(March 26, 2009) -- In early 2008, the Los Angeles City Council enacted and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed into law an ordinance requiring that pets be spayed/neutered. This made L.A. the largest city to become a mandatory spay/neuter city...and was an admirable way to reduce the number of homeless and unwanted animals' destruction and simultaneously save taxpayer money spent on killing.
Enforcement began in Oct. 2008, and less than six months later, Los Angeles Animal Services undermined its program by discontinuing spay/neuter coupons that reduced the cost to consumers, an important factor for senior citizens, the disabled and the low-incomed. It was unfortunate because this was a very popular program and a viable example for other cities to follow suit. And how much did they save for the city? About $150,000 in all.
All right, so $150,000 will be saved this year, but next year and the years after the cost of caring for the overpopulation will soar. As for blaming the economy, this is precisely the time when such help is needed to avoid the escalating expense of "disposing" of the excess.
Why did Los Angeles put in place a law that they had no intention of seriously enforcing? Why is the Los Angeles Animal Services run so poorly that equipment they have on hand has not been unpacked, let alone used? Why were fines not collected that would have eased the burden on the city?
And why was the spay/neuter rug pulled out from under the owners who really need the help, and the city which could have saved much more money in the near future by spending a little now? And why are the advocates of the mandatory spa/neuter silent?
Because as much as people love and dote on their companion animals, as a society we are indifferent and lethargic when it comes to animals, be they wildlife or companions. It takes drastic and horrific incidents, such as the Michael Vick case to finally make people move and do their best to rectify bad situations. It is the same attitude that when we see a stray cat or dog, we walk by saying to ourselves "somebody will adopt them."
Well, "somebody" does not and they end up in the little room where their lives are snuffed out for the shabbiest of reasons: not enough homes for them.
We have been working on this problem for decades, by educating the public, explaining the bitter facts, persuading, cajoling, begging the public to help eliminate this slaughter -- all to no avail. And as our social behavior must be regulated by laws (stealing, killing, raping, robbing, etc), this is also a behavior on our part that must be regulated.
Reinstate the mandatory spay/neuter law and let Los Angeles lead the way as a sensible, practical and compassionate city.
Ms. Yarden and LBReport.com welcome your comments in response to this perspective piece. firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, your general part of town, and a telpehone number [not for publication] so we can reach you.
Ms. Yarden's LBReport.com Archives:
There Is No Good Excuse -- EVER! - For Abandoning A Dog Or Cat
Keeping Tax Collector's Hands Off Our Pets
Animals Are Not For Suffocating Or Burning
Ensuring Effective Dog License Canvassing in LB
Christmas With Your Companions
The Other Side of Farm Animal Cruelty
The Coyote: Truths & Myths
Katrina, Now Gustav...And Thank God! We Have Learned Something!
A Toy For Every Animal
Foiling Thieves Who'd Steal Your Dog
What To Do, And Not Do, If Your Cat Is Freaked Out By The Quake
Driving With Your Dog
On CSULB's Unwelcome Coyotes & Formerly Welcome Feral Felines
Not Merely Birth Control: The Other Side of Spay & Neuter