subject earlier today, but I’m still gonna ante up my two cents.
A win on many levels? A good start? I say pffft. But that’s what I’m reading in reaction to Mayor Villaraigosa signing mandatory pet sterilization into law yesterday, scheduled to go into effect next October.
Sure the intentions are good and sound: to reduce the stray/feral animal population in a far more humane and perhaps efficient manner than capturing them, incarcerating them and killing them, but how effective can it really be?
Of the law, its initiator Councilman Richard Alarcon said:
“The problem in our city is not the animals but the human owners, and this ordinance will allow the Department of Animal services to target resources towards the worst offenders whose irresponsibility threaten public safety and fills our shelters with unwanted dogs and cats.”
I agree with you Mr. Alarcon that it’s the humans who are the problem. We are pretty much and always will be The Problem. But I disagree with your belief that Animal Services is raringly capable of the new law’s enforcement. Like many city agencies, Animal Services resources and personnel are already strained and to take them away from the animals in they’re custody that they’re having to kill every day and instead send ’em out on wild nut hunts to target the so-called worst offenders seems a little short sighted.
Especially when you consider what the offenders will get nailed with initially. A citation? Even a fix-it ticket? Nope, just some paperwork and a couple months to comply. Then the ball brigade will have to inevitably go back out to the suspects when they haven’t complied. Except funny how the dog’s at the vet’s that day. Or it died. Got hit by a car or a baseball bat, poor thing. Or maybe it’s indoors with the perp who’s demanding a search warrant be presented, which might be something the ball brigade would execute if they had the time. And the resources. And that’s just for the males of the species. There’s obviously a little more involved than a peekaboo in determining the fertility status of female canines and felines.
This law is at worst patently unenforceable and at best selectively so and the mayor and the city council — which voted 10-1* in favor — know this. But because it looks like they’re being proactive they’re banking on people signing on with what a good start and win-win it is. The truth is they’ve done nothing but put another law on the books that is essentially toothless.
Do I think you should spay and neuter? Of course. My wife and I care for four cats and two dogs and they’re all fixed because it’s common sense. But as an alternative, why not make the initiative incentive based instead of penalty driven? Maybe proof of sterilization could be good for a discounted license or microchip fee. Or the city could partner up with one of the big pet supply chains and dog and cat guardians could receive a percentage rebate on purchases of their goods and services? Is that naive? Well I think this law is naive. It should certainly result in an initial percentage who comply, but the citizens who are irresponsible with their animals, either by choice or financial hardship, are going to either avoid compliance or maybe just avoid detection. Or maybe just void the animal.
he thinks its a great idea for cats, not so much for dogs.