Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SB250 meets its demise

It looks like SB250, the Responsible Pet Owners Bill, which would have required folks to either spay or neuter their pets or pay fees for intact licenses has been defeated. For sure this time.

I have to admit that my views on the bill, and on MSN in general, have changed over the years. Having spent the past year-plus gathering information from as many sources as I could come by has led me to the conclusion that we cannot mandate our way out of the extreme pet overpopulation issues we have in the Central Valley.

Case in point – the laws enacted in February by Kern County Animal Control, which covered everything from licensing to commercial breeding to animal care standards, chaining/tethering, transporting dogs in the back of a pickup truck, pet sales in public places and the displaying of a license number for puppies or kittens advertised for sale or free.

How many of those laws do we, the public, actually see broken every day? One? Two? Four? Is there any evidence that Animal Control is actually enforcing any of these newly-enacted ordinances they sought? Sure, they had the PEET team going out to county areas to check for licensing requirements, but I know most of my neighbor’s dogs remain license-free (and yes, I live in the County, so they count). And I can’t have a day go by where I don’t see loose dogs in the back of trucks or ads for pets for sale (or free) that don’t include any licensing information in them. Is one more law we don’t have the time, resources or manpower to enforce going to help?

I no longer think so.

Without Kern County getting really, honestly, completely behind the development of a true low-cost spay/neuter facility, we will never get ahead of the pet overpopulation curve. Period.

I read articles all the time about shelters that have gone from high-kill to no-kill, but the reports I read often talk about shelter who were taking in 500 dogs per month. Here in Kern County, we can easily take in that many in a week. Double if KCAC rapidly responded to all the calls they receive about loose dogs on the streets.

In the end, without a low-cost spay/neuter option for pet owners, SB250 was doomed to become one more unenforceable law, which is the last thing Kern County needs.

Looks like we have plenty of those already.

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