SC Does Not Want or Need Laws to Increase Pet Killing

The Walter Crowe Animal Shelter in SC kills half its pets.  They are now sending some of their pets up north to be adopted – specifically Wisconsin.  This is good.  It leaves fewer pets at the shelter to be killed.

The shelter director Sharon Jones was interviewed by the local news about it:

Within 48 hours of arriving in Milwaukee, Jones said all the dogs will be adopted.

“There’s a shortage of dogs there so this is our second trip to Milwaukee,” said animal rescuer Ron Danta.

Danta set up the exchange and said states like Wisconsin show animal population control is possible.

“They have laws that we don’t and they enforce their laws,” said Jones.

Jones referenced laws such as making it mandatory to spay and neuter pets, and limiting who can breed animals. Laws that Jones said are non-existent in South Carolina.

“We’re working at, we got to keep going. I can’t give up until we make a change,” said Jones.

I wanted to look at these claims carefully to examine Wisconsin’s pet laws and their enforcement.  My internet search found only one law that appeared to be relevant to the claims made above:  Wisconsin Act 90 (pdf).  This is a law which requires licensing for any dog breeder who sells more than 25 dogs per year, provided the pups come from more than 3 litters.  In order to purchase the license, the breeder must have his facility inspected and then allow inspections every 2 years thereafter.  The law also outlines standards of care including sufficient food, water and vet care.

As far as the claim that Wisconsin has a law “limiting who can breed animals”, I would give this a rating of HALF-TRUTH.  The law does limit dog breeders of certain production volume to those individuals willing to pay the licensing fee ($250 – $1000 per year, depending on sales volume) and able to pass the required inspections.  But as far as John Q. Public’s cat having a litter of kittens every spring or Mary Jo Breeder mating her dog Fluffy to Neighbor Bob’s dog Rosco – no restrictions.

Regarding the claim “they enforce their laws”, I have to give that a FALSE since Wisconsin’s Act 90 doesn’t even go into effect until June 2011.  It remains to be seen how well the law will be enforced.

As for MSN, Wisconsin does not have it.  I searched through some of Wisconsin’s major cities (including Milwaukee) for MSN laws but couldn’t find anything.  In fact, as far as I know, Wisconsin doesn’t even require shelter pets to be neutered at the time of adoption.  So the claim that WI has and enforces a mandatory spay neuter law gets a PANTS ON FIRE.

Like WI, SC does not have MSN.  Which is a good thing since historically, MSN has had a dreadful track record everywhere it’s been passed.  MSN sacrifices pets’ lives to ideology.  Some examples:

  • The city of Los Angeles enacted MSN in 2008 and after the first year, shelter intake and killings were up.  Killings increased after the second year as well.
  • When CA was considering statewide MSN legislation in 2007, the past president of the California Veterinary Medical Association wrote a lengthy letter to the Board detailing his opposition.
  • Killings and costs both went up in King Co, WA after MSN was passed.

As a result, most every major animal welfare group in the country opposes MSN.  That list includes:

  • The No Kill Advocacy Center explains “Why Punitive Legislation Fails” (pdf)
  • Alley Cat Allies points out that MSN does not reach most intact cats (pdf)
  • The “ASPCA is not aware of any credible evidence demonstrating a statistically significant enhancement in the reduction of shelter intake or euthanasia as a result of the implementation of a mandatory spay/neuter law.”
  • The American Veterinary Medical Association opposes MSN.

There is no need for SC to enact laws which cost more money and kill more pets.  Nor is there a need to reinvent the wheel.  We could follow the successful model in Calgary for example:

Key to Calgary’s success

  • no – mandatory spay/neuter
  • no – breed specific legislation
  • no – pet limit laws
  • no – anti-tethering laws
  • yes – providing valued services rather than simply punishing citizens into compliance
  • yes – buy in and cooperation among community stakeholders thanks to an animal control director who is a professional mediator
  • yes – extensive education and PR campaign to emphasize responsible pet ownership
  • yes – low license fees and modest fee differential for intact pets

Or SC could follow the model currently developing in Austin. Or anyplace else that has implemented the No Kill Equation.  But we need strong leadership.  We need our shelter directors to abandon their crusades for pet killing laws like MSN and embrace the no kill philosophy and laws such as the one recently passed in Delaware.

I admire this sentiment:  “I can’t give up until we make a change”.  I want change too.  I want SC to leave behind the antiquated ideas of killing pets for population control and move forward with no kill reforms.  And I too will not give up.

10 thoughts on “SC Does Not Want or Need Laws to Increase Pet Killing

  1. As someone who lives literally 30 minutes from WI, i can verify your statements.
    In fact, in my experience, WI can barely take care of their own animals. The shelter in River Falls closed, then re-opened, only to close permanently a year later (this was 2-3 years ago). Since then, animals there have nowhere to go (including strays). Surrenderers and adopters have to trek into MN (or deeper into WI) for an animal, and strays that are picked up in WI (near to the border, such as in Hudson) are also shipped over to MN for their Impound period (which is 7 days, vs 5 days if picked up in MN).

  2. I volunteer at the shelter these dogs were sent to. No, we don’t have any mandatory neuter laws nor do we have any regulations on having puppies and kittens…in your own back yard. I don’t know about some of the rural shelters but ours does a great job of education and outreach. Low cost spay/neuter clinics and a joint effort with other shelters and our local animal control have gone a long way in helping the animals in our area. It seems to me that common sense and a little bit of compassion go a long way in helping the animals too.

    1. No, Lynnette, they didn’t! I’m still walking some of the same dogs I walked before the SC dogs came and the ones I’m not walking have found homes. Except for one, he went to our sister shelter in the next county because he had special needs, like he was herding everything and everyone and getting a little crazy in his kennel. They found a sheep ranch to work with and adopt him.

      1. Whew, I’m glad. I’ve been reading lately that many of the Southern dogs that go up North displace the animals already at the shelters, i.e., the shelter dogs are killed to make room. I am relieved that is not the case here. Thanks for replying.

  3. YesBiscuit, I agree that Austin has a good model if we stay on track. However there is a VERY large and belligerent minority (I hope) who is STRONGLY pushing for pet limit laws. They use the old chestnut “We know these laws have not worked other places but Austin is “different.”” Any ideas on this? Ryan is aware btw. One of the same people who is pushing for these laws is viciously attacking Ryan (apparently because Ryan has more money than this person) as well as Nathan (he actually made Nathan’s blog, in fact).

    I guess it just goes to show that no matter HOW well you are doing SOMEONE’s going to try to throw a monkey wrench into it.

    1. Do they offer any proof that Austin is different? Pet limit laws drive people underground and make them suspicious of ACOs and the shelter which invariably increases its kill rate. Is the city prepared to go it alone on the recently adopted no kill efforts? Because the public will abandon them like rats on a sinking ship if they punish them in this way. And without strong community support, no kill is unlikely to succeed. Or perhaps that’s the true intent.

  4. Yesbuiscuit, I could write a book on this subject. The vice chair of the Animal Advisory Committee (which is scary because his opinion is going to hold more weight with City Council) sent a very long email to the mayor and Council. I won’t reproduce it here as it is very long, if you want to see it I can send it to your email. As it was mailed to the Mayor and Council it is subject to the Freedom of Information act so I am not breaking any IP laws or anything.
    Anyway, the highlights: Austin already has low-cost spay/neuter clinics. This is true, however, there are STILL not enough to meet the demand. I have had people on my DOORSTEP BEGGING me to get their animals altered, and we always do. We also take animals of the homebound, elderly, and handicapped in for free spay/neuter. He argues that there is still not enough spay/neuter going on…well, what have you tried? Incentive spay/neuter (no). Stuff like “Hooters for Neuters” where the Hooters girls come and mingle with men before they get their dogs altered? (This reaches the macho men who are squeamish – hell asking the company who makes neuticals for donations would be better than a MSN law) He argues there would be no door to door sweeps – well, I just read a few days ago about somewhere they are happening now, he talks about “Austin’s long history of compassion” – yeah, we just drove out the longstanding former shelter direction, Nathan has some views on just how “compassionate” she was. And – this is really really really frightening – he advocates MSN for FERAL cats because he claims that his wife, who works with one TNR group (there are several including ours) has encountered people who refuse free spay/neuter of their feral colonies. He calls them “enablers” – yes, NEGATIVE labelling of people is a GREAT way to convince them to cooperate. We have been doing TNR around here for quite some time now, and again we have people BEGGING us for help, we have a WAITING list, and we are the *smallest* TNR group in the city! So AFTER we get all the cats that people WANT TNRed, and AFTER we get all the cats that aren’t being managed by anyone TNRed (which will take many many years) then MAYBE we can circle back and decide what to do about these supposed people who refuse free TNR services.
    There is another person who relies on the fear of bully breeds, citing people who have been “mauled” and arguing that people are less likely to be “mauled” if the animals are spayed and neutered. (“{“Mauled” is a buzzword, just like “deplorable conditions” and “starved” – I will convince you of that or die trying ) It is meant to incite emotion – well, we already have EXISTING LEASH LAWS. If the leash laws were obeyed there would be no “Maulings” – and if these people are not following the leash law- why would one believe they would follow a MSN law?
    Whew, glad I didn’t paste the whole thing in here!

    1. I would be interested in reading the e-mail. Out of curiosity, has he produced any actual people who refuse free neuter for the feral colonies they manage? If so, what did they say exactly? I suspect there is more to the story.

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