City of Colton
650 N. La Cadena Dr.
Colton, CA 92324
April 18, 2016
Dear Mayor DeLaRosa and City Council members,
The California Federation of Dog Clubs is an association of thousands of dog clubs and owners across the State of California. Formed in 1990, the CFoDC works tirelessly to promote animal welfare, educate the public regarding responsible animal ownership, and protect the rights of responsible animal owners. We administer a disaster relief fund, conduct breed ID workshops for shelter personnel, provide educational information on responsible pet ownership, and man a toll-free assistance line for animal owners who need advice regarding pet training and behavioral issues. We support animal legislation with proven positive benefits to society.
The CFODC is OPPOSED to the mandated sterilization of pets, regardless of exemptions. Some of the reasons for our opposition include:
The ASPCA, the No Kill Advocacy Center, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Kennel Club and many other animal welfare groups are OPPOSED to mandatory sterilization because it creates more problems than it solves.
Sterilization laws increase the numbers of dogs entering our shelters. The Downtown Dog Rescue Project in South LA documented that owners choose to surrender their dogs to shelters primarily due to the costs of the surgical procedure. This is particularly true for low and middle-income working families and seniors. A 2014 PetSmart Charities survey found that 30% of owners with intact pets said that the cost of spay/neuter was the primary reason for surrendering their pet to a shelter.
Coercive sterilization laws and excessive animal-related fees result in increased shelter intakes and deaths anywhere they are tried. Fewer people will reclaim their pets due to high costs. Los Angeles has seen a steep rise in shelter intakes since implementing its own mandatory spay/neuter law. So has Memphis, Tennessee.
Coercive sterilization laws discourage dog owners from licensing their dogs to avoid compliance. After implementing its own spay/neuter law, LA County saw an 11% drop in licensing compliance while licensing in the rest of the state increased by 37%.
Mandatory sterilization is costly to enforce.
Revenues will drop, as owners will increasingly avoid licensing and forced surgery on their pets. There will be even LESS money for the needed enforcement.
Oppressive forced sterilization laws have resulted in increased incidence of RABIES in some areas, as owners who avoid licensing may also fail to vaccinate for rabies. This creates a dire risk to human health. Fort Worth TX repealed their mandatory spay-neuter law due to increased cases of rabies exposure.
Dogs are being smuggled in by the thousands now, from Mexico and other countries, to meet the demand for pets. Mandatory sterilization creates a black market for dogs and puppies. Black market pets bring rabies and parasites along with them.
Feral cats comprise the majority of shelter intakes, and sterilization mandates do not help feral cats. The only result is that Good Samaritans who care for feral cats are punished. Existing leash and confinement laws should be enforced. Sterilization does NOT prevent roaming.
There is no evidence to support the assertion that shelter intakes are caused by animals bred locally. Most puppies are sold outside of the local area where they are born.
Over 80% of owned dogs and 93% of owned cats are voluntarily sterilized in the US today, making coercive sterilization mandates unnecessary.
Mandated surgery disproportionately affects seniors and low-income families, making pet ownership financially burdensome for these groups.
And finally, forced sterilization of our pets raises direct animal welfare issues. Dogs neutered or spayed when immature have a greatly increased risk of health problems, most notably orthopedic disorders such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation, but also life-threatening cancers including osteosarcoma, hemagiosarcoma, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, mast cell tumors, and lymphosarcoma. In addition, spay/neuter particularly when done at an early age predisposes dogs to hypothyroidism, vaccine reactions and infectious disease. Contrary to popular belief, recent studies show that sterilization increases the risk of aggressive behavior in dogs. Certainly, as a matter of animal welfare, the decision to sterilize our dogs should be left up to dog owners in consultation with their veterinarians.
In addition to the troublesome mandatory pediatric spay/neuter provisions, we note that you target a specific breed type for the imposition of certain restrictions and penalties. We OPPOSE breed-specific legislation. Breed-specific legislation is a dismal failure everywhere and is being repealed in many locales across the nation. It is not only unfair, it is ineffective as a problem-solving measure.
The CFODC is OPPOSED to measures which impose numeric pet limits on households. Such limit laws result in a greater number of animals relinquished to shelters, with fewer households allowed to provide shelter pets with much needed homes.
We urge you to REJECT any mandatory sterilization ordinance and instead focus on measures proven to work over the past thirty years….aggressive public education campaigns, trap/neuter and release programs for feral cats, and low-cost voluntary sterilization clinics.
Geneva Coats, R.N.
Secretary, California Federation of Dog Clubs
cc: R DeLaRosa, D. Toro, S. Zamorra Jorrin, F. Navarro, L. Gonzales, D. Bennett, I. Suchil