Ollie is a rescued black and white Shih Tzu who turned his passion for helping other pets into a popular advice column. Ask Ollie questions by emailing him at Ollie@chathamcountyline.org
What’s the big deal about voting? I mean, I’m a West Highland Terrier puppy who loves to play with a pink tennis ball, tease the other dogs and drive them all absolutely crazy by stealing their bones. While I’m busy being just me, I’m hearing my pet parents talk about the “Lesser of two evils” how they don’t want to vote and words like frustrated, ridiculous, and many others that are un printable, I’m sure. I heard them talking about something called elections.
What’s going on?
It’s not often I think about politics or elections but my woman-human lost it after the recent television debate between President Trump and Vice-president Biden. She was a former school teacher and said, “My third graders had better manners and my high school students could debate rings around Trump and Biden!!”
Haley, did you know that in all 50 states, pets are property so pet owners have a right of property in that animal and that’s all. So, according to law we are nothing more than a table or a chair. Hmm. However, in Illinois there is some growling about that and in domestic courts there’s a movement to “share custody” of a “companion animal” in a divorce. Chicago Tribune reporter Leonor Vivanco-Prengaman reported that, “Most pet owners think of their dogs as being something more than a piece of property. They think of them as a member of the family.” The next step in Illinois would be to introduce a bill that changes the designation of property to something more descriptive of a relationship. That, Haley, is politics.
When I’m not writing my column and giving advice, which I love to, I follow the animal welfare bills that are bouncing around the 116th Congress. For instance, some of them are: the WOOF Act, (HR 1002) that prohibits commercial dog breeders whose licenses have been revoked from obtaining new USDA breeding licenses and to close related loopholes. Then, there’s the Animal Emergency Planning Act, (HR 1042) providing responsible emergency plans for animals at risk of emerging disasters, the Past Act, (HR693) that cracks down on the cruel practice of “soring” horses in which a trainer deliberately inflicts pain on the horse’s legs and hoofs to force them to perform an unnaturally high-stepping gait for competitions. Well, you get the idea.
Just this last October, President Trump signed a bipartisan bill that, for the first time, makes acts of animal cruelty a federal crime punishable with fines and up to seven years in prison. The bill was introduced by two Florida lawmakers, Representative Vern Buchanan, a Republican, and Representative Ted Deutch, a Democrat. Mr. Buchanan said that signing the bill into law expanded a 2010 law signed by President Barack Obama and is a significant milestone for animal lovers all across our country.
I’m no different than any human voter; my interest in politics is what interests me the most and I follow those politics carefully. Yes, the theatre that accompanies politics is all at once wearing, amusing and disheartening so I understand your human family’s frustration with the system. When the politicians finally understand that approximately 68% of all U.S. households have a companion pet, the barking, clawing and hissing at each other may stop and real work will get done.
In the meantime Haley, your job and mine too is to be sure our humans get out and vote even though we can’t.