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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mandatory Spay and Neuter - Resources and Facts


Above, a chart showing California shelter statistics trending since the 1970's.
It is small on purpose... to entice you to go to http://www.doggonecalifornia.org/ for more analysis and charts. :D

More animal control stats
Above is some data from a ten year trend in the State.
To learn more about these stats, the reference link of The Animal Council http://www.theanimalcouncil.com is one place where many fact sheets are available. Take time to analyze the material and reports regarding the track record of implemented mandatory spay/neuter laws.

Analysis of data isn't popular, not even to those who have opportunity to act on public policy. But many would prefer to support policy that has "reasonable prospects of success". Puppy

Read a very good evidence based evaluation of MSN here at an Animal Rights site
http://network.bestfriends.org/animallawcoalition/news/4108.html
Here's a little to get you started -
ARE MANDATORY SPAY/NEUTER LAWS THAT TARGET EVERYONE REALLY THE ANSWER IN EFFORTS TO REDUCE SHELTER INTAKE AND EUTHANASIA RATES? May 21, 2006 by Laura Allen

"As a corollary to the report by Animal Law Coalition that Los Angeles County recently passed such a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, the following examines to what extent such laws are effective in reducing numbers of animals in shelters and euthanasia rates of dogs and cats." ...go read the rest at the link above.

AbbyThe Animal Council has numerous files and data at their publications link. And if you're a fan of logic and CSI type shows, you probably have a pretty good idea how one can use data to scope out the size of the issue, determine where potential problems might be, and also begin to appreciate where the red herrings might be.

It's common to look at a chart, jump to conclusions. We all do that sometimes, especially if something includes data in an area with which we are not familiar.

There are many people supporting CA AB 1634 that claim to have read it. Apparently, they read and understood it with the same vague appreciation, familiarity and comprehension that people might have for E = mc2. They know that it makes sense at some level, that the principles apply but they haven't really walked through the game plan from perspectives that need to be applied to see how the equation will apply in different circumstances.

Police DogWhat will AB 1634 do about police dogs and fighting crime? A MUST read! Check out the letters-
http://www.saveourdogs.net/letters.html
Read some of the other ones. If you have not "Walked the Walk" - yet you are in the position of determining policy for others, be aware that there will be "unforseen" repercussions if the strategy is not carefully evaluated. Many rare breeds and working breeds are not registered with organizations that promote the SPORT of conformation showing and other variations of sport.

Forcing the pet owner who normally controls their pet to become part of a competitive SPORT or a specific registry just because their is animal entire (not neutered), is prejudicial and is an illogical basis of determining or forcing responsible ownership.

Some things we do know about MSN is that it has reversed progress toward 'no kill' (defined as downward trends in euthanasia rates, making them go upward instead) and when accompanied with licensing of fees with a great differential between neutered and entire animals, there is a plummet in the number of licensing fees that are paid. Reasonable fees would otherwise have helped in Animal Control - higher fees guarantee that fewer animals will be licensed.

Additionally, limit laws are often instituted to reduce the number of pets people can have. As if there is a 'best' number that the government can determine for everyone. What happens is that people who would have helped to rescue or foster, now cannot do so. This also results in plummeting income from licensing fees since people would rather keep their animals than get a visit from an authority that one or more of their critters MUST GO.

An older couple who has four cats and five chihuahuas suddenly gets faced with the fact that under the new policy intended to control unwanted animals in shelters, they are only allowed five animals. Some of their pets may be in their teens. At $75 per pet, this may be beyond their means. So the rhetorical question is, which pets should they kill so they can be compliant? They can't do it, so they keep their pets, go underground and stop paying licensing fees. Gah, stupid law breakers, eh?

There are people who live on 25c boxes of macaroni and who have a kitten or puppy walk into their life somehow. They feed and care for it and keep it from becoming a road statistic. They do not have money for vet visit, vaccination, and neutering but in time they can save enough money to do so. I've known many people who lost everything in their lives and a pet kept them going until they were back on their feet. Do you realize that if someone in their hood wants to rat on them, once 'caught' if the pet owner can't pay $500 to the state for penalties ------ will that baby animal end up in the euth bin at Animal Control? Public policy needs to be fair and not just favor the rich, the able bodied or favor special interests who have lost sight of the silent majority.

Animals turning up in shelters are often those belonging to people who function 'under the radar' if they are not strays. Those are the ones owned by people who are not following the current laws anyway and the pet may not even be vaccinated at all. The new laws intend to track the rest of us. The animals under the radar will still be there!

Here's more in the way of a roundup, a summary I copied from California Federation of Dog Clubs at http://www.cfodconline.org/legislation.html. To see it at the link, scroll down under the map of the USA.

SAN MATEO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (ordinance passed in 1991)
• The ordinance requires spay/neuter of all dogs and cats in the unincorporated parts of the county unless the owner obtains an unaltered license or breeder’s permit. Chap. 8.02.090, Sec. 3332.4 (a) If an unaltered animal breeds accidentally, the owner must obtain a breeder’s permit. The license fee for unaltered animals is nearly twice that of spay/neutered cats and dogs. Any owner redeeming impounded unaltered animals must pay an additional fee. This fee is refunded if the animal is spayed or neutered within 30 days. Any unaltered animal impounded twice or more within a 3-year period will be altered at the guardian’s expense prior to redemption. Chap. 8.02, Sec. 3330.8 Penalties for violation include fines of up to $100 on the first offense, $200 on the second offense, and $500 for each additional violation of the same ordinance within one year.
• After the effective date of the ordinance, dog deaths in the areas governed by the ordinance, increased 126% and cats 86% while licenses declined by 35%. For the county as a whole dog deaths decreased 5% and cats 16% in 1993; in 1994 dog deaths declined 12% and cats 17%. From 1991-1994 there were no cat breeder permits and 50 permits for dog breeders, eight of which were renewals. In addition, licenses dropped dramatically. For 1998-99, the number dropped to 36,023, a dramatic decline from the 48,000-51,000 range of the previous two decades.

CITY OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (ordinance passed in 2000)
• Requires the spay/neuter of all dogs and cats unless the owner has obtained a $100 annual unaltered animal or breeder’s permit. Sec. 53.15.2 For any dogs that breed, the owner must obtain a $100 annual breeder’s permit for each animal which allows 1 litter. A second litter during the annual permit period may be permissible “to protect the health of the animal[,] avert a substantial economic loss to the permittee” or "if the first litter was euthanized". A breeder must register all dogs bred for sale and disclose their name and permit number in any ad and on any sale documents. The city also tracks the identity of subsequent owners of the animals sold by breeders. There is a $91.50 license fee for unaltered dogs and a $6.50 charge for animals that have been spayed/neutered. Sec. 53.15.3 Violators are subject to fines of up to $500.00.
• Since the passage of this 2000 “spay or pay” Los Angeles ordinance, there has been a decline in dog licensing compliance. The animal control budget after passage of the law rose 269%., from $6.7 million to $18 million. The city hired additional animal control officers and bought new trucks and equipment just to enforce the new law.

CAPITOLA, CALIFORNIA ordinance joined SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CALIFORNIA's 1991 ordinance
• Requires spay/neuter of dogs with limited exceptions for breeding. Secs. 6.10.030, .050 The city requires a $15 certificate and charges twice the amount for a license for unaltered dogs. Dogs without the certificate must be spayed/neutered. There is a warning for a first offense, and a mandatory spay/neuter order is issued for a second violation.
• Since the law’s 1991 inception, licensing compliance has dropped significantly.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND (mandatory spay/neuter law was repealed)
• When the law was enacted, it was estimated that 550 breeding permits would be issued per year. In reality only an average of 30 permits were issued per year. There was an estimated 50% decline in licensing compliance.
• Although the euthanasia rate declined 21.5% after the ordinance was passed, it had declined 34% prior to enactment of the law. The Office of Legislative Oversight recommended in its 1997 report that the county eliminate the new breeder permit system and return to their former license fee structure. Under the current ordinance, Montgomery County requires a 3 year $75 license for unaltered animals and an annual $25 license for those that have been spayed/neutered; there are discounts for low income applicants for the license for a spayed neutered animal. Secs. 05.00.01.01, 05.401.01.02

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (ended its manadatory spay/neuter program)
• Licensing compliance fell off after passage of the ordinance. As a result there was a reduction in rabies vaccinations which lead to an increase in rabies in the city.

CAMDEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY (ordinance passed in 1996)
• Mandatory spay/neuter ordinance required a $500 permit fee to possess an intact dog or cat. In 2000 it was changed to $10, because of there were so few requests for it. But then again in 2001 the permit fee was again raised to $100, its current rate. As for the euthanasia rates since the effective date of the ordinance, the PAWS NJ website comments, “An analysis of these statistics shows the Humane Society of Southern NJ which operates the Camden County Animal Shelter, to be consistently one of the leading, if not the leading killers of animals in the state of New Jersey.” The report covers 1998-2001, well after the effective date of the mandatory spay neuter ordinance. The site’s report on the top 50 New Jersey animal shelters reveals some in Camden County have significantly lower euthanasia rates than others in the state, but at least 2 had the highest kill rates in New Jersey.

KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON (ordinance passed in 1992)
• Requires all dogs and cats over 6 months old to be spayed/neutered unless the guardian buys an unaltered license for $60, $40 more than for an altered pet. Chap IV, Secs. 11.04.035, 11.04.210, 11.04.400. The ordinance provides for a breeder certification program. Sec. 11.04.570 It is illegal to advertise to King County residents the availability of any unaltered dog or cat without the animal’s license number; breeders, however, may advertise litters for sale. Chap. IV, Sec. 11.04.510. It is also illegal to sell or give away an unaltered animal in a public place or as a raffle or other prize. Sec. 11.04.235 Anyone selling or giving away an unaltered dog or cat must notify animal control in writing with the new owner's name, address, and telephone number. Sec. 11.04.570 There is also a provision for door to door canvassing to ensure compliance. Sec. 11.04.580
• License compliance has appeared to decrease since passage of the ordinance. Animal control expenses have increased 56.8% and revenues only 43.2%. In 1990 the total cost of animal control was $1,662,776; in 1997, it was $3,087,350. Euthanasia rates actually fell at a slower rate after passage of the ordinance. In the years prior to enactment of the law, euthanasia rates were plummeting in King County. The data shows that the one real success as a result of the ordinance was the increase in adoptions.

AURORA, COLORADO
• Requires breeder permits as part of its mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, licensing compliance has dropped dramatically. Secs. 14-42; 14-71(b), 14-101(a)(1). Pinellas County Florida has required breeder licensing since 1992. Sec. 14-29.
• Since then the animal control budget has increased 75% with revenue increasing only 13%. There have also been increases in shelter intake and euthanasia rates since the law took effect.
We can approximate with the available data, that possibly over 95% of all pets in California are never showing up in a shelter. A significant number, possibly 80%, of the pets regularly seen by vets ARE reportedly already neutered (according to some reporting vets). The 4% that do turn up in shelters result in 2% of California pet animals that are killed. 1 or 2% of which are likely to be feral cats and less than 1% actually being adoptable purebred dogs turn up in a shelter. Look at the data and study it analytically to find the best solutions.

There are so many dynamics to consider when attempting to create public policy that is fair and effective. Policy that will encourage people to help rescue without penalizing them for being over quota. Policy that will allow them to afford the licensing on the animals they do have.

Solutions that can work are discussed here
* NAIA's Gude to constructing pet friendly ordinances
http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/PetFriendlyGuide.pdf

Spend some time at NAIAonline.org as it has an enormous library of history
of different things that can help people form their own opinions.
The site is huge and it's a good idea to make mini-bookmarks because
sometimes it's hard to find something you need later.

Learn more about progressive programs that work. Look here
http://www.nokillsolutions.com/

A very interesting story of a Shelter Director
http://www.nokillsolutions.com/pdf/diary.pdf

Inspiring also
http://www.nokillsolutions.com/pdf/enews.pdf
which is a free newsletter you can sign up for here-
http://www.nokillsolutions.com/progs.htm

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 4/10/2007 06:09:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

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