MARK, MY WORDS - LA Animal services has been broken for many years and the answer is not privatization as some would suggest. I’m just going to say it...a breeding moratorium of dogs and cats is long overdue and desperately needed in Los Angeles. There are thousands of animals that are unjustly euthanized every year in Los Angeles, and I say “unjustly” since euthanasia is meant to end an animal’s suffering, not alleviate our man-made overpopulation crisis.
We are all to blame for this unnecessary disaster. Those who stand by, those who breed, those who buy the animals of those who breed, LA bureaucracy, and the apathy of the rest of us fuel the issue. But how long must we allow it to continue? If animal welfare is not sufficient motivation, one would think that irresponsible spending of millions of one’s tax dollars would be. Taxpayers are after all, supporting the breeding industry by financing the clean-up of the perpetual mess breeding causes. How is a city expected to control animal populations while breeders, legal or not, continue to produce more animals than we can care for?
The following is an excerpt from an LA City document from 2000:
SEC. 53.15.2. BREEDING AND TRANSFER OF DOGS AND CATS.
(Amended by Ord. No. 173,168, Eff. 5/18/00, Oper. 11/15/00.)
The City Council finds that there exists a serious pet overpopulation problem within the City, that has resulted in a threat to public safety and health, inhumane treatment of animals, mass euthanasia of dogs/cats at the local animal shelters and escalating costs for animal care and control. Further, the Board of Animal Services Commissioners has found that uncontrolled breeding is the cause and, without action aimed at the source, this problem and its serious consequences will remain unabated. Council finds that part of the solution is for all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be spayed or neutered, unless their owners purchase the appropriate licenses/permits for the privilege of maintaining the animal intact and allowing it to breed.
Dog shows and designer pets surely don’t justify the suffering that is necessary to sustain them. Any civilized animal loving society that won’t re-examine its tired and narrow definition of what constitutes a desirable pet is, in my opinion, neither civilized nor animal loving. Sorry breeders, but you are going to have to find some other way to make money for as long as it takes to bring the issue under control.
So how do we fix it? We do what is best for the animal, the animal lover and the taxpayer by demanding a moratorium on ALL breeding in LA City (and ideally, LA County) until further notice. With thousands of dogs and cats abandoned by their “best friends” and sitting in city cages right now, wondering what they did to deserve such a fate, what else can we do? The City has allowed the problem to grow exponentially, as it has the homeless crisis, housing costs and crime rates. Every day that we do nothing, it becomes more difficult and costly to resolve, a scenario all too familiar to Angelenos.
For thousands of years, the story of mankind and canines has been told from one perspective. I would venture to say that the dog’s version of the story would read very differently beginning with a re-cast of a delusional and self-appointed protagonist. Dogs, cats and other domesticated animals are too often regarded as animated tools, toys and sources of entertainment for bored humans who hypocritically refer to them as “best friends” or “members of their families” until they are no longer desired.
Let’s not confuse loyalty with friendship. Loyalty does not require reciprocity. Friendship however, does. Dogs offer their loyalty to the least deserving of us, and we repay them with policies of oppression, selective empathy and the heartless practice of genetic engineering. We carelessly create breeds with serious congenital health issues to satisfy some twisted desire for breed variety knowing full well that there are countless animals in shelters wondering how they got there and why.
Regarding our domestic animals as accessories, tools or food sources surely is not a legacy we want to leave behind, is it? Distinguishing one animal from another based on their usefulness or visual aesthetic does not an animal lover make. Do we love them for what they do for us, or can we love them enough to return the trust and companionship they have given us?
Puppies and kittens are adorable. I get it, but when looking for a furry companion, ageism and breed snobbery are all too often a consideration. Buying a cute puppy or kitten to satisfy some urge to “light parent” or enhance your social media profile, is not something animals or taxpayers can afford any more, nor should they have to. Irresponsible breeding, legal or otherwise, costs taxpayers millions and takes an incalculable toll on rescues and non-profits that are already overwhelmed.
The argument of spay/neuter being “unnatural” is hard to refute. It is admittedly, an invasive procedure, but so is the surgical removal of cancer. It is not something anyone would desire, but sometimes, a solution to a much bigger problem requires sacrifice. It is not ideal, but by domesticating, we have forced the issue. We created a “GMO” population nightmare playing with the natural order of things to satisfy an arrogant whim and now, we are morally bound to fix it.
Sometimes, drastic measures are necessary to find a solution. The City did not hesitate to force unpopular protocols during the COVID outbreak. Is the elimination of mass suffering of animals really that different? Many small businesses lost everything in the name of the “greater good.” Breeding and inaction by our city leaders has created a crisis that will only become more unmanageable with inaction, and it is time for breeding to go the way of the horse and carriage.
A breeding moratorium makes sense and will save dollars and lives. Is it the best or only answer? Of course not, but if there is a better one, let’s hear it...and fast. In the meantime:
- Please report any suspicion of illegal breeding to the Humane Society or LA Animal Services by dialing 311.
- Do NOT buy your Please consider adopting. There are thousands of loving animals waiting for you!
- Spay and neuter your pets for their sake and
The following links provide information and suggestions for solutions that I may or may not agree with. Please do your own research and contact your city representatives to encourage them to do something to correct the current policies that are either ineffective or harmful to our domestic animal population.
(Mark Dutton is a lifelong musician, music producer, and writer. He was arguing politics with his parents since he was a pre-teen. Majored in psychology and left college in his 3rd year on a 30 year magic bus trip around the world playing and writing music with some of the best in the biz. Mark is a contributor to CityWatchLA.com.)