Budget cuts at Columbiana Co. dog pound don’t make sense

Editor:

As I read of the continuing cuts by Columbiana County Commissioners in order to preserve money, an area that seems to be overlooked is the Columbiana County Dog Pound and Adoption Center.

Let me be clear, in no way am I endorsing reduction in manpower or any service they provide. God knows, they can’t keep up with the overwhelming demand for their assistance now.

However, a common sense step to reducing expenses is to reduce the flow of dogs into the pound. Obviously, handling more than 1000 dogs in a year has great associated expense.

Isn’t it time to implement some form of mandatory spay and neuter of dogs in this county in order to stop the flow and curb the expense?

As President of the Humane Society of Columbiana County, I often speak to business and civic groups on animal welfare and related topics. In explaining that there are costs to taxpayers and donors that directly result from animal pollution (my term for animal overpopulation), I use this analogy which gets right to the heart of the issue.

Imagine that instead of being a county dog pound, we are talking of a municipal sewage disposal plant and imagine that the governing administration ordered the staff to cut operations and expenses. But at the same time, the administration knowingly distributed a laxative to the population, thereby increasing the flow into the sewage disposal plant.

This is exactly what we are doing in the animal welfare community. Cuts to budgets are dictated and donor dollars dwindle, but the flow of dogs (and cats) just keeps coming and someone is expected to handle it.

Please, if you don’t know what mandatory spay and neuter of pets is about, look it up on the Internet, or contact me via The Humane Society of Columbiana County. I would be glad to speak to you or your group on the topic.

Although The Humane Society is funded solely by donor dollars and does not receive any taxpayer dollars, we are asked constantly to accept unwanted pets as if they were used tires. Financially, we simply cannot keep pace with the demand.

Currently, we must refuse the pet unless related to a humane case. Mandatory spay/neuter is a reasonable solution to a very outdated and unnecessary problem.

Jenny R. Pike

Butler Township

7 Comments

  1. Barb Jones says:

    Jenny,

    If your opening ” As I read of the continuing cuts by Columbiana County Commissioners in order to preserve money, an area that seems to be overlooked is the Columbiana County Dog Pound and Adoption Center.” is true, why would any County tax issues affect the Humane Society if what you write later in the article is also true, “Although The Humane Society is funded solely by donor dollars and does not receive any taxpayer dollars…” ?

    Required Spay and Neuter programs do not work. Your words are old and come right out of the PETA playbook. The very people that ‘obey’ this kind of mandate are not the people producing pups that end up in shelters.

    While the word ‘responsible’ is sometimes an overused word, I believe it is appropriate to use it here. Responsible people take care of their animals. Responsible breeders test breeding stock, research potential owners of their pups, and microchip their pups. They are willing to take back an animal they produced, whatever the reason and whatever the age of the animal. These pups do not end up in shelters because they can be traced to the breeder.

    Perhaps a better approach of controlling ‘unwanted’ animals is to educate people about the problems created when they choose to bred their dogs or allow their pets to breed without thinking about the ramifications of their actions.

    Jenny, you seem to be very angry about the job of taking care of unwanted pets or strays, when that is the very definition of a shelter. Perhaps you need to find another line of work.

    Barb Jones

  2. Lynn S says:

    What Ms. Pike seems to be requesting through the desire to bring Mandatory Spay/Neuter (“MSN”) into effect, is actually the increase of animals dropped off to the shelter, which leads to an increase in euthanasias.

    Just ask Las Vegas, Kansas City (MO), and Los Angeles. The differences in numbers before MSN and after the laws were enacted tell the story.

    Las Vegas, one year after the law: http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2011/08/las-vegas-mandatory-spayneuter-year-1.html

    Los Angeles, three years later: http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2011/01/los-angeles-msn-year-3-when-can-we-expect-it-to-start-working.html

    Kansas City, four years (as of this writing) after the MSN of ‘pit bulls’ was put in effect: http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2010/02/kansas-city-mo-bslmsn-year-4-can-we-quit-pretending-its-working-yet.html

    I’m aware there is a law in Memphis as well, although their shelter is already mired in controversy with abysmal numbers to begin with.

    A criticism common to me is that I post links to these sorts of things. It’s not that I can’t write about them myself, but rather that others are much more informed, able to keep up with such information, and can write about the issues quite more succinctly than I. The writer of these stories is one such person. His exposes on the issue can be found here: http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/mandatory_spayneuter/

    By all means, people should take Ms Pike’s advice and look up MSN on the internet. They might find information counter to what she is advocating.

    The Animal Protection Association of Missouri is against the practice, and as a nice touch, provides links to to other credible sources: http://www.apamo.org/mandatory.aspx

    The No Kill Advocacy Center, an organzation which, ironically, has a similar end goal as Ms Pike, that being reduced shelter intakes and increased adoptions, has an excellent PDF write-up of the topic: http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/pdf/mandatorylaws.pdf

    I appreciate the hard work done by animal shelter workers and volunteers, but to add one more piece of legislation that will, quite frankly, burn bridges between community leaders and the people who voted for them, is short-sighted, and nothing short of a knee-jerk reaction to a long-term problem that requires a multi-pronged approach to tackle. Consider that MSN does not take into account animals coming into shelters that are already sterile; what is being done to keep these animals in the home? Are local rescues and their networks doing their part to foster and adopt out? What low-cost spay/neuter options exist to help people who can’t afford a $200 proocedure? These are just some of the ideas put into motion that save lives. MSN is not one of those ideas.

  3. Lynn says:

    What Ms. Pike seems to be requesting through the desire to bring Mandatory Spay/Neuter (“MSN”) into effect, is actually the increase of animals dropped off to the shelter, which inevitably leads to an increase in euthanasias.

    Just ask Las Vegas, Kansas City (MO), and Los Angeles. The differences in numbers before MSN and after the laws were enacted tell the story.

    Las Vegas, one year after the law: http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2011/08/las-vegas-mandatory-spayneuter-year-1.html

    Los Angeles, three years later: http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2011/01/los-angeles-msn-year-3-when-can-we-expect-it-to-start-working.html

    Kansas City, four years (as of this writing) after the MSN of ‘pit bulls’ was put in effect: http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/2010/02/kansas-city-mo-bslmsn-year-4-can-we-quit-pretending-its-working-yet.html

    I’m aware there is a law in Memphis as well, although that shelter is already mired in controversy, the likes of which is too in-depth to summarize here.

    A criticism common to me is that I post links to these sorts of things. It’s not that I can’t write about them myself, but rather that others are much more informed, able to keep up with such information, and can write about the issues quite more succinctly than I. The writer of these stories is one such person. His exposes on the issue can be found here: http://btoellner.typepad.com/kcdogblog/mandatory_spayneuter/

    By all means, people should take Ms. Pike’s advice and look up MSN on the internet. They might find information counter to what she is advocating, which, as Barb stated above, is merely an old trick out of the hat of the animal rights’ activists who see the presence of reproductive organs as prima facie evidence of a breeder. And we all know how breeders, no matter the kind—reputable, backyard, puppy mill, etc—are painted by such people: with the broad brush of moral superiority, the big roller that makes as much mess as possible with as little effort.

    The Animal Protection Association of Missouri is against the practice, and as a nice touch, provides links to to other credible sources: http://www.apamo.org/mandatory.aspx

    The No Kill Advocacy Center, an organzation which, ironically, has a similar end goal as Ms Pike, that being reduced shelter intakes and increased adoptions, has an excellent PDF write-up of the topic: http://www.nokilladvocacycenter.org/pdf/mandatorylaws.pdf

    I appreciate the hard work done by animal shelter workers and volunteers, but to add one more piece of legislation that will, quite frankly, burn bridges between community leaders and the people who voted for them, is short-sighted, and nothing short of a knee-jerk reaction to a long-term problem that requires a multi-pronged approach to tackle. Consider that MSN does not take into account animals coming into shelters that are already sterile; what is being done to keep these animals in the home? Are local rescues and their networks doing their part to pull animals, foster them and adopt them out? What low-cost spay/neuter options exist to help people who can’t afford a $200 proocedure? These are just some of the ideas put into motion that save lives, and have done so successfully in many locations. MSN, as it turns out, is not among any of the plans implemented. With the resounding failures in major cities where it’s been put into effect, it’s no wonder this is the case.

  4. Lynn says:

    I would like to add one more link to the plethora of information I have previously posted in regards to the suggestion of mandatory spay/neuter that Ms. Pike requests be implemented.

    In 2009, the American Veterinary Medical Association put out a memo stating their nonsupport of the idea of MSN in privately-owned pets. Note that this does not affect shelter animals, or those that are intact that are released to a shelter; this concerns pets owned by private individuals. http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/may09/090515j.asp

    Interestingly enough, the AVMA also states its support on the practice of pediatric spay/neuter for shelter animals, which (especially in the case of dogs) is interesting considering the large number of studies that show that the risks of early sterilization are the same as those noted in the MSN statement.

    Inasmuch as the studies finding correlations between sterilization and negative health effects can be somewhat conflicting, I think we all can agree on one thing: that the practice of mandatory sterilization for privately-owned pets is NOT a good idea at all, and so far in many of the communities in which it has been enacted, has been a resounding failure.

  5. Lynn says:

    And yet another reputable statement, this time from the American College of Theriogenology: http://www.theriogenology.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlenbr=59

    Please note that this writing touches on more of the idea that elective sterilization is an individual decision for a privately-owned pet and goes over reasons why this might be so, but this is the paragraph to be noted:

    “Making spay/neuter mandatory for licensure may make the public more hesitant to seek veterinary assistance because they are afraid of fines and legal repercussions as a result of failing to spay or neuter their pets by the prescribed time. By avoiding veterinary care for their pets, animals will be at increased risk of inadequate routine vaccination (including rabies) and inadequate deworming programs which may in turn result in increased transmission of disease to the public.”

    Also the summary note at the end:

    “The ACT and SFT do not believe that mandatory spay/neuter programs will significantly reduce the pet overpopulation problems, since most animals that are abandoned are relinquished because of behavior, health, economic and life changing conditions and not due to their reproductive status. In fact, in some European Union countries where gonadectomy is illegal unless deemed medically necessary (such as Norway) there are no significant problems with pet overpopulation, indicating that the pet overpopulation problem that exists in the United States is due to cultural differences on the importance of pets, the responsibility of pet owners, and the ability of the government and national agencies to properly educate the public. Although both organizations believe that most companion animals should be spayed or neutered, the ACT [American College of Theriogenologists] and SFT [Society For Theriogenology] also strongly believe that it is not in the best interest of the animals to produce legislation regarding medical treatments. Therefore, both organizations oppose mandatory spay/neuter programs.”

    I could not have said it better myself.

  6. H. Houlahan says:

    Ms.Pike’s sewage metaphor is flawed.

    Rather, let us contemplate a government that, charged with operating a sewer system, avoids the necessity of those troublesome pipes and treatment plants by hunting down its citizens and sewing shut an indispensable but not-often-discussed bodily orifice.

    Problem solved!

    In my capacity as a local representative for a national breed-specific rescue organization, I’ve worked with the Columbiana County Pound at intervals spaced over a decade. It is a type-case for a dog pound whose staff has learned to do a lot for the animals with essentially nothing. They are making progress, more progress than is justified by their scanty resources.

    Experience across the nation shows that the quickest way to reverse that progress is by following the red herring of government-forced surgical sterilization of privately-owned animals. All credible animal welfare organizations agree on this point. (Hint: PeTA is neither credible nor an animal welfare organization.) Laws mandating sterilization of privately-owned pets ALWAYS results in higher impoundments, lower licensing compliance, lower rabies vaccination compliance, higher overall shelter intake, and more killing done on the public dime. It serves to make ordinary citizens “criminals.”

    The chief “benefit” of forced sterilization laws appears to be to make bitter, burnt-out self-proclaimed animal lovers feel vindicated in their hatred of the people who for whatever reason — good or bad — relinquish their animals to a shelter. (Here’s another hint: If donations are down, you may want to check your attitude. The message “All you people suck and should be forced to do as I say” does not empower your fundraising.)

    I agree with Ms. Jones that Ms. Pike may want to look into another hobby.

    I would also like to take the opportunity to urge citizens of Columbiana County to support their underfunded dog pound. And if you are looking for a new buddy, please adopt from your pound. Every time I visit there are dozens of wonderful dogs there.

  7. okiestorm1 says:

    I don’t think it should be forced on pet owners to have to get thier dogs or cats fixed. i got my dogs spayed because i realy did not want to add to the puppy population, i still have a male that is not fixed but we live in the country and he stayes on the place the farthest he goes is the barn. I have got to get my cat in and get here fixed, there is a stray tom cat hangen around and got her preg so now we have 4 kittins, they will go to the barn and when older will get fixed also. i would like to see people donate to thier local pound and not to those groups such as PETA or HSUS, they do not have to pay for the animals droped off at your local pound , the pound has to come up with the money.Though in my opinion getting your dogs and cats fixed is the thing to do, it should be the persons choice and not a law to abay.

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