Chicago’s Mandatory Spay Neuter Law

by Mary Haight on March 10, 2009

Looking north from the North Michigan Avenue B...
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Here’s a disturbing bit of news.  The Mandatory Spay Neuter laws that have been tried (and died) across the nation, cost cities from $8-18 million in tax dollars, markedly reversed previously falling “kill” rates, destroyed people’s lost pets as “strays”, even created a rabies outbreak, has come to Chicago, this time cloaked in a politically correct slogan that any pet-lover could easily, even passionately, swallow. 

If you haven’t managed to receive one of those email blasts from PAWS, one of the handful of  local shelters in favor of this legislation working with HSUS and lobbyists to get the Chicago City Council to see things their way, then you may have seen the reporting by the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman, on the City Hall beat.  Alderman Ed Burke (of the 14th district) has announced that he has the 26 votes needed to pass this multi-million tax dollar legislation.

Forcing compliance by law on what is a medical issue between the client and their vet is more than heavy- handed.  The American Veterinary Medical Association, the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, and the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association are against this law, as are the well-established Anti-Cruelty, Tree House, Lake Shore Animal Shelter, and the Red Door, to name a few.  It is well-known and documented that all these shelters are absolutely committed to a spay/neuter policy and help educate the public on this healthy choice.  All City shelters already comply with a similar shelter- specific  law.  What makes this news  disheartening is the fact that this program where applied to the general public has failed so miserably in so many cities.  What makes Chicago a special case for success?

Steve Dale, of Pet Central radio and a Chicago Tribune syndicated columnist, has been an excellent friend to animals and shelters in Chicago for many years.  He wrote an op-ed speaking out against this legislation.  You can see more at his blog. 

It would be informative to hear from those shelters who are for this law as to why, specifically, they think it will work here.  Nothing beyond emotional appeals have been reported with no considered facts to back up this position. And why should what is seen to be the few relatively new organizations–at least as currently known–get the ear of the City’s powerbrokers over that of medical professionals of local, state, and national repute?

If this goes forward, it will be interesting to see who is handling the statistics and how people and organizations campaign for transparency in the methodology, evaluation, and public reporting process that must follow.  These are, after all, our tax dollars at work. 

Oh yes, speaking of tax dollars: It is unknown as to why this legislation cannot wait until it is determined if Chicago will be receiving the millions and millions of dollars from a Maddie’s Fund Grant, a good amount of which is designated for Spay/Neuter, but which will not be awarded if the City has a mandatory spay/neuter law enacted. 

Surely all those millions of tax dollars could be put toward fixing some of the sewers and drainage system problems around currently flooded City neighborhoods, or some other worthy project.

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  1. […] currently pushed by HSUS, like the highly ineffective, multi-million dollar boondoggle known as Mandatory Spay Neuter (or Pet Protection Act—a skunk by any other name,..),would be easily seen for what it is, […]

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