I recently learned that there is a group of people protesting the Payson Humane Society because of their endorsement of a clinic where dogs would be trained to recognize and avoid rattlesnakes. Apparently, this contingent of protesters is claiming that this training is inhumane to the snake and therefore should be stopped.
I raise bird dogs and have, in the past, hired the trainer that was going to offer this service to our community. He uses great care and consideration for both the dog and the snake. He is a gentle man who has a passion for dogs. He keeps the snakes alive for many years to use in this training. The training would not be possible if the snakes became too stressed because they would not feed and eventually die.
Additionally, his “training rattlesnakes” bred this year which is another sign that they are leading a relatively stress-free life.
Most of Arizona is snake country and one may encounter a venomous snake any day of the year. The benefit of having a snake savvy dog is obvious; it is literally limb and life saving for the dog. For those of us who actually take our dogs for daily walks to give them appropriate exercise, snake training is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Snakes are not uncommon in many rural neighborhoods and in fact often venture into back yards. For a working dog, an encounter with a rattlesnake is inevitable.
I would ask the protesters to reconsider. The Humane Society should be allowed to offer and endorse this training without any objection or threat to their financial well being. They are a great organization.
Truly, there are greater causes in need of our energies, support and protest at this time.