After hearing earlier this week that the Obama family had welcomed a new Portuguese Water Dog named Sunny, animal rescue activists promptly all rolled their eyes and wondered aloud, “WTF?”
You see, Sunny was reportedly purchased from a breeder – following in the footsteps of First Dog “Bo.” That move, done according to the Obamas because of allergies their daughters suffer, opened old wounds stemming from hints in late 2008/early 2009 that the First Family would adopt from a shelter. (In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, President-Elect Obama even said the family would search shelters for the right dog.)
Naturally, this has PETA President Ingrid Newkirk extremely displeased.
“The president seems to be in the doghouse again,” Newkirk said in a statement, released originally to RadarOnline.com. “Just one day after The Washington Post revealed that the dog and cat overpopulation crisis is so severe that the Washington Humane Society is stacking cats in cages in the hallways and cramming too many dogs into kennel runs, the Obama family apparently failed to listen to the plea of ‘adopt, don’t buy’ that greeted the arrival of the First Dog, Bo, and acquired Sunny, the Second Dog, from a breeder, which is the animal-protection world equivalent of kicking a hobo.”
Newkirk also takes issue with the Obama family’s fallback excuse of sidestepping shelters because of allergy issues.
“Mr. Obama says that Malia’s allergies require getting a dog who doesn’t shed — and there they are, sitting homeless on Petfinder.com: every breed and mix of non-shedding dog, from poodles to water spaniels. Every one of these cast-offs would have loved to curl up under the desk in the Oval Office,” the statement to RadarOnline read.
It’s not like President Obama doesn’t already know this. From a post I wrote in 2008:
Back in 2005, author/animal activist Jana Kohl reached out to Barack Obama regarding dog adoption and her larger campaign to end puppy mills. It was then that the Senator promised Kohl he would adopt if his family ever made the decision to get a dog. In addition, along with 40 other notables, Obama posed for a photo shoot for Kohl’s book A Rare Breed Of Love. His co-star in that photo was “Baby”, a hypoallergenic 3-legged rescue dog and puppy mill survivor.
According to New York Magazine, which did some investigative journalism on Sunny’s background, it appears that she comes from a family of show dogs – but may have “developed some physical trait regarded as a defect, putting her on the pet track.”
Ugh. Even worse – the price for a puppy like Sunny or Bo? $2,000.00
As for the Obama’s donation to the Washington Humane Society – a lovely copout – Newkirk says setting an example to adopt from a shelter would have been more valuable.
“The family’s donation to the shelter is very nice, but money can’t buy homes or erase a bad example,” she writes. “However,it’s not too late—the White House is big enough for three lovely dogs, the third one a true rescue. Come on, Mr. President, one more time—and this time, do it right. Set a good example and save a homeless animal’s life.”