Happiness is a Warm Puppy

 Posted by on 11 August 2008 at 1:06 am  Animals, Law
Aug 112008

I couldn’t have said it better myself:

Pet rentals

Now banned in Boston, perhaps because of the risk that they might bring too much happiness to the humans involved.

The Massachusetts House has passed a bill that would outlaw pet rental in Massachusetts:

The bill, filed by Representative Paul K. Frost, Republican of Auburn, outlaws pet-rental companies because of what he called “public health, public safety, consumer concerns, and ethical issues.”

“I’m very pleased we were able to get it passed today and engrossed in the House,” Frost said. “It’s a kind of business model that fosters disposable pets.”

Let’s unpack that one, shall we?

People presumably rent pets because they enjoy them but have decided they’re really unfit to own one. Or perhaps they are unsure whether they want a pet so they want to try it out first. Isn’t it better that these people don’t proceed directly to pet ownership? And doesn’t this create a larger pool of potential owners, as potentially responsible pet owners, originally unsure of their fitness and so abstaining from ownership, learn first-hand that they really would be a great pet owner?

Now, consider the following facts about the pet rental business in question:

  • All of the pets are rescued animals who have been socialized and trained.
  • The pet rental company lets you adopt a pet you like.
  • The pets aren’t kenneled, but live in homes when they’re not being rented.
  • After they’ve passed rental age, they’re placed into permanent homes and provided for by the pet rental business — for life.
  • Any pet rental company with crazed animals is going to go out of business, after which its owners will be sued into oblivion.
  • The only way to sell a desirable product — an enjoyable animal companion, in this case — is by treating it very, very well.

Read more of the FAQ at FlexPetz and you’ll realize just how well those pets are treated. I don’t think that the people who are against pet rental have actually read the FAQ and understood how ethically that business operates. It’s clear that pet rental is a perfect option for animals in shelters and pounds that no-one is adopting, but who are otherwise adoptable. Would the animal activists prefer that these animals languish in shelters with no human attention for the last miserable days of their lives?

Frankly, I think pet rental will promote pet adoption. And for those pets no-one wants to adopt, at least they’ll be treated very well simply because of the profit motive, and because they will never have to spend time with a human who isn’t 100% excited to have them around.

None of this is to say that animals, even those humans adopt as pets, have any legal rights. They don’t. But it is possible to pass judgment on whether a person’s behavior towards an animal is moral or immoral. FlexPetz looks decidedly moral.

For the people opposed to this business, I think happiness is a miserable puppy. Lonely animals on death row in shelters give them something to vent their nihilistic rage about.

(Cross-posted at ms. think.)

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha