Tuesday, October 5, 2010

MSN in Memphis; Elsewhere in Tennessee?

Doing a little catching up here today. Memphis passed a law requiring mandatory spaying and neutering last week. Such a bad idea!

From Eyewitness News Memphis

http://tinyurl.com/2fm5r64

New Law Mandates Pets Be Sterilized

Reported by: Jeni DiPrizio
Email: jdiprizio@myeyewitnessnews.com

MEMPHIS, TN-- If you own a cat or dog in Memphis, you have to get your pet fixed. A new law requires the animals to be spayed or neutered.

“Just like all the problems in Memphis there is no magic wand that will act as a cure, but this is one step to create a better environment for animals and citizens,” said Memphis Animal Shelter Director, Matthew Pepper.

Every year the shelter euthanizes 16,000 animals. Pepper hopes the new law will reduce the number of pets put to sleep. He added, “I think over time, spay and neutering is the long term solution to the problems we face in this community.”

Under the law, almost all cats and dogs are required to get sterilized. Pet owners can pay a $200 license fee to avoid spay or neutering their pets. Guide dogs, police dogs and breeders are exempt from the new law. Veterinarians can also exempt dogs for health reasons.

Pet owner Donna Malone thinks the law is a bad idea. “Basically this law says we don’t trust you to do what you need to do with your pet,” said Malone.

Malone believes the new law is unfair to poor people who can’t afford the added cost of sterilizing their animals, “People will end up having to surrender their pets because they can’t afford what needs to be done.”

Memphis City Councilman, Shea Flinn said the new law is a secondary violation. Animal control officers won’t search for violators. Officers will only issue a citation in connection to another violation. “The veterinarian is not going to rat you out. If your dog is in its backyard behaving you are not going to notice the change,” said Flinn.

If a pet owner is ticketed for violating the law, it is a $50 fine.

I know that Donna Malone and others in Memphis have worked their tails off trying to convince the city council that MSN is a bad idea but this time it must have been like talking to a brick wall. MSN has never worked anywhere it's been tried. It increases owner turn-ins to shelters, which leads to more animals being euthanized. It causes more people to break other pet laws because they don't want their pets registered. It means that people won't vaccinate their pets for rabies and other diseases because they don't want to risk a trip to the vet or let someone know they haven't gotten their pet spayed or neutered. MSN leads to widespread disregard of all animal laws in a city and lower compliance. Many of the places that have tried it have revoked it. The ASPCA, the AVMA and virtually every other major animal organization opposes MSN. And, yet, people and clueless local politicians keep forcing it on people. Good luck, Memphis. I hope you and your pets and pet owners survive the next few months as MSN is implemented.

What's also bad is that when one city or town puts MSN into effect, it immediately sets off other places where clueless people want to have MSN. Case in point: east Tennessee.

If you go to the site make sure you read the comments. There are some good ones.

From VolunteerTV.com

http://www.volunteertv.com/news/headlines/104034969.html

Some hope for mandatory spay neuter law in East Tenn.

One Tennessee city is now telling pet owners, they have to spay and neuter their cats and dogs. The Memphis City Council approved the ordinance Tuesday, and some around here hope similar ordinances spread around East Tennessee.

Posted: 6:13 PM Sep 29, 2010
Reporter: Heather Haley
Email Address: heather.haley@wvlt-tv.com

Some hope for mandatory spay neuter law in East Tenn.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- One Tennessee city is now telling pet owners, they have to spay and neuter their cats and dogs.

The Memphis City Council approved the ordinance Tuesday, and some around here hope similar ordinances spread around East Tennessee.

Everyday Young-Williams Animal Shelter houses nearly 400 animals, hoping to find each one a home.

Executive Director, Tim Adams said, "If you're going to try to control or get a handle on the over-population problem in your community, truly the best way to do it is through aggressive spay neuter."

But last year, nearly 17,000 pets came into the shelter, "And 12,000 and some were euthanized," added Adams.

Memphis has the same battle with the pet population, so the City Council approved a mandatory spay neuter ordinance for dogs and cats.

President of the Board for the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, Pat Hackett said, "As a tax payer, I'd like to see something done instead of using our taxes to euthanize these animals. As a Veterinarian, I'd like to see these animals not be destroyed, and as the president of the Humane Society, I'd like to see us come up with a solution."

The Memphis City Council is providing exemptions. An owner can buy a $200 permit to keep their pet fertile, and if an animal is registered with an approved organization, such as the American Kennel Club, then they can skip spaying or neutering. Or, if a Veterinarian says the surgery would harm a pet.

Adams said, "It simply makes it a little more difficult for the back yard breeders, to do what they're doing. The responsible breeders, I'm sure if the law is passed, the only way it's passed, is if the responsible breeders have a way out."

Hackett said, "If it works in Memphis, it will probably spread to other cities."

Adams with Young-Williams Animal Center, encourages city and county officials around the region to look to Memphis as an example, and hopes similar laws will be discussed soon, but he says there needs to be exemptions for the responsible breeders, for it to pass.


I think the key point in this article is the statement that "if it works in Memphis, it will probably spread to other cities." Considering the way that Memphis has been running its animal control operation and its shelter, the chances of the city succeeding with mandatory spay neutering are zilch, even if it was a viable plan. Considering that MSN doesn't work anyway, I expect Memphis to fall flat on its face with MSN. Don't be surprised if the number of animals euthanized in Memphis shoots up in the next year — or if they start refusing to report their numbers, or make excuses.

As for having MSN in Knoxville or other parts of east Tennessee, know that there are people here who will fight it to their last breath. So far MSN has been defeated several times in Johnson City, Greeneville and other places where people have tried to launch it in the eastern part of the state. We've been preparing for Knoxville for some time, if necessary.


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