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Barbarity At Animal Shelter Key To
Kern County Spay/Neuter Law Debate

by JOHN YATES
American Sporting Dog Alliance
http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org

BAKERSFIELD, CA - The Kern County Board of Supervisors decided this month to order a study of a mandatory spay and neuter ordinance, citing rising kill rates at the county animal shelter.

However, an investigation by The American Sporting Dog Alliance (ASDA) reveals that the cause of the rising euthanasia rates is not an increase in the number of dogs and cats entering the shelter. Instead, the higher kill rates are being caused by shelter policies that are nothing short of barbaric.

An analysis of euthanasia rates shows that rural Kern County, with a population of 661,000 people, killed 18,669 dogs and cats at its shelter in 2007. That is 3,660 more dogs and cats killed than in the entire City of Los Angeles, with a population of 3,695,000 people.

How can this happen?

ASDA learned that it happens because Kern County kills 67-percent to 80-percent of the animals that it takes in almost as soon as they come in the door. It kills them before people are allowed to adopt them, before rescue groups are allowed to help them, and before their owners are given the time period mandated by law to reclaim them.

The Kern County shelter is divided into two parts, separated by what has been sardonically nicknamed the green door. The green door is a chain-link fence with diagonal green plastic strips to prevent people from seeing through it.

When a dog or cat enters the shelter, it goes to the side of the green door that is closed to the public. In 2007, 67-percent of those dogs and cats never made it through the green door to the public part of the shelter, where adoptions and rescues are possible, and where owners can reclaim their lost pets without hindrance. In many if not most cases, people who have lost a dog or cat are not allowed to go behind the green door to search for it.

ASDA cannot perform a thorough statistical analysis, because Kern County failed to send legally required annual reports to the California Department of Health Services for the years 2005 and 2006. However, complete data is available for 2004, from the state, and for 2007, from the county animal control office:

· In 2004, 13,097 dogs and 11,612 cats entered the Kern County shelter, for a total of 24,709.

· In 2007, 28,241 dogs and cats entered the shelter (we do not have separate breakdowns for dogs and cats).

· This represents an increase 3,532 animals from 2004 to 2007. This increase corresponds to a doubling in the county's animal control budget to $4.6 million during this period, and stepped up enforcement.

· In 2004, 21,073 dogs and cats were killed at the shelter. This compares to 18,669 in 2007. This decrease in the kill ratio appears to correspond with a lawsuit that was filed against the county alleging illegal euthanasia practices, but Kern County kill numbers are still 3,660 higher than the City of Los Angeles. The county lost this landmark lawsuit in Superior Court in 2006, when the plaintiff proved conclusively that county shelter practices were inhumane and illegal.

The lawsuit made several substantiated allegations about why only a few dogs and cats make it to the safe side of the green door. It proved that:

· The law requires the shelter to hold animals voluntarily relinquished by their owners for at least four days, not counting their initial period of impoundment. The lawsuit proved that the shelter records showed that only one dog was held for 24 hours, and the rest were killed immediately.

· Cats identified as feral are killed immediately. They are not given a period to settle down to see if they aren't simply scared from being thrown into a shelter environment that could be described as a madhouse.

· The shelter could produce no records that any dog or cat in its care has ever been given medical treatment. Any dog or cat identified as sick is killed immediately, even if the ailment is only minor.

· Nursing puppies and kittens are killed immediately, even though there is no reason to do this, and some of them could be weaned and able to find good homes.

· A satellite shelter uses an illegal anonymous "drop bin," where people can dump their animals after hours. The animals are sometimes mixed together, and some have been killed by other animals in the bins. Mangled body parts of dead animals have been pulled from these bins.

· People who are looking for missing pets are not permitted to look for them on the hidden side of the green door, unless their descriptions match descriptions on the computer system. One employee reportedly lists almost every dog as a "shepherd mix" on the computer system. Many people have been denied the chance to search for their missing pets, and the animals are not being held on public display for four days as is required by law.

· The euthanasia drug for both dogs and cats is Euthanol-6, which is listed by the manufacturer as being safe for dogs only, because it causes intense pain for cats. Only one shelter euthanasia technician has received the mandated training required for this job.

In addition, the Kern County shelter uses a behavior test to measure the temperament of all dogs entering the facility. It is a test that most dogs - and even most eight-week-old puppies - fail. Failing this test was a death sentence for 3,555 Kern County dogs in 2007.

These temperament tests are designed to eliminate vicious or unstable animals. However, veterinarians say that almost no eight-week-old puppies would fail a temperament test - except in Kern County, where almost all of them fail.

Since the lawsuit was filed, more animals are passing through the green door to safety. In 2005, a reported 80-percent were killed. This had dropped to 67-percent in 2007.

However, many rescue groups say they are willing and able to help many more dogs from Kern County, but have not been permitted to do so. Like members of the general public, personnel from rescue groups and no-kill shelters are not permitted to go behind the green door to save some of the dogs.

The lawsuit was filed by Frazier Park, CA, rescuer Patricia Lock. She is represented by Ventura, CA, attorney Kate Neiswender.

As an answer to the shelter problems, the Kern County supervisors appear ready to impose an ordinance mandating that all dogs in the county be spayed or neutered.

However, ASDA has documented that calls for a publicly funded voluntary low-cost spay and neuter program have been stalled off or ignored for several years. Various committees have strongly recommended this kind of program, but the supervisors have failed to act on these recommendations.

In Kern County, donations by veterinarians and rescue groups have produced a modest low-cost program, but residents of this economically distressed rural county have not had access to the kinds of low-cost voluntary programs that have been credited with dramatically reducing shelter populations in most communities in California.

The supervisors appear to be taking the advice of Tammy Grimes, a well-known activist for mandatory spay and neuter laws with close ties to several extreme animal rights groups that want to eliminate the private ownership of animals. In 2006, David Price, who heads the Kern County animal control program committee, joined Ms. Grimes, Humane Society of the United State representative Adam Goldfarb, and other animal activists on the stage at an event called "Chain Off 2006" for a group called Dogs Deserve Better.

In addition, Laguna Beach animal rights activist Judy Mancuso has praised the supervisors for shifting toward a mandatory spay and neuter ordinance.

It is our conclusion that the problems with animal shelter populations and euthanasia in Kern County are entirely self-inflicted. It is utterly illogical to use the situation at the Kern County shelter to justify a mandatory pet sterilization ordinance.

We can only speculate about the reasons why the Board of Supervisors allowed the barbaric conditions at the shelter to continue for many years. It appears to us that the proposed ordinance is revenge against dog owners for losing the lawsuit about the terrible conditions at the shelter.

It also appears to us (although we cannot prove it) that the high euthanasia rates at the shelter and the refusal to allow people access to shelter animals to reclaim lost pets or rescue animals, reflects the animal rights philosophy that opposes the private ownership of animals. Radical animal rights groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), believe that euthanasia is preferable to owning an animal.

At PETA's own "shelter" in Virginia, 97-percent of the animals were killed in 2006. Is this what is happening in Kern County? We don't know, but that is the way it is appearing to us. We must ask if the shelter killings are a deliberate attempt to reduce animal ownership in the present, and if the spay and neuter ordinance is not intended as a giant step toward eliminating animal ownership in the future.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance urges our members and readers to contact the Kern County Board of Supervisors to voice opposition to the proposed mandatory spay and neuter ordinance. Supervisor Jon McQuiston's email is [email protected]; Supervisor Don Maben's email is [email protected] (Maben plays a key role in this issue); Supervisor Mike Maggard's email is [email protected]; Supervisor Ray Watson's email is [email protected]; and Supervisor Michael Rubio's email is [email protected]. The mailing address is Kern County Board of Supervisors, 1115 Truxton Avenue, Fifth Floor, Bakersfield, CA 93301.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance strongly opposes mandatory pet sterilization ordinances, which have been proven to backfire and make the problem worse. We believe that this is an unfair an irrational interference with the rights and lives of dog owners. Such an ordinance makes no sense in light of dramatic statewide and national declines in the number of dogs entering shelters, especially in areas with strong public education and low-cost voluntary programs.

Please visit us on the web at http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org. Your participation and membership are vital to our work to protect the rights of dog owners. We maintain strict independence and are supported only by the voluntary donations of our members.
 

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Thank you, Tink, for posting this. I am activly involved in fighting the mandatory spay/neuter bill. It is an insane attempt to stop all dog breeding in the state of California. (Other states are wathcing CA and will follow suit.)
This article goes along with one that I read a while back where shelters are IMPORTING shelter dogs and brining in all sorts of disease to the various states, including California.
Why? Because non-profit shelters are quanitifying their "success" by the numbers of dogs either placed or killed. So, in order to get federal funding, many of these shelters are taking dogs from Mexico and from other US states to fill the necessary numbers.
It makes me sick...they do this and then they have the nerve to claim that a spay/nueter bill will save dog's lives?
This is one story of many...unfortunately.
I hope that the people of California and other states see through the PETA hype and look for the truth, not the easy justification for strict, unnecessary regulations.
Thanks again!
 

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FOLKS, THOUGH THE ARTICLE TINK POSTED IS LONG.....

PLEASE READ IT AND THEN JAC'S RESPONSE!!

THIS IS AN HIDEOUS SITUATION !!
THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON
MUST COME TO LIGHT !!
CALIFORNIANS NEED TO CONTACT THEIR REPRESENTATIVES
AND LOCAL OFFICIALS IN PROTEST OF THIS BILL....MAKING SURE
THE REASONS WHY ARE STATED AND UNDERSTOOD!!

YES, OTHER STATES ARE WATCHING AND THIS MUST BE STOPPED.

THANKS, NEEDED TO BUMP THIS TO BE SURE PEOPLE ARE READING IT!!
THANKS!
8)
 

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I'm a bit confused. :? I understand that you are against this manditory spay/neuter law, but this article seems to be about the inhumane kill policies at PETA run shelters.

I can understand PETA's position that there are too many unwanted animals, however their belief that our pets would prefer to live in the wild state is unrealistic.

It is apparent that they have no respect for life or they would not endorse their actions of killing thousands of innocent lives. If they truly believed that dogs and cats would do better on their own, they should provide space for them to live in,like a sanctuary.

All of us with pets know that their lives are made fuller by being with us.
 

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Thank you Jane!

Diane, thank you too...it is important that we get the point of view from others when we are not clear with our purposes...and I do want to be clear on this issue. You are absolutely correct in your assessment about PETA. Your question, regarding how this relates to California, is in the first paragraph but would not seem to be the important part of an article to someone outside the California fight against this foolish bill...but the paragraph that brought this to the California Bill is this: "The Kern County Board of Supervisors decided this month to order a study of a mandatory spay and neuter ordinance, citing rising kill rates at the county animal shelter."
Kern County has recently adopted the mandatory spay/neuter bill into law. It was also adopted by Los Angeles County...it is an incideous bill that is creeping quietly through legislation throught California and if it passes statewide, the ramifications to doodle breeders will be enormous.
 

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The ramifications will affect all breeders.....I hope there are lots of them screaming in all the right places....the American Pet will vanish eventually, yes? How ridiculous!! Is the next step going to be mandatory sterilization of people for a population control?? Sorry, but this kind of legislation that messes with our freedoms is appalling to me.....and I can only suppose, if we take it lying down.....we are in for more trouble and less liberties. OK....sorry, off my soap box now.
:evil: :? :shock: :( :!:
 

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I agree with you completely Jane. I have often said to Dave that if this passes, he should prepare to go bankrupt because I will fight.
People should realize that this type of legislation mandates the type of pet they are allowed to own, who they are allowed to buy from and it also impacts a person's right to conduct a business of their choice. I guess they can justify doing it, on several levels...but I wonder how it would play out in a court...you see, local and state governments MAY make laws that they believe are protective of their citizens...but they MAY NOT enact laws that interfere with federal issues, such as the Constitution...and, in this case, the Interstate Commerce Law.
 

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Thank you Jac, for further clarification of the ramifications......
I hope people are reading this thread....especially Californians....but for all to be proactive against this.


All I can say, is Doodles are Forever....I pray!!
8)
 
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