Reader Perry alerted me to criticism of CA SB 250 (item #1 below) coming not from animal exploiters, but from the animal rights community. I’ll quote the No Kill Advocacy Center’s Nathan Winograd, who Perry specifically signals out.
In May, Winograd wrote:
Meanwhile, some Los Angeles activists don’t appear to care that they helped cause this killing and are intent on passing related state legislation. SB 250 is a reworded mandatory sterilization law under the guise of differential licensing. This comes after they failed last year to pass the original version. Sadly, this year—as occurred last year—they continue to refuse to add common-sense protections for animals. These would include, at a minimum,
* A “no-impound/no-kill” provision, meaning an animal can never be impounded based on a violation of this law and if an animal is surrendered because a person received or was threatened with a citation, that animal cannot be killed;
* An exemption for feral and free roaming strays, as they have no “owners”; and,
* A provision for “free spay/neuter” in lieu of a citation based on a legislative approved income schedule. In other words, if someone falls below a threshold on income (e.g., is on any type of local, state, or federal welfare benefit or subsidy), they can demand free sterilization instead of a citation; or the citation cannot be written or the law enforced against them.
I’ve long argued that giving animal control the power to impound and kill more animals is no way to reduce shelter killing. Even the bean counters in the Senate seem to agree. SB 250 has been sent to the suspense file after a committee analysis found that,
costs could increase to the extent that irresponsible pet owners would surrender their animals to a shelter rather than pay for a surgical sterilization procedure, which would somewhat increase shelter populations and related costs.
As much as proponents try to paint all opposition as that of greedy breeders (I’ve never bred an animal in my life), this is the analysis of the Senate Appropriations Committee whose staff actually don’t seem very sympathetic to animals. They call people “irresponsible” without concern about the deaths of animals or how spay/neuter is out of reach financially for those in the bottom rungs of the economic latter. They conveniently ignore that roughly seven out of ten low income pet owners would sterilize their animals if it was free. And they ignore that the communities with the highest rates of lifesaving don’t have these kinds of laws. In fact, they ignore that shelters in communities which take in higher per capita rates of animals than Los Angeles are still saving nine out of ten because shelter leadership embraced the programs of ACR 74. Senate Appropriations staff seem concerned only about costs. But their concern is not speculative.
Since the City of Los Angeles passed its version of the mandatory spay/neuter law one year ago, impounds and deaths—and therefore associated costs—have skyrocketed. The law has led to the only increase in cat and dog impounds and killing at Los Angeles Animal Services in nearly a decade, and the reversal of a decade long trend of declines in both. While the Mayor claims he wants Los Angeles to be the most humane city in America, it appears he is seeking “number one” status of a different sort. The direction Los Angeles is going, he actually seems intent on catching up to Lake County, CA which has the dubious honor of being the pet killing capitol of California. In 2007, Lake County veterinarian Jeff Smith and the President of the California Veterinary Medical Association encouraged Los Angeles to pass its mandatory sterilization law saying he supported such legislation. “It’s worked in our county,” he said. Working? Lake County has the highest per capita rate of killing in California.
The death champions in L.A. conveniently ignore this. In fact, they perpetuate it. It is truly time for change.
Let’s hope the California Legislature agrees by killing SB 250 and passing ACR 74. And then while they’re at it, how about passing the Companion Animal Protection Act?
While I’ve nothing against offering incentives for (or perhaps even mandating) spaying and neutering (and microchipping), clearly laws that mandate spaying and neutering “pets” without giving low-income “pet owners” the means with which to do so have the potential to do more harm than good. (Particularly if the punishment for breaking these laws is a fine, and the failure to pay results in the “confiscation” – and, ultimately, murder – of the “owner’s” dogs and cats.)
They’re also classist and racist, disproportionately punishing low-income “pet owners” for their poverty by slapping them with fees and stealing their companions if they fail to comply – no matter their ability and means.
If any readers have additional information to share re: SB 250, I’d love to hear it. My lil’ sis lives in California, so she may be voting on this bill shortly.
Because I’m just a wee bit late in posting this Friends of Kinship Circle action alert, item #1 is no longer active. The good news is, California SB 250 (The Pet Responsibility Act) was voted outed of committed 6-3, so now it’s on to the state legislature. Or so I assume; who knows how many committees and sub-committees must be navigated before the issue comes up for a general vote? Either way, you can sign up to receive future action alerts at www.yesonsb250.com; please do so.
Item #2 – which involves reducing the mandatory hold time from six to three days in California shelters – is still in play, so check it out, take action (if you haven’t already – or, hells bells, even if you have), and spread the word.
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – info [at] kinshipcircle.org
Date: Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 7:18 PM
Subject: Act Now For Spay-Neuter Bill * Oppose 3-Day Shelter Hold [Friends Of KC]
FRIENDS OF KINSHIP CIRCLE
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IN THIS ALERT:
1. Vote For Historic Spay/Neuter Bill Is 6/30. Act Now.
2. Don’t Let Calif. Kill Shelter Animals After Just 3 Days
Vote For Historic Spay/Neuter Bill Is 6/30. Act Now.
SB 250 will be voted on in the Assembly Committee on Business and Professions THIS TUESDAY, JUNE 30, 2009
2 EASY ACTIONS TO HELP THIS BILL PASS OUT OF COMMITTEE
1. ENTER YOUR NAME/INFORMATION TO SEND AN AUTO LETTER:
2. TAKE 60 SECONDS TO LEAVE A PHONE MESSAGE:
California’s SB 250, The Pet Responsibility Act
Each year, over $250 million dollars is spent housing and euthanizing homeless dogs and cats in California. Approximately 1 million dogs and cats enter California’s shelters each year, and over half are euthanized (killed) simply because there are not enough homes. California shelters are seeing an explosion of animals relinquished to shelters in this bad economy, meanwhile the shelters are faced with budget cuts and laying off staff.
SB 250 provides a reasonable, fiscally responsible step towards reducing pet overpopulation in California in two ways: by fostering responsible pet ownership through increased animal licensing, and by offering incentives for owners to spay and neuter their pets.
Please note that SB 250 does not affect feral cat caregivers. The bill applies only to pets that live on your property… Since January 1, 2009, California has spent over $100,000,000 tax dollars just to house and euthanize unwanted pets… To learn more about SB 250, including several interviews and video segments: http://www.YESonSB250.com
Don’t Let Calif. Kill Shelter Animals After Just 3 Days
Kristi Hutchison, stc34 [at] aol.com
Please email or make calls to oppose Governor Schwarzenegger’s intent to allow pound animals only three days before being killed as a way of handling the current financial situation… He was blocked when he tried to do this Before. All animal lovers need to act again to block this more serious attempt.
Oppose the Governor’s plan to speed shelter killings to save money.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
ph: 916-445-2841; fax: 916-558-3160
Five members directly involved in working to negotiate California’s budget.
Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass: 916-319-2047
Assembly Minority Leader Sam Blakeslee: 916-319-2033
Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg: 916-651-4006
Senate Minority Leader Dennis Hollingsworth: 916-651-4036
Long Beach Residents:
Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal: 562-495-2915
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