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Pasadena, CA to Consider Mandatory Spay/Neuter Monday, October 6th OPPOSITION NEEDED!

AKC Government Relations has learned that the Pasadena City Council will conduct a first reading of an ordinance to require the sterilization of all dogs and cats within the city limits. Limited exemptions will be provided. However, even with those exemptions, ANY dog that is impounded for ANY reason will be sterilized before being released, even if the owner has a valid intact dog license and even for a first offense.

Further, in order to breed a dog an owner must be in compliance with existing provisions for “dog kennels” which prohibits dog kennels within 1000 feet of any dwelling other than the owner’s home. It is likely this would have the effect of completely prohibiting breeding for all but the largest landowners in Pasadena.

It is vital that responsible dog owners and breeders attend this meeting and oppose this burdensome ordinance. Contact information is available at the bottom of this alert.

Pasadena City Council Meeting
Date: Monday October 6, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Council Chamber, Pasadena City Hall
100 North Garfield Avenue Room S249
Pasadena, CA 91109

Provisions of the Ordinance

  • Prohibits ownership of any dog or cat within the city over the age of six months that is not sterilized. Exemptions are provided for those with certain medical conditions, those actively involved in showing or in clubs and those with titles, and animals acting as service dogs. It should be noted that clubs are subject to approval by the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA and that clubs must “maintain and enforce a code of ethics for dog or cat breeding that includes restrictions from breeding dogs or cats with genetic defects and life threatening health problems.” Given the vagueness of the term “genetic defects” and recent attacks on brachycephalic breeds, this language may be problematic. (Section 6.09.010)
  • Allows for revocation of an intact license on the basis of two “complaints.” At the very least this should be done on the basis of actual citations. If the dog has run loose or there has been neglect they should be cited with those offenses. (Section 6.09.030 (a) (2))
  • Provides that an intact license may be revoked for any violation or previous violation of any federal, state or local animal control law. This again is broad and could mean that an owner could have an intact license revoked because of a barking dog or leash law violation many years ago. (Section 6.09.030 (a)(3))
  • Provides that if one intact dog license is revoked, all intact dog licenses held by that owner will be revoked. Considering that one offense will require an animal to be sterilized, this amounts to a “one strike and you are out forever” clause. (Section 6.09.030 (a)(5))
  • Provides that ANY impoundment will lead to sterilization, even on a first offense when an owner has an intact license. This is unreasonable as a gate can be left open by a meter reader or gardener or a young puppy could escape a new environment. (Section 6.09.050)
  • Provides that to breed a dog an owner must be in compliance with existing provisions for dog kennels which prohibits dog kennels within 1000 feet of any dwelling other than the owner’s home. This will likely completely prohibit breeding for all but the largest landowners in Pasadena. It also appears to apply to any breeding, whether the residents own the female who whelps the litter or simply has a stud dog that provides services to another dog. (Section 6.09.060)

The American Kennel Club opposes mandatory spay/neuter as ineffective because it fails to address the underlying issue of irresponsible ownership. California state law already provides for the sterilization of animals adopted from shelters and mandates that the license fee for intact animals be at least double that of sterilized animals. The mandatory sterilization requirements proposed in this ordinance will merely punish those who are responsible owners and breeders, and the irresponsible owners who are not complying with current laws are likely to continue their behavior.

The staff report provided in Item 6 of the agenda also contains many statements that are problematic.

  • The staff report is disingenuous with regard to the positions of AVMA and CVMA on mandatory spay/neuter. The AVMA specifically OPPOSES mandatory spay/neuter of owned animals and CVMA’s position on early spay/neuter does not specifically address mandating sterilization. When mandatory sterilization was debated statewide with AB 1634 (2007-08) CVMA initially supported the legislation but was forced to withdraw their support of this legislation and take a neutral position after many of their members objected.
  • The staff report proposes setting license fees so that an intact license is $60 more than a license for a sterilized animal. California State law requires that a license for an intact dog be at least twice as much as a license for a sterilized dog. While $60 is still high relative to the other cities, the question should be whether it is effective.  Higher license fees often lead to lower compliance and several communities have seen significant drops in intact licenses when fees are raised dramatically.
  • It is unclear how efficacy of the fee will be determined. A decrease in intact licenses is not helpful as it may indicate non-renewal of the licenses for intact pets.
  • Plans for a public education campaign seem comprehensive but it is unclear if they are relying on free media and if the outreach will be conducted in various languages to serve the diverse population of the city. The mobile unit for education is nice but could it not be utilized to provide transportation to low cost spay/neuter clinics for those residents who do not have cars? Access is a significant barrier to spay/neuter in low income communities. Nothing in this report or the ordinance addresses the cost of spay/neuter services or transportation concerns.
  • Mandatory spay/neuter policies have NEVER resulted in higher licensing compliance, lower shelter populations, or decreased costs. The projected 58% increase in revenue is completely without basis and does not seem likely considering past statistics.

Many communities that have implemented mandatory spay/neuter policies have found them to be ineffective and expensive. For example, after Dallas, Texas enacted MSN policies in 2008, it experienced a 22 percent increase in animal control costs and an overall decrease in licensing compliance. MSN laws often result in owners either ignoring animal control laws entirely, or relinquishing their pets to the public shelter to be cared for at the taxpayers’ expense rather than to pay for expensive sterilization surgery or breeder permits. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), some owners also opt to avoid rabies vaccinations and other general veterinary care in order to hide their lack of compliance with MSN laws.

What You Can Do

  • Attend the city council meeting and voice your opposition to a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance.
  • Contact the Pasadena City Council members and ask them to oppose this measure.

AKC Resources
AKC Position Statement: Canine Population Issues
AKC Position Statement: Spaying and Neutering
Mandatory Spay-Neuter Issue Brief
Issue Analysis: Why Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws are Ineffective

No national animal welfare organizations support mandatory spay/neuter and in fact it is opposed by AKC, ASPCA, No Kill Advocacy Center, and the American College of Theriogenologists. This opposition exists because mandatory spay/neuter policies are ineffective at reducing shelter intakes or euthanasia.

Pasadena Mayor and City Council Members

Mayor Bill Bogaard
Phone: (626) 744-4311
Fax: (626) 744-3727 Email: bbogaard@cityofpasadena.net

Vice Mayor Jacque Robinson, District 1
Phone: 626-744-4444
E-Mail: district1@cityofpasadena.net

Councilmember Margaret McAustin, District 2
Phone: 626-744-4742
Email Address: mlmorales@cityofpasadena.net

Councilmember John Kennedy, District 3
Phone: 626-744-4738
Fax: 626-744-4774
Email: jwest@cityofpasadena.net

Councilmember Gene Masuda, District 4
Phone: 626-744-4740
Email: nsullivan@cityofpasadena.net

Councilmember Victor Gordo Esq., District 5
Phone: 626-831-8609
Fax: 626-398-1836
Email: vdelacuba@cityofpasadena.net

Councilmember Steve Madison, District 6
Phone: 626-744-4739
Email: smadison@cityofpasadena.net

Councilmember Terry Tornek, District 7
Phone: 626-441-4802
Fax: 626-441-4806
Email: ttornek@cityofpasadena.net

For those reading this alert in plain text, here are the relevant links:

http://ww2.cityofpasadena.net/councilagendas/2014%20Agendas/Oct_06_14/AR%207%20ORDINANCE.pdf – Pasadena draft ordinance

https://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientId=16551- Pasadena’s current ordinance, Chapter 6 Animals

https://www.akc.org/governmentrelations/policy_resources.cfm – All AKC Resources on Breeder Restrictions and Mandatory Spay/Neuter are available on this page

https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Dog-And-Cat-Population-Control.aspx – AVMA Position Statement

http://www.cvma.net/4DCGI/cms/review.html?Action=CMS_Document&DocID=691&MenuKey=7 – CVMA Position Statement

http://www.aspca.org/nyc/mobile-spay-neuter-clinic/position-statement-on-mandatory-spayneuter-laws – ASPCA Position Statement

http://www.theriogenology.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=59 – American College of Theriogenologists

http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/mandatorylaws.pdf – No Kill Advocacy Center article on mandatory spay/neuter

AKC Government Relations has learned that the Pasadena City Council will conduct a first reading…