Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Vets Speak Out Against Mandatory Spay-Neuter Ordinances

Much has been said (here and elsewhere) about the fact that mandatory spay-neuter ordinances do not work to reduce shelter killing--- and often actually increase shelter killing due to increased owner-surrenders.

The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association recently chimed in against a proposed ordinance in Chicago. Their conclusion paragraph is damning:

"You do not hear an overwhelming call for mandatory spay/neuter laws from animal health professionals because many of the proposed benefits simply cannot be substantiated. Mandatory spay/neuter laws have had a mixed result in reducing the number of unwanted pets, placed an undue and unenforceable burden on police and animal control officials, reduced vaccination compliance for rabies, and unintentionally restricted access to healthcare for pets. The idea that mandatory spay/neuter will change a gangbanger’s behavior or that dog bite injuries will vanish is absurd. At the end of the day, no progress will be made on gang behavior or pet overpopulation and honest tax payers will be forced to give up yet another right in making health decisions for their pets. This ordinance may seem like a quick-fix for aldermen seeking solutions to challenging problems, but the reality is that it will not fix the problems they are looking to resolve. This ordinance will, however, create a nightmare for those who have to abide by it--veterinarians, police officers, animal control officials, public health providers and honest law-abiding taxpayers. Laws should be designed to solve problems, not create more. The Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association recommends that this proposal be allowed to die and welcomes a chance to help the city and citizens of Chicago and Illinois craft well written, meaningful and thoughtful animal legislation."

Read the full ISVMA letter here.