Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Breed-specific MSN letter for cities of Ventura, Oxnard, and Simi Valley

This is a letter faxed and mailed today to the cities who will decide about moving forward the breed-specific MSN proposal for Ventura County. I provided here both the letter along with contact information and faxes for your use. Feel free to use talking points from this letter in your communication with the legislators. Thank you for taking the time to contact these cities regarding this important issue. 
City of Oxnard                                  City of Simi Valley                City of Ventura
305 W. 3rd St.                                  2929 Tapo Canyon Rd.          501 Poli Street
Oxnard, CA 93030                            Simi Valley, CA. 93063         Ventura, CA 93002-0099
Fax: 805-385-7595                            Fax: 805-526-2489                Fax: 805-652-0865
Mayor: Dr. Thomas E. Holden            Mayor: Bob Huber                  Mayor: Mike Tracy
City council members:                      City Council Members:           City Council Members:
Dr. Irene G. Pinkard                         Barbra Williamson                  Cheryl Heitmann
Bryan A. MacDonald                        Glen T. Becerrra                     Neal Andrews
Tim Flynn                                        Steven T. Sojka                      Brian Brennan
Carmen Ramirez                              Mike Judge                            James Monahan
                                                                                                   Carl E. Morehouse
                                                                                                   Christy Weir
Dear Mayor and City Council Members,                                              
The California Federation of Dog Clubs urges you to reject any mandated spay-neuter proposal, particularly when attempting to single out a specific breed or breeds.
Everywhere such laws have been attempted, they have failed. Punitive and coercive laws are burdensome on the citizenry, particularly the elderly and low-income families, who often simply ignore the unreasonable spay-neuter mandate. Enforcement costs rise, and shelter intakes and deaths also subsequently rise when people cannot afford the fines and, in many cases, the cost of the sterilization procedure itself.
Legislation attempting to target specific breeds has been a documented failure with breed-specific laws also unable to withstand legal challenges. Baltimore, MD estimated in 2001 that it spent over $750,000 per year for their breed-specific law and they were still unable to effectively enforce it. They chose to repeal the law, as did Saginaw, Michigan and other locations. On February 21, 2012, Ohio Governor John Kasich officially signed Ohio HB 14 into law, which prohibits discrimination by breed. Dogs in Ohio will now be regarded by their behavior instead of their appearance. It is not possible to ID a supposed "pit bull". There are at least 25 breeds of dogs that are commonly mistaken for "pit bulls", including Rottweilers, Boxers, and even Labrador Retrievers.
Attempting to target a certain type of dog simply because it is popular and appealing makes no sense whatsoever. Responsible owners will be unfairly affected while the problem owners will be unlikely to comply with any new laws. Adding more punitive laws to the books will not reduce shelter intakes and deaths. Enforcement of existing leash and confinement laws should prevent the vast majority of shelter intakes, while cooperation with local breed rescue groups, providing low-cost spay-neuter services and marketing of shelter pets to the public at adoption events have all been successfully-used methods to achieve reductions in shelter death rates.
Mandatory sterilization and breed-specific laws are opposed by many mainstream animal welfare organizations,  
including the American Kennel Club, the National Animal Interest Alliance, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. These laws simply don't work.
Incidentally, there are studies that show that while de-sexing a dog may decrease dog-to-dog aggression, it increases the risk of aggression toward humans. The choice for spay-neuter should remain with the dog's owner, in consultation with their veterinarian.
CFoDC has produced a powerpoint breed ID program for shelter personnel. We would be happy to provide you with a complimentary presentation any time.
Geneva Coats, R.N.
California Federation of Dog Clubs

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