They ask no questions and worse yet, enter into verbal understandings at the time of the exchange that countermand what the document they are signing says. Usually these are otherwise smart people! However, trust and the desire to ‘get er done’ runs rampant during these initial stages of a dog owner/co-owner relationship. What is the old saying “React in Haste, Repent in Leisure. No truer words can be applied to transactions involving dogs and people. People purchase or sell dogs without reading or even having a contract. If they’ve read it they brush off the archaic language by joining in the mantra, “I’m doing a good thing.”
One such read it and weep dog transaction was discussed in the article entitled The Scoop on Frozen Semen by Pilar Kuhn published in the March 16th 2013 Canine Chronicle Magazine. http://caninechronicle.com/uncategorized/the-scoop-on-frozen-semen/ . Now we can include the freezing of semen to the list of actions taken by dog owners/breeders for a number of really good reasons none of which include reading the fine print of a freezing facilities’ contract, understanding their protocol, or deciding what to do with the semen once the owner or payee is outlived by these ‘frozen swimmers’. Thought is never given to what will happen to Rover’s semen if it is never used.
The AKC has no desire to figure out these conundrums. Like with co-ownership, the AKC “would encourage more breeders to not” freeze semen. When semen is frozen parties are in the bliss stage of their relationship. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Then it does. As Pilar Kuhn said, the owner can die, the vet can use the remaining unpaid semen and “collect(s) the stud fee” for a dog he didn’t own with semen left in his storage facility. In one case Ms. Kuhn described involving ‘frozen-semen’ a co-owner didn’t know a thing about a breeding of the long dead dog until a puppy, sired by this co-owned dog, showed up in a catalogue. Without a long-term plan for dispersal or destruction of semen things like this are bound to happen.
Ms Kuhn advised breeders to check with the reproductive specialists about storage terms, responsibilities and pass down procedures in order to retain control of the semen now frozen at its facility. Check for their protocol involving the use of the semen both pre and post death of the dog, the dog’s owner and the person maintaining payment for the storage if they are not one and the same. She encourages the reader to assure the semen is kept safe and not misused. Think about the “what if’s, disputes & death happen. Plan ahead.” She reminds the reader to “create a will to account for these assets as part of your personal estate.” She encourages us to “consider frozen semen as a family heirloom and protest [it].”
When it comes to continuity of care for our pets you must create a PET TRUST. The Pet Trust covers all your pet’s continuity of care needs. Ask your attorney if your state allows you to include frozen semen in your future pet plans. You could then cover payment and passage of the frozen semen to identified beneficiaries using the trust vehicle. You would give a copy of the trust to the reproductive specialists so they have a clear line of transition for the remaining straws of semen.
This trust could help avoid things like seeing a puppy in the ring from your long-dead stud dog. It could set up continued payments for storage of the semen and outline the passage of the semen to following generation of owners as beneficiaries. The future of the sperm would not be accidentally lost or misused while the will is in probate. The trust would provide a stand-alone document to care for this precious pedigree even if ‘you are not dead yet’. It could also include provisions for the standard of care and final disposition of the semen. The parties know what they can and should do because it is clearly explained in the trust document. Best of this entire document can be accessed at any time.
Go ahead, enter into a contract, freeze semen and maintain the belief nothing will go wrong in this dog relationship. Or decide to read between the lines, provide for the continuity of care for your pets and their semen by creating a trust. Set the standard of care and caregivers for the benefit of this generation and generations to come.
—Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton