If we listen carefully to the voices of some Americans we will hear them rejecting what they are being told might become their future. While it may be true that life as we know it changed because of the events of September 11, it does not mean that everything is doom and gloom even though over the past year we have heard that there is little we as individuals can do about it. I am one who rejects the idea that we are stuck in this mess. With crime in our streets coupled with our open borders we continue to have problems with our immigration policy, which most believe needs major improvement. Despite these problems breeders can do something to help fight crime in our cities and protect our borders even though they are long, hard to patrol and difficult to protect.
Breeders can help by breeding better dogs that can become the next generation of candidates needed to meet our national needs. When I here the voices of the well-intentioned but misinformed reject this idea, I am reminded that we are a nation that put men and women in space and landed them on the moon. I also know that we are a nation of patriots who hate the illegal aliens who brought about the attacks of September 11. Many believe that we need better laws, new agencies and more government spending to fight foreign invaders. According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, at least 78,000 illegal aliens from terror-supporting or terror- friendly countries live in the U.S. They are among the eleven million illegal aliens, who have crossed our borders, overstayed their visas, jumped ship and evaded deportation orders. More than 300,000 illegal alien fugitives, including 6,000 from the Middle East remain loose inside our borders. They remain in this country despite deportation orders (Malkin 2002). As the grandson of legal immigrant’s I am reminded of the rights and responsibilities that come with citizenship and our way of life. I am also reminded by the oath my grandparents took in the 1800’s when they became citizens. It resonates even more powerfully after September 11: I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I will bear arms on behalf of the United states when required by the law, that I will perform noncombatant service in the armed forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without and mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
Most Americans have never seen that oath and according to Professor Robert Wathnow at Princeton, "we are a spoiled society", in part because "we are instant consumers". His concerns are related to the reluctance on the part of many Americans to be proactive. Since 911, we have all learned to appreciate and fear the prospect of reprisal on our own soil. That in itself means we are in for a prolonged uncertainty. As a country, we have had little practice since 9/11 because much of the country is tucked safely away from targets and have not been truly tested. But as the world continues to be an unsettled place we find that we are entering into a period of code Orange that could be on and off for years. Charles Figley, a stress expert at Florida State University says that because of these events, "we are in uncharted waters". Everyone remembers how patriotism surged after the September 11 attacks and when the country first began the war on the "axis of evil". Soon thereafter, our government sent fifteen hundred dogs to Afghanistan to search the caves for terrorists, which was followed by an undisclosed number to Iraq. No figures have been released on the number sent to Bosnia to search for mines or those on duty at the 100 other bases where we have troops stationed throughout the world. When these numbers are combined it is clear that within our own borders there is and continues to be a shortage of trained dogs needed to protect our airports, cities and borders.
Unfortunately, the problems caused by those who would do harm to our families and our country continues. For example, on August 9, 2002, Mexican drug dealers killed Kris Eggle, a US Park Service Ranger at the Organ Pipe National Monument in southern Arizona. This federal park is "considered one of the most dangerous federal parks in the nation. As many as 1,000 illegal aliens trample across the Organ Pipe trashing our fences, ruining the environment, braking our laws and endangering lives. It’s a smugglers paradise and a national security nightmare" (Malkin). For these reasons, our borders are often referred to as our broken fences.
What do the broken fences have to do with AKC dog breeders? It was 22 years ago that criminologists George Kelling and James Q. Wilson introduced a theory in a ground breaking article in The Atlantic called "‘Broken Windows", the police and neighborhood safety". Their argument was simple: Rampant crime and unrest is the inevitable result of disorder. If a window in a building is broken and left un repaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and that no one is in charge. One unrepaired window becomes an invitation to break more windows and lawless then begins to spread out from the buildings to the streets to the community and then throughout the country.
On the streets of our cities there are panhandlers, vagrants sleeping in doorways and public urination. All serve as the equivalent of broken windows. In the subways, low level crimes like fare-jumping and petty vandalism act as other unmistakable signals. If left unchecked they will invite further chaos and more violence. The proliferation of graffiti also serves as another example. Even when not obscene it acknowledges that mischief behavior is uncontrollable. According to Kelling and Wilson, if these problems are allowed to continue it won't be long before the citizens will begin to complain. If the authorities respond with excuses, such as understaffing, lack of patrol dogs and over crowded courts, the citizen’s will stop calling convinced that nothing can be done. When this occurs public support declines and the problems continue to increase.
In the 1980’s, this kind of behavior and violence became epidemic with over 2,000 murders a year and 600,000 serious felonies in New York, City. The turning point came in the mid 1990’s when law enforcement officials shifted their focus to fixing the windows, curbing vandalism and stopping low level cheaters. A safe environment was created and law and order was restored. It is a strategy that can be used in other communities and at our borders as well. What can be said about fixing the Broken Windows can also be applied to our Broken Fences because both are related to national security problems and the crime in our cities. Loose borders exist because a broken fence fosters a mentality. They allow problems to continue within our cities and at our borders. Each year hundreds of illegal aliens pour into our country. These problems have many parallels in our society. Look around and you will see scores of illegal alien’s called day laborers congregating openly at our 7-11 stores and at our shopping malls. Their presence sends a signal that no one cares. It allowed Hani Honjour and Khalid Almihdher two of the September 11 hijackers to obtain fake ID’s from illegal alien day laborers at 7-11 store in Falls Church, Virginia.
It has often been said that a good defense is an effective offense. In this regard, governments and law enforcement agencies have used dogs for centuries to help fight crime, protect cities and wage wars (Battaglia 2003). Because the canine is versatile, portable and highly trainable, it can be used to increase the responsiveness to threat. Dogs trained in substance detection help to apprehend drug dealers, detect bombs and interfere with drug trafficking, all of which help to put criminals in prison. Because they have a natural ability to find things they can be taught to give a passive response each time they locate a particular smell or object. This is a simple obedience exercise that is associated with the presence of a specific substance such as a drug, bomb or mine. While the passive response looks simple to the uneducated eye, teaching dogs to detect and convey a consistent response with a high level of accuracy separates the candidates from those who will meet the criteria needed for these special assignments. Key to this kind of training is teaching the dogs not to touch the object or substance. That is left up to those with special training. Many drug lords and terrorists bobby trap their stuff to protect it from being discovered. The passive response is a safe and recognizable signal that tells the handler that the dog is in the presence of a specific substance. Our government and most of our law enforcement agencies need more dogs. A dual trained dog and a detection dog are the most popular skills needed. The latter are multipurpose dogs trained to perform patrol duties and to detect either bombs or drugs but never both. The Border Patrol, Customs and Secret Service, police and military all need dogs that have this special training.
In 1976, a researcher was quoted as saying; "No one will realize how important it is to have a good breeding program until we have a national disaster (Thomas). By 2002, when our heightened national interests and those of other countries increased, so did the demand for these dogs. According to DOD officials, "much of the regular supply has been sucked up by the private sector" (Battaglia 2003). This has forced our law enforcement and government agencies to buy most of their dogs from breeders in other countries. This is a growing problem that has for the most part gone unnoticed. While generally not apparent to the public, many of these well- trained dogs are needed to support the Secret Service in the protection of the President, Vice President and other political dignitaries and foreign heads of state. They also are routinely used to provide support to well-known large spectator events such as the Super Bowl and Olympics. The need for these highly trained dogs at high profile events continues to increase each year.
As Americans we have many unique problems because we are a nation of people who choose to live in a free and open society. The down side to keeping what we cherish is that we as individuals are not well prepared to protect it and we have little experience with terrorists on our own soil. This makes us vulnerable. Our government and our enforcement agencies tell us that we need an army of better bred dogs that can be trained to help fight crime and patrol our northern and southern fences. Our cities and both of our long borders need canine resources, which are in short supply. Many government agencies have begun their own breeding programs but their skill levels are low and they are not likely to catch up anytime soon. More than 19 breeds are being used in search, rescue, patrol and detection work. The candidates that are needed must have obedience, agility and tracking skills. The traits most common to these working dogs are their athletic abilities coupled with sound hips, elbows, lungs and hearts with a keen interest to work. The initial screening and entrance tests include their tolerance to a muzzle and their willingness to sleep in a crate. In the field they are tested for drive, endurance and their ability to work and ignore distractions. All must carry out commands such as sit, stay, come, no, be able to fetch dumb bells and be agile enough to perform the boardwalk and tunnel crawl. Those who pass these screening tests are candidates for specific kinds of training. The problem is that seven out of ten candidates do not pass the initial screening tests or the training program that follows. This high rejection rate is costly, time consuming and delays our state of readiness. The alternative is to involve more breeders who are willing to make selections based not only on conformation but also those needed by law enforcement and government agencies. Since most of the needed dogs come from the working, herding and sporting breeds, these breeders have the opportunity to fine tune their selection skills and at the same time help the country.
As our government moves forward to tighten security at our borders, airports and shipyards, the need for trained canines continues to increase. As we begin to mend our broken windows and fix our fences there comes the realization that we must repair them one window and one post at a time. It takes manpower and a trained army of canines to make our cities safe and our borders secure. If we are successful, one-day code Orange will be just a memory. The AKC breeders are the most obvious group to help out in this time of need. They are the leaders in the breeding of dogs to a standard and they have access to the largest stud book and registration system in the hemisphere.
The shortage of good dogs is not unique to the United States. Countries throughout the world are learning how to depend on their national breed clubs to help identify breeding pairs and offspring suitable for training. History shows that governments have always relied on its citizens for help. Over the years many breeds have been used. They have been categorized based on their type of work. Today, they are all called working dogs because they can be identified and grouped by their varied and multiple kinds of assignments. Law enforcement and government agencies are now using as many as nineteen different breeds. Below is a list of breeds that have been used by law enforcement agencies, the military and search and rescue groups. This historical list is by no means complete.
American Staffordshire Terrier: Began as the Bulldog of the 1870’s. It resembles very much the American Staffordshire of today. Originally called the Bull-and-terrier, then the half-and-half dog. The name Staffordshire was added because of the place, Staffordshire England where much of the breed developed.
Beagle: Because of their keen sense of smell, size and ability to detect substances, coupled with the ease of keeping them on ships makes the Beagle an ideal breed for the Coast Guard and Navy. Belgium Malinois. Because of their intensity, ability to adapt to changes in temperatures and willingness to work they have become one of the breeds of choice by many law enforcement and government organizations.
Bullmastiff: Developed in the 1860’s in England primarily to protect large estates and game preserves from poachers.
Doberman Pincher: Developed in the 1890"s by Louis Doberman who saw the need for a dog that could protect property and estates from thieves. The breed has been used for many tasks and has a noticeable track record as a police and war dog.
German Shepherd Dog: Developed in Germany by Colonel Von Stephentitz (1899). Originally used for herding but quickly became an all-purpose dog with skills suitable for police, search and rescue, companion and as a guide dog. Because of its adaptability to changes in temperatures and weather conditions, it has become the breed of choice by many law enforcement and government agencies. German Shorthaired Pointer. Its keen sense of smell coupled with its untiring ability and willingness to work make it a highly desirable all-purpose working dog.
Golden Retriever: Its keen sense of smell coupled with its ability to work make it a highly desirable working dog for the Border Patrol, Customs Service and Secret Service.
Jack Russell terrier: Because of its size and ability to detect substances in small areas, coupled with the ease of keeping them on a ship makes them an ideal breed for the US Coast Guard and Navy.
Komondor: Developed in Hungary for the purpose of guarding large flocks of sheep on open plains.
Kuvaz: Developed in Tibet. The Turkish word for the breed is "Kawasz" meaning " armed guard of the nobility".
Labrador Retriever: Its keen sense of smell coupled with its natural drive and ability to work make it a highly desirable detection dog for the Customs Service, Secret Service and Border Patrol. Mastiff. Caesar described this breed during the invasion of Britain in 55 BC when they fought beside the Roman legions. He was impressed by their courage and power. They were also matched against gladiators, bulls, bears, lions and tigers.
Poodle: Long known for its intelligence and ability to learn, coupled with its keen sense of smell and its untiring ability to work make it a highly desirable all-purpose working dog.
Puli: Developed in Hungary as a herding dog. Its coat provides a natural protection against predators and insulates it from weather and temperature.
Rhodesian Ridgeback: Developed in South Africa by farmers as a hunting dog. During the 16th and 17th centuries the Dutch, Germans and Huguenots immigrated to South Africa and brought with them Danes. For the next 100 years (1707 – 1808) European immigration was closed and the native dog played an important role in the development of the Ridgeback. The Hottentots (a native race) cross-bred and interbred them in order to produce a guard dog for farmers and a protector from marauding animal and prowlers at night. It was adaptable to the heat of the day and cold of the night.
Rottweilers: Develop by the Romans in AD 74 –260 as a herding dog to protect the sheep that they took with them to feed the Roman legions.
The solution to many of our national problems begins with ordinary citizens and breeders who understand what Ronald Regan said nearly two decades ago. " The simple truth is that we've lost control of our own borders, and no nation can do that and survive" (Malkin). So what can be done about our open borders and our broken fences? We must mend them literally and figuratively, one post at a time. As breeders we can become involved because we have the skills and the dogs. There is no reason that our country must depend on the breeders of other countries to breed the dogs we need to protect our troops, our cities and our borders. Our goal should be to get involved as breeders. We can do that by joining the effort to help separate the gene pool that favors the better dogs. With dogs that are genetically superior, our government and law enforcement agencies can make a bigger difference in their ability to be nimble and their responsiveness to threat.
Battaglia, C. L. - "Working Dogs, Canine Chronicle, Vol. Number. October 2003, Pg.
Battaglia, C. L. – Breeding Better Dogs, BEI Publications, Atlanta, GA 1986
Hayes, Geraldine, "In His Majesty’s Service", AKC Gazette, New York, New York, Vol. 118, No.9, Sept. 2002, P 100.
MacDonald, Dorothy, "World Class Workers", "In His Majesty’s Service", AKC Gazette, New York, New York, Vol.118, No.9, Sept. 2002, P 37-41.
Malkin, Michelle, "Immigration, the War on Terror and the Rule of Law", Imprimis, National Speech Digest of Hillsdale College, Hillsdale Michigan, April 2003, Volume 32, no.4, p 1-5.
Thomas, Scott, "Global Breeding Partnerships", Third International Working Dog Breeders Conference" Oct. 5-8, 2003, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, TX.
Vaughan, Don, "Steadfast Sentinels", The Retired Officer Magazine, Alexandria, Virginia, May 2002, p. 73-75.