[ SHOWGSD-L ] Yates<> long,.Californians Could Face $50 million Unfunded Mandate Based On Dallas Experience - MA, FL, IL & AZ Take Note

  • From: Stormy Hope <Stormy435@xxxxxxx>
  • To: SHOWGSD-L <showgsd-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2009 18:24:57 -0700


Hard Lessons From Dallas Spay/Neuter MandatePosted by: "John Yates" 
asda@xxxxxxxxxxxx 
    eaglerock814Tue Jul 7, 2009 5:44 pm (PDT)


Lessons From Dallas Spay/Neuter Mandate

Californians Could Face $50 million Unfunded Mandate
Based On Dallas Experience - MA, FL, IL & AZ Take Note

by JOHN YATES
American sporting Dog Alliance
http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org
asda@xxxxxxxxxxxx

This report is archived at 
http://eaglerock814.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=general&thread=50

DALLAS, TX (July 7, 2009) – A year ago, Dallas City Council voted to  
enter the brave new world of a mandatory spay and neuter ordinance for  
dogs. That vote was based on the promise by animal rights group  
supporters of lower animal shelter admissions, a lower euthanasia  
rate, and an increase in licensing revenues to support the animal  
control program.

A year after the Dallas ordinance was passed, those promises have  
proven to be fraudulent, based on actual budget data from the Dallas  
Animal Control program that was obtained by the American Sporting Dog  
Alliance. In looking at all of the promises made in Dallas, the actual  
results have proven to be diametrically opposite of what City Council  
had hoped it was voting to do.

Now, the California Legislature is close to passing a statewide spay/ 
neuter mandate, similar legislation is on the table in Massachusetts,  
and municipal ordinances are pending in Chicago and communities in  
Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Florida. We ask citizens and lawmakers  
in those states to pay close attention to the Dallas experience.

Based on what happened in Dallas, municipal governments in California  
could be facing a de facto state mandate for $50 million in unplanned  
local spending, and their shelters would be overflowing with dogs  
facing a future without hope. We are making this evidence available to  
the California Assembly Committee on Appropriations, which has  
scheduled a July 15 hearing on Senate Bill 250. SB 250, which already  
has passed the Senate and is the closest thing possible to a statewide  
mandate to spay or neuter all dogs and cats.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance predicted adverse results in  
Dallas, based on the actual experiences of every city in America that  
has passed a mandatory pet sterilization ordinance. However, Dallas  
City Council chose to ignore the facts and fall for the hollow  
promises of animal rights activists, such as Robert "Skip" Trimble,  
the darling of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and  
the Humane Society of the United States.

A year later, the Dallas experience has proven to be a fiscal  
disaster, and a nightmare for anyone who loves dogs and the dogs  
themselves.

The Dallas experience provides reasonable evidence of what can be  
expected to happen in California if SB 250 is passed into law. Dallas  
has a population of 1.3 million people. California, at 36.8 million,  
is 28 times more populous than Dallas. Thus, a reasonable expectation  
can be obtained by multiplying the Dallas numbers by 28.

Here is a summary of what has happened in Dallas, and what is likely  
to happen in California, based on official Dallas budget documents:

· While animal rights activists were telling City Council that a spay/ 
neuter mandate would reduce shelter admissions, the 2008-09 city  
budget called for a 10-percent increase in animal shelter admissions.  
The budget was designed to "increase the number of animals impounded  
by 10% to 37,000." Thus, if AB 250 is passed, California  
municipalities can reasonably expect a 10% increase in shelter  
admissions, and this legislation would be an unfunded state mandate to  
pay for these additional animals. In California, it is illegal for the  
state to force municipalities to accept unfounded mandates, without  
full reimbursement for the costs.

· In the 2007-08 fiscal year, actual expenses for the animal control  
program were pegged at $6.4 million. The 2008-09 budget calls for  
spending $7.8 million, which is a $1.4 million increase, or 22- 
percent. Extrapolating from those numbers, Californians also might be  
expected to see a 22-percent cost increase to municipal government  
(and taxpayers), to about $39 million. That, too, would be a de facto  
unfunded mandate from the state.

· While expenses are escalating, license sale revenues have plunged in  
Dallas. The fiscal year loss of pet license sales is projected to be  
in excess of $400,000. That means the Animal Control Department will  
have to take care of more animals on less money. License sales drop  
because people who cannot comply with the spay/neuter mandate cannot  
obtain a license without proof of sterilization. This has been proven  
in every municipality that has tried a spay/neuter mandate, and now  
has been proven again this year in Dallas and Los Angeles, which  
recently passed a similar ordinance. Based on the Dallas experience,  
California municipalities can expect to see a corresponding $11.2  
million drop in license sales. This, too, is a de facto unfunded  
mandate from the state.

Here is a link for Dallas budget information: 
http://www.dallascityhall.com/Budget/adopted0809/CleanHealthyEnvironment.pdf 
.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance is not the only organization that  
is projecting a large de facto unfounded mandate if SB 250 passes into  
law.

Our conclusion is shared by the California Department of Finance,  
which recently released a report on SB 250: "This bill would result in  
a substantial increase to the General Fund…to reimburse local  
government shelters' cost to care for impounded animals. Given the  
current economic climate, requiring the owners of dogs and cats to pay  
for sterilization procedures would result in more animals being  
abandoned or surrendered because of the owners' inability to finance  
the sterilization procedure and pay additional fines."

That means millions more healthy and adoptable animals will be  
euthanized at animal shelters that are already swamped by dogs and  
cats that had to be abandoned by their owners due to home foreclosures  
and job losses. When people lose their homes, pets become homeless,  
too. When people lose their jobs, they cannot afford to sterilize  
animals or even take care of them in many cases. The inevitable result  
is a rapid increase in abandonment and euthanasia at animal shelters.

Such is the murderous intent of the animal rights movement, which  
seeks to gradually eliminate animals from American life. Its immediate  
goal is to force people to sterilize or euthanize as many dogs and  
cats as possible, and SB 250 was written for this reason. Our research  
has clearly documented that spay/neuter mandates in Los Angeles, other  
California communities and elsewhere have bankrupted animal control  
programs and led to large-scale pet abandonment and rapid rises in  
shelter euthanasia rates. Our research shows a 30-percent increase in  
shelter euthanasia and a 20-percent increase in admission rates since  
the Los Angeles ordinance was passed a year ago. At the same time, the  
Los Angeles Animal Control Department has been devastated financially  
by a drastic reduction in license revenues and large increases in  
expenses.

The Department of Finance report to the Legislature concluded that  
"the Department of Finance is opposed to this measure because it would  
increase costs for an existing state-mandated local program,  
potentially create a new state mandated local program, and result in  
General Fund costs that are not included in the 2009-10 Budget Act.  
Mandatory spay and neuter provisions have failed throughout California  
at the local government level."

In California, the official unemployment rate has soared to 11.5- 
percent, real unemployment is estimated at 20-percent, the  
unemployment rate is projected to be 12.5-percent by the end of the  
year, home foreclosures and business failures are the highest in the  
nation and approach Great Depression levels, state government is  
facing an immediate $24.3 billion budget deficit and is paying its  
bills with IOU's, and essential services are being decimated. Of the  
10 U.S. cities with the highest rates of foreclosures, California has  
six. An estimated 200,000 jobs have been lost in California in the  
past year alone. Some communities already have been forced to  
eliminate fire protection, cut their police forces, shutter services  
and close schools. In addition, more than $15 billion in tax increases  
are being proposed, massive layoffs of state and municipal employees  
are planned, an energy tax alone would result in the loss of an  
estimated 10,000 jobs, prisoners would be dumped in the streets and  
most would no longer have probationary supervision, and elderly,  
disabled and blind people would lose $1.4 billion in state benefits,  
programs to help them remain in their homes, and protections that now  
allow them to save their homes from tax sales. The state's future will  
be mortgaged by $10.3 billion in loans to keep government afloat and  
by the deterioration of infrastructure such as roads and bridges.  
California already has the highest sales and business taxes in the  
nation, and the second highest income taxes.

In light of California's devastated economy and $24.3 billion budget  
deficit, it would be sheer fiscal insanity to pass SB 250 into law.

The statewide consequences would be inevitable and bleak. The result  
will be people and local governments pushed over the financial edge  
and into the abyss, and the highest price will be paid by millions of  
dogs and cats that will lose their homes and face almost certain death  
in overcrowded animal shelters.
Economic impacts are really impacts on people and their pets. San  
Francisco Chronicle Columnist Christi Keith wrote an extraordinary  
analysis of these impacts in the June 9, 2009, edition of the paper 
(http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2009/06/09/petscol060909.DTL 
).
It is the best writing on mandatory spay/neuter laws we have seen in  
any major newspaper. "When did the party of `Yes, we can!' become the  
party of `No, you'd better not' when it comes to dogs and cats?,"  
Keith wrote.
Her column continues: "Under the bill, every California pet owner must  
obtain a license to keep a dog or cat who hasn't been sterilized, a  
license that can be revoked if the owner violates a number of animal  
laws -- not just big ones like animal cruelty and neglect, but little  
ones, like letting your dog stand next to your car in a beach parking  
beach without his leash on. If that happens, you can be forced to spay  
or neuter your pet, unless a veterinarian certifies that the animal  
would `suffer serious harm or death if surgically sterilized.' If a  
pet owner can't afford that option or refuses to comply, the animals  
can be seized and sterilized or even killed at taxpayer expense.
Keith correctly identifies the root of the problem, and also the  
impact of SB 250.
"Both the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  
(ASPCA) and the Association of Pet Product Manufacturers report that  
nearly all family pets are already spayed or neutered -- except those  
belonging to poor people.
"While spay/neuter rates among pets owned by middle and upper income  
people approach 90 percent, only 53 percent of pets owned by poor  
people are spayed or neutered. The majority of lower income owners say  
they want to alter their pets but either can't afford to pay for the  
surgery and/or can't get their pets to a facility that will do it.
"In many communities, no form of public or private assistance is  
available to defray the cost of spay and neuter surgeries, which range  
from less than $100 for a cat to $900 for a very large dog, depending  
on local veterinary rates. And for people without a car, simply  
transporting pets to clinics or hospitals can be nearly impossible.
"The progressive solution would be to fund free and accessible spay/ 
neuter for people who want to alter their pets but can't afford the  
procedure. That's what happened in New Hampshire, which subsequently  
saw its shelter intake numbers plummet and its euthanasia rate drop by  
75 percent. Many California communities, including San Francisco, have  
done the same, with similar results."
We applaud Ms. Keith.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance is urging all California dog owners  
to take immediate action, before the Assembly Committee on  
Appropriations holds a hearing on SB 250 on July 15. It is urgent that  
a large number of Californians express clear opposition to SB 250,  
which is very close to being passed into law.

Remember that the Appropriations Committee deals mostly with financial  
aspects of legislation, such as the outlay of government funds.

Please phone and also email each member of the committee as soon as  
possible. Members of legislative committee represent all Californians,  
not just their own constituents. Here is contact information for all  
of the committee members:

Committee Members District Phone E-mail
Kevin de Leon - Chair Dem-45 (916) 319-2045 
Assemblymember.deLeon@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Jim Nielsen - Vice Chair Rep-2 (916) 319-2002 
Assemblymember.Nielsen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Tom Ammiano Dem-13 (916) 319-2013 Assemblymember.Ammiano@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Charles M. Calderon Dem-58 (916) 319-2058 
Assemblymember.Calderon@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Joe Coto Dem-23 (916) 319-2023 Assemblymember.coto@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mike Davis Dem-48 (916) 319-2048 Assemblymember.Davis@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Michael D. Duvall Rep-72 (916) 319-2072 Assemblymember.Duvall@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Felipe Fuentes Dem-39 (916) 319-2039 Assemblymember.fuentes@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Isadore Hall III Dem-52 (916) 319-2052 Assemblymember.Hall@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Diane L. Harkey Rep-73 916) 319-2073 Assemblymember.Harkey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Jeff Miller Rep-71 (916) 319-2071 Assemblymember.Miller@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
John A. Pérez Dem-46 (916) 319-2046 Assemblymember.John.Perez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Nancy Skinner Dem-14 (916) 319-2014 Assemblymember.Skinner@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Jose Solorio Dem-69 (916) 319-2069 Assemblymember.solorio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Audra Strickland Rep-37 (916) 319-2037 Assemblymember.strickland@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Tom Torlakson Dem-11 (916) 319-2011 Assemblymember.Torlakson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The California Legislature is slated to adjourn on July 18 for summer  
recess, and SB 250 could face a vote of the full Assembly on July 17.

To read our analysis of the legislation, please visit 
http://eaglerock814.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=general&thread=48

To read the actual text of the legislation, go to: 
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0201-0250/sb_250_bill_20090528_amended_sen_v95.html
 
.

Thank you for helping California pet owners and the dogs and cats that  
they love.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and  
professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting.  
We also welcome people who work with other breeds, as legislative  
issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to  
protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional  
relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in  
American society and life. The American Sporting Dog Alliance also  
needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights  
of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly  
essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by your  
donations in order to maintain strict independence.
Please visit us on the web at http:// 
www.americansportingdogalliance.org . Our email is asda@xxxxxxxxxxxx .

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  • » [ SHOWGSD-L ] Yates<> long,.Californians Could Face $50 million Unfunded Mandate Based On Dallas Experience - MA, FL, IL & AZ Take Note - Stormy Hope