What is with you and that one study that you ignore all the other ones?
Again, the study mentioned an increase in hip dysplasia. Still, the scientist concluded, that the benefits outweighed the risks, and even went so far as to RECOMMEND early gonadectomy. That was that authors opinion, that those were acceptable risks. I don't happen to think increased risks of hypothyroidism, cancers, hip dysplasia, noise phobias, and sexual behaviors are acceptable. Not when I can alter at a breed appropriate age and not have to take on those risks and can still get the benefit that altering at an appropriate age can bring.
If you read the article that referenced ALL those studies you would see why that vet doesn't think early altering is worth the risk. I happen to agree. There is no benefit to be gained. None.
I should not be forced to take on additional risks. Is the government going to pay the medical bills? Are they going to get me another dog when it dies an early age from cancer? No? Then they can't tell me what risks I am going to take on.
I don't really care about tourism or the economy in California. It just is another part of the flaws and affect this bill would have if passed.
If you could stop obsessing over that one study you'd see the whole picture.
Arguing AB1634 - Counterpoint
One web site supporting AB 1634 lists arguments by opponents and attempts to counter them. This page responds to that attempt.
In many cases there is a significant difference between what the proponents believe the language does, and the effect of the actual language. Much of this comes from not being aware of the various dog breeds and registries, unfamiliarity with genetics and responsible breeding practices, lack of knowledge about the sources that supply law enforcement dogs, service dogs, ranch and farm dogs and finally a significant lack of factual information.
Claim: The State of California spends almost three billion dollars every decade to house and euthanize (kill) excess animals. Almost one billion animals pass through our animal shelters each decade.
Response: The "one billion animals" figure is just not credible. And if the proponents can't present credible figures how can the rest of their information be believed?
HSUS estimates that 6-8 million cats and dogs enter shelters every year. That is for the entire United States, not just California. Just for the sake of looking at the numbers let's just accept them. Assuming that the numbers remain static from year to year that would be 60-80 million in a decade. Proponents of AB 1634 have inflated their figures by 920 million animals. HSUS figures aren't much more than a wild guess and give us very little indication as to the populations in California. No matter how generously one reads the statistics the claim of one billion animals passing through our shelters over a decade is not true.
Claim: These animals are generated by many factors, including pet owners who allow either accidental or intentional pregnancies. Most people who allow their pet to breed do not understand the enormous fiscal and emotional impact to California.
As a taxpayer, this fiscal burden sits directly on your shoulders. The California Healthy Pets Act is a simple, straightforward way to begin to reduce this enormous fiscal burden, and to reduce the number of animals entering into and being killed in our shelter system.
Response: There are certainly too many people breeding who do not place the pet responsibly. But it does not automatically follow that stopping casual breeding will lead to any significant reduction on the number of animals entering into and being killed in our shelter system.
What percentage of animals killed in shelters come directly from the breeder? What information has been collected to estimate the rate at which people will change the source of their dog from local "backyard breeder" to a commercial breeder or out-of-state backyard breeder? Today's easy ability to order dogs over the internet is a very different world from ten years ago. Will there actually be significant savings or will the animals killed just come from a different source? There are no facts to show that this bill will save either pets or money.
The facts show the opposite of what the proponents claim. Looked at in isolation it looks like the Santa Cruz ordinance "caused" a reduction in shelter intake and kill rate. But a comparision with other jurisdictions paints a different picture. And Santa Cruz costs went up. It saved neither money, nor lives.
Claim: If you currently breed, show and sell animals in California, you will be able to obtain an intact permit under AB1634 for a nominal fee, and continue breeding and selling animals as you do today. This fee is set by the local jurisdiction and is not "hundreds of dollars" as some breeder groups have been stating.
1. AB1634 does not require a local jurisdiction to make intact permits available. If the local jurisdiction does not currently have such permitting they can simply decline or fail to act and no permit will be available.
2. AB 1634 severely restricts those who are allowed intact permits. Many people who today can continue important lines will not qualify under the restrictive limits. The world of dogs is not only AKC vs badly bred. There are many good dogs that are not AKC dogs that cannot meet the requirements.
3. AB1634 does not set or cap fees set by local jurisdiction. There is nothing in AB1634 that will ensure that fees are "nominal."
Claim: An animal may be safely altered at almost any age, and animals can start reproducing as early as 6 months of age. (3)
Response: The benefits and risks of early spay and neuter are certainly under dispute.
1. The CVMA did not obtain support of its membership, and many of its member have objected to their position.
2. None of the studies describing pre-puberty spay/neuter have involved working dogs, performance dogs or similar dogs. The studies have not involved dogs that are challenged physically.
3. Agreeing that early spay and neuter is an acceptable procedure for the purposes of population control is not the same as deciding that it is a net health benefit to the individual animal. In terms of dealing with placement situations where there is little to no follow up it may be a net population benefit. However, where the animal is in responsible hands the evaluation of the risks and benefits of spay and neuter should be solely a decision of the pet owner.
Claim: If you feel that your animal is too young for spaying/neutering, the law provides for a delay, if approved in writing by a veterinarian. And, the bill provides an exemption if your vet feels that your animal is too unhealthy or old to be safely altered.
Response: This does not provide for the option of simply making the best health decision for a particular dog. The language of the bill does not use the term "unhealthy" it uses the term "unsafe". The May 31 version reads as follows:
(c) If an owner of a cat or dog provides a letter from a California licensed veterinarian indicating that due to age, poor health, or illness, it is unsafe to spay or neuter the cat or dog and that arrangements have been made to spay or neuter the cat or dog within 75 days from the date the cat or dog reaches the age of four months, and the owner has his or her cat or dog spayed within that 75-day period, the owner shall not be in violation of this act
That language leaves it highly questionable whether the veterinarian can consider future health risks, or is restricted to immediate acute dangers resulting directly from the surgery itself. This language is not sufficient to encompass a decision based on long term health risks.
Claim: The California Healthy Pets Act does not prohibit or regulate dog shows in any way. In fact, there is a specific exemption for show dogs from both California and out-of-state in Section 122336.2.
Response: One of the problems with this bill is that it is so badly written that apparently even its proponents don't understand the difference between their intent, and the language. This is the only provision that applies to non-residents:
Section 122336.2(e) Any owner of a cat or dog who is not a resident of California shall be exempted from the permit requirements set forth in this chapter if the owner provides proof, as determined by the local jurisdiction or its authorized local animal control agency, that the cat or dog is temporarily in California for training, showing, or any other legitimate reason.
Just how does one "prove" the reason for being in California? And why would anyone enter California subject to the whims of the local jurisdiction about whether the reason is "legitimate?" Is "just visiting" legitimate?
Claim: Some breeder groups are distributing information that is outdated and misleading, and some are even distributing medical information written by "medical" experts who are not even licensed veterinarians.
Response: Medical experts are not in agreement as to the benefits and risk of spay and neuter, especially early spay and neuter. The decision as to what health balances to make should be that of the animal owner. Plenty of veterinarians have expressed their opinion in opposition.
Claim: In the best case scenario, the excess animals entering our shelters will be significantly reduced, but not eliminated, under a universal spay & neuter law.
There simply is no realistic scenario that leads to a shortage of animals or difficulty in obtaining an animal from either a shelter or a breeder. Cities and states with universal spay & neuter laws have been able to reduce the number of excess animals, but there has never been an instance where the law resulted in a shortage of pets or difficulty in obtaining pets.
Response: Even if one reduces populations coming from one set of breeders that does not inevitably lead to the conclusion that the law will reduce shelter populations.
1. People facing higher costs than they can afford dump their pet
2. Irresponsible people get their pet from a different source and still dump it.
Even where shelter populations have been reduced during the period in which the law existed is not sufficient to demonstrate effectiveness. This is because other influences may be responsible for those reductions. To learn whether there is true effectiveness or simple correlation it is necessary to analyze statistical information in comparable situations. It is just as likely that drops in shelter populations have occurred not because mandatory spay and neuter but because of changes in the base culture and attitudes in the affected areas.
There are many factors that play a role in pet reliquishment and this bill address absolutely none of them
Claim: California has a history of enacting laws that reach into areas that some people consider personal freedom, when our fiscal health is grossly impacted or when public health and safety issues are at stake.
Response: This bill will increases costs, and it will increase threats to public health and safety by (a) increasing dumping on streets and rural areas and (b) discouraging rabies vaccination in an effort to avoid detection.
It impinges on personal freedom with absolutely no compensating public benefit. The actual effects will be quite different from what is envisioned, to the detriment all.
Claim: An enormous number of animals are generated each year from accidental pregnancies, many from responsible pet owners who thought there was no chance that their animal would become pregnant or contribute to a pregnancy.
Response: How many? How many animals are generated each year from accidental pregnancies? How many of those from responsible pet owner who thought there was no chance that their animal would become pregnant or contribute to a pregnancy? How was this information collected and quantified? What are the factors that affect these numbers - i.e. regional differences, breed differences, cultural differences etc. "Responsible" pet owners dont' dump litters in the pound even if they have an accidental pregancy. How many of the "breeder dumped" pets are licensed today? Well if they aren't licensing then what makes you think that they are suddenly going to obey a new law? The irresponsible pet owners who have "accidental" litters will still be irresponsible, still have accidental litters, and will dump them in parks and on roadsides.
Claim: This law has no provisions for reporting or tracking litters. If your purebred animal has an intact permit, you may breed them.
Response: It is false to state that "If your purebred animal has an intact permit, you may breed them." That is subject to local law. If the statement were true and actually pre-empted local jurisdiction breeding restrictions there might actually have been breeder support. But as it is the statement is simply misleading and incorrect.
Claim: Unaltered dogs are three-times more likely to attack humans and other animals. California suffers the nation’s highest occurrences of dog bites, animal attacks and attack-related fatalities in the nation and children are the most common victims. We can reasonably expect to see this number reduced as the number of roaming, unaltered dogs is reduced.
Response: The expectation of reduction of bites will only be realized if the statistical correlation between sexual status and aggressive behavior is also one of causation. But it is just as reasonable to suggest that this difference is explained by differences in owner responsibility behavior. Since the law takes the place of actually behaving responsibly it could just as easily be that the law will simply see a change in the ratios.
Local jurisdictions with high shelter rates have been pretty unsuccessful in enforcing local ordinances prohibiting free roaming dogs. If they actually did enforce those ordinainces there would be few "accidental" litters. Pediatric spay in particular has been shown in increase aggressive behavior in bitches. This law is unlikely to do much to reduce bites.
Claim: Most of our overburdened city and county animal services do not have the time or resources to develop appropriate local ordinances. Also, a uniform state law stops the undesirable "patchwork" effect of local laws.
Response: Well, this bill certainly doesn't solve that problem. This law is anything but uniform. And it certainly isn't appropriate in many regards. It leaves out the best and most effective evaluations of breeding quality simply because they don't involve titles or even competitions. The language regarding registries is so vague as to be useless. The bill specifically authorizes local jurisdictions to enact more restrictive provisions, thus creating that patchwork. It increases the patchwork effect by forcing jurisdictions that did not feel a need for any legislation into enacting legislation just to create a permitting system it previously had no need for, and to give meaning to all the vague terminology in the bill.
Claim: The enormous amount of excess animals in our state ensures that there will always be a large supply of mutts, regardless of the success of this law. The goal is to reduce the number of animals entering and euthanized in our shelters, not to eliminate mutts or any specific breed.
Response: The goal is important. The question isn't whether the goal is worthy because it is more than worthy. The question is whether the selected means will be worth the burdens placed on the shoulders of all dog owners. At least where dogs are involved the twin pillars that support the problem are those who place animals, and those who obtain animals. Not one provision of this bill improves either placement or obtaining a pet.
Claim: We expect a 2 to 3 year lag before we see significant reductions and up to 10 years before the fuller effect of the law is seen.
Response: Based on? Available statistics show that in every case, including in Santa Cruz, the effect was to slow or reverse the current trend that is reducing shelter populations, It increases dumping and shelter killing.
Claim: This law does not mention any specific breeds and does not stop anyone from breeding their animal, provided that the animal is registered with a recognized organization outlined in the bill and has an intact permit.
If a city or county has a stricter law or one that is breed specific it will supersede this law.
Response: Right. This bill allows stricter laws. It does not identify or define what is required for "recognition" of a registry organization. There are no guidelines. There is no provision for time to petition a local agency if it does not recognize a particular registry. You have imported a kelpie registered in Australia from working lines with great potential. The dog is 6 months old. You won't even consider whether to breed until you see the quality of the dog. You won't put the dog on stock until it is at least a year old. What assurance is there that its registry will be recognized? And what does the person do about the fact that there is no pedigree registry in which the dog can compete? There are many competitive venues, just not ones that are also pedigree registries.