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Mandatory Desexing

Authored by M. McKenzie June, 2013

So they continue to breed. Secondly, is the approach to punish a pet owner if they do not comply with the legislation. Some owners cannot afford to desex, others refuse to desex their pet due to medical opinions or masculinity preferences. As a result, the owner is summoned with a fine and if they do not pay the fine, the pet is seized. The seized pet is taken to the pound or shelter. If it is not taken to a No Kill shelter, the pet will have a high risk of being killed. People who try to avoid the fine will relinquish their pet at the shelter. Again, increasing the incoming and kill rate.

Mandatory desexing is a contentious debate in Australia. A large part of the problem with the current debate is the lack of definition and clarity People will also avoid the fine altogether by on what is actually, mandatory desexing. refusing to registering their pet. Mandatory desexing is NOT about point of sale A mandatory desexing study was completed in desexing for pets in pet stores and shelters. Mandatory desexing is about pet owners within Canberra, Australia. The data and results were published in a paper called “Mandatory the community, and enforcing a law upon these Desexing in the ACT – has it worked?” pet owners.

Even with this defined, some people still believe The RSPCA ACT and the ACT Pound provided that mandatory desexing alone will eliminate the data for the five years prior to the legislation (1996-2001), and six years post the legislation national kill statistic. (2001-2007). There is a two pronged approach to why mandatory desexing will not produce optimal save rates for animal shelters. 1. feral, stray and community cats 2. punishing pet owners with fines The majority of animals entering the shelter system in Australia, and the majority of animals being killed by shelters, is cats. Moreover, many of these cats stem from feral, stray or community cats. The results showed that mandatory desexing did not reduce the intake of cats at RSPCA ACT, nor Since these cats do not have owners, a did it reduce the kill rate in the ACT. The paper mandatory desexing legislation will not effect described mandatory desexing as a this group. “unsuccessful, wasteful and expensive management tool.”

No Kill shelters do not kill healthy and treatable dogs and cats. No Kill shelters euthanase irredeemably sick, suffering and traumatised dogs and cats, and in the case of dogs, ones that are vicious.

The paper also provided examples of how mandatory desexing has failed in the United States. Here are some examples below: San Mateo County, California (1991) . dog deaths increased by 126% . cat deaths increased by 86% . registration decreased by 35% Los Angeles, Califormia (2000) . decline in dog registration . animal control budget increased by 296% from $6.7m to $18m Fort Worth, Texas . decline in registration . reduced rabies vaccination . increase in rabies disease In Austin, Texas, an animal shelter who was killing 85 percent of all animals due to space restrictions, launched a nine year long desexing campaign in 1999. This resulted in a whopping 60,000 surgeries. In the first year, killing dropped from 85 percent to 50 percent. But year after year, the kill rate remained at 50 percent. Addition to this, live outcomes remained at 10,000 and never increased, even after a budgetary increase. It was not until they began to implement the No Kill programs and services, did the kill rate decline. Austin, Texas is now the largest No Kill city in the United States, with an annual save rate of 91 percent.

There has never been a No Kill shelter, one that is saving greater than 90 percent of all healthy and treatable animals, that has been created by mandatory desexing.

Desexing your pet has health benefits, reduces unwanted litters and is a part of responsible pet ownership. One of the eleven No Kill programs and services is high volume/low cost desexing. No Kill acknowledges that desexing is important, and No Kill shelters provide the community with desexing services that are accessible and affordable to pet owners. It is about embracing the community, not punishing them. Mandatory desexing legislation is about people, and it provides no benefits to pets. It not only costs the community a lot of money that could be directed toward life saving programs, but research has proven that it does not decrease animal shelter admissions and it does not improve a shelters save rate.

Images:
Dog and cat desexing photos taken at the RSPCA ACT.

Mandatory Desexing in the ACT – has it worked?: Dr Ellen Jefferson, Austin Pets Alive
http://www.ccac.net.au/files/Mandatory_Desexing_in_the_ACT_ Cats.pdf

No Kill shelters do not kill healthy and treatable dogs and cats. No Kill shelters euthanase irredeemably sick, suffering and traumatised dogs and cats, and in the case of dogs, ones that are vicious.