Mandated Spay/Neuter Fails in California As It Has Here (as it should fail)


I am NOT a fan of mandated spay/neuter. Listen, I’ve worked for years as hard as anyone to support the notion of spay/neuter. Absolutely, in general, spaying/neutering is the responsible right thing to do!

However, these mandates to spay/neuter carry with them FAR too many unintended consequences. And as a result these mandates do more harm than good. A coalition of groups opposing spay/neuter came together in California where a state-wide proposal for a mandate was recently rejected. Here’s the story.

In Chicago, a proposed mandate failed twice to get out committee. I
testified against each time. The first time Bob Barker showed up, and
happily Chicagoans and members the Committees he testified to didn’t
pay attention to his version of the truth or our pets would have
suffered consequences.
So, you’re wondering why us supporters of
spay/neuter for all these years oppose what seems to be what we’ve been
campaigning for. . .There are more reasons than a Dalmatian has spots,
I explain many of these on an TV appearance with Dr. Sheldon Rubin, president of the
Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, on “Political Update” on
Comcast, with host Paul Lisnek.

something interesting, a behind-the-scenes tidbit –  after the taping, Dr. Humphrey Roberts conceded that
Dr. Rubin and myself might have good points concerning mandatory
spay/neuter. I think we changed his mind.
In Chicago, as I mentioned, the proposed
ordinance failed twice – despite intense support from the HSUS; and the
sole shelter that pushed the ordinance who went as far as hiring lobbyists. Nothing
illegal about that – but imagine all the pets who may have been spayed
or neutered for all those dollars spent to what amounted to be a mount a campaign.

It’s interesting to me
that the HSUS withdrew their support in California for mandatory
spay/neuter, yet they haven’t done the same in Chicago.

website has more information about mandatory spay/neuter, if you’re
interested, including a new white paper from the ASPCA, a letter
crafted by a Chicago coalition of shelters and veterinary groups, my
City Hall testimony and Dr. Rubin’s City Hall testimony.

among those who opposed are the Illinois State Veterinary Medical
Association, Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, Anti Cruelty
Society of Chicago, Tree House Humane Society, Lake Shore Animal
Shelter, Harmony House for Cats and Red Door Animal Shelter. Together
this coalition authored a letter which appeared at (and has since been rotated off the website).
In Chicago, we do pretty darn well
when it comes to shelter euthanasia’s compared to most major cities.
Certainly, we have a long ways to go – and I realize that too many
animals are needlessly killed (I believe euthanize is too kind a word).
The question is how to best help continue to improve our numbers here.
Experts concur with common sense – you can’t mandate cultural changes.
You can, however, reach the kids, who over time will educate adults –
and that is the route Safe Humane Chicago is taking.

The good news is that Chicago offers many alternatives, so people who may not be able to afford to spay or neuter can. Our shelter community provides these services far more than most cities. Animal welfare experts agree, incentivizing spay/neuter seems to succeed far more than a forced mandate.
And one more comment…Veterinary exam rooms are pretty small. There’s barely enough room for the client, the pet, the veterinarian and a veterinary technician. I don’t believe there’s room for government.
Hopefully, the relentless push in Chicago by a few for mandated spay/neuter has ended. I hope so.