Mayor Orders Unkindest Cuts Of All

Note: Jason posted much more quickly and efficiently on this
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.

*Bill Rosendahl was the sole no vote, in large part because
he thinks its a great idea for cats, not so much for dogs.

6 thoughts on “Mayor Orders Unkindest Cuts Of All”

  1. it already costs $85 more, per year, to license a dog that is “unaltered” vs. one that is. cats don’t need to be licensed at all.

  2. Good point, Jim. And while incentives might help, with the city budget in its current shape, the last thing our municipal government is likely to do is give us breaks on fees.

  3. They could do something like no dog/cat over 4 months can leave a pet store/shelter without being sterilized. And those younger than 4 months will require owners to submit proof of sterilization. While you can’t do much about the dogs already bought/adopted, you have to start somewhere.

  4. LAAS already won’t let a dog over 4 months leave the shelter without being sterilized.

    And the argument of financial hardship is a non-issue. You can easily get your pet sterilized by getting a free spay and neuter vouchers given away by the city and various animal rights charities all the time. In fact you could get it done for free last Sunday:

  5. Oh sure.. force pet sterilization, but pump out all the damn kids you want/do not want.

    Besides, the passing of this bill/law whatever, will have close to no effect at all, but will improve Mayor Villaraigosa resume. Look, I stopped pets.

  6. Certainly there are opportunities for low cost or free spaying, but whether or not one readily calls bullshit on the financial hardship argument, it factored enough into the issue to ultimately bring about an EPIC FAIL last summer in the form of a postponement of a similar measure (sponsored by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine of Sherman Oaks and backed by Villaraigosa) rather than face certain defeat in Senate committee.

    As Psychotron’s point about the city being unwilling to reduce fees given the sad state of the its budget, that leads back to my point about where the money is going to come from for Animal Services to undertake this offensive. It seems most likely Ed Boks will be forced to shift financial and personnel resources to such a herculean task. And that means other essential services in his department are going to suffer. Maybe the mayor will hike our garbage fees again, this time for more animal cops.

    A year or so from now I’ll be very interested to see the statistics and results regarding compliance enforcement.

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