Traditionally the number of discarded pets found on the streets in Los Angeles County lessens as we hit the fall season. However volunteers and workers at the Downey and Baldwin Park Shelters have not noticed any reduction in intakes as our county’s residents have not grasped the importance of spaying and neutering their pets. Sadly the shelter system has a finite amount of kennel space and once that number is eclipsed the trail of tears leading to the back of the shelters is a well worn path and far too many friendly and adoptable pets are being euthanized.
Bringing down the unacceptably high euthanasia rates in not only Los Angeles County but throughout California, is not something which can be done overnight and is not something we can entirely blame on the poor management shown by Marcia Mayeda.
If the utopia of the no kill shelter is to be reached in Los Angeles County, the public has to force the state legislature to pass three pieces of legislation:
1.) Enforceable spay/neuter legislation must be passed. Yes we will have to compromise with the American Kennel Club and allow their breeders to continue producing purebreds, but backyard breeding must be ended – and the only way backyard breeding is going to be impacted is through legislation.
2.) We need to pass a law requiring all pets to be microchipped, and have the right to fine people who refuse to come and get their pets. In northern Italy there are severe fines for abandoning an animal – and we need to penalize irresponsible people who do not take care of their pets.
3.) We need to pass a law requiring landlords to allow pet ownership. Roughly thirty percent of all pets surrendered at shelters are the result of landlords refusing to allow pets in their buildings.
If we could get these three pieces of legislation through we might have a chance to bring our euthanasia rates down. Until then we will be nothing more than little Dutch boys trying to insert our fingers into dykes to stop the incoming tide and prevent the levee from being breached.