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26 February 2008


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Christie Keith

Hmmmm, good question! I don't know what it's like in the city of Los Angeles, but I'm always shocked in general when I'm in Southern CA at how many stores sell puppies and kittens. We have virtually none, or perhaps literally none, here in San Francisco.


oh course it's not about saving animals.

It's about instituting state control over people's pets, measure by measure.

Same as the "Patriot Act" was about giving the state more control over the lives of purely innocent Americans.

Christie Keith

I will check on this, but it just struck me, pet stores are not really affected by this, since their pets come from out of state and they sell them prior to 4 months. So even if they're not exempt, it will not hamper them much if at all.


did they exempt pet shops also?

Nadine L.

So, what's next for these brilliant and trendsetting L.A. lawmakers, human sterilization at birth for human population control?

The human control freaks who signed on to this vile and malicious law ought to be sterilized at the same time as the animals in order to eliminate our distress over future breeding of this kind of brain.

Susan Fox

But Nadine, what do you really think? ;-)

So, what can be done to overturn this travesty and who down there can lead the charge? Where were the humane societies? Oops, maybe better not to ask?

Chris Lewis

To answer Susan Fox -Concerned Dog Owners of California is leading the charge. CDOC's attorneys (Roberti, Jensen) have advised them that they have good grounds for filing a lawsuit and so they will if they can.


CaRPOC, a new sister organization to California Federation of Dog Clubs, announced their resolve to challenge the constitutionality of the L.A.Ordinance last week. The two groups will be filing in different venues.


Interesting times


Thanks Christie!

our MSN is a bit different so the age didn't strike me. we have to SN before a pet leaves a rescue or shelter (2lb/2ms or a deposit). originally it included pet stores, but they managed to slip out of it at the last minute.


Interesting to think that LA residents who choose not to neuter their puppies/kittens by 4 months of age will be considered criminals but they can still order assault weapons online legally. There's some kind of logic there, although at the moment it escapes me.

Christie Keith

To add to Gina's response, if you follwed the links I embedded in my post you'd see what works... not what I SUGGEST MIGHT WORK or COULD WORK or would be better than this, but the only thing that HAS WORKED.


So what is your solution Christie? It's easy to knock something like this, but the animals are still being bought and abandoned and killed.

First question: Will this measure reduce the number of animals abandoned and killed? I think it will and you think it will have no affect. Is this the best possible legislation? Probably not, but we're all human and perfection is usually unatainable.

The main question, though, is what to do about reducing the number of animals that are abandoned and killed? Do you want the city to raise taxes to spend more money housing abandoned animals? If the citizens of LA were asked if they prefer the law or prefer to raise taxes, which would they choose? Which would you choose Christie?

Cheers, Neil.

Gina Spadafori

Nice job shifting the message on cue, Neil.

I also got the e-mail this morning from the forced spay-neuter folks, suggesting that those who support these bills shift the message to making it about "taxes" so it'll go down easier.

Instead of doing a drive-by here to ask Christie "what she suggests," why not READ THE BLOG and the hundreds of posts and comments that explain the problem with legally forced spay-neuter laws and the alternative: True no-kill communities, ala Maddie's Fund and "Redemption."

Click on "no kill" on the right to get plenty of reading. I don't know if you're a "mad" Scotsman, but in your critical thinking skills you're a tad daft.


First question: Will this measure reduce the number of animals abandoned and killed? I think it will and you think it will have no affect.

It's clear that the people who make these claims either don't bother to do any significant research into the actual track record of these kinds of laws, or are so blinded by ideology that they don't care what the track record is.

The Los Angeles forced sterilization law is not something new and novel. It's been implemented in a number of other communities. It has consistently led to :

- MORE animals being killed

- MORE animals being impounded

- HIGHER costs to the taxpayer, a LOT higher


In sharp contrast, the No Kill measures put forward by Maddie's Fund and the No Kill Advocacy Center have actually worked.


Only a few of the nuts who buy guns are a problem on any given day but the unwanted and homeless animal population is a DAILY problem for everyone, and a heartbreaking one and if people do not like draconian laws then best get to solving the problem.

ANYTHING that makes the problem less by next year is a step in the right direction.

Simple, solve the problem without the need for laws, which has not happened, or learn to live with the laws. The people who need to learn about the costs, to everyone, of not spaying or neutering are very likely not reading this blog.


flutterby, the problem is getting solved. The Animal Rights extremists are exploiting the animal shelter population. It's how they feed their fund-raising beast and also push for draconian laws to advance their "one generation and out" agenda to eliminate domestic animals. They talk about this problem in terms that suggest it's getting worse, when in fact it's getting better. The number of dogs killed in California animal shelters has decreased by 43% in just the past 5 years.


Gina Spadafori

Exactly so ... these people are going to continue to get pets, from Internet puppy mills and retail puppy-mill outlets. From roadside give-aways and flea markets. From boxes outside the supermarket, with "free kittens." Puppies smuggled in from Mexico or imported from the former Soviet Union's puppy mills.

These sources won't go away because they are either exempt (large-scale commercial breeders/puppy mills) or don't care about the law (careless, clueless backyard breeders).

These sources do not screen buyers/adopters. Your money gets you the pet, whether you're suited for the animal or not.

And those ill-prepared people are most likely to dump pets on the "shelters." Where instead of providing shelter, they'll be killed.

Frustrated? You bet. All breeders are not the same, and the bottom line with forced spay-neuter is the "good" ones will be the only ones affected.

Is "any law" better than no law at all? Absolutely not.


straybaby, when you talk about MSN in New York City, are you talking about MSN for ONLY shelters and rescues? Or are you talking about MSN for ALL pet owners?

Chris Lewis

So now they're going to activate this law with a new multi layer of paperwork into their accounting - see how they handle their paperwork now:



ok, someone who supports MSN PUH LEEZE explain to me the logic that it will stop the killing of pets in shelters.

The reason pets are in shelters is... because people turn them over to shelters.

The reason pets are killed in shelters is... because people kill them in shelters.

In what way does MSN STOP people from turning over pets to shelters, or STOP people from killing pets in shelters?


Comment by LauraS — February 27, 2008 @ 11:41

last time i checked, that was not true in NYC. our numbers are going down on euth and up on adoption pretty equally. intake has gone down, but not as much. this could be partly do to the economy. now our MSN only effects shelters and rescues. and i have experienced the law working. was at the shelter one night and hellped a mother and kids pick a puppy. a bit later when they were filling out the forms and such, they were told they could take the puppy home after she was spayed. turns out the mom had thought of having one litter so the kids could . . . after some conversation, she understood and all was fine and puppy went home after a spay. one litter of pit/mix puppies avoided. this all took place in the city's high kill shelter that was full up with homeless animals. and our tax payers are not paying for MSN. it's not done with city funding as afaik. Maddie's Fund, ASPCA etc. we do spay days etc and the ASPCA has low cost ($25) available for anyone who wants it (over 20 cats for me. lol!~) again, ours isn't community wide, just shelter animals. durning kitten season, they do relax it a bit because kittens don't weigh enough, but there's also a $100 deposit required, refundable when you bring proof, or kitten back for altering.

i'm not for MSN, but when shelters/rescues do require it and work collectively towards a no-kill goal, it's not causing higher numbers. and the communities that have it and the numbers are going up, then something is wrong and the source needs to be dealt with, imo.


straybaby, shelter intakes and euthanasias are going down all across America. In the 1970's, over 20 million dogs and cats were killed in America's animal shelters. Now it's down to 3-4 million per year, and falling each year.

Where MSN laws have been imposed, the improvement in these statistics slows down, and sometimes reverses.

Spay/neuter policies or laws pertaining to shelter adoptions have nothing to do with MSN laws. MSN laws target all owned dogs and/or cats, regardless of where they came from.


Pat, it's statewide for only shelters/rescue afaik. i only pay attention to the city stats/laws mostly.

Laura, our (NYC) shelter intakes/euths were NOT going down. believe me. and yes i know what MSN laws usually covered that's why i specified what ours covered. now i don't know why intakes and euths would trend up, unless they were relying on it for Animal Control and not even trying to adopt out/locate owners of strays. that sounds more like a people problem and perhaps easier access to commercial breeders. that is a community problem that should be identified/addressed so it is a valid argument against MSN.

like i said prior, it seems like the problem should be identified and dealt with if there's enough stats to say MSN increases shelter populations/deaths. i mean if we are adopting out 30 thousand pets into NYC, that's 30 thousand pets that are not breeding/contributing to the intake & death rate.

i checked your links and really didn't see any strong evidence aside from licensing rates dropping. that's an enforcement problem. i'd be interested to see if that was a general trend across the US. the costs sheets from Santa Cruz didn't seem to tie them to the law. or what caused the cost increases. again, i'm not pro MSN, but i think if one of the arguments against it is that it causes increases, there would be some more substantial info out there. if you think about it, if all the people who didn't license (supposedly) because of the law, would breed or not anyway. so it shouldn't really effect the population increases at the shelter. it would reduce revenue, but again, that's enforcement. use the why's of MSN not working as a direction to new solutions. but make sure the argument is solid ;)


straybaby, you did a good thing convincing that mom to spay her dog.

But you assume that she wouldn't have found homes for the puppies and would have dumped them at the shelter .. it's almost as likely that momdog and/or some/all of the puppies would have died.

I don't see how your example proves anything about MSN

Christie Keith

Shelters requiring that the animals they place be altered is completely reasonable and is in no way the same as forced sterilization of people's own pets.

Someone ordering me with force of law to sterilize my dog or cat at the age of 16 weeks, when I don't want them to undergo that surgery either ever or at that age is not going to keep one single dog or cat out of the shelter and is unquestionably antagonistic to my rights. And it turns someone who should be an ally into an enemy.

Christie Keith

straybaby, it seems to me that you're saying "If the opponents of mandatory spay/neuter of pets claim it doesn't decrease shelter deaths or even makes them go up, the onus is on them to prove it." But I don't agree.

To INTRODUCE a new law that RESTRICTS an existing right, the onus is surely on the people proposing this new restriction to demonstrate it will accomplish its goals and that the goal will be of sufficient benefit to society to outweigh the infringement on rights.

The way you're setting it up here, as long as we can't prove it won't work, we should accept it, but that really makes no sense at all. If you're going to take my rights away, you have to show that it will work to do what you say, and that what you say is important enough to take away some of my personal liberties.

Personally, I would give up some freedoms to achieve an end to the killing of dogs and cats in shelters. The thing is, I happen to know I don't have to give up any of my freedoms to reach that goal, because other communities have reached it without people in those communities giving up their freedoms. So I have to ask, again:

Why is anyone trying something that has never worked instead of the only thing that ever has?

That is not a rhetorical question.


real life example (albeit one tiny facet of a complicated issue) of how MSN would NOT be effective if legislated in the area my friend lives: My friend "loves" dogs in a "disposable" kind of way. She has had a great many come and go in the 7 years I've known her. Basically, spending money on a dog is not in her mindset. She does not license, take to the vet or otherwise financially provide for her dogs. Any dog of hers who develops a tumor or gets hit by a car is turned in to a shelter so she does not have to pay for euthanasia. There seems to be an endless supply of people willing to continually give her new dogs (I guess because she "loves" them) so no worries there. One of these new dogs she was given was pregnant and so she gave the pups away to unscreened homes and who knows if they worked out, reproduced or what. I can say with confidence that if MSN was legislated in her area, she would not comply.

Now maybe I happen to know the only person in the country like this. But I would guess not. And assuming there are others who would not comply (along with the "exemptions" in the law), it follows that the seemingly endless supply of dogs which eventually end up being owned by irresponsible people will continue.

H. Houlahan

LauraS, that article by Laura Allen is dynamite.

I just don't understand the stubbornness of people who profess to love animals, in continuing to beat the drums for intrusive measures that *do not reduce shelter intake or kill rates.* Laws that have been shown to lead to MORE DEAD PUPPIES. Everybody agrees -- Mitt Romney agrees! -- that more dead puppies is a Bad Thing.

Could it be that the advocates of state-mandated sterilization are more interested in venting their contempt for pet owners and evil wicked breeders than they are at saving animal lives?

Or are they just irrationally attached to an idea that *seems like* it ought to work, and unable to accept the empirical evidence that it does NOT?

What kills me is that virtually all of these laws include a puppymiller exemption. It's the "eliminate the competition" act for puppymillers. Hunte Corporation must LOVE mandatory sterilization laws.

Christie Keith

"This isn’t an “enforcement problem”. It’s collateral damage..."

"It’s the “eliminate the competition” act for puppymillers. Hunte Corporation must LOVE mandatory sterilization laws."

Million dollar soundbites, kids.


Laura, our (NYC) shelter intakes/euths were NOT going down. believe me. and yes i know what MSN laws usually covered that’s why i specified what ours covered. now i don’t know why intakes and euths would trend up, unless they were relying on it for Animal Control and not even trying to adopt out/locate owners of strays. that sounds more like a people problem and perhaps easier access to commercial breeders. that is a community problem that should be identified/addressed so it is a valid argument against MSN.

1. You're treating two very different things--spay/neuter of all pets in shelters and rescues before they're adopted out, on the one hand, and on the other, mandatory spay/neuter of all dogs and cats, at an extremely young age, with only a tight set of "exceptions" that are written so that they can't really be met (must be speutered by four months unless entered in competition by a recongized organization, when the "recognized organizations" don't allow conformation showing before six months, or agility or other performance events until signifiantly later).

There's no room in mandatory spay/neuter laws for responsible breeders, for the breeding, raising, and training of show dogs, working dogs, hunting dogs, service dogs of any kind.

It's not that commercial breeders become more available; it's that responsible breeders cannot operate in that environment. You drive them out--and a source of pets that come with some background (health and otherwise) and guidance and a safety net (dogs and cats from responsible breeders very rarely wind up in shelters, compared to the pets from the pet stores, BYBs, and puppy millers who are exempted from or not reached by mandatory spay/neuter laws.)

Spay/neuter of pets in shelters and rescues targets the animals that we know have no special reason why they should be bred. Mandatory spay/neuter of all pets, regardless of circumstances, targets the continued existence of domestic animals.

It actually makes sense that NYC's shelter intakes and euths were not going down before it became policy to spay/neuter all pets before they left shelters and rescues. That's part of the no-kill path to success. It's part of why shelter deaths have plummetted over the last twenty-thirty years.

It's not evidence for the very different policy of Mandatory Spay/Neuter of all dogs and cats.


Comment by Lis — February 28, 2008 @ 6:10 am

"dogs and cats from responsible breeders very rarely wind up in shelters"

To take this a step further - in the rare event that a dog or cat from a Responsible Breeder finds themself in a shelter, they won't stay there for long *provided the Responsible Breeder is made aware of them being there*. A Responsible Breeder who finds out one of their own is in a shelter will go and get them, or make some arrangement to get them out. That's all part of that "responsibility" thing.

Responsible Breeders to not contribute to shelter populations or deaths.


i checked your links and really didn’t see any strong evidence aside from licensing rates dropping. that’s an enforcement problem

There is plenty of evidence that MSN laws leads to higher rates of shelter killing and impounds than otherwise. It does require diving into the numbers, not just skimming over a summary.

Here's another study that found this result. It's by Laura Allen of the Best Friends Animal Law Coalition. http://www.ab1634.com/Files/ARE_MSN.pdf

The article was on the Best Friends website for quite a long time. It was taken down late last year when Best Friends decided to support AB 1634. Mustn't let the facts get in the way of one's ability to be blinded by rabid ideology.

As far as licensing rates dropping when MSN passes. Stop and think about this for a moment.

Compliance to mandatory dog licensing laws varies between 10% and 30% in different communities in America. Compliance is lowest where MSN laws, very high differential licensing fees, pet limit laws with very low limits, and other draconian laws are imposed.

In regards to MSN laws, the reason for reduced licensing compliance is simple. Those who own intact dogs who are defying the draconian law don't want government to know about their "illegal" dog. So they don't license the dog. To license the dog would invite a visit from the gonad police.

Likewise, knowing full well that veterinarians have in many ways been made de facto animal control enforcement officers through rabies vaccination reporting, many pet owners won't take their "illegal" intact dog to the vet for its state-mandated rabies vaccination. They do this to make sure their dog will "fly under the radar" of their nanny-state government. So rabies vaccination compliance decreases.

This isn't an "enforcement problem". It's collateral damage that government creates for itself and its citizens by imposing draconian laws.

None of this happens with policies or laws that require cats and dogs adopted from shelters to be s/n. There is nothing about these policies that would drive a pet owner to try to keep their government from even knowing they own a pet.


And for any of the readers here who are unfamiliar with the significance of the reference to the Hunte Corporation:



So, what’s next for these brilliant and trendsetting L.A. lawmakers, human sterilization at birth for human population control?

The human control freaks who signed on to this vile and malicious law ought to be sterilized at the same time as the animals in order to eliminate our distress over future breeding of this kind of brain.

Comment by Nadine L. — February 26, 2008 @ 5:44 pm

Actually Nadine, what they are trying to put through is Physician Assisted Suicide, to get rid of people before they cost our medical system too much money. All under the guise of "compassion."

Nadine L.

Hmm. Do I detect a strong correlation between the so-called "compassionate act" of Physician Assisted Suicide and being a pet in its last days at that "nice, caring" pound---the one that keeps the animals from suffering a 'loveless life on the run' through "kind euthanization?" What are we doing to our beautiful world?

M Clark

The exemptions in these laws for breeders are the equivalent of requiring to prove your 5 year old child has a college degree or it will be sterilized. One does not know by 4 months old if a dog is good enough to be a police dog, service dog, show dog, farm dog. Larger dogs must also be tested for hip dysplasia at 18 months before deciding to breed them or use them for work. So essentially, bye-bye doggie. Just what HSUS and PETA want. No more owned animals, no more animal enslavement. Wonder how much money under the guise of "friends of the mayor" donated to get this bill passed came from these two sources. Yes, the wonderful PETA with a 97% kill rate.


I could not believe it. Screw Los Angeles, I can't wait to get the hell out of this place. A bunch of money hungry ignorant people. What is wrong with these PETA freaks. Owning a pet is cruelty to animals? who thinks of this stuff. I can't have kids so I have a dog instead. I should have the right to make decisions that affect the health of that dog without the government being involved. I agree with Nadine let the stupid people who signed this crap get sterilized. That way we can at least know they won't be reproducing their stupidity.

There is tons of research on the dangers to dogs when neutering or spaying too early.

Here is a great article, please read it and help educate your friends. Maybe we can hope for a repeal of this ridiculous decision.

So is the city going to reimburse us for vet bills when our dogs get cancer or have hip or knee problems. I think not.

I am so disgusted.



Oops I hope this link works.

Lauren Phillips

Ms Keith, I've really started to enjoy your blogs. But my question for you is, aren't professional breeders the ones who are smaller scale and responsible? Thats how I have always grouped them. The ones dedicated to preserveing and bettering their breed in my opinion are the ones that should be called professionals. So in this situation, "professional breeders" are the ones with rows and rows of crates and cages with hundreds of dogs? Not recieving the love they deserve? ACK! Places like that shouldn't exist in the first place! I have two more questions for you. How do you feel about the hyrid dog breeding? and do you think 4 months is too early to fix a dog?


When AKC started their mandatory DNA testing for Frequently Used Sires which caused the puppy farmers to start exiting the registry in droves, they started creating their own registries with lots of marketing gimmicks to go along with them in order to pull in an unsuspecting public. One of the marketing ploys was to start to refer to themselves as "professional breeders" rather than "commercial breeders". The word "professional" didn't have the same kind of negative emotional connotations as "commercial", and was - besides - a nice counterbalance to the term "Responsible" which a lot of us were using to describe the small-scale hobby breeders who are doing it right.

In this case, however, the term "professional" implies one who is making one's living from the activity, and I can assure you that it is difficult if not impossible to make a living from the breeding of dogs unless you are cutting corners and treating dogs as livestock en-masse instead of the cherished individuals they deserve to be.

So remember - when you see the term "professional" used in connection with "dog breeder", it describes someone who makes their living off of the backs of dogs. And no dog deserves that.


I'm not Christie, but I'll toss in my own answers.

Lauren, the small-scale, responsible breeders aren't "professionals"; they are people with an expensive hobby. Just ask the IRS.:) The word you're looking for is ethical. "Professional" in this context is normally used to describe people who are making a living at it--and while responsible breeding can be made to sort of pay for itself, if you're careful, it doesn't support anyone on its proceeds.

The "designer breeds" are not hybrids. They're ordinary mixed breeds. Ethical, responsible breeding of mixes is certtainly possible, but rarely to be found upon this earth. Genuine hybrid dogs--dog/wolf mixes, for instance--are a really bad idea, and no, responsible breeding of them is not possible.

Four months is not horrifically early, for a small-breed dog who is intended as a family companion. It's too young to speuter large breed dogs; it's too young to speuter a dog who will/may compete in agility, schutzhund, disc dog; it's under the minimum age for deciding if a dog is suitable for showing, service dog training, police dog training, or for a working farm dog. And if they do mature to be suitable for those things, you want to be able to breed them--or you don't have your next generation.

In short, four months is not too young for a loving owner to make that choice for a family pet with no job except to be loved. It's not too young for shelter dogs to be speutered before they go out the door, so that they can't contribute to another generation of pups who will be at high risk of becoming shelter inmates themselves. It's far too young for big breed who reach their full growth late, and too young for any dog who will be a real working dog at almost anything.

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