Some Cities Taking Aim to Reduce Unwanted Pet Numbers
This is a rather novel approach that some cities are taking to reduce the number of unwanted pets and the ever growing number of pets in shelters. In theory, large commercial breeding businesses are somewhat regulated, not a much as they should be, of course, but that’s a whole ‘nother story, as the saying goes, but what about the others? What about the backyard breeders who, aside from puppy millers, are one of the leading problems? What about those who don’t bother to spay or neuter and their dog or cat has a litter? What about the people who think they need to let their pet experience motherhood or those who want to share the ‘miracle of birth’ with children?
Most all of these people then usually try to either sell of give away the puppies or kittens, too often adding to the already overwhelming number of pets in many areas of the US. Many of these puppies and kittens then wound up in shelters or abandoned.
What if it wasn’t so easy just for anyone to breed and sell? What if there was a price to pay, you had to get a license to sell to give away that litter of puppies or kittens, no matter the reason. This is what some cities are now instituting, breeder or litter permits. They usually allow the pet owner to breed their pet once a year and many of them even offer incentives to spay their pet afterwards.
Is this the answer? No, of course not. I don’t know what the answer is. I do know that there are many possible answers and solutions which could all help and I do think this may be one of them.
San Antonio has joined a growing number of communities mandating pet owners pay for licenses when their pets give birth if they intend to sell the offspring or give them away. Part of the ordinance requires ads placed for the animals to include the license number, according to Jeff Hale, director of San Antonio’s Animal Care Services.
“We’re trying to send a message to the community that producing litters is adding to the problem,” Hale said.
Palm Beach County, Fla., also added breeder permits this year, said Capt. David Walesky of Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control. Permits cost $150.
A permit ordinance is also being considered by the Springfield, Mo., City Council.
“The per-litter fee is a concept we’re seeing more and more of,” says Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for companion animals with the Humane Society of the United States. “It’s a great way to help people who may be on the fence about spaying or neutering their pets.”
Other cities that require litter permits include Fort Wayne, Ind., and St. Joseph, Mo.
In St. Joseph, Mo., which has mandated breeder permits since 1995, pet owners pay $100 for the right to sell a litter. Half of that is returned if the mother is spayed within 30 days. “It is my observation that it has worked,” said Rick Smith, director of the St. Joseph Animal Control Department. (USA Today)
Of course there are also going to be some unwanted results. Some people, when they find out they need to pay for this license, are just going to dump the entire litter, at a shelter or worse, abandoned on a roadside or something like that. But hopefully this will be an incentive to those who think they can make a quick buck by breeding and selling, something many people do.
What about the reputable breeders? First off, they are few and far between although most who breed claim to be ‘reputable’ but I can tell you, my idea of a reputable breeder and theirs is no doubt quite different. Anyway, reputable breeders will often already have kennel permits and/or the licenses they need. If not, most of them will just chalk it up as yet one more cost of perpetuating the breed they love and bite the bullet, so to speak.
So there will be the good and bad, just like there is with most things. I hope in the long run this will turn out to be a good thing and we will see more cities instituting it.
Of course there also needs to be low-cost spay and neuter clinics available, something else we are seeing more and more of. Then there’s also the fact that most place charge less for a pet license if the pet is spayed or neutered. And above all, we need education! Education combined with incentives will go a long way to help the problem.
For many of us, spaying and neutering is just common sense and the responsible thing to do. Unfortunately this is not the case everywhere and with everyone. I like to think it’s improving though.
In some areas of the country where pet overpopulation is a real and serious problem, notoriously the southern states, too many people are less vigilant about their pets. They let them run loose and breed out of control. Many of the shelters are much less well funded and euthanasia rates are sky high.
Within reason, I am in favor of just about anything that will benefit the animals and cut down on the killing. I don’t like to have my life and everything I do scrutinized any more than the next person, but someone has to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and if it has to be the government, to a degree, as long as it if for the welfare of the animals, because people will not take the responsibility themselves, then so be it.
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