To our County Commissioners.
Dear Durham Board of County Commissioners:
I know you've all got a lot on your plates this week, what with the Jordan Lake fiasco and probably having to justify not overturning an illegal vote and all that. Or maybe you feel you don't need to even talk about it with your constituents. That's OK. I don't want to talk to you about Jordan Lake anyway.
No, I want to talk to you about what i think is a pretty big hole in Durham County's animal ordinances. You see, if i go to the County animal shelter to adopt a dog, i have to be vetted personally, my home has to be approved as a place that's safe for a dog, and i have to agree to pay for spaying or neutering the dog. Those are all good things.
We don't want the county in the business of giving animals to people who are going to abuse them, or conduct experiments on them, or allow them to run all over town making litters of unwanted puppies that we're not going to be able to deal with in the future.
So why is it that, if i already own a dog that's running around loose in town, i can go to the county animal shelter and pick him up without having to be approved as a dog owner? Why am i allowed to recover that dog without demonstrating that i have a safe, secure location to keep the dog in? Why don't i have to get that dog spayed or neutered? I mean, the owner of an intact dog that's been picked up by the Animal Control department has already demonstrated that they're not concerned with the potential of unwanted litters. Wouldn't it make sense, both morally and financially, to require owners of dogs that have been picked up loose in town to have them spayed or neutered as a condition of their release?
Or do you believe that putting down 400 animals per month at our dog shelter is a good use of resources? Maybe it's that none of you live in places where animals are mistreated or allowed to wander streets on their own. Or maybe it's simply that you've got other things on your minds. I understand that. The Jordan Lake debacle has showcased so many flaws in our development process that trying to fix them must be nearly a 24/7 endeavor.
But if you get a few minutes, perhaps you could consider making this minor change in our animal ordinances. Thousands of puppies, as well as the technicians whose job it is to kill them, will thank you.
As will I.
: City of Los Angeles spay/neuter law:
All dogs and cats must be spayed or neutered after the age of four months. Exemptions are provided for animals used in show and performance competitions, service animals, animals whose health would be endangered by the procedure, and animals with breeding permits.
Note that this applies to all
dogs and cats, not just those being retrieved from the custody of the city or county. I assume that third rate legal challenges to this ordinance have been tried and failed.
Note also that i am not advocating for this position at all. I think it's much better that people become educated enough that they realize the benefits of spay/neuter on their own. Perhaps those who make their living breeding dogs can, instead of the discount they currently receive from the county of Durham for owning multiple unspayed/intact dogs, actually pay licensing and business fees that would support the kind of outreach programs necessary to implement near universal voluntary spay/neuter.
What i am suggesting is that, given that the county requires all animals adopted out of the shelter to be spayed/neutered, it similarly requires all animals released from impoundment to their owner to be spayed/neutered.
Labels: county commissioners, Dogs
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