we do? Oh, I dunno. Kill them? But then what did we save them from the oh so terrible slavery for?


Donny 3 months ago

Melissa, I am a dog behaviorist/whisperer and could not agree with you more. Every day I see dogs with inane owners who fail to honor their needs as animals and canines, and due to their lives simply cannot do so. I believe that the issue you present should be viewed at a high moral and ethical level. Even so-called "stable" dogs suffer from boredom and a way of life that mother nature never intended. Americans have domesticated dogs to suit our convenience with no regard to fulfilling their needs. Your article is not popular obviously, but completely spot on.I congratulate you for what you have written.

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