Foreclosures And Spay Neuter Mandates


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Mar 14, 2008
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Shelter Statistics Belie Animal Rights Rationale
For Santa Barbara Spay/Neuter Mandate Push

by John Yates
American Sporting Dog Alliance

SANTA BARBARA, CA – Animal rights activists are continuing to try to take control of a citizens’ task force in their push for a brutal spay and neuter mandate, but they have one enemy that they deeply fear.

The truth.

The truth is that an 18-year track of animal shelter statistics in Santa Barbara County not only belies the purported rationale for such an ordinance, but points to a county that has done everything right to reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats and has had phenomenal success, even in the face of the recent foreclosure crisis and overall economic hard times. Complete data for the past two years has been kept carefully guarded, but the American Sporting Dog Alliance has been able to piece together a fairly comprehensive picture that documents this success.

After 17 years of steady declines, shelter admissions rose during FY 2007-2008, due almost solely to California’s mortgage foreclosure crisis. Santa Barbara County was particularly hard hit, and many people were not able to keep their pets when they lost their homes.

However, compassion and community support run high in Santa Barbara, and about a third of the increase was absorbed by increases in adoptions and rescue fostering, the data shows. The rest of the increase was taken care of by increasing the number of dogs kept at the shelter, and the average length of their stays.

It must be emphasized that the foreclosure crisis means that many people and their pets are facing very hard times, but it does not mean that these pets are unwanted. The foreclosure crisis is temporary, and the American Sporting Dog Alliance applauds the people of Santa Barbara for showing compassion and dedication in this time of need.

The Santa Barbara County Spay/Neuter Action Program (SNAP) Task Force is scheduled to meet Wednesday, Jan. 7, at 6 p.m., at the Board of Supervisors Conference Room, 511 E. Lakeside Parkway, Santa Maria, CA. A teleconference site is available at the Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, 105 E. Anapamu St. (4th Floor) Santa Barbara. We urge as many dog owners as possible to attend, and also to support the advocates of dog ownership rights who have been placed in a minority position on this committee.

The task force has been a deck stacked against dog owners since its inception last summer. A motion by the Board of Supervisors created the task force to study non-mandatory alternatives to reduce the number of unwanted pets in the county. Even the name of the task force belies the stated intention of the supervisors, and most of the focus has been on mandatory measures.

The situation went from bad to worse when Dr. Ron Faoro was appointed to chair the task force. Faoro, an animal rights activist, has been stringent about limiting public comment at the meetings, and opponents to spay and neuter mandates have not been invited to make presentations. In contrast, a panel of “humane association” representatives has been invited to address the next meeting.

Faoro has been a staunch supporter of mandatory spay/neuter laws and rose to a leadership position in the animal rights community during the failed attempt to impose statewide legislation on Californians. Last summer, he boasted that he was being named to the Board of Directors of the radical Humane Society of the United States. HSUS does not operate a single animal shelter, but exists only as the leading political action organization for the animal rights community.

Available data shows that shelter admission and euthanasia rates for both dogs and cats have declined dramatically during the past 18 years, until this year, while adoptions and rescues have continued to rise by a very high rate.

Given two other facts, this success story is nothing short of miraculous:

· The first fact is that the county’s human population has increased by more than 10-percent during this period. This means that there are more dogs and cats than ever in Santa Barbara County, but far fewer unwanted pets.

· The second fact is that California has been plagued with a near-complete collapse of the mortgage and banking industries, combined with record rates of mortgage foreclosures, and that Santa Barbara has been one of the hardest hit counties in the state. After successfully weathering the first 36 months of the foreclosure crisis, Santa Barbara saw an increase of 554 dogs entering the shelter in the most recent fiscal year. This temporary crisis has placed a severe strain on the sheltering and rescue community, but Santa Barbara residents are weathering the storm.

The animal rights groups don’t want people to know the facts. They want to distort the data to make it falsely appear that there is a crisis in pet “overpopulation” because of the foreclosure crisis. The truth is that Santa Barbara has dealt successfully with the situation and its impact on animals, and federal bailouts of the banking industry point to the end of the foreclosure crisis in the near future.

Complete shelter statistics have not been released to either the public or members of the task force, which has been fed only selected numbers with no basis for comparison to previous years and no way to evaluate their meaning.

The animal rights groups are guilty of nothing short of a con job, both to the task force and to the county supervisors. As with most con jobs, a wise person learns quickly never to take her or his eyes off the ball.

The con job is the selective use of those statistics to create an illusion of a problem with unwanted animals.

Dog owners can never allow themselves to forget that the goal of animal rights groups is the complete elimination of animal ownership in America, as rapidly as politically possible. They pretend to be compassionate, but in truth their goal is to take as many animals as possible out of the breeding pool. As Humane Society of the United States head Wayne Pacelle said a few years ago, “One generation and out.”

That’s the plan. Lies and manipulation are the tactics.

HSUS and its allies try to manipulate sentiment and emotion, while concealing the facts.

Here are some of the facts for Santa Barbara County that the animal rights groups fear:

· For FY 2007-2008, 4,578 dogs were admitted to the county shelter. Euthanasia figures have been hidden, but in previous years, roughly 17-percent of the dogs that have been admitted have been euthanized, which would be 772 at the same rate for the most recent fiscal year. In previous years, almost all of these dogs were euthanized at the request of their owners due to illness, injuries, severe behavior problems such as aggression, or extreme old age, or because they were “pit bulls.” Virtually no healthy and adoptable dogs were euthanized at those rates, data has shown.

· The FY 2007-2008 data shows the impact of the foreclosure crisis. It is a sharp increase over 2006-2007, when 4,024 dogs were admitted to the shelter system. In FY 2005-2006, 4,121 dogs were admitted.

· But the news during the mortgage crisis was not all bad. Dog rescues increased from about 210 in FY 2006-2007, to about 240 in only the first 10 months of FY 2007-2008. These figures are approximate, as the only available official data is in the form of line graph.

· During the same period, dog adoptions increased substantially during every year prior to June 2008; data since June is not available.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance urges dog owners to contact the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors to praise them for helping animals get through the foreclosure crisis, but also to remind them that a temporary crisis does not justify taking an action that would destroy the work of many dedicated fanciers in Santa Barbara County, and do irreparable harm by removing some of the highest quality dogs in America from the genetic pool.

Harming high quality dog fanciers in Santa Barbara County simply means that people will buy more “puppy mill” dogs and imported dogs from Mexico when the foreclosure crisis has passed.

It also makes no sense whatsoever to pass a law that impacts only people who are continuing to provide a good home for their dogs.

In addition, data from every other community that has passed a spay/neuter mandate shows a rapid increase in pet abandonment, shelter admissions and euthanasia rates. In Santa Barbara, this would substantially worsen the impact of the foreclosure crisis.

In other communities, such as nearby Los Angeles, spay/neuter mandates have caused dog licensing revenues to plunge, thus limiting the financial ability of the Santa Barbara sheltering program to help dogs left homeless by the foreclosure crisis.

Here is contact information for the supervisors:

1st District: Salud Carbajal, Chair
Phone:(805) 568-2186
Fax: (805) 568-2534

2nd District: Janet Wolf
Phone: (805) 568-2191
Fax: (805) 568-2283

3rd District: Brooks Firestone
Phone:(805) 568-2192
Fax: (805) 568-2883
Solvang: (805) 686-5095
Fax: (805) 686-8133

4th District: Joni Gray
Lompoc: (805) 737-7700
Santa Maria: (805) 346-8407

5th District: Joseph Centeno, Vice Chair
Santa Maria: (805) 346-8400
Fax: (805) 346-8404

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We also welcome people who work with other breeds, as legislative issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by your donations in order to maintain strict independence.

Please visit us on the web at Our email is


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