Monday, April 7, 2008

LA Area - Mandatory to Spay and Neuter

In an attempt to become a No Kill city, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed one of the country's toughest laws on pet sterilization. It requires that most dogs and cats be sterilized by 4 months of age. Show or sporting competition dogs, guide dogs, animals used by police agencies and those belonging to professional breeders are exempt from the law.

According to msnbc, "First-time offenders will receive information on subsidized sterilization services and be given an additional 60 days. If they still fail to comply they could be fined $100 and ordered to serve eight hours of community service. A subsequent offense could result in a $500 fine or 40 hours of community service."

This all sounds fine and good, the law is trying to solve a major problem. LA shelters took in 50,000 cats and dogs last year and euthanized approximately 15,000 at a cost of $2 million, msnbc reports.

Other issues aside (which I will discuss at a later date) my big question is - who is going to police this? Are there going be dog patrols out checking all dogs out and about being walked? Will they be tracked via pet licensing? Are vets going to be responsible for reporting law breakers? The people that don't spay their dogs usually don't take them to the vet anyway. Responsible people will be responsible for their pets and the rest will slip between the cracks. A poster on a Los Angeles dog message board fears that, "more sick dogs won't even get to go to the vets because their irresponsible owners will be afraid of getting caught".

So, as I've said it is an interesting law with a great purpose idea. It just seems unmanageable. As Dolittler says, "it's too bad you can't legislate common sense".

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