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Pet Overpopulation, Politics And Mandatory Sterilization Spay Usa

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Pet Overpopulation, Politics And Mandatory Sterilization Spay Usa

  1. 1. Pet Overpopulation, Politics & Mandatory Sterilization : “The Perfect Storm” Presented by: Dianne Mercer-Sauve, Director Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control 06/07/09
  2. 2. Dog/Cat “Overpopulation – A Myth? <ul><ul><li>600,000 companion animals in Palm Beach County </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>* 450,000 dogs/cats – 270,000 unaltered </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>* 2/3’s of all households have at least one pet </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>* 45 % of all pet owners have more than one pet </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>* Majority of animals (excluding feral cats) arriving at shelters are owned </li></ul></ul></ul>06/07/09
  3. 3. What is Pet Overpopulation? <ul><ul><ul><li>“ It is only natural that as the human population rises, so does the number of companion animals. This does not mean that pet-overpopulation is a myth. If we accept that there are now more humans, and subsequently more animals, but that there are not enough people willing to adopt this increase in animals, then it is reasonable to say that there are too many unwanted animals. This in and of itself, defines pet overpopulation.” </li></ul></ul></ul>06/07/09
  4. 4. The High Cost of Pet Overpopulation <ul><li>Over $2 billion spent annually by local governments to shelter and subsequently euthanize 8 to 10 million unwanted dogs and cats </li></ul><ul><li>Impounded, unaltered pets are a financial burden to all taxpayers </li></ul><ul><li>Most breeders yield financial gain while flying under the radar of local, state and federal governments </li></ul><ul><li>Most impounded, unaltered pets will have subsequent impoundments, which mean taxpayers continue to fund breeding </li></ul>06/07/09
  5. 5. <ul><li>PBCACC’s budget is 10.5M annually </li></ul><ul><li>More than ½ million dollars spent at PBC Animal Care and Control on veterinary care for injured or sick unwanted animals each year. </li></ul><ul><li>$387.00 per animal spent at ACC to house, treat, adopt and/or euthanize each sheltered animal at PBCACC </li></ul><ul><li>1M spent each year on low cost s/n efforts </li></ul><ul><li>Intake of sheltered animals continues to rise approx 4% annually </li></ul><ul><li>Human population of PBC remained level during this time </li></ul>06/07/09
  6. 6. Which means? <ul><li>That the number of unwanted animals is growing faster than the population </li></ul><ul><li>That increased spending on s/n efforts is not decreasing the numbers of unwanted animals being born </li></ul>06/07/09
  7. 7. Impounds in PBC since 1976 06/07/09
  8. 8. Animals Adopted 1976 - 2007 06/07/09
  9. 9. Where do our animals come from? 06/07/09
  10. 10. Euthanasia of Unwanted Dogs and Cats in PBC <ul><li>PBCACC sheltered nearly 30,000 animals FY2007 </li></ul><ul><li>18,248 were euthanized </li></ul><ul><li>More than 75,000 animals euthanized in last 5 years </li></ul><ul><li>14,733 cats sheltered in FY2007 </li></ul><ul><li>12,151 cats euthanized in FY2007 – nearly 85 % </li></ul><ul><li>4,137 dogs euthanized in FY2007 – nearly 45 % </li></ul>06/07/09
  11. 11. <ul><li>121,051 Unwanted animals euthanized since 2000 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>84,033 dog and cats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>21,711 feral cats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15,307 bunnies, pocket pets, exotic birds, horses, and/or other animals </li></ul></ul>06/07/09
  12. 12. Cats and Euthanasia <ul><li>More than 30 % of cats sheltered are feral – 3,480 in FY2007 </li></ul><ul><li>99 % of feral cats were unclaimed and euthanized </li></ul><ul><li>More than 75 % of friendly cats went unclaimed and/or unadopted </li></ul>06/07/09
  13. 13. Those euthanized in 2007 would amount to 35 miles of animals if placed nose to tail… The number of unwanted animals euthanized in the last 30 years, in Palm Beach County alone, would span the length of our State. 06/07/09
  14. 14. Sterilization Efforts in PBC <ul><li>Private s/n costs range from $200.00 to $400.00 </li></ul><ul><li>PBCACC offers low cost or free s/n - $15.00 & has historically spent 1M annually </li></ul><ul><li>PBCACC s/n pit bulls at no charge </li></ul><ul><li>PBCACC performed 5,525 surgeries in FY2007 </li></ul><ul><li>More than 8 organizations offer low cost s/n in County with costs ranging from $15.00 to $100.00 </li></ul><ul><li>PBCACC funded 500K annually to animal welfare organizations for last 5 years to encourage low cost s/n </li></ul>06/07/09
  15. 15. Spay Neuter Ordinance Options Presented to County Leaders <ul><li>Mandatory spaying and neutering of all dogs and cats in Palm Beach County with exclusions such as medical, registered show dog/cat, or permitted breeding </li></ul><ul><li>Mandatory spaying and neutering of any animal leaving any shelter as a result of being impounded </li></ul><ul><li>Mandatory spaying and neutering of all cats in PBC and any dog impounded at any shelter </li></ul><ul><li>Mandatory spay and neutering of all cats and dogs in Palm Beach County with no exclusion except medical </li></ul>06/07/09
  16. 16. Breeding of Cats/Dogs in PBC <ul><li>Up to 50% of dogs sheltered in PBC are purebreds </li></ul><ul><li>Nearly 70% of all dogs and cats in PBC shelters are not sterilized </li></ul><ul><li>Most unsterilized female dogs/cats in shelters show physical signs of breeding </li></ul><ul><li>For every 10,000 dogs brought to PBCACC, approx 3,000 are claimed by an owner </li></ul><ul><li>For every 10,000 cats brought to the PBC shelter ONLY 200 are ever claimed. </li></ul><ul><li>Cats make up approx 60 percent of the shelter population </li></ul><ul><li>It is estimated that more than 70 % of all animals at shelter are relinquished by their owner </li></ul>06/07/09
  17. 17. Breeding? Reproduction? Birthing? <ul><li>A recent “sweep” in the western communities of PBC resulted in 44 dogs impounded: </li></ul><ul><li>None were sterilized </li></ul><ul><li>All females had signs of recent birthing </li></ul><ul><li>One female had puppies </li></ul><ul><li>All were sick, emaciated and/or injured </li></ul>06/07/09 “ A word by any other name means the same….pet overpopulation.”
  18. 18. Mandatory Spay/Neuter - Arguments <ul><li>Those for mandatory s/n say: </li></ul><ul><li>Will reduce the number of unwanted animals </li></ul><ul><li>That killing animals as population control is unethical </li></ul><ul><li>Reducing unwanted animals will benefit public health and safety </li></ul><ul><li>Mandatory S/N will result in a decline in those breeds most subjected to cruelty </li></ul><ul><li>That many people will never S/N unless required </li></ul><ul><li>That government has a responsibility to address this legislatively </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals against say: </li></ul><ul><li>That POP is a myth </li></ul><ul><li>That show dog/cats cannot be sterilized </li></ul><ul><li>That mandatory s/n penalizes responsible owners </li></ul><ul><li>That mandatory s/n will result in an influx of unwanted animals at shelters </li></ul><ul><li>That cats represent the biggest problem </li></ul><ul><li>That government has no way to enforce mandatory s/n </li></ul>06/07/09
  19. 19. Breeding Regulation – Pros and Cons <ul><li>Supportive Arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Will reduce # of unwanted animals </li></ul><ul><li>Will eventually reduce # of animals euthanized </li></ul><ul><li>Would eliminate “honor” system for breeders operating under radar </li></ul><ul><li>Would require all breeder apply for and obtain permit and be registered </li></ul><ul><li>Would allow Division to deny permits to breeders with known violations of inhumane care </li></ul><ul><li>Would allow Division to hold all breeders to same standards </li></ul><ul><li>Areas of Concern </li></ul><ul><li>Division unable to predict when numbers of unwanted animals would decrease </li></ul><ul><li>May require an increase in monitoring and enforcement staff </li></ul><ul><li>May require an increase in inspection/permits staff </li></ul><ul><li>May cause an initial increase in euthanasia </li></ul>06/07/09
  20. 20. Breeding Regulation Options Presented to County Leaders <ul><li>Require Breeding permit for any breeding of dogs or cats countywide with stiff penalties for non-permitted breeding </li></ul><ul><li>Require Breeding Permit for breeding of dogs and countywide and limit number of permits issued. Stiff penalties for non-permitted breeding. </li></ul><ul><li>Ban all breeding countywide for dogs and cats. </li></ul><ul><li>Ban all breeding of dogs and cats for a limited number of years. </li></ul>06/07/09
  21. 21. Final Staff Recommendation <ul><li>Implementation of ordinance to require Spaying and Neutering of all cats and dogs countywide with exclusions for veterinarian documented medical exemption, registered show dogs/cats, and/or permitted and approved breeders who apply for and obtain a license to breed; and </li></ul><ul><li>Require Breeding Permit for all dogs and cats countywide with penalties for non-permitted breeding. </li></ul>06/07/09
  22. 22. Sounds pretty easy, Right?? <ul><li>Wrong…The outcry from the public came on a national level. Elected officials were flooded with negative e-mails and a call to fire the animal control director </li></ul>06/07/09
  23. 23. What Were Some of Our Mistakes in Spite of Our Success? <ul><li>USING THE WORD MANDATORY! </li></ul><ul><li>Underestimating pet owners opinion of “right of property” </li></ul><ul><li>Not realizing that political commitment is often fleeting in an election year </li></ul><ul><li>Over-estimating “buy-in” from staff </li></ul>06/07/09
  24. 24. What Were Some of Our Better Moves? <ul><li>NEVER, ever, lying to the media </li></ul><ul><li>Building on established credibility and trust </li></ul><ul><li>Allowing transparency with media at all times </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring e-mail chatter and countering with effective political strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Embracing assistance from varying philosophies </li></ul><ul><li>Switching from using the word “mandatory” to the phrase “ordinance of choice”… </li></ul>06/07/09
  25. 25. So, what finally passed? 06/07/09 Who says neutered dogs have no balls??
  26. 26. May 2008, PBC’s Sterilization and Breeding regulation Ordinances passed with a 5 to 1 vote <ul><li>Ordinance requires dog/cat owners to s/n unless the pet falls into an exclusionary status. An owner may opt out of sterilization but must pay higher fees and may not breed unless a breeding permit is applied for and approved. </li></ul>06/07/09
  27. 27. How Does it Work? <ul><li>Offers clear choice for pet owners to sterilize or not </li></ul><ul><li>Offers 90-day Amnesty for Hobby-Breeders to register with Division </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hobby-Breeders who register and obtain permit within 90-day Amnesty shall be exempt from annual permit fee and will receive 2 “unaltered” tags at no charge each year. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Excludes registered Hobby-Breeders, Show/Competition dogs/cats, service dogs, service dogs-in-training, law enforcement dogs, and/or any dog or cat with a medical exclusion including old age </li></ul>06/07/09
  28. 28. Ordinance Highlights, continued <ul><li>Pet owners who opt not to sterilize their pets, but do not plan to breed, may purchase an “unaltered” tag and sign an affidavit “not to breed” </li></ul>06/07/09
  29. 29. And, one of my personal favorite regulations… <ul><li>Any impounded dog or cat whose owner opts to redeem it intact must pay the following: </li></ul><ul><li>$300.00 redemption fee </li></ul><ul><li>$75.00 unaltered tag fee </li></ul><ul><li>$30.00 impound fee </li></ul><ul><li>$15.00 per day board </li></ul><ul><li>$190.00 citation for “at-large” </li></ul><ul><li>$150.00 fee if declared a </li></ul><ul><li>breeder </li></ul><ul><li>OR… </li></ul><ul><li>Allow PBCACC to sterilize the pet and pay only $50.00 for sterilization </li></ul>06/07/09 Off with Their Balls!
  30. 30. Is this a “mandatory” spay/neuter ordinance? <ul><li>No – the proposed ordinance offers each pet owner the ability to keep their pet intact </li></ul><ul><li>This ordinance offers financial incentives to residents who sterilize their pets and financial disincentives to those residents who contribute to the problem of unwanted pets </li></ul>06/07/09
  31. 31. Was the intent of the ordinance to raise revenue? <ul><li>No – the purpose of the ordinance is to hold pet owners accountable, including those owners who choose to breed dogs and cats. </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible Hobby-Breeders are being offered an Amnesty period in which to register </li></ul><ul><li>Responsible breeders who register will have permit fees waived so long as they remain in compliance </li></ul>06/07/09
  32. 32. Can the ordinance be successful? <ul><li>Local agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Yes. Through commitment and enhancements that will encourage and enable people, especially low income residents, to sterilize their pets AND </li></ul><ul><li>With enhancements targeted to ensure success </li></ul>06/07/09
  33. 33. Enhancement 1 <ul><li>$500,000.00 voucher program targeted to residents on public assistance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This program will fund a minimum of 5,000 sterilizations each year </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will offer all veterinarians ability to participate </li></ul></ul>06/07/09
  34. 34. Enhancement 2 <ul><li>West County shelter to become “free” sterilization clinic (opening Oct, 1 2008) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to perform a minimum of 3,500 sterilizations annually </li></ul></ul>06/07/09
  35. 35. Enhancement 3 <ul><li>Expand days of operation of Spay Shuttle </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ability to perform 2,500 surgeries annually </li></ul></ul>06/07/09
  36. 36. Enhancement 4 <ul><li>“ Op Around the Clock ” </li></ul><ul><li>24-hour marathon to sterilize cats </li></ul><ul><li>Will be held 3 times annually </li></ul><ul><li>2 events held so far this year with over 800 cats sterilized </li></ul><ul><li>415 cats in 24 hours </li></ul>06/07/09 Spay Me
  37. 37. Enhancement5 <ul><li>Encourage PBC School District to support humane education in the public school system </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage schools to require graduating students perform community service in a public or private animal shelter </li></ul>06/07/09
  38. 38. Enhancement 6 <ul><li>Establish “Citizens Animal Patrol” to assist with public education on the importance of spaying and neutering and to encourage responsible pet ownership </li></ul>06/07/09
  39. 39. Summary: The stuff I shouldn’t tell you… <ul><li>You cannot be worried about your job with this issue </li></ul><ul><li>You will be personally and publically vilified </li></ul><ul><li>You will receive threats </li></ul><ul><li>You may not receive support where you most expected it </li></ul><ul><li>Expect to be lonely </li></ul>06/07/09
  40. 40. Summary: The Stuff I want to tell you… <ul><li>Never let them see you sweat </li></ul><ul><li>Never let them see you cry </li></ul><ul><li>Never let them see you angry </li></ul><ul><li>You can make a difference </li></ul><ul><li>You must let go of ego </li></ul><ul><li>Your confidence will be contagious </li></ul><ul><li>“ The worst failure is the failure to try” </li></ul>06/07/09
  41. 41. Summary: As it relates to the law <ul><li>Ordinance offers choice </li></ul><ul><li>Ordinance offers Hobby-Breeders ability to register with lifetime fee waiver + 2 free tags annually </li></ul><ul><li>Ordinance offers reasonable exclusions </li></ul><ul><li>Enhancements will ensure success </li></ul><ul><li>Proposed ordinance is logical step to reducing unwanted animals </li></ul><ul><li>Holds pet owners accountable </li></ul>06/07/09
  42. 42. Would I Do It Again? 06/07/09 YES
  43. 43. 06/07/09 Did I get spayed yet? Do you have Questions? Save A Life – Spay & Neuter Save A Life – Adopt a Shelter Pet