Man bites dog

By AL DIAMON  |  June 20, 2007

Determining if there’s really a problem and, if so, what’s causing it would be lots of work. Better to do something that looks effective, even if it isn’t. So, Hoenig has decided to require a five-day in-state quarantine. Why five? Distemper can take two weeks to show symptoms and parvo even longer. Maybe, five is the recommended number in the Official Bureaucrats’ Guide to Mucking Things Up.

Even the most ardent supporters of rescue groups admit there are irresponsible organizations that bring dogs to Maine without adequate safeguards. But there’s a simple way to stop that without shutting down the whole rescue system. Just require all those groups to get state licenses, one condition of which could be that they provide proof all dogs have been neutered, vaccinated, and quarantined by a vet for at least two weeks. This wouldn’t be much of a burden on legitimate rescuers, because they’re already doing it.

But licensing isn’t even under discussion in Augusta, and Chris Hanson of Hollis, the founder of Almost Home Rescue, thinks she knows why. “That would be validating our existence and giving us some say over our position in the community,” Hanson e-mailed. The bureaucrats “would rather us be ‘rogues.’”

A public hearing on the quarantine regulation will likely be held later this summer, with the new rule taking effect in the fall. After that, saving a dog from a shelter in the South will be like buying cheap booze. You’ll have to drive to New Hampshire to do it.

If you’re heading for the Granite State, e-mail me at aldiamon@herniahill.net. I could use a large bottle of bourbon and a medium-size terrier.

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