Red Letter Day

Thursday, March 01, 2007

An early leader for "dumbest proposed law of 2007"

The sunshine and warmth of early spring must really be a stimulant to encouraging legislators to propose stupid, ill-thought out and plain insane legislation.

It would be hard to top the "wearing earbuds while cross the street" proposed law in New York from earlier in the month, but a California legislator has managed to do so by proposing to require all non-purebred dogs to be spayed or neutered.

Breeders of domestic pets are howling mad over a bill that would require all dogs and cats in California to be spayed or neutered unless they are registered purebreds and have special, government-issued permits.

The main goal of AB1634 is to combat the overpopulation of stray pets -- a problem that forces cities like Los Angeles to spend millions of dollars to expand and build new animal shelters, said the bill's author, Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys. Shelters euthanize nearly half a million dogs and cats every year, he said.

There's not a caring person on Earth who isn't appalled by the vast number of pets that end up destroyed every year, but using this law to attack that problem would be like trying to cure a hemophiliac by bleeding him with leeches.

The law is breathtaking in its inanity and lack of foresight. First, by including a special exemption only for purebred dogs, it elevates the American Kennel Association and its feline equivalent (which issue purebred papers) to the level of a government body in determining the future of your dog or cat.

Given the rather ridiculous history of "pure" breeding in pets, which has led to genetic misfit animals which can barely breathe, suffer terrible genetic diseases, and suffer from all kinds of temperament problems, the last thing a government body should do is hold this "standard" up as having a special exemption from a law. This proposed law also has the side effect of banning cross-breeding; the creation of "mutts" (both the regular 'random dog sex' kind and designed mutts such as "bagles" and "cockapoos").

The other major flaw in this law is that it will drive a formerly law-abiding activity underground. Responsible amateur breeders will be made into outlaws, but you can bet that huge professional pet breeders and puppy mills will certainly be able to afford the enormous fees to maintain their lucrative businesses.

This law is probably a bad idea no matter how it is drafted, but at a minimum, it should not discriminate by breeds; it should apply to all dogs and cats equally, and the "breeding fee" should be set at such a level that small amateur breeders and individuals do not feel much of a bite, maybe with a graduated scale for larger operations. And, if the underlying problem is irresponsible owners, then raise the penalty for pet abandonment and animal cruelty and aggressively prosecute these crimes, rather then penalizing all pet owners and setting up the AKC as official state eugenicist for all of California's pet population.

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  • Do you have a better idea to stop the killing of about a million dogs and cats a year, NOW?
    Been to a shelter in Los Angeles?
    Have you ever euthanized a healthy animal?
    We kill 3-5million cats and dogs a year in the United States. We have continued to do so for as long as anyone has looked. How long are we going to tolerate the killing? How do you want to change it today?
    What do you want to DO about it?
    Ena Valikov DVM

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12:25 AM  

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