Dallas Legislative update

April 23, 2008

Today was the Dallas City Council meeting where a group of local show dog folks went to speak out against this mandatory spay/neuter law and the very expensive breeder permitting ($500/intact dog per year, whether or not it’s bred, a statement by the animal services director that he won’t allow breeder permits to be given to people in residentially zoned areas since they are ‘a business’ and a wide variety of onerous and privacy-invading rules that have less to do with actual animal welfare and more to do with making life as inconvenient for breeders as possible). We had two speakers, a lady who breeds and shows (she never said what breed) and then a doctor who is active in performance sports. Both were articulate, well-informed, and did a good job of making their cases to the city council, one focusing mainly on how responsible breeders should be part of the solution, not part of the problem and that many of us are active in rescue but will stop under the new rules because of the proposed pet limit (a combination of 6 dogs/cats total, which isn’t terribly onerous, but isn’t great, either); the other focused on the negative aspects of the 4-month age for spay/neuter required in the law.

Is this law going to pass? I don’t know. Texas Kennel Club, our local all-breed club, has hired a lawyer and she is putting together some alternative proposals, but she didn’t attend today’s meeting and the proposas haven’t been released yet. Hopefully they’ll be effective ones. We have another meeting to attend on Monday with the city’s Quality of Life commission, and there’s an organizational meeting on Saturday at Top Dog.

I made spiffy buttons and stickers and took some to the meeting this morning- gave out most of my 48 stickers that I took. If you are interested, the designs can be seen at DogsVote, on Cafepress.

“Overpopulation” or, why mandatory s/n won’t work.

March 25, 2008

(As promised from yesterday, but I didn’t have time to finish this until this afternoon (Tuesday))

The law that is currently proposed here in Dallas (which doesn’t have a draft version online), requires all people who are not approved breeders (and there are no criteria for approval, just that they will be approved or disproved by an employee at local animal control, who may or may not have any actual qualifications as to understanding what constitutes a responsible breeder) to spay and neuter their cats and dogs. Responsible owners spay and neuter, right, so where’s the problem? I really don’t think it’s going to help.

Walk throughs of the Dallas City shelter are depressing- especially in the old building on Forney Road. It’s dank, humid, lit with bare flouresent bulbs. The runs are 4×4, with a few 4×6 at the back of the building. They’re cramped, with concrete flooring, a built in feeder, and metal panels between each run so dogs can’t see each other to fence fight. The staff does their best to keep the runs clean (and I have to say, I’ve never seen poop in a run go unscooped for more than 15-20 minutes, which is unbelieveable given the size of the facility), but the dogs IN the runs are depressing. Most of them are large mixed-breed dogs- lab, pit, chow, husky and shepherd mixes predominate. Small-breed dogs generally get snapped up by rescues or make it to the few adoption kennels here, unless they’re visibly old or have obvious health problems. These dogs are not the products of intentional breeding. They’re the oops puppies from friends and neighbors- whose new owners didn’t care for them once the new and shiny wore off. It’s a GREAT (if dismal) place to adopt a dog- I’ve known many wonderful dogs that came from there, the staff work VERY hard to do their best by the animals, and are generally polite, courteous, and helpful (one woman stayed late for me to bring in a hound mix that had been found running loose- at the time, I lived in no pets housing and couldn’t have gotten away with hiding him overnight, not with that voice- he DID have a microchip, we got hold of his owner, and I dropped him off on my way home.) But the breeders aren’t the problem- it’s pet owners who won’t alter their dogs, and won’t take responsibility for making sure the puppies end up in an forever home, not just a home for a few months. Mostly, these people never bother to vaccinate or register their pets with the city- they won’t be affected unless the conditions are so bad that they get reported for cruelty and the city presses charges.

Dallas also has a puppy mill problem- but they aren’t in city limits. They’re in the many surrounding rural towns without any animal control at all- Wilmer, Red Oak, Mansfield, Lake Dallas, Bowie. This law won’t affect them at all.

Who this law WILL affect is people who are already obeying the laws. These include responsible pet owners and responsible breeders. (I have to admit, I am not responsible at the moment, I haven’t renewed Mal’s license for the year or licensed Lizzie, since I was planning to be moved out of Dallas by the end of this month. I will renew it when he gets his rabies shot next month, though, and license her- since I have to go down to the office to do it, I don’t want to make two trips.)Pet owners who give regular vet care have something like a 95% compliance rate as it is when it comes to spaying and neutering their dogs (only 70-some percent for cats, which may explain the GIANT feral cat population problem.)

This law won’t stop the dopes who breed Sadie, the dog who lives in their backyard, so the kids can experience puppies just once, or because she has PAPERS and they think they can make a couple hundred dollars off the litter. In general, these people aren’t even aware that they need to license Sadie. Their vet may tell them, if they take her to a vet.

This won’t stop people who get a cute kitten off Craigslist to be an outdoor (or even indoor outdoor) cat and don’t bother to have her altered. Kittens are cute, and they’ll find homes for them, right? If they can catch them, that is. And those people may or may not alter them. The feral cat problem is overwhelmingly huge here in Dallas, even though dogs (and puppy mills and BYBs) get more attention.

We need to stop irresponsible ownership- not responsible breeding. And the laws for that are already on the books. Dallas has a leash law that isn’t enforced for lack of officers to do it, and it’s usually at least a day before they can send an ACO out to catch a stray, if you can’t catch it and take it to the shelter yourself. We need to increase enforcement and the AC department’s budget. Offer more free spay/neuter opportunities, with better hours and accessability for people who work long hours and lack transportation. We need to offer more humane education in the schools, so kids learn that pets aren’t disposable. But banning breeding isn’t going to do it.

This law probably won’t affect me, immediately. I will probably live outside of Dallas city limits before it passes, if it does.But it’s a wrong law, and it’s a nasty trend. If you love a purebred animal-wherever that animal came from- or appreciate dogs who are bred for health and temperament and not just cuteness or profit? You need to learn more about this type of legislation, and how it hurts the health of dogs as a whole.

Heads up! Mandatory Spay Neuter Ordinance in Dallas!

March 24, 2008

Crossposted because I’m lazy – a real post on this topic today. If you live in Dallas, PLEASE contact your city council member TODAY!

From Responsible Pet Owners Alliance, the reasonable voice regarding animal issues in Texas.
Responsible Pet Owners Alliance is an animal welfare organization, not “animal rights” and, yes, there is a difference. Permission granted to crosspost.

March 21, 2008
Action Alert for Dallas, Texas!

After being told repeatedly that nothing was in writing yet, Responsible Pet Owners Alliance finally received a copy of the Chapter 7 Animal Ordinance Revisions under an Open Records Act Request. As we notified you previously, this was unanimously approved by the Dallas Animal Shelter Commission in January — exactly one month after passage of the onerous San Antonio ordinance. It must have been in the hopper … waiting. The Revisions are tentatively scheduled to be presented to the Quality of Life Committee for consideration in late April but that date could change at any time. We have no objection to the Dangerous Dogs Section as it appears to be well written with due process provisions. However we do oppose the sections
below because they are not in the best interests of the animals nor their owners:

  1. Pet Limits. (Dallas has no pet limits now.)
  2. Mandatory Spay/Neuter Requirements and Breeder Permits ($500 per animal, not allowed in residental areas) for dogs and cats.
  3. No Tethering or confinement of less than 150 square feet
  4. Miscellaneous Section which includes a Fine Schedule for violations and criminal and civil penalties which are “per day per dog.”

This ordinance means fewer homes for pets, more animals killed by Dallas Animal Services and mixed breeds will become extinct among other concerns. People will be forced to buy only registered dogs and cats the Animal Services director decides can exist which could lead to breed specific concerns.

Mandatory Spay/Neuter and Breeder Permit Ordinances are proof of the “animal rights” agenda to end all use, breeding and ownership of animals – if you had any doubts. Just follow the legislative trail all over the country. It defies all reason and understanding that elected officials do not see that if all pets are sterilized, where does the next generation come from? And who could afford to buy one if they can find it? It’s up to us to tell them!

To help Dallas animal owners please go to our web site for the Action Alert: www.responsiblepetowners.org

Click on the yellow blinking Action Alert button (lower left) and under “Dallas” you’ll find links with talking points and contact information to write, phone and/or email all city officials. There are also links to each of the Chapter 7 Animal Ordinance provisions. Be sure to scroll down on each one provision as they have multiple pages.

Responsible Pet Owners Alliance
900 NE Loop 410 #311-D
San Antonio, TX 78209
Phone: (210) 822-6763
Website: www.responsiblepetowners.org
$15 Annual dues (January – December)
To share information, subscribe or unsubscribe,
e-mail rpoa@texas.net.