RDOWS’ Letter to the Chicago City Council Regarding Mandatory Spay/Neuter Ordinance Proposal

May 16, 2008

RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERS OF THE WESTERN STATES
P.O. Box 1406 Newport, WA 99156
Web Site http://www.povn.com/rdows E-mail US rdows@povn.com
Blog https://rdows.wordpress.com E-mail List http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rdows

Cherie Graves, Chairwoman, WA, (509) 447-2821
Judy Schreiber, Assistant to the Chair,
Director at Large, rdowsdirectoratlarge@chevalier-bullterriers.com
Elizabeth Pensgard, Executive Secretary, Illinois Director, bpensgard@yahoo.com
Hermine Stover, Media Liaison, Director at Large, CA, hermine@endangeredspecies.com
Mary Schaeffer, Finance Director, finedogs@hotmail.com
Arizona Director, John Bowen, johnalldogs@sprintmail.com
California Director, Jan Dykema, bestuvall@sbcglobal.net
Indiana Director, Charles Coffman, candkcoffman@comcast.net
Iowa Director, Leisa Boysen, rdows_iowa@yahoo.com
Mississippi Director, Dan Crutchfield, farmer1@telepak.net
Nevada Director, Ken Sondej, 4winds@viawest.net
Tennessee Director, Gina Cotton, ginacotton@msn.com
Texas Director, Alvin Crow, crobx@austin.rr.com

Dear Esteemed Members of the Chicago City Council:

It was of great concern to hear that Chicago is considering a mandatory spay/neuter (MSN) ordinance. Mandatory spay/neuter ordinances are proposed as a result of what is erroneously called a “pet overpopulation problem,” which is absolutely false. Chicago, in particular, could not use pet “overpopulation” as an excuse because according to statistics published in 2006,

“The euthanasia numbers in the Chicago Area are dropping. 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%)” (http://www.anticruelty.org/site/epage/42566_576.htm)

So you see Chicago’s embrace of a ‘No Kill’ stance has seen intake and euthanasia rates significantly dropping on their own. Yet still MSN advocates are pushing the “overpopulation” lie on an unsuspecting Chicago public anyway.

Nathan Winograd, author of Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America explains the type of denial that keeps MSN advocates pushing for mandatory spay/neuter laws even though shelter intake numbers and consequently euthanasia numbers have dramatically gone down:

“While some activists simply do not know better and mean well, others obstinately ignore facts, experience, and history and continue to push these types of laws. They will do what they have always done—facts, logic, and history be damned. They will continue to blame the public and they will continue to fight for more and tougher laws. they will argue that their community is different, that their situation is unique, that citizens in their community are particularly—or peculiarly—irresponsible. None of this is true, but they do not care.” (117)

When it is shown to MSN advocates that euthanasia numbers have dropped dramatically as Chicago has adopted ‘No Kill’ programs over the last decade, they will undoubtedly say that one euthanized dog or cat in the city of Chicago is one too many. But why, then, does this country import so many dogs from outside the country every year? According to the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA),

“campaigns to end pet overpopulation have been so successful that demand for puppies actually outstrips supply in the United States today. The result is that US pet suppliers, both commercial distributors and animal shelters alike, have turned to foreign sources to fill it. A staggering 300,000 dogs were brought into the US in 2006 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and that total may not include the significant number of puppies smuggled in through the black market.”

Despite dramatic evidence like the NAIA’s that shows that in some areas demand is so great that shelters/commercial distributors can’t supply the need, many MSN advocates simply do not care because they have an agenda that has nothing to do with supposed “pet overpopulation.” Their agenda is not to save animals like you might think. Some want to end domestic pet ownership (and even animal agriculture) as we know it:

“We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding. One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.” Wayne Pacelle, of Humane Society of the United States, Animal People, May, 1993.

“It is time we demand an end to the misguided and abusive concept of animal ownership. The first step on this long, but just, road would be ending the concept of pet ownership.” Elliot Katz, President “In Defense of Animals,” Spring 1997.

“In the end, I think it would be lovely if we stopped this whole notion of pets altogether.” Ingrid Newkirk, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Newsday, 2/21/88.

“One generation and out” is about the time it would take to end domestic pet ownership as we know it, and mandatory spay/neuter is one very effective tool in accomplishing that goal, as is breed-specific legislation. And while the recently-proposed Chicago ordinance bills itself as a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, it will also clearly be breed-specific, because, as Ald. Ed Burke noted in the Sun-Times,

“‘When you drive down the street and see a gang banger with all kinds of gang regalia walking along with two or three pit bulls, it’s pretty simple for the policeman to raise the dog’s tail and see whether or not it’s spayed or neutered. If it’s not, the gang member is in violation,’ Burke said, noting that street gangs operate dog-fighting rings” (http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/949173,neuter051408.article)

Not only would this be breed profiling, it would be racial profiling, because after all, isn’t “gang banger” just code for an African-American and/or a Hispanic?

Chicago recently had 32 shootings, 6 stabbings, and 2 deaths all in one weekend. Chicago had a gangland war but instead of cracking down on gangs and gang violence the city council is now considering a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance? What message does it send citizens of Chicago that the Chicago City Council is more concerned about forcing pet owners to spay/neuter their pets than ending gang violence, the kind which sees children gunned down in the streets? But then, judging from Ald. Burke’s comments, perhaps mandatory spay/neuter is just a smoke screen to allow racial profiling. What else could readers of Burke’s comments in the Sun-Times conclude?

Worse, it appears that Ald. Burke is also using Chicago’s mandatory spay/neuter ordinance as an excuse to do criminal background checks which police might not be able to do any other way:

“Exceptions to the spay and neutering mandate would be granted to those who apply for a breeder’s license, triggering a criminal background check/’I don’t know of too many gang members [who] would be willing to subject themselves to this type of scrutiny,’ Burke said” (http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/949173,neuter051408.article)

So you see, this mandatory spay/neuter ordinance isn’t about controlling the supposed pet overpopulation problem at all. It’s back-door breed-specific legislation which is being used to target “pit bulls” and even worse, their African-American and Hispanic owners, since these ethnicity types will almost certainly be singled out as the only ones that are members of gangs.

A criminal background check as a prerequisite for obtaining a breeder’s license is not going to stop criminals from their criminal behavior. Those who fight dogs or engage in the gang lifestyle will continue to ignore a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance with its accompanying criminal background check, just as they ignore laws that prohibit dog fighting, drug dealing, prostitution, and racketeering. Nor should a minority, or anyone, walking down the street with a “pit bull” necessarily mean that that person is a gang member, drug dealer, or recidivist. (And “pit bull” is not a breed, but rather a slang term which can refer and has referred to 30 or more actual breeds. Indeed, the media seems to use the slang term “pit bull” to describe any medium- or large-sized breed that bites or attacks, which is how statistics on “pit bull” bites/maulings can appear so disproportionately high compared to other actual breeds. It’s also why any statistics which use the slang term “pit bull” as a breed designation are automatically skewed and therefore worthless. So when the media reported recently that a Chicago woman had been mauled by five “pit bulls,” it makes one wonder what breed(s) of dog she was actually mauled by.)

If we know criminals will not be affected by this ordinance, then who will be affected? Again, according to the Sun-Times,

“Burke was asked how the city would go about enforcing the ordinance, since cats are not licensed and dog licenses are widely-ignored.”

If dog licensing is widely ignored, then so too will a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance be widely ignored. As a process of elimination then, only the most law-abiding citizens will comply with an MSN requirement and they are admittedly not the targets of this ordinance. So this ordinance, if passed, will be ineffective and unenforceable except for law-abiding pet owners and breeders who were already abiding by the law.

MSN laws also turn formerly good, civic-minded people resentful and non-compliant as Winograd observes:

“Studies show the primary reasons people do not sterilize their pets are cost and lack of access to spay/neuter services…The higher the cost, the lower the rate of compliance…Punitive legislation will only discourage people from caring for homeless pets or drive disadvantaged people “underground,” making them even harder to reach and help.” (112)

Chicago has low-cost or free spay/neuter available and judging from the severe decline in intake/euthanasia numbers, these programs are working. Perhaps these programs simply need to be expanded into more economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If these programs are working, why punish otherwise responsible pet owners with an ordinance that profiles their pets and themselves? Why alienate and drive underground those who simply may not know about or have access to low-cost or free spay/neuter services? Worse, once off the radar, pet owners may not comply with other laws like rabies vaccination requirements.

As Nathan Winograd has so often said, the key to reducing intake/euthanasia numbers is low-cost or free spay/neuter services and better education about spaying/neutering. Chicago has already implemented these suggestions and they are working splendidly. So where is the rational basis for proposing an MSN ordinance in Chicago, or anywhere in America for that matter? Worse, how are minorities to feel when they read Ald. Burke’s comments in the Sun-Times? Will they be more or less likely to comply knowing that Chicago’s MSN ordinance is a ruse meant only to allow racial profiling?

For your further consideration, I have herein included Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States’ position statement on mandatory spay/neuter. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Thank you very much for your time.

Respectfully,

Elizabeth Pensgard
Executive Secretary and Illinois Director, Responsible Dog Owners of
the Western States
President, Responsible Dog Owners Group of Illinois

http://www.povn.com/rdows
https://rdows.wordpress.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/UAOA
http://www.unitedanimalownersalliance.com
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RDOWS

RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERS OF THE WESTERN STATES
P.O. Box 1406 Newport, WA 99156
Web Site http://www.povn.com/rdows E-mail US rdows@povn.com
Blog https://rdows.wordpress.com E-mail List http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rdows

Cherie Graves, Chairwoman, WA, (509) 447-2821
Judy Schreiber, Assistant to the Chair,
Director at Large, rdowsdirectoratlarge@chevalier-bullterriers.com
Elizabeth Pensgard, Executive Secretary, Illinois Director, bpensgard@yahoo.com
Hermine Stover, Media Liaison, Director at Large, CA, hermine@endangeredspecies.com
Mary Schaeffer, Finance Director, finedogs@hotmail.com
Arizona Director, John Bowen, johnalldogs@sprintmail.com
California Director, Jan Dykema, bestuvall@sbcglobal.net
Indiana Director, Charles Coffman, candkcoffman@comcast.net
Iowa Director, Leisa Boysen, rdows_iowa@yahoo.com
Mississippi Director, Dan Crutchfield, farmer1@telepak.net
Nevada Director, Ken Sondej, 4winds@viawest.net
Tennessee Director, Gina Cotton, ginacotton@msn.com
Texas Director, Alvin Crow, crobx@austin.rr.com

POSITION STATEMENT ON MANDATORY SPAY/NEUTER

Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States was formed October 15, 1989 to protect the civil, and Constitutional rights, and interests of dog owners. Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States is opposed to any government mandated invasive, or non-invasive surgeries being performed upon privately owned domestic pets. Our opposition is based upon both practical, and upon constitutional reasons. There are health risks involved with any invasive, or non-invasive surgery. The least of which is risk of infection, and there is always the risk of any surgery being fatal.

Spaying/neutering has little or no affect upon a bitch or dog’s temperament, in fact the lack of normal hormones may cause mood swings, and unpredictable behavior, and exacerbate a poor temperament. (see attached study Behavioral Assessment of Child-Directed Canine Aggression)

Legal Standpoint: Such a mandate is a taking of personal property rights by a governmental body that has usurped ownership, and use rights in the animal from its rightful owner. The United States of America is not a communist collective in which all people, and their goods are properties of the government. RDOWS upholds the domestic animal owner’s right to choose whether or not to spay, or to neuter his, or her animal. RDOWS stipulates that an animal’s internal, and external genetalia belong to the owner of the animal. RDOWS claims the rights of ownership for all domestic pet owners based upon tens of thousands of years of proven historical ownership, and of the ancient and honorable profession of animal husbandry.

· Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States sees such a mandate as an unconstitutional taking of private property without just compensation, and a violation of the Bill of Rights;

· Amendment IV. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, or the property to be seized

· A violation of Amendment IX. The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

· Lastly. A violation of Amendment XIV, Section 1.All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

References:

1.. Salmeri KR, Bloomberg MS, Scruggs SL, Shille V.. Gonadectomy in immature dogs: effects on skeletal, physical, and behavioral development. JAVMA 1991;198:1193- 1203
2.. http://www.grca. org/healthsurvey .pdf
3.. Grumbach MM. Estrogen, bone, growth and sex: a sea change in conventional wisdom. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2000;13 Suppl 6:1439-55.
4.. Gilsanz V, Roe TF, Gibbens DT, Schulz EE, Carlson ME, Gonzalez O, Boechat MI. Effect of sex steroids on peak bone density of growing rabbits. Am J Physiol. 1988 Oct;255(4 Pt 1):E416-21.
5.. Slauterbeck JR, Pankratz K, Xu KT, Bozeman SC, Hardy DM. Canine ovariohysterectomy and orchiectomy increases the prevalence of ACL injury. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2004 Dec;(429):301- 5.
6.. Spain CV, Scarlett JM, Houpt KA. Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in dogs. JAVMA 2004;224:380- 387.
7.. Ware WA, Hopper DL. Cardiac tumors in dogs: 1982-1995. J Vet Intern Med 1999 Mar-Apr;13(2) :95-103
8.. Cooley DM, Beranek BC, Schlittler DL, Glickman NW, Glickman LT, Waters D, Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Nov;11(11):1434- 40
9.. Ru G, Terracini B, Glickman LT. Host related risk factors for canine osteosarcoma. Vet J. 1998 Jul;156(1):31- 9.
10.. Obradovich J, Walshaw R, Goullaud E. The influence of castration on the development of prostatic carcinoma in the dog. 43 cases (1978-1985). J Vet Intern Med 1987 Oct-Dec;1(4) :183-7
11.. http://www.akcchf. org/pdfs/ whitepapers/ Biennial_ National_ Parent_Club_ Canine_Health_ Conference. pdf
12.. Meuten DJ. Tumors in Domestic Animals. 4th Edn. Iowa State Press, Blackwell Publishing Company, Ames, Iowa, p. 575
13.. Stocklin-Gautschi NM, Hassig M, Reichler IM, Hubler M, Arnold S. The relationship of urinary incontinence to early spaying in bitches. J. Reprod. Fertil. Suppl. 57:233-6, 2001
14.. Pessina MA, Hoyt RF Jr, Goldstein I, Traish AM. Differential effects of estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone on vaginal structural integrity. Endocrinology. 2006 Jan;147(1):61- 9.
15.. Kim NN, Min K, Pessina MA, Munarriz R, Goldstein I, Traish AM. Effects of ovariectomy and steroid hormones on vaginal smooth muscle contractility. Int J Impot Res. 2004 Feb;16(1):43- 50.
16.. Aaron A, Eggleton K, Power C, Holt PE. Urethral sphincter mechanism incompetence in male dogs: a retrospective analysis of 54 cases. Vet Rec. 139:542-6, 1996
17.. Panciera DL. Hypothyroidism in dogs: 66 cases (1987-1992). J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 204:761-7 1994
18.. Howe LM, Slater MR, Boothe HW, Hobson HP, Holcom JL, Spann AC. Long-term outcome of gonadectomy performed at an early age or traditional age in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001 Jan 15;218(2):217- 21. This article is available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format Early Spay Considerations (pdf).
ENDOGENOUS GONADAL HORMONE EXPOSURE AND BONE SARCOMA RISK

http://cebp. aacrjournals. org/cgi/reprint/ 11/11/1434. pdf

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