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Interesting day supporting California spay and neuter bill

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
California is trying to introduce a new mandatory spay and neuter bill which is now going to the Senate for review. It basically says cats and dogs need to be spayed or neutered by 6 months of age, unless they have an exemption. Animals exempt from it are show cats/dogs, breeding cats/dogs, agility dogs, service dogs, and animals not fit to be fixed (due to age or illness).

So the local Senate member invited members of the public to come today and speak to him about what they thought about it to help him make a well informed decision.

it was interesting to say the least! It was pretty much dog breeders and agility dog owners against cat people. And there wasn't many cat people - there was a lot more against it than for it. Which is sad because all the people against it have a financial stake in the dogs, and don't want to pay an extra fee for their dogs, even though it would help shut down the back yard breeders.

And unfortunately they're not the ones this Bill is aimed at - it's aimed at the animals who don't have people with a financial interest in them - the ones whose owners don't realise the importance of spay/neuter, the numerous animals roaming the streets unneutered, and the people who don't realise you can get it done cheap at a low cost spay and neuter clinic. Part of the bill will be to put lots of money into free/low cost spay and neuter clinics to ensure people can be responsible without breaking their budget.

It was so frustrating, because the dog people kept blaming the feral cats for the problems, and they're the reason this bill was written, and because they're feral, there's nothing that can be done anyway. They don't realise a feral cat is generally the result of a dumped litter of unwanted kittens. So if you reduce the number of unwanted litters, you reduce the number of ferals. And if there's more free or low cost clinics available it's easier to run a feral TNR program!

This bill is based on laws in Santa Cruz County which has had essentially a mandatory spay and neuter law for a number of years now. The number of animals being euthanised has dropped dramatically, there's less animals coming into the shelters, and the breeders and agility owners are still quite happily doing what they do. It's proven to have worked, yet they're still opposing it. It's crazy. It won't FIX the problem, but it'll certainly reduce the number of unwanted litters, and the number of animals being euthanised.

If someone doesn't have their pet fixed, they get issued with a "Fix-it" ticket, and get given a list of the free/low cost shelters. They only pay a fine if they still don't get it fixed and can't produce a reason why they should be exempt.

I didn't get to speak today - he said he wasn't going until he had spoken with everyone who wanted to talk, but after being there 3 1/2 hours, and having not eaten all day I was beginning to feel sick, so had to give up and go get food. I do think I'll write a letter to this Senator though with pretty much all this.

It'll be interesting to see what happens!
post #2 of 12
Bless your heart for going there! And yes, do write to the senator... and give him the background information he didn't hear from those other people. Maybe you can even get him to meet with you at some point, as a constituent advisor. Good luck!
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Bless your heart for going there! And yes, do write to the senator... and give him the background information he didn't hear from those other people. Maybe you can even get him to meet with you at some point, as a constituent advisor. Good luck!
I don't know if he'd even care to listen to me given that I'm not eligible to vote in the United States... The Aussie accent might put him off immediately
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahp View Post
I don't know if he'd even care to listen to me given that I'm not eligible to vote in the United States... The Aussie accent might put him off immediately
Don't let on that you're not eligible to vote - for all he knows, you're a naturalized citizen.
post #5 of 12
You know Cat Fanciers seem to be against this bill and I really do not understand it. They say it will end the Cat Fancy in California. What I do not understand if show/breeders are exempt why will if effect us? I do not live in California so have not been following it real close. Personally I would like to see it pass and see what the outcome will be a few years later. I thought the age was 4 months not 6 months have they changed that?
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kitytize View Post
You know Cat Fanciers seem to be against this bill and I really do not understand it. They say it will end the Cat Fancy in California. What I do not understand if show/breeders are exempt why will if effect us? I do not live in California so have not been following it real close. Personally I would like to see it pass and see what the outcome will be a few years later. I thought the age was 4 months not 6 months have they changed that?
That's what the supporters were trying to get across yesterday - we were trying to ask why they didn't support it when they'd be exempt, and they were saying they'd have to pay a bit extra for licenses. I don't believe it's a huge amount, and I know quality breeding costs are high, but surely if it has proven to do SO MUCH good for the non purebred cats and dogs, and can help reduce feral populations, it's worth it to pay the extra money?

They're rewriting part of the bill and one of the changes I believe they're making is upping the age from 4 to 6 months. I would think with most purebred kittens, by 6 months old you can tell whether the animal will be pet quality or breeding quality? And any cat you don't plan on breeding you would have spayed/neutered and adopted out by 6 months anyway?

I think the problem is that the bill is a little unclear still, and so the breeders are scared it's going to affect them. There was animal control officers, shelter staff from the County where it's already gone into effect for many years speaking saying it's been fantastic for the County, and even though it's largely not enforceable - people will still go under the radar if they choose to, people seem to know about the law, and it's created a huge amount of understanding amongst the sort of people who never bothered getting their pet fixed of the importance of getting it done, and how easy it is to get done.

The dog breeders were saying it's going to kill local dog shows and therefore affect tourism to California because nobody's going to be allowed to keep unfixed dogs, and people from other states won't want to come to CA dog shows in case they get fined for having an unneutered dog. I mean really - Animal Control officers aren't going to be sitting around at dog shows checking all the animals bits to see whether they've been fixed or not, and fining those not fixed! That's not the point of the bill!

It'll be very interesting to see what happens - I like that California is a very progressive, forward thinking state and willing to try measures like this!
post #7 of 12
Have you read why CFA opposes this bill? I just went to their site and now I understand why the fanciers are opposing this bill. I to now feel I oppose this bill. Here is a link if you would like to see their side

http://www.cfainc.org/exhibitors/alerts.html#State
post #8 of 12
I defintely oppose this bill whole heartedly!

The author of the bill is Lloyd Levine and he is and always has been aligned with PETA.

So, you know what the agenda really is. This is just the first step.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
I definitely agree it's not yet the perfect bill, and I believe it will spend a couple of years being negotiated to make everyone happy, but at the moment it's just breeders vs. non-breeders - nobody's actually talking to each other to determine the best solution for everyone.

It's be fantastic if they did a slow rollout of it across different cities. It's working in Santa Cruz County and at Watsonville, it'd be great if they ran "pilot programs" across a couple of bigger cities, and some more remote cities for a couple of years and gauge how it's working, and how it affects the genuine breeders.
post #10 of 12
Sarah,

I understand where you're coming from on this. The part that scares the breeders and show people is who is backing this bill. PETA is pushing this as hard as they can.

I'm just as much for getting rid of BYB's and controlling the feral population as the next person, but the intial wording of this bill would have effectively shut down every breeder in the state of California and the only cats at shows in California would be household pets and altered breed cats.

It was ridiculously prohibitive and still is. That is what PETA's agenda is though. Eventually, to prohibit people from owning pets.
post #11 of 12
The governor of California has an accent, too Perhaps you could get him to join TCS then he could read all the threads pertaining to good breeders, BYB, strays and ferals. Maybe the bill could be reworked in such a way that reputable breeders would have more allowances.
Just my thoughts
post #12 of 12
Just to offer a different perspective…a majority of the people on the working dog forums I read are vehemently opposed to the bill in its original form because they did not feel it protected working dogs and preserved working dog lines. Though the bill has changed in some ways, but here was some of the original reasoning members mentioned: http://saveourdogs.net/ab1634.html

While I do not agree with all their ideas either (esp. their opinion on early altering), I think there are some very valid points that would need to be addressed.
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