Monday, August 4, 2008

Chicago about to take more personal liberties...

A SAOVA message to sportsmen, pet owners and farmers concerned about protecting their traditions, avocations and livelihoods from anti-hunting, anti-breeding, animal guardianship advocates.

Forwarding and cross posting, with attribution, encouraged.

HSUS Weighs in on Chicago Mandatory Spay/Castrate

On July 29, Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) and Ald. Virginia A. Rugai (19th) presented their draft mandatory spay/castrate ordinance to Chicago’s Joint Committee on Finance and License and Consumer Protection. The ordinance would require all cats and dogs be spayed/castrated at the age of six months. The ordinance contains an option for a breeding permit which allows only one litter per year if the litter is registered with a registry approved by the City commission. The ordinance also requires applicants for breeding permits to undergo criminal background checks.The distorted reasoning for this ordinance, as stated by Ald. Burke, is that the ordinance will increase public safety by targeting gangs and others that keep unsterilized dogs. It is beyond reason to think that anyone who engages in dog fighting, which is already a felony under Illinois state law, will obey a newly enacted spay/castration ordinance or submit to background checks to apply for a breeding permit. All that this ordinance can possibly accomplish is to create a potential new class of criminals--responsible dog owners and breeders, who choose not to spay or castrate their dogs, as well as waste a lot of Chicago taxpayers’ money in investigation and enforcement of a useless ordinance.Apparently, the Humane Society of the United States doesn’t agree.On July 30, HSUS issued a press release via their website in support of the proposed mandatory spay/castrate ordinance and thanked Chicago lawmakers for “addressing this important animal welfare issue.” The statement reads, “Every year, more than 3 million dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters nationwide-including 19,000 pets in the City of Chicago-because not enough people choose to adopt. Spaying and neutering, at this time, is the only permanent, 100-percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats, and this legislation provides an incentive for people to sterilize their animals and reorients public policy to expect that animal caretakers will see that their animals are sterilized.”With the same tired language used repeatedly by animal rights zealots, HSUS downplays the potential impact of the ordinance by stating, “It is simply wrong to refer to this ordinance as simply a "mandatory spay and neuter measure" because it does allow responsible pet owners to opt out of spay or neuter for their animals for numerous reasons. Under this legislation, people who elect not to spay or neuter their animals in order to breed their dog or cat must pay a permit fee. In that sense, this legislation provides incentives for people to spay and neuter, and it amounts to something of a differential license fee for people who do not want to spay or neuter their animals.”’s look at what the ordinance really means. First, if sterilization is required, then by definition it is mandatory regardless of exemptions which are only as good as the paper they are written on; exemptions can be removed at any time. Second, what registries (if any) will be approved and by what method remains unclear. Third, Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance reports, "Between 2003 and 2005 overall citywide euthanasia rates dropped 12% and shelter intake went down to 11%. With an overall shelter killing rate per 1,000 humans at a historic low of 6.9%, Denver remains the only city between the coasts with a lower kill rate (5.9%)." In recent years, Chicago already has seen greatly reduced numbers of cats and dogs euthanized in its shelters on a yearly basis without mandatory spay/neuter. Source:, let us not pretend that "neutering" is a benign surgery. What HSUS (and other animal rightist activists) call "neutering" is, plain and simple, castration, specifically the gonadectomy of males, meaning surgical removal of the testicles, and the ovariohysterectomy of females, meaning surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. In other words, nothing trivial--nothing most people would want forced on themselves.Above all, has there *ever* been any doubt that mandatory spay/castration is NOT about the well-being of animals, but an agenda to end breeding of domesticated dogs and cats? HSUS makes their position pretty clear in Chicago that a good dog is a sterile dog. The tired overpopulation argument is told again in order to pass punitive legislation to cripple breeders, blaming them for contributing to shelter statistics. Yet on their web page for adopting pets HSUS states: “[In fact,] most animals are given to shelters because of "people reasons," not because of anything they've done. Things like a divorce, a move, lack of time or financial constraints are among the most common reasons why pets lose their homes.” In other words, the most common reasons for turning pets over to shelters has nothing to do with overpopulation, but instead people’s (usually) unavoidable and unpredictable lifestyle changes. State of the Animals 2001, HSUS stated: There was, however, general consensus among most animal related organizations that the term pet overpopulation was not only difficult to define, but that it was also probably no longer an accurate catchphrase to describe the reasons for animals leaving their original homes, especially for dogs."Does HSUS ever make up their mind what the real story is? Despite diminishing shelter statistics and knowing the source of shelter populations is due to owner retention issues, HSUS and Illinois activists continue chanting the animal rights mantra for across the board pet sterilization.In response to the proposed mandatory spay/castration ordinance, the ISVMA issued the following opposition statement:July 28, 2008. The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association (ISVMA) opposes the mandatory spay/neuter ordinance being proposed for the City of Chicago. The ISVMA opposes this proposed ordinance for the following reasons:* There is no scientifically-based research that supports the proponent’s argument that only intact animals bite.*There is no conclusive evidence that mandatory spay/neuter programs work.* This mandate would discourage pet owners from seeking rabies immunization if they are opposed to neutering/spaying and fear they will be reported. It is already a struggle to ensure the proper safeguards are in place to protect the public from rabies. Anything that makes rabies vaccination compliance more difficult should be seriously scrutinized. Rabies is essentially a 100% fatal disease to humans, dogs and cats.* There are not enough resources in Chicago to enforce mandatory spay/neuter in a meaningful way.* With regard to creating a healthier pet, there are both positive and negative affects accrued from sterilization. It appears that benefits outweigh risks; however, there are many breed and individual dog variants, suggesting that professional judgment is required to determine whether and when to neuter/spay pets.Although the ordinance’s stated goals to reduce the number of unwanted pets and gang activity are laudable, said Dr. Steve Dullard, ISVMA Legislative Committee Chair, the reality is that it will have no effect on these problems. Instead, it will create some serious public health concerns, cause many animals to be denied necessary health care, and will trample on the personal property rights of conscientious pet owners. every councilman has bought into the HSUS argument. An article from Medill Reports - Chicago, Northwestern University, quotes Ald. Ray Suarez (31st) as saying, “I don’t like when the government tries to get involved in everything to solve problems. Right now we’re starting with pets… What’s the next step?” Just a few months ago, in May, the Chicago City Council repealed the ban on foie gras sale that it put in place two years ago at the urging of HSUS and local activists. No other American city has prohibited foie gras. The Chicago ban brought a law suit against the City by restaurateurs and has been a source of embarrassment for the city as residents accused officials of trying to micromanage people’s lives. Is the Chicago City Council really willing to follow HSUS on yet another embarrassing, unenforceable animal rightist legislative journey?Many people in attendance at the July 29 hearing on the proposed mandatory spay/castratation ordinance did not have the opportunity to speak concerning the ordinance. The next City Council meeting is scheduled for September 10 and presumably the ordinance will be back on the agenda. If you cannot arrange to meet with your councilman before the next council session, continue to call and fax letters with your opposition. Contact information can be found here: Tips and general information about lobbying can be found in our lobbying tutorial By using the link provided to you can also access a media guide to contact newspapers in Chicago and thru the state. Chicago dog owners and dog-related businesses are urged to organize themselves into a strong protest group for the September 10 hearing. Out of town dog owners are also urged to write, call, or fax Chicago council members and Chicago media.SAOVA remains, as always, in the forefront of animal owner legislation to protect your interests.Sincerely,Susan WolfSportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance - http://saova.orgIssue lobbying and working to identify and elect supportive legislatorsPlease share this message widely.

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