The difference in how dogs are treated in different regions. My question: why?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Star's pit bull experience made me post this question because I truly don't get it. I have spoken to many dog lovers throughout the country, and there are much worse problems with pet euthanized, shot, and abused in the south than anywhere else. Rescue workers in southern states acknowledge this and many drive their dogs up north or NE to rehome pets rescued from high kill shelters. I'm not saying nobody abuses dogs here in Wisconsin, but as far as I know our shelters are mostly minimal kill and people treat their pets in general really well (except for those who have puppymills!) One day I had brought my dogs with my to Walmart and my compulsive Aspie son was with me. I walked ahead of him and didn't know he was closing all the windows to the car because "somebody may steal the car." When we came back ten minutes later an Animal Control Officer was standing there warning me not to keep dogs in a car with the windows shut. My son said, "Oops! I did it. I didn't want the car to get stolen." We didn't get a ticket, but people here will call the police in the blink of an eye if they believe you are abusing your pet.
    Why do you think pets are treated worse in the south? Or do you think it's a myth? I'm very curious about this. We get a lot of rescue dogs brought up from places in the south. One rescue worker in Kentucky that I know makes regular trips to Chicago to rehome the dogs. WHY? Or isn't it true?
    Enquiring minds want to know :tongue:
  2. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I don't know if they are really treated worse in the south. I know there seems to be more puppy mills in the south and in the rural areas. The warmer climate may be the reason there are more puppy mills here, but in Tennessee it can and does get down in the single digits and sometimes even below zero once in a while. It's also a lot easier to hide a breeding operation when you're way out in the country. One of the biggest puppy mill operations they ever found was just a few miles from where I work. A co-worker of mine has lived in that area all her life and never even knew it was there!

    Not that all rural people mistreat their dogs, but many farmer-types have the "It's just a dog!" mentality. They are seen as livestock, disposable, no different than a cow or a pig. They might call the vet for a cow, but maybe not the dog. These are people that are not willing to spend a lot of money on a 'non-productive' pet animal. When I lived out in the country there wasn't a week went by that someone wasn't dropping a dog off and it's heartbreaking, but you can't take them ALL in! That's how I got my little mixed breed eight years ago. A lot of people don't bother spaying or neutering their dogs and they have litter after litter. What puppies are not given away end up being dumped out in the country. Or ... they will keep the female puppies for their kids to play with until they're about old enough to come in to heat the first time, then they dump them! Of course there are a lot of good, thoughtful, responsible pet owners here, but the others are out there too and they make me SICK!
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Actually, Wisconsin is one of the biggest puppymill states. And believe me we have bad owners here, but there is actually a lot of "my dog is a family member" feeling.

    But I'm wondering if it's the farmer thing where perhaps dogs and cats are not seen as family members. Man, if someone thinks you're abusing a dog or cat here, it's as bad as if you were abusing a kid!!!
  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Rural Missouri is supposed to have a lot of puppy mills too.
  5. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    My first job was in a vet clinic in Acworth, GA (bet you never heard of that, huh? :tongue:). As hard as this is to believe, I regularly had to fill out client's checks or intake forms for them because they were illiterate (probably a few times a week). But, they took care of their pets.

    Have you ever watched Animal Cops - NY, Detroit, San Francisco, etc? It's certainly not limited to the south.

    There is NOTHING I miss about the south, but I don't think it's fair to say that abuse is much more prevalent there than anywhere else in the country. I think the laws are weaker (I've been gone 15 years so I don't know what's changed).

    What might seem like abuse to some, really isn't. We humanize our dogs so much that we see someone handling a dog and freak out (hot cars are no are a lot of other things, but I think you get my point).
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It could also be it depends on if you live rural or suburban or even inner city. I would hazard a guess that based on my experience, you get more animal cruelty in two places...inner city and rural areas. It is probably more watched out for and (gosh what is the word I am looking for?) in the suburban areas because they have a larger part of the budget for Animal Control. My son's unit has 6 officers I think to patrol a 600 sq mile town. Of course, they are not all on duty at once! But they are very vigilant. Not much gets by them. Leave your dog in the car, they are on you. Jamie even warned us when we bring our dog
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, I do think where there is poverty there is animal abuse. So true. That would be inner cities and rural areas for sure.

    Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Wisconsin (I believe) have the most puppymills. Here, though, we are really trying to get rid of them. But the laws really stink. If you have shelter, food and water for your dog, that's all you need to provide. Big deal if it sits out in a kennel day and night, never having contact with anyone or being walked or vetted. Animal control can't do anything about that, although they do try talking to the owners if you tattle on them (and I'm somebody who loves animals so I would!).
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    First off, not everyone thinks of Kentucky as the South. I lived in Cincinnati, right across the river from KY. More people seemed to think Cincy was "in the South" than those who lived in Kentucky. I spent a LOT of time in KY because my aunt taught there and my bro actually went to a Catholic boys school there - carpooled there and took buses home.

    As an adult the company I worked for had offices throughout KY and I spent many many days traveling around KY working with merchants. Many of THEM complained that people thought they were "in the South" and treated them like they still had slaves.

    Part of that perception is based on where you live.

    Southerners all think people from "the North" are rude, abrupt and hate their children. I kid you not. I have heard this a LOT. Over and over and over. Mostly because it is more of a Southern tradition to call your parents Momma or Mommy and Daddy well into your adulthood, while in the north people tend to not use those, using Mom or Dad until the grandkids come along and then it is Gma or Gpa.

    There are a LOT of people in the South who love their pets and treat them as well or better than their kids. Same for the North. You could beancount, but nobody wins then. (refers to my Aspie son having a COW because Jessie got more black jelly beans even though she had fewer total jelly beans. WAY fewer, like 100's fewer because Wiz found the bag and "supplemented" his Easter Basket.)

    Farmers all over the country, and ranchers, tend to see dogs and cats as animals who help work the business. Livestock are not people, because you don't slaughter people, or buy and sell them. Many in those professions truly value their animals, even love them. But they are not people to many of them.

    Suburbanites tend to have the money to allow them to humanize their animals. Even in tight budgets they find time to give their animals expensive care, toys, and status. This also happens with the wealthy of any area. I worked for a man who flew his horses all over the world in private jets with their own staff. If an animal did not do well on a trip it was not unusual for him to fire or fine up to several months of pay from anyone he thought contributed to that. He did NOT pay well, either.

    Farmers and ranchers expect their cats to mouse and their dogs to work - either with livestock, hunting, or by following trails. In the inner cities people love their animals but cannot afford or do not know to provide the care those in the other areas provide.. Same goes for the rural poor. Often a family has always treated the animals that way, so they truly do NOT know any better.

    I am not sure WHY so many North/South stereotypes still exist, so that this many years after the Civil War we ask Why are the different than us questions.
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    It's hard to get a young person who will eat a hamburger in this region. We're total su--ers for a sob story. I think it may have something to do with rural areas rather than urban areas. On the farm, animals have a purpose as animals. In the city, we take them to doggie day care and buy them holistic foods. At least, on the West Coast we do. But we don't eat much lamb, either. There's large communities that don't eat any animal by-product whatsoever. We're hippies at heart, and we don't hurt the dog.
  10. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    In San Francisco, you are no longer a "pet owner," you are a "pet guardian." We have a lot of shelter dogs here that are moved up to the Bay Area for adoption. I'm guessing that with the number of farms, the "it's just a dog" attitude is rampant. However, in the big city of Fresno, there are several doggy day cares. It's an interesting contrast.
  11. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    susiestar's post is 100% spot on.

    I am totally against animal cruelty in any form. However, I've eaten animals that I knew their "names" having grown up in a rural area.

    Many people DO "humanize" their pets. Many do not understand the "pack mentality" concept (yeah, I watch the Dog Whisperer!). Many don't take the time to understand animal behavior and what it really means for a dog or cat to be "happy" vs. what it making the human happy.

    I've had some well meaning people accuse me of cruelty because we cage train our dogs. They have no concept of what a dog naturally does (caving instinct) if left to it's own devices. They also do not have the concept of what humans have bred OUT of a dog in the process of getting long hair, or tiny bodies, or whatever other characteristic is "wanted".

    Again - cruelty is one thing. But not all animals are "pets" and not all are happy as such. I've known quite a few "hunting" dogs. Hunting dogs are not pets, they aren't bred as such, they aren't "happy" as such.
  12. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I've seen a lot of that here too. It's very common to see several hounds in the back of a pickup in a metal 'dog box' with air holes in it. These dogs live in pens and really aren't kept as pets. If these hunters don't actually depend on these dogs to help feed their families, most of them remember their fathers hunting to put food on the table. Some of them spend a lot of money on these dogs and take very good care of them, but they're not 'pets'. It's just a different mind-set.

    My smooshy-faced pampered little poopsies wouldn't last five minutes in a hot metal 'dog box' in the back of a pickup, and I can't really picture a pack of hyper googly-eyed Bostons being turned loose in a field to run down game! They'd have a really good time though! Hee hee!
  13. SRL

    SRL Active Member

  14. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Mine don't wear clothes to be 'cute'. Their hair is very short, no fuzzy undercoat like other dogs, and they have almost no hair on their underside. And they are very temperature sensitive and don't do well with extreme heat or cold. In the winter if they're going to be outside for more than a quick potty trip I put something on them. So they have an assortment of little sweaters and coats. And t-shirts. And a few bandanas. And Halloween costumes. And sun glasses.

    And Katy has a yellow ruffle-butt sunsuit that fits her but it was medically necessary. When she had her surgery the vet suggested putting her in baby onesies for a few days to keep her from biting at her stitches. She's a bit chubby and the only thing they had in the store that fit her was a size 2-Toddler sunsuit! I have a picture of her wearing it, giving me dirty looks! :D
  15. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    In the rural South alot of dogs are "yard dogs" and families believe it is inappropriate to have animals in the house. The socio-economic grouping of the humans usually dictates the position and treatment of the dogs. There is, evidently, no intention to harm when "tossing scraps" and using the barks to alert when strangers are near.

    For the past thirty years we have lived in a primarily rural county and "in the city" dogs must be on leashes. Animal control does a good job of investigating issues. Personally I wish cats had to be kept indoors or on a leash as well! DDD
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I really don't mean that you should dress up your dogs and take them to day care, although we have plenty of them around here. I don't feed my dog super-expensive food because we can't afford it. Heck, the people in this family don't eat super-expensive food. And I never met a vegetarian where I live. I don't try to humanize my dogs and I love the Dog Whisperer. My dogs get "crew cuts" in the summer and grow out in the winter and look mangy at times, but they live with us in the house and are warm when we are warm and cool when we are cool. I can't grasp the concept of dogs living out in kennels in the yard unless, I guess, they are there just as an animal serving a purpose...but I love dogs so much...feel they are such good souls. I couldn't do that. But, as a city girl, I also could never live on a farm where animals were slaughtered. I just couldn't do it. Not saying it's wrong, but that's just the way I am. I couldn't hunt either. I'm kind of a hypocrite. I'll eat a hamburger, but I'm not the one who would kill the cow :tongue:. I digress:

    It is rescues and shelters in the south, or rather people who work for them, who have told me it's "bad" there and that's why I asked. To me, Kentucky is south, not geographically as much as perhaps culturally. And, yeah, I know southerners think Yankees are I have lots of friends down south and we laugh about the stereotypes of regions. That's why it surprised me when some of my southern rescue friends went on and on about the "problem" of animal neglect in the south, and I wanted to ask about it.

    I think I got a better perspective now.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I'm just going to chime in here and ask if anyone has been watching the news. We can't even get our political leaders to behave - Witz you were right - there IS something in the water and the same idiots that drink THAT water are the same idiots with animals chained outside in 100 + heat with no tarp and a butter bowl full of water.

    The woman down the road from us? Has 1/2 an acre of land and a mobile home. 1/2 an acre. She put up a lean to that would not fit a Toyota Corolla. She put up fence that is like highway barrier fence for construction. She got.....a Quarter Horse. Within a month all the grass in that 1/2 an acre was gone. Did I mention there is one scrub oak? One. Not very much shade. So what did SHE do? Went and got the horse a companion horse. (slaps head) Now they both try to squeeze into that little lean to and eat sand all day. When they go down and founder or colic I've got Metamucil in my cupboard - and a hose and mineral oil in our cabinet - but I thoroughly intend on beating her about the head with that same hose. Moron. They are hayed....but still.....idiots. And the kicker? Animal control and the ASPCA told us - Well she's feeding them. OMG - :confused:
  18. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Because of where we live, IT IS HOT most of the year. Not just hot, but HOT. Dry and hot. The sun beats down on you and being out in the sun is just down right dangerous.
    Basically anyone who leaves any animal outdoors without a huge supply of water and large shade area is considered cruel.
    I would never ever have a dog with out leaving it inside if I was going to be gone.
    I would never take my dog here in the car unless I was going to keep it running or take it with me inside, (which a lot of places allow).
    Most cafes and smaller restaurants here let you have dogs sit outside with, they have misters.
    Unfortunately there are still a lot of people who have pets they can't afford, or are not educated on how to care for, they leave them outside all day with not enough water and no shelter or not enough.
    Most here seem to love and treat there pets like family, but we hear and see the stories of puppies dumped in bags on the side of the road. Lots of abuse as well.

    THe other day they found a Chocolate Lab with an arrow in it's eye and other horrible things done to it wandering in the desert. It came right up to the hiker and let him carry it out to safety.
    I just started sobbing when they showed her. She was so excited to be getting any love.
    I think sick horrible things happen everywhere.
    We are a hippy/snowbird community here very left leaning so I think over all we love our animals.
    Yes, lot's of little old ladies with dressed up tiny dogs!
  19. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    It's a rural vs urban thing. My Polish grandmother came from farmers. She did not want any animals in the house. In her opinion animals were here to provide food for the family.

    When we moved to Maine (way up North) husband and I were alarmed to find out that deer hunting was so vital to the state's economy that any dog found running a deer could be shot by any one witnessing the event. The former owner of our house had himself shot their family pet. We were horrified since we had a pack of four boisterous golden retrievers. The mother of one of the boys who used to hang around our home had him take their aged cat out back and shoot him because she didn't want to spend the money to have him euthanized. This kid and this cat had grown up together.
  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We're more right than left leaning in this part of Wisconsin and there are no dogs at cafes (I'd love that:D), but the people here are mostly very silly about their dogs and do treat them like family. I don't think it's only liberally leaning folks who love their pets.

    The laws about animal abuse in my opinion are horrible all over the country. If you provide a shoddy dog house, a bad dish of food and warm water, you aren't abusing your dogs. But when you think about can get away with very little care of your CHILDREN and still not be charged with abuse or neglect. Maybe there IS something in the water...all over the country. :( Also, I have nothing against the south at all. I think it's gorgeous. If hub and I could move away and still visit our kids often (which we could never afford to do), I'd like to move to either Colorado or the very beautiful state of North Carolina. I just love those mountains!