Friday, January 11, 2013

LA - Mandatory Sterilization & Breeder Restrictions


Los Angeles to Consider Mandatory Spay/Neuter on 2nd Impound & Breeder Restrictions Tuesday January 15th – Your Opposition Needed!
January 11, 2013
The Los Angeles City Council's Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee will consider modifications to the current mandatory spay/neuter ordinance to  require spay/neuter for any licensed dog that is impounded twice, and will remove exemptions in current law for dogs that have earned or are being trained for and are in the process of earning a title in agility, carting, herding, hunting, working or other title. It will also require anyone who holds a breeding permit to submit to an inspection by the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services. The measure will further require breeders to implant all dogs sold with a microchip, "to maintain the breeder's identity as well as that of the new owner's" on the microchip.  A draft of the ordinance and the city attorney's report can be seen here.
In January 2008, The City of Los Angeles adopted a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance in January 2008 requiring that all dogs and cats be sterilized unless the animal qualified for an exemption or the owner purchased a breeding permit. This proposed ordinance would modify that law in several important ways. Please scroll down for a list of the specific provisions.
Los Angeles Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee Meeting
Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Los Angeles City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street, Room 1050, Los Angeles, CA 90012

What You Can Do
  • Attend the committee hearing and speak in opposition to this proposal.
  • Contact the members of the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee and ask for their opposition to this proposal.  Contact information for members of the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee is as follows: 
District 5 – Paul Koretz
200 N. Spring Street, Rm 440
Los Angeles, CA 90012
District 7 - Richard Alarcón
200 N. Spring Street, Rm 425
Los Angeles, CA 90012
District 3 - Dennis P. Zine
200 N. Spring Street, Rm 450
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 473-7003

Provisions of the Proposed Ordinance:
  • Establishes additional requirements for qualifying registries.
  • Eliminate the current exemption for dogs that have earned, or if under 3 years of age, is actively being trained and in the process of earning an agility, carting, herding, protection, rally, hunting, working, or other title from a registry or association approved by the Department. The report from the Board of Animal Services Commission indicates that few exemptions have been provided under this section, but they expressed concern about the qualifying guidelines for the registries and the fact that are no accepted professional standards or licensing procedures for animal training that can be used to validate an exemption request.

    It is AKC's position that no proof has been provided that this exemption is being abused in any way, nor that the requested exemptions lack legitimacy.   Further, all organizations who administer these types of competitions and events have performance standards. The animals participating in these events must demonstrate specific physical prowess or skills in order to compete. The fact that they are trained by owners or others who are not licensed is immaterial. Many service animals are owner-trained in the same way that children may be homeschooled with success. It is the outcome, provided here by the participation in challenging events, that provides the justification.  
  • Establishes additional requirements to qualify for a medical exemption. 
  • Delete references to the Spay/Neuter Advisory Committee which completed its work in 2009.
  • Adds a section requiring any impounded dog be sterilized by the department before release or by the owner's veterinarian within 7 days.
  • Requires that an animal be sterilized upon a 2nd impoundment without exception. This would mean that owner's in possessions of an intact animal permit and/or a breeding permit would be forced to sterilize their animal.  The AKC does not believe that this is a reasonable standard. A dog could get out as a six-month old puppy and then again five years later when a gardener or meter reader left a gate unlocked. This is not truly indicative of an irresponsible owner.
  • Provides that an owner may request an administrative hearing if they object to the decision to require the animal to be sterilized.  This section contains references to fines and impound fees accruing during the period from the notification to the hearing. It appears that an owner would not be able to reclaim a dog that is intact until the hearing is complete. This is unreasonable for both parties as it contributes to overcrowding in the shelter and does not allow the owner to care for their animal in their own home. Even in the case of rabies animals are allowed to quarantined at the owner's home. AKC believes that these provisions need to be clarified to allow an animal to be returned to the owner until a final decision is reached or be deleted in their entirety.
  • Requires that owners be liable for fines and penalties even if they transfer or abandon the animal.  The AKC supports this provision as current law incentivizes abandonment by irresponsible owners who seek to avoid paying fines. This policy would encourage owners to reclaim their pets.
  • Directs the department to periodically clarify and publish definitions for terms such as "registry," "recognized national association," "actively used to show and compete" and so forth.  The AKC believes that terms should be clearly defined within the statute and not subject to arbitrary changes at the department level. Providing definitions within the statute provides a consistent framework for resident pet owners and allows them to provide input to elected officials should changes to these definitions be proposed.
  • Requires breeding permit holders to implant each offspring with an animal identification device identifying the breeder and owner of the animal. Upon transfer of ownership, the identity of the breeder must remain listed along with the identity of the new owner.

    This section demonstrates a lack of understanding about how microchips and microchip registries operate. Microchips themselves do not contain any information, rather when scanned they display a unique number which can be used to access the owner's information in the database of a microchip registry. According to AKCCAR (the largest microchip registry in the world), if the chips are purchased directly by a breeder then the system will retain their information as the point of sale. However, if the chip is purchased from a veterinarian, shelter or public group then no such record will exist. A breeder could register the chip initially but the new owner would be able to remove that information at his/his discretion. The breeder has no control over the information and therefore it is not reasonable to require that their contact information remain associated with a specific microchip. 
  • Requires holders of breeder permits to submit to inspection by the Department.  AKC opposes warrantless searches of private property and does not believe animal owners should waive their constitutional rights simply because they choose to own an intact animal or breed a litter of puppies. If evidence of animal neglect or cruelty exists then a warrant can be obtained under the current law. A warrant is required to search the homes of those suspected of major felonies, the standards should not be less for dog breeders.  Further, no standards for breeders are specified in this legislation or in the current code so it is unclear on what basis breeders would be judged.




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