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Bob Barker’s Push for Law on Spaying/Neutering

In Animal News on July 31, 2008 at 6:43 pm

When Bob Barker was the host of “The Price is Right” he would end each episode with a message that encouraged people to have cats and dogs spayed or neutered. There have been many cracks that Barker personally spayed/neutered thousands of animals which I’ll admit to finding a little humorous. Anyway, Barker was in Chicago Tuesday to lobby aldermen on a plan to require that the city’s dogs and cats be sterilized. He was was met with some unexpected opposition. The plan requires that all cats and dogs be spayed/neutered by the age of six months and alderman questioned the feasibility of that. Barker believes legislation is the only way to solve the problem of thousands upon thousands of homeless cats and dogs. He also points money-saving benefits of the plan which he says would save Chicago millions of dollars that would no longer be needed for shelters to euthanize animals that have not been adopted.

The ordinance is sponsored by Ald. Ed Burke (14th), chairman of the Finance Committee, and Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th). They pointed to dog attacks on Chicago residents and sterilized dogs as being less vicious as good support for the ordinance. Were the ordinance to be passed, those in violation of it would be given a ticket telling the person to have the pet fixed. If the person ignored the ticket, a $100 fine would be issued after 60 days. If another 60 days passed with no response, a second fine would be issues, one that could be up to $500. In addition, the city could impound and sterilize the animal. A person could only reclaim the pet after paying the fines and other related costs. Some pets would exempt: those with medical problems that make sterilization unsafe, show dogs, guard and service dogs, as well as animals belonging to federally licensed breeders, and a person could apply for a city’s breeder license (which requires a criminal background check) to become exempt.

The effort is backed by PAWS Chicago and the Humane Society of the United States. However, the Chicago and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association oppose the effort believing that the decision to sterilize should be left to the veterinarian and the pet’s guardian. One alderman, Isaac Carothers (29th) doesn’t think the ordinance would have much effect in Chicago because he doesn’t think that people would obey the law.

I’m torn on the issue. It’s terrible that a staggering number of cats and dogs are enthanized each year because homes cannot be found for them. However, I don’t know that I feel comfortable with a law telling people how to care for their animal. Perhaps, instead, there should be a law banning irresponsible people from becoming pet guardians.

-Amanda Giffi

  1. It’s a hard call — I think that education would go further than legislation. But that’s just my two sense.

  2. i think its an excellent idea. There is no way that we’d have a “shortage” of dogs in the long run, if that’s what people are afraid of. Spaying and neutering cats and dogs adds many health benefits in addition to preventing putting thousands of animals to sleep. There are no negatives to this law imo.

  3. I am totally in agreement with this law. People who don’t spay and neuter are not going to take the time to get educated on the matter. The city has way to many stray pets on the streets and over crowded shelters. European countries have the law and it has helped them.

  4. What is so hard about it? The RABIES vaccination is not enforceable-but most people do it–because IT IS THE LAW. With something on the books people can report others who let their cats and dogs breed like crazy–hello folks-feeding is not enough to care for cats and dogs. We ALL know some person who does this. It will also cut down on the “free to good home” ads-which people adopt these pets so they can feed their pet snake or sell them for hideous experiments.

    Requirement for license for animals not spay/neutered is smart-we DO have a fishing license. So why not this. In addition, be aware CATS CAN CATCH AND TRANSMIT BIRD FLU TO OTHER ANIMALS-now how many homeless cats in Chicago? MILLIONS. USA never had bird flu but we are not immune to to; in addition, two flocks of ducks tested positive for Bird Flu in February 2009–so bird flu is just right around the corner. Have a nice Jesus filled day.

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