Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mandatory Sterilization

The Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, signed a law yesterday requiring most dogs and cats to be sterilized by the time they are 4 months old. I have no idea if this guy is one of Dougie's chums, but even so, I'm impressed: he signed one of the nation's toughest laws on pet sterilization, and that takes courage.

You can read the article here.

I'm sure LA, like Trenton, is filled with dirtbags who fight dogs, or dirtbags who just think it's "nasty" to alter their animals, who then go on to reproduce, which results in far too many euthanized animals. I know there are a lot of big mouths out there who think because I care about animals, I must not care about humans, but that's just flawed logic: companion animals are part of our society; humans bred them into what they are now, and it is our responsibility to care for them. To not care for what we created diminishes our own existence. Plus, I'm generally not a terribly combative person, but here are some questions for you aforementioned animal-hating big mouths (know who you are): why don't you explain how breeding with abandon, fighting, killing, and/or torturing animals is our right as humans? And failing that, maybe you can illustrate how it improves our society? I'd be satisfied if you could even show how it's socially acceptable. IT'S NOT.

The article referenced above mentions that LA animal shelters took in 50,000 dogs and cats last year, and approximately 15,000 animals were euthanized. Sure, LA should get credit for saving 35,000 animals — that is a huge accomplishment; but 15,000 is such a large number that we can't even properly fathom it. Back at home, Trenton's shelter had fewer kills in the last year, than in previous years, which is also an accomplishment. But the thing of it is, euthanization is a horribly icky moral conundrum because it is nearly entirely avoidable. The cost to destroy 15,000 animals in LA was approximately $2 million. I'm bad at math, so someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but that works out to $133+ per animal, and I'm guessing that's just the cost to kill and dispose of it, and doesn't include the cost to feed and water it while alive in the shelter.

We're in a fiscal mess here in Trenton, and passing an ordinance requiring the sterilization of dogs and cats will save us a lot of money, and, I believe, bring back more than a shred of dignity to our community. I am not uptight, but dog testicles dangling proudly in the general vicinity of some empty-headed knucklehead full-up of machismo are simply unacceptable. I'm not singling out the knuckleheads with pit bulls either. Also unacceptable are the wacky, stringy-haired freaks in the neighborhood who are breeding toy dogs without a kennel license, in their houses, and selling the puppies to coworkers and random people on the street for some quick cash.* When and how did these activities become okay? They need to stop.

I hope the City of Trenton will consider passing a similar ordinance to the one in LA, and I hope we enforce it. I hope LA enforces their ordinance too.**

* I promise, I don't have a very good imagination; I observe well, is all. I'm not making this stuff up.

** LA plans to fine its offenders $100, and will tack on community service. Repeat offenders can pay up to $500 in fines and should expect more community service. Not that I hope people will fail to comply, but at least if they do, it means more money for the city, and more helping hands to clean it up. Great ideas for our own city as well.


Irving Bertrand Clean said...

Does Trenton even have an office for licensing of dogs? The way Trentonians love adhering to rules and regulations, I imagine whoever runs that desk could sleep all day and nobody would notice.

Also, I think this is a great idea, but how enforceable is it? It reeks to me of "baggy pants" legislation.

Dan G. Tawnie said...

Like clean said, this sounds like a great idea but how do we implement it exactly?

I doubt $100 fine would be enough of a punishment to convince Trentonians that this is wrong. I'm thinking more along a $500 fine.

Chrissy said...

You guys make good arguments for the problem of enforcement, and I agree there's no point in legislating the unenforceable (and certainly the unconstitutional -- which I think was the bigger problem with the baggy pants legislation). It's good that LA has gone first -- or second or third; there are other places around the country with similar laws, I think -- so that we can see how/if the sterilization laws are enforced, and if there are any legitimate problems with compliance.

I do think the online communities (forums/blogs) have made a difference with some quality-of-life issues here in Trenton, though there are likely other (maybe nefarious political) causes at play, too. But, look at how we complained about the lack of disclosure regarding crime stats in Trenton, and now, the Trenton PD sends a press release to the Trenton Star Ledger every night. My guess is that if we stop letting the lame-asses (that would be some city employees and some residents, right?) slide, things will improve. Plus, I figure, even if our hating and complaining helps only a few puppies from getting stepped on by the idiot stringy-haired illegal breeder over here ("ooopsie! it was god's will that that puppy died," she said), and it protects your cats and friendly dogs from becoming pit bull chum, every little bit we do means the world to each individual animal helped, and the person who loves that animal.