It was a scene right out of a movie. I couldn't tell
if we were extras in a Comedy or Drama, but it was definitely
a Horror. And there weren't any golden awards.
is a fascinating thing for most of us, especially when
it's happening to someone else. The twist on this particular
story is where the whole thing was taking place - and
the cast of characters. Who would think a small town
in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, would treat its dog-loving
neighbors with such disrespect?
in Manheim, Pennsylvania, are out of control. New residents
in a small but swanky development, carved out of a farmer's
corn field only a few years ago, are "upset"
because the Amish man on a 70 acre property a half mile
away raises dogs. Never mind that they can't see the
building from their places without looking out an attic
window. Never mind that the farm is clean and neat.
Never mind that they don't hear dogs barking or that
none of them has ever been inside his kennel building.
They're "offended and something must be done!"
the story about the woman in Puritan days, scorned for
her love affair? The one who had to wear the scarlet
letter "A" sewn onto her clothes identifying
her as an adulteress? Well, the letter that went out
to kennels in Penn Township wasn't scarlet in color,
but behind it was a woman with a temper. She had moved
into one of those fancy houses a year or so ago, lost
her job at a lawyer's office and was filled with rage.
"It's those dogs!" she told her husband about
country smells as they drove around. In truth, it was
pig manure. One would think a real dog lover would know
her insistence, a letter was issued by the zoning office,
informing seven state and federally licensed kennels
in the township that they were breaking the law. "What
law?" the kennel owners asked, from miles around.
"The one we made about ten years ago," they
were told, "and never told you about. The one requiring
special permission." Kennel owners had to pay $400
each for the right to present their cases and ask for
"variances" to be issued for their properties.
Hearing dates were set.
the quasi-lawyer woman and her conies watched, case
after case went on over the next several months. Pleading
for their livelihoods before a panel of judges, dog
breeders answered invasive questions and fielded high-handed
remarks from an attorney, a zoning officer and three
zoning commissioners as a gentle stenographer clicked
away. Comments directed to them from the crowd and letters
to the editor were rude, disrespectful and inconsiderate
as they pressured the zoning board to make the "Ethical"
decision. Interesting catch-phrase, "Ethical treatment."
It's got a familiar ring to it. It should. It's from
"People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals."
But, most of us know them as "P.E.T.A."
does this relate to dogs? It relates because, while
we are busy enjoying our dogs and all that they mean
to us, organizations such as P.E.T.A. are flocking to
our legislative authorities with all kinds of complaints
using people like the out-of-work lawyer wanna-be. Penn
Township isn't alone. Neither was pre-Hitler Germany
when it became the society with the most far-reaching
animal protection laws ever known.
it all about? In the long run, who knows. But, according
to the National Animal Interests Alliance (N.A.I.A.),
various states around the country are catching on. If
you think Al-Queda is the only terrorist group out there,
check out the N.A.I.A. website and think again. After
that, there should be no doubt in your mind that organizations
founded for the protection of our animals have been
infiltrated by militants out to break down our animal-related
sports and industries. But, after more than twenty years
of "gorilla attacks" on private breeders,
farms, research projects, racetracks - you name it -
state and local governments are taking a new look at
such interference and finally calling it what it is
hearings for the kennel owners? Too bad the zoning officials
didn't have a copy of the "mobster list" from
the N.A.I.A. website (naiaonline.org). Scattered among
the crowd, their insulting remarks being written into
the public record, were animal militants who don't even
live in Penn Township and have never set foot inside
those kennels. It's interesting that none of the "judges"
sitting on the panel have, either.
do I know? One of those kennels is my own.