Thursday, March 20, 2008

Crystal clarity

Well, let’s be clear about one thing: there were no kumbaya moments during last night’s ACC meeting. Not even close, so we’ll just be putting that fantasy safely back on the shelf, right next to the one where I’m accepting Pulitzer Prize for writing about critters.

In fact, before I even got to the meeting there was a little drama in store for me. One of the folks I’ve met through this and the blogs began emailing me, asking about my commitment to the cause of mandatory spay and neuter, even going so far as to intimate that I may be secretly working for other side, against the ordinance. My family and friends got a huge giggle out of that, so thanks for the dose of levity.

For the record, lest any of the other twelve or so of you reading this find yourself confused, here’s where I stand, on any number of things:

· I believe that mandatory spay/neuter is the only viable solution to the pet overpopulation problem we have in Kern County. We’re long past the point where lesser measures will have an impact.

· I believe that we are months, maybe years from mandatory spay/neuter being a reality, and in the meantime, we have an obligation to provide as many low cost resources for spay/neuter as we can, working together with whomever will work with us.

· I believe that since breeders are exempt from any ordinance I’ve seen proposed, they should support licensing breeders so that we can weed out the “irresponsible” ones they are always pointing fingers at.

· I believe any and all advertisements for companion animals for sale should have to display the license/permit number, in the same manner that day care centers and contractors are currently required to do.

· I believe that if breed clubs are sincerely concerned about pet overpopulation, as they state, they should put their money where their mouths are and fund a low cost spay/neuter event. C’mon, show us you mean it.

· I believe that it should be possible for people who have diverse opinions to be respectful of the fact that we are all people. If there are areas where we can work together, we should. If we cannot find common ground, then we should respectfully agree to disagree on issues without resorting to mean-spirited, personal attacks. They do nothing to further my goals, they make the people who engage in them seem petty and small, and they take attention away from the very real issues at hand.

I feel as though I can now refract sunlight into prisms of rainbows :o)


Anonymous said...

Given the speed at which the SPCA ran out of the free spay/neuter vouchers for feral cats last fall, obviously there is a desire for cheap spay/neuter here in town. I think if the local focus was shifted to providing more local low-cost spay/neuter resources, it would have the most impact. Mandatory spay/neuter is so controversial, it seems to be more of a distractionary topic than a helpful topic. Perhaps if people could get off the mandatory soap-box and on to the low-cost clinic soap-box, this would provide an actual, non-controversial near-term solution to the overpopulation problem.

If you still want to promote mandatory spay/neuter, focus on the state law instead. But locally, I think the most good can come from everyone throwing behind low-cost options for spay/neuter. A mobile clinic would be superb since not all low-income families have transportation and also the clinic itself would be one big advertisement for spaying/neutering ones pets. But even just more pervassive voucher programs would be a good first step.

Anonymous said...

I would respectfully submit the following:

A low-cost spay/neuter program can not be successful until a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance is in place and here is why:

Low-cost spay/neuter programs and/or clinics can only stay afloat by being cost-effective, (whether privately or publicly funded); cost-effectiveness is only achieved through a high volume of participation in the services offered.

Here is an example: There wasn't enough public participation, to sustain the low-cost spay/neuter services being offered in our community by the H.O.P.E. Foundation, and as a result, the H.O.P.E. Foundation was forced to discontinue offering these services in our community. According to the H.O.P.E. Foundation, 40% of the people booking appointments for their services weren't showing up -- H.O.P.E. could not operate at a 60% capacity.

There aren't enough people here in our community to support even this type of small scale low-cost spay/neuter program, because there aren't enough people here in our community that are motivated to have their pets spayed or neutered even when offered at low-cost.

Any economist can easily explain the principle of supply and demand. Create a demand and then provide a supply: this provides the neccessary balance that perpetuates the success of both.

A mandatory spay/neuter ordinance should not be put off until we have a low-cost spay/neuter clinic here, rather, a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance must be implemented so that we can successfully have a low-cost spay/neuter clinic here.

Anonymous said...

You seem to assume people don't spay "just because", which totally neglects the economic conditions in many parts of this town. If you have to choose between spending $100 on food and $100 on spaying one's pet, a law isn't going to make a whit of difference. Without a low-cost option that is subsidized by the community (thus providing the financial basis), no law is going to succeed. And a low-cost effort is a whole lot easier to get going at the grassroots level than trying to pass a law.

Vicky said...

Anon, thanks for taking the time to share your views. I'm pretty sure I've made it clear that I would love, love, love to see a low-cost spay/neuter program put into place, the sooner, the better.

You indicate that this would be a whole lot easier to get going on a grassroots level. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how we can accomplish it, as I'd love to get something going on that front.

Anonymous said...

First order of business would be to decide if you wanted to get a low-cost clinic or just get more voucher programs. If a low-cost clinic, I would start by talking to local veterinarians to find out the costs associated with spay/neuter, what is involved in a spay/neuter clinic and to see if they or any of their peers are willing to help in the effort. If a voucher program, I would start by talking with Alpha Canine and The Cat People to see if they just need a little more financial support to expand their programs rather than start a whole new program. If all they need is more funds and advertising, well there's plenty of ways for the community to support them in that effort.


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