My very first Labrador retriever was Rebel, a hard-headed but hard-working yellow dog that fast became my hunting buddy for 12 years.
I picked Rebel up at a Lake County Ducks Unlimited banquet, bidding what it took to own the dog.
But if the Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions gets it way no DU chapter, Whitetails Unlimited banquet or National Wild Turkey Federation dinner will ever again be allowed to offer a high-quality Labrador retriever, Golden retriever or any other sporting breed member as a fund-raising auction/raffle item.
Pity, too, because the canines presented at such setting are hardly abused or in poor shape. If anything, my Rebel came from the kennels of one of the nation's top Labrador breeders and trainers. Most of the dogs available at such venues similarly herald from such stock.
No more, however, should the anti-dog auction group be able to collect the required 120,700 signatures needed to place the matter on the Ohio ballot. They'll likely get them, too, as signers will be appalled by images of cruelly run so-called "puppy mills" and huge dog auctions - often operated by members of the Amish community - that do not treat canines with the best of care or concern.
And this is a point I've tried to make before to pro-sportsmens organization who (seriously and incorrectly) have minimized the liklihood that such a move is forthcoming.
Thing is the proponents of the petition drive have dragged state Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chester Township, into the fray. They say that Grendell is a big supporter of the petition effort; all of it, lock, stock and barrel.
However, that's not the case, says Grendell.
He strongly opposes a ban that would force groups like DU to abandon the auctioning of one or two pure-bred and well-cared-for retrievers for legitimate fund-raising activities.
Grendell is especially mad that O'Connor-Shaver has been quoted as speaking for him. hat's far from the case, Grendell told me just a few short moments ago.
In any event, sportsmen and their representatives were - and continue to be - asleep at the switch on this issue.
While puppy mills and dog auctions that mistreat animals must be dealt with there is no reason to toss the baby out with the bathwater, if I'm allowed to use such a cliche.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn