Changing one- mind at a time - APBT style
|Barked: Wed May 27, '09 4:22pm PST |
|The problem is that mandatory altering laws have had little effect (and some actually made things worse) in places where they have been enacted. I've listed some examples below. The other problem with MSN is that it doesn't target pets being relinquished to shelters for reasons completely unrelated to altering, including:
* dogs being dropped off due to behavioral issues (one survey conducted by an animal welfare organization and rescue showed that 95% of dogs in the shelters who provided canine impoundment statistics had received NO obedience training whatsoever before being relinquished).
* Dogs being dropped off because they are sick and the owner can't afford or doesn't want to pay for veterinary care/surgery/medication
* The owner dying or being taken for a long hospital stay and the family relinquishing the dog to a shelter
* Owner(s) moving to a place that does not allow dogs
* Landlord problems regarding the dog
* Dogs being given up do to "liability" or home owner's insurance issues (there's a "black list" of breeds that can get someone's home insurance yanked from underneath them just because the dog is a certain breed)
* Dogs being brought to and euthanized in shelters in accordance to breed bans (in some places, the owner has only 30 days to remove the dog from the city/state/county or they are impounded in a shelter and/or euthanized).
* Job loss and/or the current economic downturn
* Owner(s) surrendering the dog(s) because they "aren't cute anymore" or "got too big"
* Relocating to a home/apartment that doesn't have enough room for the dog(s)
* A change in the owner's work schedule, making them unable to spend as much time as they would like to with their dog(s).
Several of those are from the top 10 reasons people relinquished their dogs to animal shelters in the U.S. Of all the dogs surrendered, almost 60% of the dogs were already altered, and 33% of the dogs had recieved little to no veterinary care before being relinquished (reference: Dr. M. D. Salman, Dr. John G. New, Jr., et al., in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1(3), 207- 226).
This is a list of MSN laws that passed and failed horribly:
San Mateo County, CA
Shelter euthanasia rates for dogs increased by 126%, dog licensing compliance declined by 35%
King County, WA
Euthanasia rates fell at a slower rate after passage of the ordinance, Animal control expenses increased 56.8% , ense compliance decreases since passage of the ordinance
Camden County, NJ
PAWS NJ, an animal welfare rescue group, commented 5 years after the MSN law passed that, "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."
Los Angeles, CA
Shelter euthanasia rates and impounds increased by 20%
Santa Cruz County, California
Animal control costs doubled after MSN passed, shelter euthanasia rates for dogs did not change, Capitola canceled animal services contract with county due to rising costs.
Montgomery County, Maryland
The mandatory S/N was repealed after dog licensing compliance dropped by 50% and shelter euthanasia rates declined more slowly than before the bill passed.
Fort Worth, TX
Licensing compliance dropped as did numbers of dogs being taken in for rabies shots, which resulted in an increased incidence of rabies in the city.
Even the ASPCA, an organization that highly advocates voluntary altering of companion animals, has put out an official standpoint on MSN stating that "The ASPCA is not aware of any credible evidence demonstrating a statistically significant enhancement in the reduction of shelter intake or euthanasia as a result of the implementation of a mandatory spay/neuter law.".
Several animal welfare organizations including the ASPCA have offered alternatives to MSN, including but not limited to:
*A community, adequately funded, readily accessible, safe, efficient, affordable spay/neuter program.
* Education classes about the work and expensives involved with pet care and ownership, starting in grade schools
* Changing shelter policies (extending shelter hours, a policy change to give legitimate rescue groups and individuals priority on all adoptions and to allow them to adopt animals the shelter now euthanatizes, temperament testing dogs prior to being available to the public).
* The creating of a facility that cares for dogs of individuals who have had to move without their pets to a shelter (for example, most abused women's shelters do not allow pets and do not have a facility for the pets to be taken care of at, so they are often left behind with the abuser or permanantly relinquished to a shelter).
The city of Minneapolis has had success with the alternatives to mandatory altering laws and breed specific laws; they made a law that would require owners to be responsible for the actions and all care of their pets.
Clancy, E. A., Rowan, A. N., 2003. Companion animal demographics in the United States: A historical perspective. In: Salem, D. J. & Rowan, A. N. (Eds.), State of the Animals II: 2003. Humane Society Press, Washington, DC, pp. 9-26.
The Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare (FIREPAW). 2004. Cross-program statistical analysis of Maddie's Fund programs, Williamstown, MA.
Frank, J., 2001. Executive summary of research results for: the economics, ethics, and ecology of companion animal overpopulation and a mathematical model for evaluation of the effectiveness of policy alternatives. Houston, TX: The Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare.
Handy, G., 2002. Animal Control Management: A Guide for Local Governments. International City/County Management Association, Washington, D.C.
Irwin, P. G., 2001. Overview: The state of animals in 2001. In: Salem, D. J. & Rowan, A. N. (Ed.), The State of the Animals 2001. Humane Society Press, Washington, DC, pp. 1-19.
Levy, J. K., Gale, D. W., Gale, L. A., 2003. Evaluation of the effect of a long-term trap-neuter-return and adoption program on a free-roaming cat population. Journal of the American Veterinary Association 222, 42-46.
Lord, L.K., Wittum, T.E., Ferketich, A.K., Funk, J.A., Rajala-Schultz, P., Kauffman, R.M., 2006. Demographic trends for animal care and control agencies in Ohio from 1996 to 2004. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 229, 48-54.
Marsh, P., 2008. Analysis using data from New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (1998) and the California Department of Health Services (1995).
National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, 2001. Exploring the surplus cat and dog problem: Highlights of five research publications regarding relinquishment of pets. New London, MN. Online at petpopulation.org.
Natoli, E., Maraglioano, L., Cariola, G., Faini, A., Bonanni, R., Cafazzo, S., Fantini, C., 2006. Management of feral domestic cats in the urban environment of Rome (Italy). Preventative Veterinary Medicine 77, 180-185.
Office of Legislative Oversight, OLO Report 97-3: An evaluation of Bill 54-91, Revisions to the county's animal control law. June 24, 1997. Montgomery County, MD.
Patronek, G. J., Lawrence, T. G., Glickman, T., Beck, A. M., McCabe, G. P., Ecker, C., 1996. Risk factors for relinquishment of cats to an animal shelter. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 209, 582-588.
Patronek, G. J., Lawrence, T. G., Glickman, T., Beck, A. M., McCabe, G. P., Ecker, C., 1996. Risk factors for relinquishment of dogs to an animal shelter. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 209, 572-581.
Patronek, G. J., Beck, A. M., Glickman, T., 1997. Dynamics of dog and cat populations in a community. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 210, 637-642.
Ralston Purina, 2000. The state of the American pet: A study among pet owners.
Secovich, S. J., 2003. Case study: companion animal over-population programs in New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Maine and a new program for Maine. Master's thesis, Public Policy and Management. University of Southern Maine.
Zawistowski, S., Morris, J., Salman, M. D., Ruch-Gallie, R., 1998. Population dynamics, overpopulation, and the welfare of companion animals: new insights on old and new data. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 1, 193-206.
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