Monday, August 24, 2009

Could a spay/neuter license plate be in the works?

Despite my sometimes dour outlook on the state of pet overpopulation, especially in Kern County, I am ever the optimist about what may come to pass in the future. Though there are people with vastly opposing views on nearly every proposal that is introduced, in our hearts we are all people who adore animals and want to see that pets are in loving, forever homes. And the vast majority of us agree that there’s a pet overpopulation problem, though we differ on how to handle it.

Finally, we may have something on the table that everyone can get behind and support. According to the folks at Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), California State Senator Alex Padilla (D – San Fernando Valley) plans to introduce a bill in late September to create a California Spay Neuter license plate. If we can make this happen, it could have a profound impact on the lives of cats and dogs in California.

It’s all so simple, too. A “special interest” plate is created, much like the ones we currently have for the environment, the arts council, the coastal commission, or the other eight special programs that currently have unique vehicle plates. People who wish to support the spay/neuter program can opt to purchase one of those plates for their vehicle. Special interest plates typically come at a higher fee than regular plates, with a portion of the fees going towards the program the plate supports.

In this case, the fees collected for a spay/neuter plate will go towards funding a statewide low-cost spay/neuter program. How cool is that? People who want to support the program can purchase the plates, providing much needed monies to fund a program desperately needed, particularly in the economically hard-hit Central Valley. The more spay/neuter plates that hit the street, the more people will be aware of the program, thus creating a bigger potential group of participants.

Most importantly, getting this plate option available in California will be a huge benefit to the pets living here. Developing a funding system that allows more animals to be altered at a reasonable rate can literally be a life-or-death benefit to our companion animals.

So when you see the announcement in a news digest box, remember this is one program we can all afford to get behind. If you don’t want the plate for yourself, that’s fine. But let’s make sure it’s available for those who do. Our companion animals are counting on us.

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