The mandatory spay/neuter debate

Patty Khuly’s recent column on the topic of mandatory spay/neuter laws sparked quite a debate in the comment section – on the Paw Print Post section of USAToday.com.

Khuly’s take is mandatory spay/neuter laws are not the way to go. One of her reasons cited is that people won’t comply.

We can agree or disagree with a particular proposed law, but suggesting some people won’t follow the law isn’t a reasonable reason to oppose it. Our prisons are filled with people who don’t follow a wide range of very important laws. But we can’t repeal these laws that protect the public, just because criminals are not falling in line.

Now that I have that one out of the way – I need to state that I understand the other positions stated in the column. But one of the key things that hit me after reading the column was the lack of proposals by Khuly to help solve the problem – and several comments suggested the same thought.

If mandatory sterilization (with exceptions for breeders and health concerns in special cases) is not the way to go, then how do we solve this problem that leads to millions of tragedies all across the country every year. True – education is a key element of any solution, but that educational process has been ongoing for many, many years now and the results have been far too slow to come.

We can’t merely hope people become better-educated on the slow train while millions more homeless pets die each year. The deaths will happen this year and next year the year after. Each life needlessly lost is a tragedy and I can’t just hope for a lifesaving change in the public at large. It needs to happen sooner rather than later.

As a start, I’ve proposed in the past a MUCH higher registration fee in local counties across the country for “unfixed” pets. Maybe the scale could be adjusted for quality, licensed and regularly-inspected breeders. Anyone found with a pet not spay or neutered and not properly licensed as such would face a huge fine.

Of course, in cases where a medical condition prohibits the surgery, that again should be taken into account.

I’ll get more into this issue in the coming weeks, but I wanted to get your input and get the discussion going.

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33 responses to this post.

  1. Has it occurred to you (and other MSN-mandatory spay/neuter advocates) that there are people who would voluntarily have their pets S/N if they had access to these services at a reasonable cost? If there was a way to transport the pet to the facility where the service is offered?

    A large majority of owned pets are already spayed/neutered. Of those that are not, many belong to owners that would be forced to abandon their pets because they cannot afford the cost of sterilizing them. They would not be able to pay the “huge fine” that you would impose. Punishment is not an incentive in this situation. Those who can afford to have their pets S/N are not morally superior to those that have the motivation but lack the resources.

    What would be the cost of enforcing your proposed MSN policy? How many pets in low income families could be S/N with that money? Which would result in fewer pets being abandoned or surrendered to shelters?

    Your notion that “quality, licensed, and regularly inspected breeders” should be allowed to own intact pets if they pay substantial fees for that privilege is equally flawed, but in the opposite direction: responsible breeders do not contribute to the problem of unowned pets. It makes no sense to punish them, either.

    To me, the entire concept that people should be punished for having pets is bizarre. I have to wonder at what went wrong in the lives of people that advocate for MSN, breeder licensing, and similar restrictions that they have come to think we should have punitive laws governing pet ownership.

    Reply

  2. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 17, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    MSN has never worked anywhere.. ever..as Steve Dale said in his blog today ( look it up) you cannot mandate social change.. Your idea of “huge fines’.. ok.. what if they are not paid.. owner go to jail?? what happens to pet.. dog taken to shelter.. what happens to pet.. ?/ most times.. exactly what you don;t want to happen.. another criminal is created.. and another dog is dead..
    Castration of both males and females is MAJOR surgery.. not the little “snip snip” most would like the public to believe.. there is a reason that only vets are allowed to castrate pets. pets can DIE while undergoing the procedure..and a oviohysterectomy is major abdominal surgery.. how do I know.. I just got my female back from the vet yesterday.. along with a sheet of paper explaining that she had undergone a major operation and would need careful monitoring for the next week plus a follow up visit to remove the staples..
    That slow train you speak of has been chugging along quite nicely ..the killing of shelter pets has dropped dramatically in the last 20 years.. and is still going down.. again.. social change.. not laws and rules and fines..

    here are some ideas..
    First of all .. DROP licensing.. what is it good for? it is essentially a dog tax. if you want to tax dog ownership then call it that.. not some empty promise that “your dog has a better chance of being returned to you” BS.. it is a tax pure and simple.. want your dog returned to you?? get e microchip or a simple two dollar tag at you local pet store.. stop trying to fool the public..
    Second.. make getting a rabies shot.. MANDATORY..and give them out for FREE.. rabies is a serious and life threatening disease in HUMANS.. we give out free “flu shots’ every year but expect people; to pay for protection of the PUBLIC when they own a pet.. the public should be shouting for this.. the government job is to protect them from serious diseases when they can..
    Third.. make castration of both sexes very low cost or free.. the cost to “fix’ my female.. $810.00.. not within the reach of most people..go to the people instead of making them come to you.. the wait at my local humane society for a castration of either a dog or cat.. three weeks.. and the parking lot is FULL every day the surgeries are performed.. so people really do get it.. you don;t give them enough credit and instead prefer to blame them for all of the “unwanted pets’ if they have an intact animal even if they have never reproduced in their whole lives.. having testicles does not mean instant puppies.. being is season does not mean a litter of unwanted animals..make is safe.. make it cheap.. or FREE..
    Four.. allow vet techs to castrate cats ( male) and perhaps even stray dogs.. (male) feral cats are the NUMBER ONE animal killed at shelters.. some are killed within minutes of reaching the misnamed “shelter”.. if people want to pay ( as I did) to have a vet perform the surgery .. let them.. meanwhile UNOWNED male ferals can be castrated and returned to the feral group .. no longer able to reproduce..
    by allowing vet techs or even trained lay people ( think nurses, doctors, breeders, )to perform the male castrations.. think of the SAVINGS.. both in costs.. and in lives
    Five Offer an incentive along with free or low cost castration of both sexes.. free bag of food.. free collar and leash.. free training class.. or all three..dog food companies would be GLAD to donate.. just ask them
    Six .. stop calling people irresponsible.. and stupid.. and worse.. when you give CREDIT instead of punishment.stop fining them and punishing them you give people a reason to do the right thing and then they do it.. socail change.. not legislative..

    that’s a start..

    Reply

  3. Posted by Tom Grady on September 17, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I knew this topic would drum up some debate.
    Let’s start with a few responses to the recent comments –

    A) I’ve often written over the years about local counties supplying low-cost or no-cost spay/neuters. Indeed, if people want to spay and neuter their pets, but can’t afford it, help should be offered. That’s a no-brainer. My post was of course directed to people who refuse to spay/neuter and continue to contribute to the problem.
    So yes, if mandatory spay/neuter isn’t in the cards, then higher fees should be imposed for licensing “unfixed” dogs and cats. The people who are sterilizing their pets are not the ones who should be fitting the bill – which is what is happening now.
    All of our tax dollars are contributing to running local shelters. Should the people who do spay-neuter and who adopt homeless pets and who donate to local rescues carry the same burden of the tax hit as those who refuse to spay/neuter, even with the offering of low-cost clinics?
    B) The only people breeding dogs and cats should be licensed, quality, regularly-inspected breeding operations. We can’t allow these puppy mills to continue to operate and continue greatly to the over-population problem and to the annual number of deaths.
    I’m not pushing for higher fees for responsible breeders vs. puppy mills. I’m pushing for licensing and inspections for all breeders.
    C) No where have I stated that people should be punished for having pets. To the contrary – I’m supporting the responsible pet guardians – and always have. Again, why should we carry so much of the burden for fixing the problem caused the irresponsible.
    D) Punitive laws for pet ownership? – No. Punitive laws for irresponsible pet ownership or irresponsible breeding? – Yes.
    Alice – you say sterilization is major surgery, yet you turn around and suggest vet techs and :trained lay people” for performing those surgeries?
    And stop calling people irresponsible? I’m only calling people who continue to contribute to the deaths of millions of dogs and cats each year – irresponsible.
    Nowhere, have I called people in general irresponsible. The irresponsible are to blame, period.
    My concern is for the millions of lost lives. The fact that fewer homeless pets are dying now when compared to a past time period, is good. But millions are still dying and more will die in the coming days, weeks, months and years.
    This is a daily tragedy. I can’t look at these numbers and think “oh well, good trend, no need to push for better outcomes.” I can’t do that, not while so many are still dying.
    I can’t just hope education is the answer, by itself.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Tom Grady on September 17, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Important note – I always welcome comments from all sides of the issues. As long as we can all debate without name-calling and personal attacks, it’s good by me. (So far, so good in that area.)

    So please, feel free to agree or disagree with me. I’ve got a thick skin and I can take it.
    Thank you to the individuals who have offered their input thus far.

    Reply

  5. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 17, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Tom.. use vet techs to castrate SHELTER dogs/ cats. or people who cannot afford to have the procedure done.. and JUST males. and most certainly FERALS. I do not suggest that major abdominal surgeries should be done by a lay person. not at all..
    what will happens as it surely will when a person is FORCED to castrate their pet.. and it dies during the surgery.. or as a complication.. who will bear the burden.. every surgery has its risks.. and certainly this mandatory castration will also have it losses..when surgery on your pet is VOLUNTARY you are apprised of the risks.. and sign a release.. will forced castration have the same/??? will a person be coerced to castrate? you say yes.. the fines and punishment are the way to go.. not if MY pet dies.. and probably not if yours does either..

    you do realize that many pets live their entire lives intact without ever reproducing anything right?? You do realize that a leash is a great method of birth control.. and you do realize that every pet who os not castrated does not contribute to the shelter population.. you do realize that 85% of owned pets are already castrated .. right?? and the FERAL cats that are UNOWNED contribute to the largest stat of killed animals in shelter.. UNOWNED.. that means they have NO owner to be “irresponsible”

    If you are only blaming the” irresponsible”.. what makes you think a law will change their behavior..

    push for better outcomes.. you have not responded to any of my suggestions to do jsut that..

    Reply

  6. Posted by Terry on September 17, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Education and provision for low cost spay/neuter have been working much better in some places than you give credit for.

    In California, on a population adjusted basis, both impounds and dogs euthanized fell by around 75% from 1980 to 2005. I don’t have the data for later. It is a common misconception that these rates have risen to crisis proportions.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Tom Grady on September 17, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I do realize there are people who have intact dogs that are responsible and are not allowing them to reproduce. i know people who are doing that.
    But local agencies have no way of determining which people with intact dogs are responsible. So unless there is a means to catch people who are producing litters and handing them out like candy – for example – I’m not sure how we could get around this.
    As I stated, where an animal is determine to carry a serious health risk from the surgery – there should be exceptions there.
    And could you supply the link for where the 85 percent figure comes from? I’d like to see that figure and the methods used to arrive at that number. And I would venture to guess the percentages are different in different areas of the country. Here in the South, I’d say the percentages of unaltered dogs is higher.
    I certainly see quite a few quite often, at my vet’s office and with stray dogs.

    As far as your suggestions –
    Drop licensing – Big mistake. There would no way to track who the owner of a dog might be and it would open up the system for more bad results from those irresponsible folks.
    Rabies shots mandatory – Yes – I agree. If free, there needs to be a way to pay for that. But I agree.
    Low-cost or no-cost spay/neuter – Yes, as I said before. I fully agree here. But again, free carries a cost somewhere. So fees and licensing can help cover those costs.
    Vet techs on surgeries – I just want the best possible care for the animals, whether it’s a stray, a feral cat or someone’s pet. If the techs can be well-trained for this procedure, good.
    I wish more vets would offer these services as a contribution to the community.
    We do have areas where we agree. And I think education is extremely important.

    Please understand that my concern is for the dogs and cats that have died by the millions and will continue to die by the millions each year. Each one has a state of consciousness and self-awareness and each one suffers both mental and physical pain.
    It is an on-going tragedy and I’m pushing to turn the tide. I’m not trying to punish any responsible breeder or pet guardian. I wish we only had responsible pet guardians and breeders.

    Thank you again for offering your thoughts – and please feel free to continue.

    Reply

  8. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 17, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    first of all you have not way of knowing whore pets are “fixed” by looking at them if they are female..
    so that does not wash..

    sorry 75% .. not 855 this directly from the ASPCA website:
    “About 75 percent of owned pets are neutered. ”

    Licensing is not a way to ‘track dogs’.. if it is please tell me how.. if a stray is found with no collar..or tags.. or microchip how does having a “license” help?? if the dogs has no ID.. then it is unowned until someone comes to claim it.. agreed?.. so how does a license help to “track” the owners?.. a two dollar tag will help get a dog home.. not a license..a microchip will help.. not a license.. a payment to the government to own a dog is a TAX.. plain and simple if you want to say fees help to support programs for low cost castration.. then call it what it is .. a TAX with no benefit to the responsible owner of a dog.. intact or not….what “bad results” are you speaking of? If rabies shots are free.. what other concern does the government have with personal property? By the way i am a pet owner.. not a guardian.. if you are a guardian.. the government has the right to rescind your rights to the thing you are the guardian of.. including people.. no thanks..
    Please address the situation of feral cats and their non owned status.. certainly you do know that they are the MAJORITY of killed animals at “shelters” what is you solution for them

    where are people breeding dogs and cats and “handing them out like candy”.. statements like this are not only untrue.. they are highly suspect and don;t do you any good as far as credibility is concerned.. but maybe that is not your objective.

    “catching people” breeding dogs is no feasible. it is not ILLEGAL to breed dogs or cats..

    any dog can die from surgery even ones who seem absolutely healthy in the preoperative stage.. I know.. i had a perfectly healthy male die while having his teeth cleaned.. and being neutered..it was MY CHOICE to have the procedure done .. trust me if the government has FORCED this upon me I would be suing.. and I would bet you would too in that circumstance..

    what is “responsible pet guardian and breeder” to you?

    Reply

    • Posted by Tom Grady on September 18, 2010 at 12:36 am

      Of course when I say I see unaltered dogs, it means I’m looking at male dogs. That goes without saying.
      As far as the 75 % number – again, this seems to be stated as a national percentage – and probably based on estimates extrapolated from surveyed data. In particular regions of the country, the number most-likely varies. And we’re only talking about known dogs. Unfortunately, it probably only covers licensed dogs. The puppy millers, for example, have been operating under the radar.
      On the topic of licensing, you are talking about finding the homes of lost dogs. I’m talking about tracking ownership – proof that the individual registered the dog as his or hers. And they have X number of dogs, neutered or spayed with rabies vaccination.
      This – for example – helps when the party shows up to claim his lost dog. Otherwise, without licensing, anyone can show up and say – “hey, that’s my dog” – and there’s no way to know it’s true or if they are a dog-fighter looking for free bait dogs.
      There are multiple reasons for licensing, just as these other issues are multifaceted.
      THE best way to deal with feral cat colonies is the trap/neuter/release system. But these feral colonies for the most part have been created by who? – Irresponsible people who tossed out their cats or allowed them to breed and dumped the kittens off somewhere.
      And I constantly run across ads for puppies or see fliers for kittens or puppies or hear stories about people who say they wanted their dog to have puppies, just so their kids could see it or they could give away the puppies to friends, etc … And it’s clear none of these people are professional breeders. They just wanted their dog to have puppies.
      Quite often, I’ll purposefully ask someone in our vet’s office where they got their puppy. The answer too often is – my friend or neighbor’s dog had puppies and they gave me one.

      A responsible pet guardian or breeder does not abuse animals and offers them daily clean food and water. Responsible people take their pets to the vet, at least at times when they suffering from a serious illness or injury.
      Responsible people don’t cage their pets 24/7 in tiny cages – unless a health concern calls for it.
      Responsible people take responsibility for their actions. They don’t allow their pets to breed and then dump the the problem on the local community shelter.
      Unfortunately, I’m in a position where I’ve dealt with all of these topic over the years. It’s happening and the problem is real and because of it, millions of homeless pets will die over the next year – again.

      Reply

  9. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 18, 2010 at 1:07 am

    If you see the owners at the vets office and they got the dog from a friend.. doesn’t that tell you that at least those people are responsible owners?

    Why does it matter where the stats come from? does the “south” have some magical stupid gene that i don;t know about that makes them poor pet owners? My mother was born in NC as was I.. and both of us were and are exemplary pet owners.

    That same person who gave their pets to friends.. irresponsible?? or not..?? the pets did not end up at the shelter.. and by you own admission you see many of them at the vets office..why is the answer “too often” if the pets are being taken care of? they are at the vets.. is’;t that what you want?

    as far as licensing.. would you not give a dog to someone who said it was theirs.. would you rather kill it? and if my dog is lost and I go to get it.. no one says you can;t have it unless you can prove it is yours.. they fine you .. give you a “license ” ( or rather tax you) and send you on your way..what other reason is there for a dog to have a license other that if it gets loose? if my dog is micro chipped and it gets to the shelter.. I can prove it is mine. why do I need to be “tracked” what other reason does the government need to “track” my ownership of legal personal property? If my dog is stolen.. how does a license help me. now a micro chip.. yes.. a tattoo?? yes.. but a piece of paper.. nope..

    and why does the government need to know the intact status of my pet? In your opinion.. it is so that they can tax me.. ie charge em more of society’s woes even though i have not contributed to any of them.. should people pay a fair share of tax to support shelters. of course.. I pay school tax.. no kids.. but.. I pay as much as the person with four kids.. and i don;t mind.. because the burden is EQUAL.. i don’t say.. look my husband had a vasectomy.. i should pay less that the octomom.. nor do I expect people who are intact to pay more by the off chance they may have children..even if they never do..

    you responsible litany is certainly one we have all heard before..any of us who have been in dogs have hear and seen it all before.. why do some people think that they have the corner on what ‘responsible” is when it is many things.. including making your OWN decisions about the care of your family pet..

    Reply

    • Posted by Tom Grady on September 18, 2010 at 1:44 am

      You are pulling at the edges of what I’m saying and missing the points.
      It does matter where the stats come from. If the South – for example – has a higher rate of homelessness for pets and it relates to more unaltered pets – of course – that’s a problem in that region – even though the national figures may seem tame by comparison.
      For every pet randomly bred just to have it happen and to hand out the pups – more pets die for lack of homes. Those four people who adopted puppies from the litter might have been a good home for four dogs in the local shelter.
      See, this is what some people don’t get. There are snowball affects to particular actions. Multiply the “oh I’ll just let my dog have puppies” times hundreds of thousands of people across the country and you have hundreds of thousands of dogs that need homes. And there are a finite number of people who are willing to adopt animals.
      I didn’t – again – call all of these people irresponsible. Many of the people adopting the neighbor’s puppy probably considered it rescue. But if the neighbor had not bred their dog in the first place, another dog in the local shelter might not face death.
      Also, in the real world there are people who would take full advantage of a system that did not require licensing of dogs. It’s not the case of the real owner showing up to claim his dog, it’s the fact his dog might die or suffer because someone shows up and lies about being the dog’s owner.
      And finally, millions of dogs and cats will die while we do nothing and fail to hold accountable the people who are creating the problem. What ever happened to personal responsibility?

      Reply

  10. Posted by RoninDallas on September 18, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Tom,
    I read the story, I read the posted comments. I believe the biggiest problem is this isn’t a utopian society or country.
    First lets look at real world practices of licensing.
    One price for a broken animal a different price for an intact animal. That is Constitutionally Illegal as determined by a Federal court of Appeals. This however doesn’t seem to matter to municipalities. Now you want a municipality to impose fines because of this? So the money train goes where? Again, penalizing the vast majority of responsible pet owners who actually DO pay the higher licensing fees for owning intact animals.
    Let’s now take this as a segway to mandating Spay and neuter procedures.
    EVERY MSN law I’ve seen passed in the past 5 years states animals must be altered at 4 months of age. A typical dog will not be reproductively mature until at least 8 months of age. Altering of males does not decrease aggression, does cause developmental issues as they are not done growing at that point. How would your development have been impacted if you were castrated at an equivalent age of say…. 10? This also isn’t a matter of a simple vastectomy. MSN mandates the animal undergoes a major surgery. ALL surgeries are risky.
    Since there is such a risk of complications including death, Who’s liable? the owner; doubtful. The Vet, somewhat, but they have malpractice insurance, but ultimately who mandated it? That’s right; the Municipality. Add up several people who’s pets were killed and you have a multi-million dollar class action suit. We ALL know there’s lawyers chomping at the bit for a suit like this.
    How much “damage control” would now have to be done to pay off these suits? Even a million dollars is an aweful large number of other animals lives that now have to be killed. I now ask you to consider this premise.
    MSN is designed to fail because of it’s basic procedure, more animals must die to make it sustainable.
    the more that die, the more “statistics” are shoved down people’s throats by the media, the more public outcry, the further underground the irresponsible owners and breeders go.
    Take MSN to it’s ultimate goal. No animal in captivity will be able to produce offspring. People LOVE their pets. Supply and demand says someone’s going to come up with a supply. the costs will be astronomical. These pets will come from other countries that have no sort of animal welfare concerns let alone laws. What’s accomplished is nothing more than destroying Breed standards, Health standards and you’ve introduced a plethura of other foreign diseases into our animal population and potentially human population.
    If I wanted to devise a means of wiping out all domesticated animals, I couldn’t come up with a better plan.
    Better take as many pictures and videos of pets now because soon; within our children’s lifetime, none will exist.
    Please tell me the discussions you plan on having with your grandchildren, perhaps great grandchildren of what the love of a dog or a cat really meant. “Back when I was a kid we had…” Sure, by then they’ll have holographic virtual pets. They won’t know what Hell is holding that automaton as it’s program terminates. They won’t know what it’s like getting soaked giving their pet it’s first bath. When you can look at the trending, what laws are being pushed and who’s pushing for them, I believe you might change your position. If you can’t; it’s too late for you.

    Ron

    Reply

  11. Posted by Tom Grady on September 18, 2010 at 10:09 am

    It’s quite a stretch to suggest increased fees for intact dogs will lead to the extinction of dogs. That won’t be happening. People – like me and millions of others – love our dogs too much.
    Even a movement for mandatory spay/neuter – with exceptions for health reasons and breeders – will not lead to extinction.
    I’m suggesting commercial breeding be left to great, quality, licensed breeders. And if a family wants to keep their dog intact – for reasons other than a medical condition – then they pay extra in fees.
    Many will refuse to follow along, as is the case with other laws. So we will continue to see some degree of homelessness, even if my proposals came to pass and/or mandatory spay/neuter takes hold.
    And good breeders will continue to breed dogs. To suggest, as I’ve seen on other sites, that regulations to provide exercise and clean food and water and veterinary care for breeding dogs will lead to mass closures of breeding operations is to suggest most all breeders are NOT properly caring for their dogs.
    That’s quite a statement from those who seem to support the breeding of dogs.
    I’d like to think – and hope – there are a good number of great breeders across the country who are caring for their dogs.

    Reply

  12. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    no what you will see in underground breeding of all sorts of dogs.. and the price of a dog skyrocket.. even for a mutt.. dog swill be a lot less healthy as breeding is limited..less people will take their dog to the vet leading to more disease.. less vaccinations.. more suffering and a much greater risk of public health for humans..and much greater “homelessness’ for dogs and cats if breeding is made more difficult.. people will have their pets.. you can already see this in trafficking of pets smuggled in from other countries.. people seek them out.. pay cash.. and very often get a sick dog.. if breeding is made illegal.. or more difficult.. this will INCREASE not decrease..sadly your statement is backwards.. GOOD breeders will stop breeding.. the people who love their dogs.. study pedigrees, breed for health and fitness and ability will stop.. why.. because you make it so difficult.. and because these very people are the ones who are hurt by the onerous laws.. why?? because they are honest people who will follow the laws.. and that leaves us with what?? yup.. lousy breeders who will be breeding nothing but problems.. and selling them with NO backup.. NO vet care.. and lots of money
    You seem to forget that there are ALREADY laws in place that provide for regular feeding and watering of dogs.. and all animals.. whether intact or not…we have laws in all 50 states that have penalties for animal abuse..
    you use the term “commercial breeding”.. what is that?/ where does the hobby breeder fit in.. did you know that most people who register a litter with the AKC only breed ONE litter in their lifetime?

    Wanting to keep your dog intact is YOUR CHOICE.. just like wanting to circumcise your child.. or not..
    the “other sites’ you see ?? who knows.. there are sites for everything..but you are reading it backwards.. most breeders ALREADY provide what you are mentioning.. the closures would be from onerous laws like numerical limits..that have nothing to do with the care of pets.. or breeding them

    I am just not quite sure why you think that every intact animal will reproduce.. and why those that choose to keep their pets as God made them should pay “extra’ to do so.

    as for “rescuing” the dog that the neighbor gives you LOL.. that is just getting a dog or cat.. and giving it a good home as people have done for centuries..

    Tom please address the question of liability in a forced castration of a pet. Thank you

    Reply

  13. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 19, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    and more..
    if you only breed one litter in a lifetime.. should your home be open to “inspection” at all times.. or even at SOME times from some regulatory agency? Tom and others.. you seem to forget that we still have a right to be secure in our homes.. and no one can enter without our permission or a warrant.. UNLESS you waive those rights by submitting to “inspections’ from some other agency..
    Most of these laws you want are vague and on the face unconstitutional.. but these days most people don;t care about that.. and they won;t.. until it is gone.. even you Tom are protected under these laws//
    Animal husbandry to one of the oldest profession in the history on man.. and that includes breeding dogs and cats..
    Although it seems “far fetched” to you that domestic animal may become extinct.. every law that is passed to curtail breeding of and mandating castration of our pets is one more step toward that goal..

    there are “shelters” that IMPORT dogs for sale.. they have reached their goal of zero available animals.. why don;t they close their doors? and perhaps those employees go to another shelter that needs help.. note that NONE of the shelters in areas where mandatory castration is the law have closed their doors.. in fact most have had to OPEN THEM WIDER as proof that forcing castration on the public causes more animals to die. see these stats:

    http://saveourdogs.net/category/legislation/track-record/

    another couple of straight forward questions Tom..
    what dogs do you consider worth breeding? What would be your criteria for making a breeding pair?

    Reply

  14. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    ok I am bored today.. it is raining..so more questions:

    you say:
    “Anyone found with a pet not spay or neutered and not properly licensed as such would face a huge fine.

    Tom.. what should happen to a person who refuses to pay the “huge” fine you suggest for having an intact pet?
    What should happen to the pet?

    What medical “conditions” would you consider to be ones that would be acceptable for keeping a pet as God made them?

    Reply

  15. Posted by Tom Grady on September 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Let’s see if I can respond to as many of the points touched on above as possible.

    But first, we need to show compassion for the animals that are dying every day in shelters. I’m reading that some of you don’t want more regulations and have concerns about the surgeries and concerns for breeders. But what about the concern for the dogs that dying in shelters and those who are suffering each day in puppy mills?
    It’s easy to challenge the suggestions of others but I don’t see options presented to solve the problem – other than a hope that the people who are not doing the right thing will somehow do the right thing.

    If we have higher fees for intact family dogs (with special licensing fees for licensed breeders) and regulations to set standards of care for breeding dogs, we WILL NOT see good quality breeders dropping off the face of the Earth.
    If breeding is left to the quality breeders, without competition from puppy mills, quality breeders will be left as the suppliers of puppies to the public. There is a supply and demand element to this.
    Let’s say all of the Big Box stores in your city closed this week, it would mean an increase in business for the other stores in town.
    As far as the suggestion that everything goes underground, that is merely the extreme argument. If Option A happens, the world comes to an end. We have no evidence that will happen.

    Again, good breeders will have nothing to fear from better minimum standards of care because – as Alice stated – they “are honest people who will follow the laws.” And they already meet or exceed the standards of care being proposed in many states.
    It would not cost any more – other than licensing fees to operate. And again, if we can shut down the puppy mills across the country with better licensing and inspections and better health standards, the good breeders would most-likely make up for it in increased sales.
    People are still going to want pets. The demand will be there – most certainly after puppy mills are gone.
    Let’s say the regulations work and we greatly reduce the number of dogs going into shelters – due to the actions of irresponsible people and the puppy mill industry; which are the main players in this problem. – Then, far fewer dogs are needing homes in rescue and more families will decide to purchase a puppy.
    People love pets. We are a pet-loving nation. Look at the sale of pet products. That isn’t going to go anywhere. And the population, I think, contains a majority of animal-lovers. The demand will remain.
    If I couldn’t find a pet to adopt. I’d buy a dog or cat – from a good, high-quality breeder. But because I know about the plight of homeless pets and about the people causing the problem, I will only rescue until the problem is greatly reduced.
    Under my proposal that I noted above, if you want to have a litter of pups with your dog, fine – then pay the higher licensing fee. That is your option If want a higher-priced car, pay for it.

    Fewer people taking their dogs to the vet? – Why? Because they don’t want to pay the higher licensing fee, which will help reduce the number of dogs dying everyday in shelters?
    If I knew more people were getting their dogs spay and neutered because they didn’t want to pay the fee or get caught with a dog they had not properly registered as a ‘fixed,’ I’d pay the higher fee to help reduce the number of dogs going into shelters.
    And yes, I know not every dog that is not fixed is out reproducing. But how do we determine which families with intact dogs are allowing them to reproduce and add more dogs to the shelter? If someone has a better solution for picking these people out of the crowd so that we can hold them responsible, then I’ll listen to it.
    In fact, there’s a good question? If not by mandatory spay-neuter or higher fees for intact dogs, how can we hold the people responsible who creating the homeless dogs? We know it is the puppy millers and people who allow their dogs to breed and end up the shelters. Puppies are not found under cabbage leaves.

    Other responses –

    Laws on the books – Most are not nearly strong enough and many local law enforcement agencies have been calling for stricter and more clear-cut laws because their hands have been tied by current laws and conditions have to be severe before they can move in.
    People convicted of animal cruelty are too often back at it in no time or back running their puppy mills. The current slaps on the wrists for animal cruelty do little to deter repeat offenders.

    Inspections – I never suggested families would be inspected. If they become a breeder to sell puppies, then they become a licensed breeder.
    Liability in MSN – If it went to MSN, the dogs would be given physicals by veterinarians. Spay-neuter procedures are performed daily by the thousands across the country. Do you have evidence that these dogs are dying during these procedures in any particular percentage? if so, I’d like to learn more about that.

    Unconstitutional? – How would it be unconstitutional to impose a higher license fee for intact dogs? Commercial truck licensing fee can be higher, based on the weight of the truck. Is that unconstitutional?
    Restaurants most have commercial licenses and undergo regular inspections. Is that unconstitutional?
    We have laws to protect the public from diseased food or unsafe business practices. Can’t we protect animals from suffering and dying as well.

    Dogs considered worth breeding? That’s an odd question. I would consider no dogs better or worse for breeding -other than for the main criteria of health concerns.
    For too long, poor breeding practices have led to too many problems with certain dogs. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (sp?) have been breed in many cases with their skulls too small. Other dogs are experiencing high cancer rates (racing greyhounds and others).

    Fines? What happens when you don’t pay fines for illegal dumping or from parking tickets or your taxes?
    Medical conditions – Any medical condition a veterinarian determines to be a cause for concern to perform surgery should be considered. Maybe it’s dog with a condition that might be cause for alarm for excessive bleeding – or it might be a serious heart condition.

    But again, these examples are picking around the edges for argument sake.

    The debate should be centered around – what can we do to end the suffering of dogs and cats housed in mills? And what can we do to greatly reduce the rate of homelessness for dogs and cats – and the rate of death in shelters?
    It’s easy to pick around the edges to come up with examples that might happen in a few cases. it’s easy to say I don’t like that because it might mean a higher fee for you and me.
    But it takes more to come up with viable options as solutions to these problems.

    For me, I’m compelled to care about the animals who are suffering in mills today and the others who will needlessly die tomorrow.

    Reply

  16. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 19, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    oh yes YOU TOM.. how about a CLEAR answer.. what happens when a person does not pay the “huge ” fines imposed upon then d=fro not castrating their dog .
    Pretty simple question..not “picking around the edges”.. you are the one supporting mandatory castration of pets.. let’s hear what happenes when someone does not do that.. what punishment do they then deserve
    No one has mentioned “puppy mills” in this debate except you but fro sake of argument show me the stats that prove most shelter dogs are from pet stores by way of a” puppy mill”
    Please answer the question of liability. Who is liable when a pet dies from the actual surgery or the complications of same when the surgery is imposed by the government against the will of the owner fo the pet
    There are TWO very simple questions that should have direct answers only taking a few words.. let see if you can do that.. then we can move on

    Reply

  17. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    Tom.. you have been given all sorts of options.. you just refuse to see them.. you also refuse to see that mandating castration has failed everywhere it has been enacted..even when the stats are put in fromt of you
    This was an article about mandatory castration of owned animals. you have been asked the questions.. let’s keep it on track..
    ‘puppy mills’ are either already paying and are already licensed ( but not up to your snuff) or they are already illegal

    Constitutionality come into play where warrants are not issued or improperly issued and animals taken from people. Nothing to do with the taxing of pets..
    fewer people will take their pet to the vet.. one.. because it will COST more because there will be fewer pets.. two: fear that the vet will report them of some violation be it licensing or intact status Do you think they castrate pets for free.. or are you one foe eleits who demand .. if you cannot pay fr a pet you should not have one..

    Reply

  18. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 19, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    oh so many questions..
    What will be the punishment for having an illegal litter of puppies

    Reply

  19. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 19, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    “Under my proposal that I noted above, if you want to have a litter of pups with your dog, fine – then pay the higher licensing fee. That is your option If want a higher-priced car, pay for it. ”

    AHA,, so you are saying that if you PAY enough money that is the only criteria for breeding your dog.. if that is so. the heck i am ll for it.. how will you enforce this? and how what will you do with the “illegal offspring” that will surely be produced. You are correct if I want a Corvette instead of a Ford.. I can pay more.. however i do not see any correlation to buying a car and producing a puppy.. do you?

    Reply

  20. Posted by Tom Grady on September 19, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    What happens to those who refuse to the pay fines? – What happens to people who refuse to pay fines for illegal dumping or littering?

    Where are the dogs coming from in shelters? Good breeders often have customers sign contracts that state they will return the pet to them if they decide not to keep it.
    I don’t see any indication that dogs from quality breeders are regularly ending up in shelters.
    So beyond the good breeders, how are dogs created? They either come from puppy mills, backyard breeders, people who have just dumped their dog or cat to fend for itself or people who have allowed their dogs to breed and they end up in the shelter.

    A smaller percentage are from people who legitimately have to give up their dog – from people who have lost their jobs to people moving to an apartment because they lost their house or via other reasons.

    But clearly, there are not enough homes available to save the dogs and cats dying in the shelters. Somebody is creating this problem. Somehow these dogs and cats are being dumped on local shelters and the problem is left to local taxpayers to pay for. But the ultimate price is being paid by the animals.
    Too many of the pets have physical problems and/or emotional problems and those pets rarely have a chance, even beyond the healthy pets that die.
    I’ve seen this process play out over the years.

    Sure, I have concern for any animal that undergoes surgery. But I’ve read nothing to indicate a trend in deaths from sterilization surgeries.
    I do know millions of homeless pets are dying each year because they do not have homes. That’s MILLIONS of deaths EACH YEAR from this problem. And I’d venture to say thousands if not hundreds of thousands are suffering in puppy mills right now.

    So where do the stats come from? – the process of elimination for one thing. People doing the right thing, from breeders to people who spay and neuter and people who love and care for their pets are NOT causing the problem.
    So by logic we know that if people doing the right thing are not at fault, it’s the other end of the scale. I like the idea that people need to take responsibility for their actions.

    On the liability issue, if in the rare and tragic case that a dog dies during surgery – one that the owner felt forced to performed the surgery – then let’s say the state or county is liable – unless it is shown that the vet made a tragic error.

    And I’ve already stated that low-cost or no-cost procedures should be provided for those who need assistance.

    But again, what about the dogs dying in shelters and the dogs suffering in puppy mills because the laws on the books offer only a slap on the wrist?
    And let’s hear the other proposals for solving the problems.

    If I’m wrong in suggesting higher fees for intact pets and people are wrong about proposing mandatory spay-neuter, what other proposals are coming from the other side?
    I know education is important. I’ve already explained that.
    What else? I’m open to new ideas.

    Let’s discuss this – How can we hold responsible the people creating the problem? This is the big issue here.

    Reply

  21. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 19, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    just as i thought.. no answers.. just rhetoric..you have been given plenty of ideas.. you just don;t want to listen.. nor do you want to give concrete answers..
    Bye

    Reply

  22. Posted by RoninDallas on September 20, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Tom, Ill address a couple of points.
    1 – where is it unconstitutional. Check the 4th, 14th and 16th amendments.
    2, and I’ll quote you here “Let’s discuss this – How can we hold responsible the people creating the problem? This is the big issue here.

    Apparently you lost sight of what responsible means. The Responsible breeders and owners are not the problem. The responsible breeders have programs and safeguards in place for contingencies. It’s the irresponsible breeders that pump out litter after litter, sell them on craigslist, etc and don’t look back. It’s the irresponsible owners that let their pets run at large, that have no socializing, no vet care and in most cases are impulse buys. THOSE are the animals that all too often end up in shelters.
    Making new laws, stricter laws will never correct this. you simply cannot legislate morality. What CAN be done is enforce the existing laws without malice, greed or AR agendas.
    3, You keep going on and on and on about the MILLIONS of shelter animals killed each year. Alice already addressed this, again, perhaps you weren’t paying attention. Shelters are now importing aminals from other geographic locations and from outher countries. We all ( well with the exception of you apparently) know why this happens. These animals are being imported due to supply and demand. Older large dogs dont sell as well as cute cuddly mutts. So while a shelter goes out of it’s way to import the sellable animals, they do so at the cost of the existing residents. Just recently, 222 dogs were brought in from Puerto Rico. Oddly enough, there was no medical screening. I wonder what new illnesses, parasites, etc those dogs brought with them.
    News stories report a widespread epidemic of Parvo associated with these dogs. No isolation, no quarrentines, not even medical records posted on crates.. are you going after the shelters for these gross violations of not only animal neglect laws, but also health violations? Doubt it, it doesn’t fit your agenda.
    What about these dogs that are being shipped to the NE shelters from southern and midwest states?

    The ultimate problem here isn’t pet overpopulations, it’s that the system is broken. It wont be able to be fixed until people can identify the underlying agendas and start doing what’s RIGHT. not just for the animals, but also for the owners and breeders of those animals. The Premise of ” lets charge the responsible more for doing the right things” is ass backwards. Do you EXPECT to get a ticket for driving the speed limit? what about for wearing your seatbelt? Heaven’s forbid you Brush after each meal, that could mean jail time.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tom Grady on September 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      I’m not suggesting any violations of the Constitution. The process would not be any different that other cases – such as increased fees for larger trucks. And I’m not suggesting any government entity can illegally search anyone’s home without probable cause or a search warrant.
      We should not violate the Constitution.

      There are Constitutional laws on the book that inconvenience responsible citizens, such as speed limits. But we have to have some degree of regulation – because there are irresponsible people roaming among us.

      I haven’t lost sight of what “responsible” means. In fact, I’m laser-focused on it.
      I’ve repeatedly noted, as you have above, that it is the irresponsible people who we need to target with new regulations. Irresponsible people are THE cause of the problem, NOT responsible breeders or citizens.
      Just about every law on the books is there to target people who engage in activities our society deems to be improper.
      We have laws against robbery, child abuse, murder, animal cruelty, etc …
      Would anyone suggest we back up and remove those laws from the books because we can’t legislate morality? No, we can’t do that.

      And while we have these laws to battle theft and financial scams and cruelty to people and animals – some are still engaged in these crimes. Do we drop these laws because it won’t “correct this”situation? – No, you make the laws stronger. If too many people are still abusing kids, I say make the penalties more severe for child abuse.
      We can’t adjust our laws downward because people are not obeying the law. And I contend that if the system is broken, we need to fix it. And the system is broken in protections for both children and pets.

      The problem of pet overpopulation varies in different parts of the country. Here in the South where I live, the problem is worse.
      If shelters in some regions are bringing in pets from outside of the country to adopt out through shelters – while homeless pets are dying in that region, then I have a problem with that.
      I do know that homeless pets are being transported from areas of the South to regions where shelters have space available. That’s a good thing. More pets find homes and fewer die.
      I don’t see evidence where I live that anything is happening other than an endless dumping of local dogs and cats into our local shelters and too many never make it out alive.

      So I ask again, if I’m wrong about increased fees for unaltered dogs and cats – and people are wrong for suggesting MSN – then let’s come up with a better option – one that targets the people creating the problem.
      Can anyone offer another proposal or proposals?
      Is there a way to charge people for dumping dogs and cats at shelters – without the danger that they’ll just dump the pets on the side of the road instead?
      Is there a way to make the penalty for being caught abusing or neglecting dogs in puppy mill so bad that it deters the operation of puppy mills?

      Do we need better enforcement? – Yes. But in states across the country, the weak laws are handcuffing local law enforcement agencies and many are calling for stronger legislation to help them shut down puppy mills and go after people abusing animals.

      I wish I could come up with a good system for targeting only the offenders in the case of people creating homeless dogs and cats? That would be THE best system and would do the most good.
      But in the meantime – especially here in the South – local dogs and cats are dying. And again millions are dying each year throughout the country.
      If stopping the import of dogs and cats from other countries will help save the lives local dogs in areas doing this, then let’s shut that down. But the import is NOT the primary reason for such a high rate of deaths in shelters.

      Too many dogs and cats are being produced by irresponsible people and entities. My goal is to see breeding left to responsible, quality breeders. And I think responsible, quality breeders want the practice left to them as well.
      Here’s one other issue. Because of the extremely poor breeding practices of the bad-apple breeders, we’re seeing unacceptable cancer rates, hip problems and other health issues.
      Good breeders take these problems into account and will not breed a dog or cat with health issues. They care. They take into account emotional issues in their dog breeding and will not adopt out puppies at 6 weeks old.
      We need to consider who we want breeding animals, who have self-awareness and can suffer both physical and mental pain and suffering.

      Reply

  23. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 20, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    Tom I will ask one more time//
    What should be the penalty for the person who refuses to pay the “huge” fine and also refuse to castrate their pet.. what should happen to that person and their pet?

    You have been given a litany of suggestions.. but since none of them suit your idea of punishment you choose to reject them..

    Reply

  24. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 20, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    it is a simple question

    Reply

  25. Posted by Tom Grady on September 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    I answered that question –
    “” What happens to those who refuse to the pay fines? – What happens to people who refuse to pay fines for illegal dumping or littering? “”

    If you refused to pay a speeding fine or the annual tax on your car, what would happen?

    I’ve really tried to be upfront in answering all of the many questions posted here. But we’re getting away from the main issues at hand.

    Now, instead of these more tangential issues, let’s get to the heart of the matter.
    I’ll ask yet again – what can we do to hold the people accountable that are creating this problem of homelessness in pets?

    It’s fine to not agree with MSN or higher fees for unaltered pets? I understand that we’ve got a couple of folks here who disagree with these proposals.
    So let’s hear some solutions.

    We’ve got education. I fully support the idea of education. But people like me have been preaching spay-neuter for a long, long time and although the numbers are better, millions are still lost each year.

    How can we hold accountable the people who are filling the shelters with homeless pets? Until the punishment is severe enough, they will continue to act irresponsibly.
    It would be better to have a system that just hits the people who are creating the problem. Why is a bad thing to want to bring an atrocity to an end?

    Reply

  26. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 20, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    LET ME BE CLEAR.. YOU DO NOT ANSWER A QUESTION WITH A QUESTION OR YOU LOSE THE DEBATE

    What should happen to a person and their pet who refuses to castrate their pet and not pay the “huge” fine..
    pretty simple.. but perhaps too much so since you cannot answer it.

    Reply

    • Posted by Tom Grady on September 20, 2010 at 5:42 pm

      Sorry that you didn’t like the answer, but my answer is clear.
      Now, what do we do about the people who are creating homeless pets? Animals are dying and the people responsible are walking away without punishment.

      If we addressed this problem and solved it, the topics of mandatory spay-neuter and increased fees would go away.
      I’m not one to allow myself to be diverted from the main issue on the table. I’ve been at this for a long time now.

      Reply

  27. Posted by Tom Grady on September 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Okay, just for the sake of clearing this up. – People who don’t pay the fee or fines would most-likely, depending on state laws, be guided through the legal system under the same guidelines used for people who refuse to pay other fines or fees.

    Reply

  28. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 20, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    The title of you article is abut MANDATORY Spay/Neuter..

    Reply

  29. Posted by alice in LALA land on September 20, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    What you are not being told about mandatory spay neuters laws!

    The truth certain individuals and entities do not want you to know – but the
    truth will set you free! Go

    to: http://www.raot.org/TRUTH.htm

    Permission granted to forward to any and all interested parties.

    that would be you Tom.. have a great time reading this

    Reply

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