« Mandatory spay/neuter bill in play again in California | Main | Mandatory spay/neuter laws: Follow the (lack of) money »

19 August 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Gina Spadafori

Fortunately, my guy, Assemblyman Roger Niello, sees this for the crap it is.

So I'll be faxing letters to all the rest, and calling to thank Mr. Niello for his no vote.


"By creating new crimes, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program upon local governments." The first four words of this sentence speaks volumes as far as I'm concerned. How do you "create" new crimes?? As Tacitus said "the more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the state." The fact that it can be even explicitly stated in such a way just shows how ridiculous the mentality is - but I imagine there may be other such verbiage that is commonly used.

My reason for making these observations is to point out the corrupt thinking, the distorted psychology behind them. There is the issue for the moment but in the long run it's important to see where this kind of hubris stems from.

Gina Spadafori

Mark, put down the thesaurus. You're barely making sense, and this is a very smart room so it's not us.


From an email just received from SB 250's Judie Mancuso:

"What does SB 250 do?

"Quite simply, SB 250 requires owners of impounded, unlicensed dogs to spay or neuter their pet, and asks that family cats who roam outdoors be spayed or neutered.

"Licensed dogs are not affected, unless the owner is repeatedly cited for animal control violations. The new amendments clarify the appeals process, and allow local jurisdictions to waive fees for low income Californians."

Is it me, or has this language been tweaked to sound more accommodating to parties such as PetConnection and others who argue valid points about income and the ability of AC to impound animals for this reason?

I am asking a sincere question--I am fairly new to this debate and am trying to make heads or tails of it. I was one of "those people" who supported the idea of the bill before I really dug in and started reading all viewpoints. The more I learn, the more confused I become...

Gina Spadafori

"Quite simply?"

Quite simply, Judie Mancuso is a liar with a red-hot hatred of Nathan Winograd, no-kill communities, poor people and people she lumps into a single category as "greeders."

Her venomous form of mental illness should not force the deaths of countless family pets and the extinction of heritage breeds, just because she has money to buy legislative support for her spew.

Christie Keith

Liz, here is the bill:


If you read it, you can clearly see that what Ms. Mancuso says SB 250 will do -- "requires owners of impounded, unlicensed dogs to spay or neuter their pet... Licensed dogs are not affected, unless the owner is repeatedly cited for animal control violations" -- is ALREADY THE LAW. That is laid out right in the introduction to SB 250:

Existing law ...provides for the imposition of fines or civil penalties against the

owner of a nonspayed or unneutered dog or cat that is impounded by a

public pound or private shelter; and immunizes cities and counties,

societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and humane

societies from an action by the owner of a dog or cat for spaying or

neutering the dog or cat in accordance with the law. A violation of

any of these provisions is an infraction, punishable as specified.

What SB 250 does is mandate all dogs and cats 6 months or older be spayed or neutered, unless the owner obtains a special permit.

The conditions that would allow local jurisdictions to grant or revoke this permit are so byzantine that although it's possible for someone wanting to spin the law as being, as you say, reasonable and addressing the concerns of its opponents, all you have to do is read the bill and see that's not the case. For instance, it allows fines and fees to be waived for a limited number of qualified "low income" people, but it doesn't mandate they be waived. These fees could amount to hundreds of dollars, when studies show the very reason most poor people don't spay/neuter is because THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT, or can't access the service.

From the bill, italics mine:

It would require any owner or custodian, as defined, of an

unsterilized dog to have the animal sterilized at 6 months of age,

obtain a certificate of sterility, or, if provided by local

ordinance, obtain an unaltered dog license
, which license shall

be defined and issued as specified.... It would allow an unaltered dog license to be denied,

revoked, and reapplied for, as specified, and the licensing agency to

utilize its existing procedures or to establish new procedures for

any appeal of a denial or revocation of an unaltered dog license. The

bill would authorize the licensing agency to assess a fee for the

procedures related to the issuance, denial, or revocation of an

unaltered dog license.

I agree they've tried to massage this around and spin it differently, but in practical terms, this is statewide mandatory spay/neuter with special provisions that target the only group that has a significant number of unaltered animals they WANT to alter but can't.

Additionally, this bill, in its own language, "creates new crimes," as well as a whole cumbersome administrative and enforcement machine that will have to be paid for by the counties, already reeling under declines in revenues and the bad economy. The bill is DESIGNED to be paid for by the fines and fees levied against those who violate it (who are, once more -- mostly poor people who want to spay/neuter but haven't been able to). That means local authorities are incentivized to make those fines and fees as high as possible, to pay for this program -- which is an unfunded mandate from the state on counties.

If the state wants to save shelter animals, which is the stated justification for this bill, it's trying something that has never worked (mandatory spay/neuter) instead of the only thing that has -- the set of policies and programs recently adopted in Delaware. It will take county money that could go to free spay/neuter for poor people and targeted groups of animals (feral cats, pit bulls, etc.) and spend it on administration and enforcement of this new law against new crimes.

Does that sound like a good idea? Read the bill and tell me.

Christie Keith

Bob Alvarez, the chief of staff for Sen. Dean Florez, author of this bill, just told me that senate rules would prevent this bill from being voted on today (Thursday). I'm watching it for further developments.


They should divert all the funds they'd be spending by enforcing this law into providing spay/neuter assistance for families in need, and to teaching pet owners about the importance of spaying/neutering their pets. This seems like a really bad way of going about making a point.

Gina Spadafori

It's not about what works with the backer of this bill. It's about her being able to punish people she doesn't like.

Forced spay-neuter has always lead to more pet deaths. Spay-neuter incentives have always lead to more altering, and keeping pets in their homes. But that doesn't matter. This is about money, power and winning, not what's best for people and pets.

mary frances

I'm not from California but I oppose this for the reasons you point out so well - it is about punishment and will only hurt pets and people -thanks for all your work on this.

I'm hopeful California will see the harm this bill can cause...and I'm hoping the rest of the nation goes the way of Delaware.



MEASURE : S.B. No. 250

AUTHOR(S) : Florez (Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Blumenfield)

(Coauthors: Assembly Members Nava and Solorio).

TOPIC : Dogs and cats: spaying and neutering.


+LAST AMENDED DATE : 08/18/2010





Majority Vote Required

State-Mandated Local Program


Non-Tax Levy

LAST HIST. ACT. DATE: 08/19/2010

LAST HIST. ACTION : Assembly Rule 69 (d) suspended.


FILE DATE : 08/23/2010

ITEM : 239


COMM. ACTION DATE : 08/27/2009

COMM. ACTION : Do pass as amended.

COMM. VOTE SUMMARY : Ayes: 09 Noes: 05 PASS

TITLE : An act to add Sections 30804.6 and 31751.4 to the Food

and Agricultural Code, relating to animals.




Jeffrey Isbell

Please view the yes on 250 website for the truth on this bill.

If you oppose it, go ahead and encourage your representative to oppose it. But at least have the courage to learn the truth before you decide.

For example, it in no way targets those who aid feral cats.

Take care

H. Houlahan

Or, Jeffrey, citizens could READ THE BILL. It would be especially nifty if members of the assembly would take that radical step.

Christie has provided the link.

Maybe you could go on ahead and do that yourself, and then explain how this bill does not -- just, you know, for example -- "target those who aid feral cats."


SEC. 2. Section 31751.4 is added to the Food and Agricultural

Code, to read:

31751.4. (a) (1) It is unlawful for any person who owns, keeps,

or harbors any unsterilized cat six months of age or older to allow

or permit that unsterilized cat to roam at large.

(2) An owner or custodian of an unsterilized cat who permits that

cat to roam at large shall have the animal sterilized, or obtain a

certificate of sterility.


(h) For the purposes of this section, the following

terms have the following meanings:

(1) "Custodian" means any person who undertakes the personal care

and control of a cat, or any person who intentionally provides care,

security, or sustenance for a cat on the person's property for any

period exceeding 30 days. "Custodian" does not include a licensing



Which is not my particular beef with it, but there you have it, this bill has a lil' sumthin' for everyone. My problem is people like Jeffrey Isbell* and Judy Mancuso deciding that my search and rescue dog, whom they have never met, must have have major surgery under general anesthesia, risking her life, at my expense.

Or that anyone else's pet must undergo the same.

*Guns 'n' Roses guitarist? Illinois political consultant/preacher? Orange County master of speech communication and "Prduction Coordinator?" Adjunct Assistant Professor at Austin Community College? Missouri car salesman? Guitar teacher who writes eHow articles? There sure are a lot of yous; funny how none of them seem to be My dog's owner or My dog's veterinarian.

Jeffrey Isbell

Another thing about my identity. I am one of the only people I know who actually post with my real and full name. I realize there are good reasons NOT to do that - with all the crazies out there, but you should consider that fact when you "take shots" at me - whoever you are. I find it helps me stay civil.

Before I get down to details, I would like to comment in the abstract that it is less important to me what an individual and her/his vet thinks is the "right" time to spay/neuter than it is to find a solution to the out-of-control breeding that takes place all over the world. YES, your rights are important, just not as important - for now - as putting an end to all this needless dying. BTW, there is no reason we cannot have BOTH better shelters AND controlled breeding. You folks are not dummies, as you say, but you are being lead astray by others who really just want to avoid paying taxes and fees and keep their little income "off the books". I wouldn't make that claim if I hadn't heard it with my own ears spoken by a woman who heads one of the major cat breeder organizations and is a notable opponent to s/n legislation. True, she is but one example, but what other reason is there really for working so hard to avoid a solution?

Jeffrey Isbell

I'm not sure what exactly the sarcasm is intended to accomplish. I will say however, that it "seems" typical of people on your side of the issue. I'm also not sure how it is relevant exactly which Jeff Isbell I am. If you are interested, I AM the one who teaches guitar, but alas, I do not have access to the bank account of the Guns 'n Roses guitarist. I DO have a lovely rescue doggy named Willa sitting next to my feet right now (spayed of course). I will re-read the sections of the bill you have posted and think about them and post back. If you are right I will say so. I'm not worried about being wrong. Neither is Judy. She has changed the wording so many times in response to different agencies concerns that I know that for sure. Meanwhile, anyone following this issue should consider the motives of the opposition to the bill. They are more salient than my motives or my guitar playing.

Jeffrey Isbell

Sorry I forgot: your search and rescue dog is exempt.



Jeffrey, please refer to the page and line numbers in SB 250 that exempt search-and-rescue dogs.

Senator Florez promised an Assembly committee over a year ago that he would amend SB 250 to exempt search-and-rescue dogs. Like similar promises he made in 2009 to get his colleagues to vote for the bill, Sen. Florez has not addressed the concerns of any opponents of the bill. This is not surprising since his office refuses to talk to any of us about addressing our concerns.

There isn't one word in SB 250 about search-and-rescue dogs.

CARDA trains and certifies most of the search-and-rescue dogs in California. CARDA strongly opposes SB 250 because:

1) SAR dogs are not exempt in hundreds of local ordinances that specify things like max leash length of 6 feet, or no off leash dogs. Violations of these ordinances trigger forced sterilization under SB 250.

Newsflash: SAR trailing dogs work and train on lines a lot longer than 6 feet. SAR area search and cadaver dogs work and train off leash. SAR dogs are vulnerable to forced sterilization in SB 250.

2) Before they become working dogs, SAR dogs and other working dogs are puppies. Under SB 250 working dogs are as vulnerable to punitive forced sterilization as pet dogs.

3) The breeding populations that search-and-rescue dogs come from are unprotected in SB 250. Even if SAR dogs were exempted (and they are not), it would do no good because the future supply of SAR dogs would dry up under SB 250.


Since you didn't get it, Jeffrey, the point of "which Jeff Isbell are you" is that, whoever you are, you are not the owner OR the veterinarian for Heather's working SAR dog, Gina's pet retrievers, Christie's giant sighthound puppy--or my four-year-old Crested, who IS spayed.

But she was spayed when my vet and I agreed that it was the correct time for her, which was loooong past four months, or six months, old, and even somewhat past a year old.

And there's no apparent reason why you, or Judy Mancuso, should be making such major decisions as when and whether a dog should have major surgery under general anesthesia, for dogs whom you don't know, don't know anything about, and who are loved members of other people's families.

And, btw, if you want to assure us that the SAR dog is exempt--quote the text in the law that says that. After, of course, reading it carefully.

You're not arguing with lazy dummies, here, Jeff.

Jeffrey Isbell

I might not be arguing with lazy dummies but you might be :)

I don't want to argue at all. I have a lot on my plate today and don't really have an ax to grind over any of this anyway. But, I can see it's important and will try to get to these questions. I think I'm right and it will be fun to find out - either way. So let's just try to "discuss" and save arguing for "The View".

Gina Spadafori

You folks are not dummies, as you say, but you are being lead astray by others who really just want to avoid paying taxes and fees and keep their little income “off the books”.

Comment by Jeffrey Isbell — August 24, 2010

Yeah, Judie, I mean, Jeffrey ... that IS what Judie Mancuso claims.

Now, when you find me a reputable, ethical breeder who makes money off that, you let us know. It doesn't happen.


I would like to comment in the abstract that it is less important to me what an individual and her/his vet thinks is the “right” time to spay/neuter than it is to find a solution to the out-of-control breeding that takes place all over the world. YES, your rights are important, just not as important - for now - as putting an end to all this needless dying.

Comment by Jeffrey Isbell — August 24, 2010

Except forced spay-neuter had failed every where it has been tried, and increases the number of pets killed.

Judie Mancuso hates no-kill communities, the only proven thing that works, as in actually increases spay-neuter and decreases the killing of adopable animals.

Why? And why is the HSUS, the ASPCA, Alley Cat Allies either opposed or not in support of this bill?

Perhaps because, unlike you, they've actually read it.

As for your belief that the elimination of all working dogs, all heritage breeds and an increase in cancer in many dogs is outweighed by the "solution" that isn't a solution at all, well, again, why? I would like to comment in the specific that since you are not the veterinarian who cares for my dogs/cats (most of whom have been and remain spayed and neutered, to this very day, including all the animals I placed when I was running a rescue) nor are you the person responsible for their long-term health because you neither own them nor pay their veterinary bills, your "abstract" view regarding MY pets is not something I give a rat's ass about.

Taking spay-neuter into communities who want it and will take you up on the offer works, and works well. So why not support that?

Why, instead, are you on board with the extermination of feral cat colonies, the destruction of working dogs and heritage breeds and forcing surgery on owned animals who are not and never will be producing pets who will end up in the shelter?


At best, it's because you're too stupid or lazy to actually read the bill you support. At worst, it's because you know what the bill will do, and you don't care, because there's nothing more important to you than hurting the people you hate.

Even it you have to hurt animals to do so.

Which is it, Jeffrey?

Jeffrey Isbell

To Laura S. regarding your point 3: I will try to answer your other points when I can, but that one is really not true. There are so many dogs and always will be that the supply can't "dry up". I wish! secondly, the very idea of keeping around a breeding pool of "suitable" dogs just in case some good quality pups show up is reprehensible - if you think about it. This is tragedy by intentional design. I have personally wheeled 50 gallon drums full of dead pure bred dogs and know what I'm talking about. So, no, we don't need to keep the breeding stock floating around reproducing countless more breeders that will never find homes.

Gina Spadafori

Jeffrey, you're out of here.

And if you and your cohorts manage this, I would suggest you not get lost in the woods or be caught in a collapsed building after an earthquake, because you aren't going to have a search and rescue dog to bail your sad, stupid ass out of trouble.

Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Mancuso is a liar and bully remarkable even within political circles.

No-Kill communities work. If you really want to help animals, educate yourself. Start by reading the bill.

In any case, if we wanted to read Judie Mancuso's lies again in pursuit of her personal vengeance against the people she hates -- and it's a long list -- we would. You are done on this blog. We don't tolerate ignorant, anonymous trolls.


Jeffrey, contrary to the nonsense spewing forth from Judie's misinformation machine, most of us who oppose SB 250 don't breed dogs or cats at all. I don't, for example.


I have personally wheeled 50 gallon drums full of dead pure bred dogs and know what I’m talking about. So, no, we don’t need to keep the breeding stock floating around reproducing countless more breeders that will never find homes.

Comment by Jeffrey Isbell — August 24, 2010 @ 11:46 am


That's an *interesting* way of claiming authority on any subject.

Some of us have been personally involved in creating actual No Kill communities. It didn't involve MSN or wheeling barrels of dead animals purebred or otherwise anywhere. It involved bringing the shelter's policies and actions in line with the values of people who actually care about animals, which basically meant treating animals and people with compassion--saving lives and being civil.


To Jeffery, I have been a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler for years.

I thank you for providing PetConnection readers yet another example of the hubris of SB 250 supporters. Here again, we have an example of someone who doesn't know diddly squat about a subject dismissing the concerns of subject matter experts such as CARDA.

I suspect that you would be consistent, and would similarly dismiss the reasons why Canine Companions for Independence, Western States Police Canine Association, California Farm Bureau Federation, and other working dog subject matter experts also oppose SB 250.


I love how purebred breeders are the main villains in Jeffrey's world. It's estimated that only 25% of the dogs in shelters are purebred (a number I doubt, given that lots of dogs are called 'purebred' by shelter staff that know little about breeds). The vast majority of the dog population in the U.S. is mixed-bred, and so is the vast majority of the shelter population. There are a LOT of accidentally-bred and stray dogs in shelters.

Around four million cats AND dogs end up dying in shelters every year, and even though cats outnumber dogs in that statistic let's say it's an even split. What's 25% of 2 million? 500,000. Out of a total owned dog population of 72 million.

So tell me how considering purebred breeders as 'the great evil' and punishing them is going to make much of a dent in shelter populations? Because contrary to Jeff's belief, it's not 'people breeding' that puts dogs into shelters, it's irresponsible OWNERS.


Not all pets in shelters are there because of irresponsible owners. The Great Recession has hit this country hard, and while there are some resources available to help people keep their pets, not everyone has access to them - or knows they exist, or how to find them. This is, btw, also true of aid programs for people, and the safety net is growing increasingly frayed.

Mandatory spay/neuter won't help any of this. But y'all knew that. Well, except ol' mansplainin' Jeffrey up there. Not sure what he's thinking with, but it's not his forebrain.

Gina Spadafori

"Jeffrey" has sent me e-mail accusing me of "changing posts, deleting posts, blocking civil users."

We NEVER change comments. We didn't delete his posts. And yes, he was banned from the site.

We have encouraged many strong discussions here on this site, on topics for which there is considerable room for debate among intelligent people. However, there are no "two sides" to what the bill actually says, and "Jeffrey" was sent packing after it became clear he had no intention of reading the bill, instead preferring to take its advocate's word for what it says. Even after the bill was quoted to him from the public record.

My duty is to the truth, not the spin. If someone can't even be bothered to read the bill language (or, as seen in an earlier case this week, read the citations they demanded), then that person is not continuing in a discussion here, period.

Gina Spadafori

By the way, here is the link to the bill, in its current form:


H. Houlahan

Comment by Jeffrey Isbell:

jI might not be arguing with lazy dummies but you might be :)



you people are too much! Isn't the goal to get as many animals (cats or dogs) off the streets and out of the shelters?

Arguments that low cost owners are being punished is just stupid. Every city has low cost spay/neuter clinics by now. Some cities even offer vouchers and coupons for low income people. Mobile clinics go from city to city!

I am sorry but I see abused, abandoned and stray dogs in places some of you "behind the computer" people probably never go to. It's easy to judge but please keep in mind that there are tons of car repair shops in horrific areas that breed their animals. Trailer parks where they look like they're straight from the jungle. Sooooooo many they die of starvation, abuse, neglect or what not.

And there you idiots are arguing that SB250 is bad! Jeeez man! It's not about you people or your pride of ownership. It's about the animals that are out there dying every day because of uneducated owners, careless owners, violent owners, macho behaviour, back yard breeders and much much more.

This is really making me sick!


oh and by the way! If you can not afford to have an animal, DON'T have one!

Gina Spadafori

Yes, Craig, absolutely: If you have something that doesn't work, do it HARDER.


No-kill communities that take spay-neuter to the people who absolutely do want it -- and that's most of the people with pets, including those who can't afford it/can't get to it -- actually work.

How on earth is making a medical decision that needs to be between a pet-owner consulting with a veterinarian a matter of law instead going to change the situation you describe? Saying we're "stupid" for presenting the actual, you know, facts, proved nothing but that you believe in what you imagine to be true, not what the research shows.

The facts:

Forced spay-neuter kills more pets, provides an advantage for puppy-millers and is all about making middle-class and rich animal activists feel good about "punishing" people.


We're about what works here, not about what hurts pets and people.


It’s about the animals that are out there dying every day because of uneducated owners, careless owners, violent owners, macho behaviour, back yard breeders and much much more.

This is really making me sick!

Comment by craig — August 30, 2010 @ 11:15 pm

And those owners are going to suddenly become responsible and willingly follow S/N laws? REALLY?



I'm sure Craig is a drop by, hit and run troll, but in case he peeps back in I have two words: Lake County.

Yep, that shining example of the success of MSN.

KILLS at 4 TIMES the state average.

Has a county Supervisor who suggested people just shoot stray cats because it's too costly for the AC to go pick them up, even if someone else catches them.

I live up this a way sir. You do NOT want to be a stray dog or cat in MSN "success" story Lake County.

And need we yet again mention Los Angeles with two consecutive years of MORE killing under MSN, reversing decades of downward trending shelter kill numbers.

Thank you Craig for not being willing to do your own research and trying to make all of California kill more dogs and cats and separate more pets from loving owners. Lovely to know the class system is alive and well.

What is the cut off for pet ownership anyway. Middle class and up? Maybe just upper middle class and up? I mean, many middle class families would find it hard right now to deal with a botched spay or neuter. I had one once that cost 1200.00 after all the ER fees were tallied up.

If you ever lose your job or fall on hard times, I assume you'll immediately give up your own pets as you won't deserve them then. If they get killed at the shelter, well better dead than living with someone poor I suppose.

H. Houlahan

It’s about the animals that are out there dying every day because of uneducated owners, careless owners, violent owners, macho behaviour, back yard breeders and much much more.


"It's about my emotions, and my hyperbole, and how I feel about a bunch of unrelated bad things that get me overwrought. Don't slap my hysteria with your facts. I'll only feel better if I believe that the police are going to finally come take away all the bad mean people and put them in jail."

Ah well.

Ding dong, the bill is dead, and Florez is unemployed.

The comments to this entry are closed.