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15 June 2009


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mandatory spay/neuter - the key word is mandatory - this would give more power to animal control to expand their limited police powers to hassle people - I've seen it time and time again - until the animal control system is healed from that of a killing institution many animal control officers will prey upon people (and animals) they want to hassle - the system is corrupt therefore more power only equates to more abuse of animals and people - that's what I've seen....thanks for the article and the comments...



Thanks for posting all of this. On top of the mess they've created by the law not being enforcable and relying only on voluntary compliance (which is, essentially, what goes on in the majority of the country without laws), they've had a pretty substantial increase in shelter killings over it too.

Certainly not the city I'd want to model our city's animal control laws after.

Mary Mary,

I don't know if the 7:1 ratio is accurate or not. But assuming it is, and assuming it only relates to dogs and cats (which is a huge assumption), it still isn't an alarming stat.

Most pets will live an average of about 12-14 years old. Humans now live to be an average of about 75-80 years old -- roughly 7x the average life span. Given that large number of multi-pet households, even if the number is accurate, it's not as alarming as the alarmists would make it seem. And I'd still love to know where the number came from.


Comment by Mary Mary — June 15, 2009 @ 11:11 am

The animal to human birth ratio is 7 animals to every 1 human!

In addition to the flawed math that this appears to be based on (as pointed out by Gina), let me also point out that it is a VERY sloppy statement. "Animal"? Like - as in, what KIND of "animal" are we including under this umbrella? Dairy cows? Carrier pigeons? Field mice?

It's a "gotcha!" statement based more on an intent to elicit an emotion than on any intent to actually stick with verifiable, provable facts.

Susan Fox

Suasoria- I'd like to think that there is a major difference between getting caught doing something without permits that involved inanimate chunks of wood or trex or whatever and living, animate, thinking, feeling animals who could quite possibly end up being killed.

Can you really equate a puppy with a patio?

My other objection is to your last sentence, which starts to run alongside "Well, if you have nothing to hide you shouldn't have any problem with the police coming into your house".

See the news coming out of Iran.

Why should an ordinary, responsible citizen have to "lay low"? Is that the kind of country you want to live in? If so, you're welcome to it. I don't.


Troll checking in, but just to ask about this: “LAAS has stated that it is relying on voluntary compliance.”

So how much does it criminalize or penalize breeders who won’t pay for the additional license if it’s “voluntary?”

OK, let's say the legislature passes a law saying that anyone who goes by the name "Suasoria" has to have a finger cut off each time they post on a blog. Enforcement will be voluntary -- FOR NOW -- because the budget is tight. You OK with that? If you lay low, you probably don't need to sweat it. Probably.

Gina Spadafori

If you get "busted" for a unpermitted deck, you might have to pull the deck out (if it doesn't meet code).

If you get "busted" for being a reputable, ethical and compassionate breeder -- almost all of whom don't have "kennels" but "homes" -- you lose your dogs. That may not matter to a careless or clueless hump-and-dump breeder, or a USDA "licensed" puppy miller, but it sure as hell matters to me. These pets are my family.

I kind of see that as a pretty big difference, myself. Not to mention: I don't even have outstanding parking tickets. Good breeders would rather do what they do in the open, proudly, not in the shadows. We are responsible for our dogs for life, and we are being targeted not because our dogs end up in shelters -- they don't -- because we are the easiest to find.

We're not running meth labs. We're preserving heritage breeds. I am not a criminal.


By the way ... disagreeing doesn't a troll make. Hit and run posting, without the ability or interest in discussions aimed at solutions if what defines a troll for me. Appreciate your sense of humor in self-identifying, but you're not a troll.

Gina Spadafori

MM ... the practical solution that DOES work is not to put laws on people who cannot comply with them. Aggressive, incentived spay-neuter outreach that takes the service where people who WILL USE IT live turns the spigot off upstream.

Making it a law that people must spay-neuter everything without making it possible for them to do so (money, transportation) does nothing except target populations that aren't a problem, such as the reputable, ethical protectors of heritage breeds.

Mary Mary


I wasn't arguing for mandatory spay-neuter with my question about the 7:1 ratio.

I am wondering how the math shakes out. So maybe with death, of new and existing animals, the number decreases to 5:1. And if the feral cats could be taken to zero or negative population growth, the number would go to 2.3:1. And if you convince 3% of people to adopt from shelters, the number becomes 1.7:1.

NOTE ... I am making all of this up.

But I like to argue X with X.

Gina Spadafori

Actually, I think that's based on numbers that have no basis in fact, but good luck with explaining that. Here's the Wall Street Journal doing so:



Troll checking in, but just to ask about this: "LAAS has stated that it is relying on voluntary compliance."

So how much does it criminalize or penalize breeders who won't pay for the additional license if it's "voluntary?"

I live in L.A. and I think of it in the same light as the building permit process. If I build a deck without a permit, nobody cares much, unless a disgruntled neighbor decides to report me. An unlicensed backyard breeder who lays low and doesn't give the neighbors cause to complain probably doesn't need to sweat it.


It is programs such as those proposed by this Committee report that save animal lives. They should be the first line approach to ending pet homelessness, suffering and death in every community in the country, including Los Angeles. They’ll do it without expensive, doomed, punitive laws that turn allies into enemies.

The Committee's report is also seriously flawed as it contains recommendations to eliminate most of the exemptions for what is already one of the most Draconian forced sterilization laws in America. See pages 62-67.

This recommendation would eliminate nearly all of the dog training exemptions:

"Every business in Los Angeles must have a business license. Trainers should meet certain qualifications and should apply for a license from the city of Los Angeles, requiring proof of business license."

Among the exemptions this would eliminate are those for most law enforcement dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, service dogs for the disabled, hunting dogs, as well as most dogs involved in dog sports. Few of these dogs are trained by professionals who have a business license as dog trainers within the City of Los Angeles.

Law enforcement dogs are mostly trained by police officers, not trainers with a business license.

SAR dogs are almost entirely trained by volunteers.

Most service dogs are owner trained.

Most dogs involved in competitive dogs sports are trained by amateurs.

Even most dogs in Los Angeles that are trained by professional dog trainers probably don't involve those with dog training businesses that are located within the City of Los Angeles, so they too would be SOL.

The Committee apparently also wants to eliminate most (all?) of the exemptions for registered purebred dogs and pedigreed cats since they decided these registries aren't good enough.

If the Committee's recommendations are accepted, Los Angeles may surpass Albuquerque as the most pet unfriendly community in the nation.

Need an example of the slippery slope of extremist AR legislation?

2000 - City of Los Angeles passes "spay or pay" ordinance -- the most mild form of MSN.

2007 - City of Los Angeles passes restrictive MSN with limited exemptions.

2009 - City of Los Angeles considers eliminating most of the exemptions in their existing MSN ordinance.


I wonder if the CA Assembly might consider saying, “No MSN until you have tried these programs for X amount of time without results.” Because after all, we know the law by itself won’t work. The programs are needed to make it work. And… the programs work without the law. So, why not try the programs BEFORE the law? And we can discuss the law if the programs don’t work for some reason.

Animal control agencies will (falsely) answer that they've already implemented those programs. When presented with Calgary's success, animal control agencies from around the nation claim that they are ALREADY doing all those good things. Their common refrain is "it may work in Calgary but it doesn't work here". It's the same BS they use to dismiss Winograd.

Susan Fox

There you go...making sense again.

Mary Mary

When you Google "mandatory spay and neuter," the first hit is an LA website ... as in Louisiana.


Here's the intro:

"Why mandatory spay/neuter of all adopted Dogs and Cats?

The animal to human birth ratio is 7 animals to every 1 human! This means that every person would have to own 7 animals to eliminate the homeless animal problem."

Are those stats true? (1:7).

If so, what is a soundbite to refute it?

Christie Keith

I wonder if the CA Assembly might consider saying, "No MSN until you have tried these programs for X amount of time without results." Because after all, we know the law by itself won't work. The programs are needed to make it work. And... the programs work without the law. So, why not try the programs BEFORE the law? And we can discuss the law if the programs don't work for some reason.

Susan Fox

How long before the trolls show up this time ;-)?


This post is made of win.

Gina Spadafori

Not long, surely ... but I'm trying to stay focused not on arguing with the haters but showing the undecideds that things that "seem like they should work" need to meet the "actually DOES work" standard before being expanded.

And forced spay-neuter is a total pet-killing FAIL.

Susan Fox

Maybe the good thing that will come out of the idiocy in LA, as Christie points out, is that we can now say "Ok, you had your chance. Here's what happened. It doesn't work and here's why. Here are the alternatives that do. You have the right to your own opinion (racist and classist as it might be), but not to your own facts".

Repeat as necessary. Ad nauseum, no doubt.

Anne Good

I agree. Increased social awareness and education seems to be the key.

Gina Spadafori

DoubleDOGdare, you mean. :)


Thanks Christie for keeping up on this! Can't wait for next years report. :)


Excellent reality-based "rant", Christie. I doubledare you to post it on DKos. ;-)

I suppose the concept of designing and also funding the implementation of a law BEFORE passing it is inconceivable. As you say, it forces the conclusion that what the advocates of the laws want is something quite different from what they pretend/assert.


The first thing--rather than ask if the 7:1 is true or state that it must be based on flawed data, one has to give LA ASPCA an opportunity to cite the source of such a 'fact'. If this is an organization that is using donations from the public, the public is due this knowledge.

"But I like to argue X with X."

Given we must get their 'cite' first, the most logical argument against such a 'fact' which comes to mind for me, is that their argument completely disregards that humans can generally live through their sixties and the cited unspecified species of animals are likely have much shorter lifespans--a fact which allows most people to have multiples of such 'animals' through their lifetimes. Their cite dictates that it shall be one animal per one human per lifetime. Therefore, the alleged fact doesn't carry a realistic "X with X" relationship as LA ASPCA attempts to argue.


Well when you've dug the hole you're in and you refuse to CLIMB OUT I guess you either sit and stew and profess to love your hole or just dig that sucker deeper.

Shame that hole is also the inevitable grave of many pets and ferals in L.A.


No one here.. not even the trolls.. actually thinks one word of this report is about ANIMALS do they? this report is bigoted, biased and full of "untruths'.. along with some pretty good ideas ( taken directly from the No Kill site)that might have worked if they had decided that the carrot should come BEFORE the stick....but "karats' are too hard to come by,like finding gold.. they take hard work, organization and "mining". There is a stick anywhere you look. Just pick one up and beat your neighbor...or your neighbors pet...


Large signs currently displayed on AC trucks in L.A. - "Spay/neuter all pets. It's the law."

Yay for transparency I guess. We're not even gonna pretend you have a choice


Ooh, can't wait to read about the turkeys! Neighbors raised a trio last year and enjoyed raising them. These were a heritage breed (red bourbon?) .

Only problem they had were the wild turkeys hassling the domestics.

Susan Fox

Heather, you would have to be one of the Most Entertaining Neighbors Ever.

H. Houlahan

Are those stats true? (1:7).

If so, what is a soundbite to refute it?

Comment by Mary Mary — June 15, 2009 @ 11:11 am


Dunno if they are true. No idea. But...

If they were, then dogs and cats would have to live 70 years to make the "everyone has to have seven pets" statement reasonable.

Instead, they live ten years (let's say) average -- lifespans of ten - eighteen years, with early deaths from trauma and disease accounted for.

Which puts the human/pet ratio at about 1:1.

Meaning that I (who do, as a matter of fact, own exactly seven dogs and cats) am six animals over my quota, and am hogging animals from someone else. Selfish, selfish Houlie.

Okay, five animals, if you count my SLOH as owning one of them.

In my defense, all my animals save one has lived longer than ten years, so maybe I get an extension.

Who knew that Dave the Trollcat living to be like eighteen (and still going, and going, and going ...) could up my quota? Plus the cat who made it to sixteen, the two dogs who made it to 13.5. I've got a 21 pet-year credit, less six for Goblin, who died of a likely anuerysm at only four. Since ES live longer than average (Pip is a youthful nine; new vets think she is four or five), I expect I'll accrue more credits in the future, and it might just all even out.

But this all goes out the window when you count the current population of two goats, ten ducks, and one-hundred-thirty-six chickens. Are they included in the animal "birthrate?"

The chook population is going to reduce drastically in three weeks, but we're adding turkeys ...


Who are the members of the the Los Angeles Spay/Neuter Advisory Committee? Who put them on the committee? And can they be replaced?


As I was nodding off to the "sleep" function of my clock radio last night, an interview was playing on the radio. The person being interviewed made a statement that went something like this:

"When regulators attempt to regulate a situation they know very little about, the chances are they will only make the situation worse".

I thought it sounded very applicable. Even if it WAS an economist referring to the regulation of financial institutions in the US . . . . . .


Suasoria - some of the good breeders would. A lot would say "That's ridiculously expensive and I sure as hell don't want to open my home to inspections without a warrent, not because I have anything to hide but because I DON'T WANT TO" And a very significant number (from my experience here in Dallas, potentially a majority) would say "I'm not registering because if I do, they'll know where I live when they tighten the law down further."


Thanks to all especially to Gina S. for your comments. Needless to say I see a difference between a patio and a puppy...I only wish more people would too. Unfortunately for many, pets are merely property, a commodity to be sold.

I guess part two is what is the objection to getting the license for the unaltered dogs? Good breeders doing things out in the open would probably be the first in line - versus the break-your-heart types, who would be hiding in the shadows?

Gina Spadafori

To me, it's not the expense. (I spend easily $10K on a litter that I didn't "own" and so did not "earn" a dime one -- certification on the mom, veterinary costs, health screening, titles, etc. Paying for a "breeder's permit" is nothing compared to certifying McKenzie's hips, elbows and patellas.)

I believe the forces of pet extinction have proven themselves to be utterly without scruples and with an agenda to end ALL breeding. To them, a "breeder is a breeder is a breeder" and all are "greeders." Once the "good breeders" are on the books, the forced spay-neuter crowd will move to eliminate those good breeders, because we're the low-hanging, law-abiding fruit.

Plus, the argument that the ethical, reputable breeder adds to the shelter population is pure B.S. Our puppy contract REQUIRES that if a puppy/dog cannot be keep, the animal will be returned to me and to my partner.

I take that damn seriously. Those puppies were born in my bedroom, and I am responsible for them all their lives.


Suasoria, the objection to licenses for the unaltered dogs, is that the price is high, there are no constraints on how high it can be, and no one can take it for granted that they will actually be able to get one. Or that it will not be revoked based on an AC officer's dislike of breeders, or due to an Animal Control "violation" that is due to someone else accidentally or intentionally letting your dogs out. Or a neighbor being annoyed because you have chickens, and making a complaint.

Responsible breeders are not making money; they cannot deal with the licenses, even assuming they could count on getting them, as a cost of doing business because they are not businesses. They cannot be indifferent to the possibility of their animals being subject to mandatory spay/neuter, regardless of their health or condition or age, if they lose the licenses. And they most especially cannot be indifferent to the prospect of those animals being seized, and most probably killed, because of a single mistake--by someone else, possibly!--or a malicious neighbor, or an animal control officer who is a PETA member or fellow-traveler.

The risk and the cost is too high, for the responsible breeders who are the ones we should be preserving, not shutting down. The "breeders" who would continue breeding under those circumstances, are not the responsible ones, and not even the higher-end BYBs, who really do love their dogs and take good care of them. It's the bad BYBs, the ones for whom their dogs are of value only as long as they are producing, for whom their dogs are disposable and replaceable, who would keep breeding, and simply replace their dogs as necessary.


what is the objection to getting the license for the unaltered dogs?

If you are referring to SB 250, dogs are already required to be licensed in nearly all (perhaps all?) local jurisdictions in California. Also, by California state law the fee to license an unaltered dog must be at least twice the cost of an altered dog license. We already have unaltered dog licensing.

In some jurisdictions the differential license fee is downright punitive, such as Sacramento where it costs $15 per year to license an altered dog but $150 per year to license an unaltered dog.

Experience shows that the higher the license fee, the lower the compliance to the licensing requirement. Low licensing compliance rates translate to lower return-to-owner rates when dogs get picked up stray. Dogs are being killed because of draconian license fees.

Dog licensing compliance in California and America overall is estimated at only 10-30%. Compliance has been getting worse as MSN laws, overly restrictive pet limit laws, and increasingly punitive licensing fees have gone into effect.

Gina Spadafori

Oh good lord, we’ve got the Mengeles of Dog Genetics here. Listen to her because breeders are “preserving the breeds”.

Comment by John — August 7, 2009

Godwin's Law right off the bat. Good job! You can discuss the facts, or take off. Actually, just take off.

But I'm guessing you're pretty familiar with the whole Nazi thing, and like to trot it out a lot to take a discussion off track. Trolls and pure animal rights folks are always big on slinging the Nazi BS, and for the animal rights, folks, that makes sense. Until there are NONE (adopt one) really works for you folks, since the end game is the total elimination of all exploited domesticated animals, including those dogs and cats you purport to be concerned about.

By the way, that preserving also means preserving working abilities of dogs with jobs, purpose-bred dogs who have jobs to do. But I know: That's slavery, and those poor happy bastards just don't know they should hate their happy doggy lives.

Back to the PETA echo chamber, chump. We don't buy the lies here. We're into the human-animal bond, supporting pets AND people, both and together.


"We’re not running meth labs. We’re preserving heritage breeds."

Oh good lord, we've got the Mengeles of Dog Genetics here. Listen to her because breeders are "preserving the breeds".

Yes, because those many thousands of dogs that end up in shelters aren't as GOOD as YOUR dogs...even though some of those dogs are indeed purebreds. Give us a break. Using flawed logic and cherrypicking data to say "LOOK, it FAILED!" when we are in DIRE economic times is really manipulative.

Lindsay Snell

Mary Mary....

People live eight times longer than pets (or about that number)

So for every one human life you can have seven or eight animals..

Now do that calculation again...

Karen Swanson

I would like to mention that in countries that spay and neuter there pets more than the U.S. there have a lower rate of euthanasia. It is also necessary to give a long enough amount of time to determine weather the amount of animals entering shelters will decrease.

Gina Spadafori

I know I shouldn't expect better from a person whose website cites the "one unspayed cat can be responsible for 420,000 cats in her lifetime" nonsense (which the Wall Street Journal's number guy says is off by, oh, hundreds of thousands), but you're wrong.

In fact, you're not even close to right. You need to get some facts, not parrot tired talking points.

The overwhelming majority of pets are spayed and neutered in the United States, 75 percent of dogs and 87 percent of cats (citation) -- it's near-total among the pets of people with middle-class income and up, and it's a highly desired option for people who can't afford or can't access the service.

Take low-cost or free spay-neuter where people can get it and they WILL alter their pets.

Yeah, that's right: Offer the service and they will use it. That's what happens in no-kill communities. In forced spay-neuter areas, people give up their pets because they can't afford and/or can't get to surgery, can't afford fines and/or impoundment fees. So instead, their pets are killed -- and these are pets of people who would willingly choose for their pets to be altered in percentages comparable to those among people with money/access to spay-neuter.

Western Europeans, on the other hand, largely believe surgery is surgery, and it's very common for dogs to be left intact (as well as undocked, uncropped and vocal cords left alone -- there's a logical consistency there, unlike here, where the same people who want laws to force oviohysterectomies -- major abdominal surgery -- scream "mutilation" over surgeries far less painful and invasive). There's a very effective tool for birth control used in Europe. It's called a leash, and responsible owners have no problem using it. That's the European way, and it may not work here as well, for many reasons, include population density and cultural differences.

I have no problem with spay-neuter. The overwhelming majority of all my pets, historically and currently, are altered. Every pet I have fostered and placed -- including when I was running breed rescue -- was altered.

What I have a problem with is regressive, punitive legislation that does nothing except make people feel they've righteously punished "bad" and "poor" people -- even if it means more pets die. Because, well, if it seems right, do it. If it doesn't work, do it more.

That's a total fail, and hasn't worked for more than a century, having "shelters" kill pets and blaming people for it.

Forced spay-neuter has failed everywhere it has been tried. The ASPCA and HSUS, which you also cite on your website, don't even support it any more.

Why do you?

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