Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Breeding Backlash

The following article was written by the Director of Riverside Animal Control, a strong partner organization with LA Animal Services and the City of Los Angeles in supporting AB 1634:

Support Assembly Bill 1634

When will residents of California say enough is enough and take a stance on ending the unnecessary euthanasia of cats and dogs? I say that time can be now.

With the introduction of Assembly Bill 1634, the California Healthy Pets Act, comes the opportunity and moral obligation for California and its residents to become the model for states and countries around the world to end the euthanasia of dogs and cats in municipal and private animal shelters.

Why now? Animal organizations in California have spent millions of dollars year after year caring for animals and reducing euthanasia rates with great success, but the ultimate goal continues to elude them for one reason: irresponsible pet owners.

These pet owners continue the animal breeding cycle, leaving a renewable population of pets that forces animal shelters with finite resources to continue to euthanize surplus animals. AB 1634 would put the onus of responsibility to spay or neuter pets on the owners.

Is the bill an attempt to stop the breeding of purebred animals altogether? Absolutely not. In fact, many exemptions exist within the bill to ensure the continuity of purebred pets of quality, rather than below-standard or unhealthy pets inhumanely overbred purely for profit. Exemptions in this bill would allow responsible breeders to continue the genetic lines of purebred dogs and cats while encouraging ethical breeding practices.

Animal-control programs are complaint-driven, and enforcement is accomplished on a daily basis by thousands of animal-control officers statewide.

Most reputable breeders interact with animal-control agencies primarily to obtain licenses or kennel permits. They rarely hear about complaints from animal control organizations. Breeders for years have done a great job of rescuing purebred animals from shelters.

AB 1634 would exempt these reputable breeders from spaying and neutering their breeding stock. On the other hand, the bill would allow officers to stop indiscriminate breeding practices through the use of monetary penalties, which would be applied to irresponsible pet owners who fail to take advantage of low-cost spay-and-neuter programs to prevent undesired breeding.

Don't mixed-breed animals deserve to have offspring? Until the day comes when California is not euthanizing more than 1,000 dogs and cats per day, I say no. Spayed and neutered mixed-breed dogs and cats make great family companions, and deserve to be loved the same as purebred animals.

Until the tragedy of pet overpopulation and homelessness in our society is corrected, I cannot support the sad and needless euthanasia of animals simply because we refuse to prevent them from being born.

When will the killing stop? The answer to this question is in the hands of California legislators. Be a part of the solution and join me in supporting AB 1634.

Robert Miller, Director
County of Riverside Department of Animal Services
5950 Wilderness Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504
Phone: (951) 358-7442
Fax: (951) 358-7300