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  • Writer's pictureCara Ryckman

And Then They Came For Our Cara Ryckman

Animal enthusiasts all over Facebook are having pages pulled or being “in Facebook jail” over infractions labeled against Facebook’s policy against animal sales. The horse rescue people were recently aghast as kill pen pages were deleted, causing thousands of horses to go to slaughter who would have otherwise been rescued. Dog breeder and exhibitor groups were taken down. Breeders’ personal and breeding pages were removed. Some breeders claim removal over a post six months to two years old, that does not even mention sale at all of a litter they were proud of showing off. On one of my horse groups, a woman was temporarily banned for mentioning she needed boarding for her horse and asking about boarding facilities.

Animal rights has been hard at work with their “Adopt Don’t Shop” agenda, attempting to criminalize breeders and to cause the end of purebred dogs. Legislation is attempted and sometimes passed every day, all over the country. Recently we saw the end of greyhound racing in Florida. I saw an article yesterday on an attempt to stop hunting trials. The horse racing industry is under attack. Sadly, my grandkids will never see a Ringling Brothers’ Barnum and Bailey circus. And now, despite our supposed First Amendment rights, we have to be careful about what we say or post on this social media we have become addicted to. A friend recently posted a satirical article that announced she had just got out of Facebook jail for posting something against community standards which included guns, drugs, or PUPPIES. Her puppy post was not a sales post. Many of us – myself included – were horrified by the animal abuse in the animal rights video that was recently put up against the dairy farm – until we found out it was an animal rights set-up with planted animal rights abusers as employees. One person in the video did not even work for the farm.

As a preservation breeder who health tests my dogs and competes in shows, I do not breed for the pet industry. I will occasionally have pets available. However, I do not need Facebook to sell my puppies. In fact, I rarely get sales from Facebook even inadvertently. The biggest benefit I have from Facebook is education. When someone sees a breeder who cares taking their dogs to get health testing and showing the certificates or socializing a litter of puppies they keep way beyond the six weeks the Craigslist money breeder does, they learn something. They may not want a Chihuahua – perhaps they are interested in a Bull Terrier. But when ready to buy their bull Terrier, they are much more likely after reading my fun little posts about my program to think about possibly they need to find a breeder who health tests, a breeder who cares about their puppies.

I have bought dogs off Facebook. However, those dogs are bought from breeders such as myself, other Chihuahua Club of America members who are my friends. I probably watched those puppies grow up from babies. I might have seen a post that a bitch was going to be placed who fit in with my lines. The posts were not made as a money grab, these people are not posting to have an income: it’s a HOBBY.

The animal rights idea that any dog we buy is going to take the home of a rescue dog is malarkey. I do not want a rescue dog. I have owned rescue dogs in my life and I have rescued dogs in my life, but I compete in dog conformation and sports with AKC registered dogs. I am not looking for a backyard pet that looks like every other backyard pet. I am looking for a particular breed that conforms to the breed standard. I am looking for a dog that was purposefully bred from health-tested parents, and raised with love and socialization to be the very best dog it can be. I am looking for a dog that fits into my program, adding something my program lacks. With this home – and with many homes – a rescue dog is not going to fit what I’m looking for. We own a mountain cur who wouldn’t stay away from our home – she chose us. She’s spayed. She’s an awesome girl, but she’s not what I’m looking for.

Some are pointing to Craigslist – well, Craigslist does not let ‘breeders’ advertise, either. Ok, I challenge you to open your Craigslist up and look at the pets section. You can find almost any breed of dog. They are likely not very good representatives of that breed. They are likely not health tested or socialized. They are sometimes sold very young, without vaccinations or worming, perhaps sick. The Craigslist money breeder knows how to get under the Craigslist radar. They have found out that they must be under a certain amount of money – in this area, it’s around $200 although some do fly a little higher than that. They use words like “rehoming” and “adoption fee.” This does not mean that someone who buys one of these poor little puppies is getting a good deal. In fact, the opposite. They are probably getting a sickly puppy who may have health problems who may not even look like the breed they are supposed to be, who was not socialized and who is leaving mom way too early. Why? Because real breeders are banned.

I’m a member of some of the rescue groups on Facebook for horses. The brave ladies in these groups ANGUISHED over the huge number of horses who went on to slaughter because the kill pen sites were ganked. Well, guess what, they are back. The kill pens are now calling themselves rescues. Again, the legitimate horse breeders who care about their horses are censored…yet the kill pens were affected for only a few weeks and now they are back rolling. Until the SAFE act will keep people from transporting horses to sell in Mexico and Canada for meat, there will be people who try to rescue these damned souls from the kill pens. And God Bless them. Who is anyone to try to stop the rescue of these horses? It is wrong! We live in America, folks. Why on earth is it anyone’s business who a rescuer chooses to spend money on? By that same token, is it more wrong for someone to go to a legitimate horse breeder who cares about their horses? Those legitimate breeders aren’t making “rescue” sites for their stock.

Facebook, if you care about animals, if that is TRULY the “why” in this situation and you are not just sucked into the animal rights agenda which if you will take a closer look and examine it, it’s to eradicate pet ownership and ALL interaction with animals except from a distance, then you need to re-examine your policies. The goal of the preservation breeders is not SELLING. We don’t have trouble selling our puppies. We are talking, sharing, getting to know people, educating people. If we have a sale happen from any of our activities, it’s because someone realized that a breeder who health tests and socializes and who keeps their dogs in clean humane caring conditions is their preference over a money breeder who has only dollar signs in their eyes. Or perhaps it is a sale between two of us who are friends and sharing exceptional animals between our programs.

“Rescue” is not what it used to be. Breeders used to work with rescue, and there are still some rescues today who are in it for the right reasons and who care about the animals. Unfortunately, there are many rescues who are retail outlets for dogs. Dogs are even being imported from other countries bringing diseases to the United States in an attempt to keep up with rescuemania. Dogs of questionable heritage, who may not even look like any certain breed. Dogs of unpredictable temperament – what have they been through? Was temperament considered when they were bred? “Adopt don’t Shop!” scream the rescuemaniacs. Sorry, for many families shopping is what they SHOULD do – shopping between responsible rescues and responsible breeders. And all should be able to have a presence on social media so that the general public can make up their own mind.

If I want a loving sweet pet, if rescue is something I want to do or if I see a particular rescue animal that strikes my fancy – sometimes that just clicks. Rescues should be able to put up photos of their animals on Facebook. However, sometimes a family is much better suited to a particular temperament, and they want to know exactly what their dog is going to look like as an adult. Sometimes a family works better with the lifetime support they can get from a responsible breeder. Some families will not be accepted by rescues due to small children or due to participation in dog sports. A friend posted yesterday that she was not able to adopt a cat because the rescue would not allow her to because she has intact show dogs at her home. Their loss of a wonderful home for a cat. Maybe I want to show dogs, or to compete in a particular sport that a certain breed has a talent for. Maybe I am a farmer who needs a livestock guardian dog. Maybe I am a policeman who needs a dog who has the talent or the potential to search out drugs. I’m not saying that there is no dog in any shelter or rescue anywhere who would not be able to do these jobs, but it’s not the norm. There are responsible breeders who breed dogs for these jobs, who can recognize potential in a young puppy or teenager.

I won’t even go into my thoughts on Facebook censoring some groups and people but not censoring others. My issue is censorship, period, of anything that is not illegal is wrong. We have freedom of speech in this country. This isn’t a communist regime, at least not yet. At this point we are still allowed to own and breed purebred dogs. At this point, people are allowed to own and breed purebred horses. At this point, people are allowed to have livestock. Banning or censoring anyone who puts up photos or mentions their ownership or activities with animals is not the American way.

Another horse kill pen who is not billing itself as a rescue Is now posting youtube videos and linking them, which is apparently ok. One of the dog breeders I know said that if you boost a post of animals then share it, it’s ok; another dog breeder did this and was censored. I don’t want to try to dance with Facebook. I did put on my dog page that I abide by Facebook regulations and that I do not sell dogs on Facebook. With any photo I am putting up of my dogs, I am making a note that it is for viewing pleasure only…when I remember. But I – and most of the people I know who breed and show dogs – am not going to represent myself as being a rescue or do anything elaborate to try to avoid Facebook rules.

Many of us are trying out alternate social media sites. Many of us are on MeWe. MeWe is not very active yet, and many do not like the way it runs. There are some other sites that others are attempting to use. I wish that AKC would create its own social media…it has the money to not only make the site but to advertise it to where people would know where to go. The biggest problem is that Facebook is where our addiction lies, as its where our friends and family are. The only way to make MeWe or any site like it really work as anything but an additional backup is to get everyone to go there. This in itself would get Facebook’s attention. If we all LEFT, they would take notice. From the petitions I am seeing, the numbers are large, especially if we combine every single type of animal from the dog people to the horse people to the farmers and ranchers.

I have seen (and signed) several petitions to Facebook, although I do not think it is going to do any good. The clear answer is for Facebook to realize that their position is not right. Charge us a fee, Facebook. Most would pay it. If it’s money that it comes down to, make some money. If someone wants to put “for sale” in their post, let them – for a fee. If they are only sharing a post for educational or fun reasons that features animals they own, that should not apply as sales. If it is not money and Facebook really cares about animals, they should applaud the preservation breeder who is teaching and sharing. If Facebook is animal rights, then we need to find another alternative.

I do not understand how it can be ok for there to be terrorist groups on Facebook, but a breeder should be banned. Law enforcement has been trying to get Facebook to address the terrorist problem for a long time. I can’t tell you how many sites I personally know of where counterfeit items are sold, sites that have been around for a long time. Sexual pages are no problem. There must be another agenda here at work.

With the way it currently is, I can only assume it’s animal rights. If supporting animal rights, Facebook supports us no longer having companion animals. People will say “Well, Facebook had that in its rules from the beginning, but it just wasn’t enforced.” Why? Is it because they wanted us all to get addicted, then slowly remove our rights? Think about this long and hard, my friends. WHY?

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