Dog advocates unleashed

Today, Guss, founder of Stop Torture Abuse & Neglect of Dogs, discusses the stymied "California Healthy Pets Act" with Hemby, founder of PetPAC. Later in the week, they'll debate pit-bull deprogramming, muscle-dog culture and more.

Don't listen to the profiteers -- mandatory spay-neuter now! By Daniel Guss
What a great way to start the week: I am a volunteer humane advocate going against you, Bill, a paid lobbyist and profiteering dog breeder allied with a PR firm that unsuccessfully defended Big Tobacco and fought against a living wage law. Birds of a feather, readers!

And now, here's the scoop:

Millions of dogs and cats are killed every year in the United States. I'm talking about really sweet, please-rub-my-belly pets, including small ones and purebreds.

Who could say we're doing right by the animals?

Imagine their millions of bodies spread out over Yankee Stadium or the Rose Bowl, 100 feet deep. This happens every year, as far back as records are kept. Some image, right? Society used to drown them en masse. Now they're injected with poison without so much as a sedative to soothe their nerves.

This mountain of death irrefutably proves that humans have failed animals miserably.

Historically and correctly, government does its best work after people create -- and can't solve -- alarming, preventable tragedies like this. The time for mandatory spay-neuter laws is now.

In 1984, New York passed the nation's first seatbelt laws because we killed ourselves on the roads at an alarming, preventable rate. Every state now has seat belt laws, and DUI laws, because we couldn't stop the killing on our own.

Should the free market decide these things? See how your insurance company reacts if you get popped for a DUI. Call them and say you won't buckle up. These laws helped reduce the slaughter.

Likewise, because dogs and cats can't beg for mercy, governments are now actively considering mandatory spay/neuter laws at the behest of animal shelter directors, workers and veterinarians, as well as police departments, animal rescuers and citizens fed up with needless killing of good dogs and cats.

My friends devote their lives to saving animals, enduring enormous personal and financial sacrifice. Hundreds of daily e-mails pass among them, desperate to save "Coco" or "Lucky" from being dragged on a rope or pole, and killed on a cold steel table or concrete floor reeking of the dog or cat killed there minutes earlier.

Not once have I seen an e-mail response from a breeder, puppy mill or pet store saying that they will save these animals' lives. It would mean one less family to which they could sell a puppy or kitten at a profit. These profiteers not only fail to help, they are now frantic to stop those of us who are demanding a change.

Who do you trust? Those who sacrifice or those who profit?

With some common sense exemptions, like for police dogs, the time for mandatory spay-neuter has arrived. (See Assembly Bill 1634, at The bill even gives breeders multiple exemptions, but still they are indignant because saving shelter animals shrinks their customer base.

So when you see someone foaming at the mouth about mandatory spay-neuter, ask them how many shelter animals they've saved lately, if ever.

Mandatory spay-neuter is the only solution. Believe those of us who sacrifice, not others who profit.

Daniel Guss is a Los Angeles-based writer and MBA who founded Stop Torture Abuse & Neglect of Dogs.

Mandatory sterilization just doesn't workBy Bill Hemby
Hey Dan, Happy Monday to you too.

For the record, I have raised and shown dogs all my adult life. I have helped bring puppies into this world and have been at their side when they told me it was time for them to go. I have bred dogs and am very proud of it. In fact, Dan, the breeders I know don't let their dogs go into shelters. They care for them, nurture them and devote their lives to them. And, yes, I have rescued dogs too.

If you want to blame someone for the euthanasia rates, you can start with animal shelter mismanagement. You really need to stop blaming the animal-loving public, including purebred dog breeders -- who, by the way, pay their taxes, rarely make a dime on the sale of their puppies, and produce some of the best dogs and cats in the world, right here in California.

If you want to stop the killing in shelters, advocate for real "no kill" programs. That should increase the save rate up to 90% or more.

I hate to burst your bubble, but most people don't support your mandatory sterilization program. They see it for what it really is: a movement to eliminate all dogs and cats in California.

The decision to perform a serious surgical procedure on a family pet should be a choice made by pet owners in consultation with their veterinarian, not dictated by a one-size-fits-all statewide or local mandate.

There is no question that voluntary spay and neuter programs, along with education, have been successful. In the last 30 years, California's animal shelter population has dropped by 57%; euthanasia rates by 75%; and more than 70% of dogs and 90% of cats already are spayed or neutered.

I know you guys want zero shelter population, but animal shelters, even "no kill" shelters, still will have to destroy sick, infirm and vicious dogs.

I adamantly oppose mandatory spay and neuter programs, whether it be local, regional or statewide. The reason PetPAC has been fighting AB 1634, the mandatory spay and neuter bill (successfully, by the way), is that it just won't work.

AB 1634 is modeled after a similar law in Santa Cruz County, where mandatory spay/neuter was enacted in 1995. Since then, the county's animal control expenses have more than doubled, to 109%. While their shelter intakes were reduced by 22%, the average reduction statewide was higher, at 26%.

Instead of reducing shelter populations, mandatory spay and neuter programs, because of their huge fines and penalties, result in higher shelter intakes, more costs, a huge drop in licensing and unfortunately, Dan, more killing.

Mandatory spay/neuter laws result in more fear of authority and resentment over the threat of invasion of privacy. It is government overreach at its worst.

I believe the Los Angeles City Council should table their mandatory spay/neuter ordinance. It is even more draconian than AB 1634, will cost taxpayers huge amounts of money and won't have the results they imagine. It is a great disservice to the citizens of Los Angeles.

Bill Hemby is the chairman and founder of PetPAC, an organization that fights for the rights of pets and their owners and is also the lobbyist for COPS, the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs.

Next day's Dust-Up >>
Day 1  |  Day 2  |  Day 3  |  Day 4  |  Day 5

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