Have the Generic Animal Cruelty Task Force Gone Mad?

Animal Services has been harassing an 80 year old neighbor with 12-14 cats for about 8 months now because a new neighbor complains not only about the 7 outdoor cats, but also her plants and the stated look of her yard. She now has late-stage cancer and I assume the harassment continues.

A friend in North Hollywood is under siege, with ACTF personnel telling him they are cops and they can do whatever they want, whenever they want and need not abide by agree appointment rules. They had demanded immediate entry and confiscation of all cats over three. When this person refused, they said they'd be back with a warrant. I also note this person has complained about someone poisoning his cats and was told by the ACTF that they didn't have the resources to investigate the poisonings----despite that is one of their listed mission purposes. Still, they can send scads of personnel after him.

Remeber Ron Mason, one female member of the ACTF said they could take whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted.


Then there is the story of the Beverly Hills woman below who could go to jail because the City has ordered her to stop feeding ferals, rescuing them and placing them. She states she may have placed a thousand over the years.

Then Jimmy may go to jail too on July 1 because of the bogus Union Pacific charge that he sleeps on their property with his 4 cats.

What is going on?

Has LAAS and the ACTF declared war of cat owners? Has the Kennel law become LAAS and ACTF main field activity?

Remember, ACTF Officer Munez told me that feral AND lost cat colonies, feeders, and people with too many cats are their biggest problem.

I didn't know that Cardenas had in mind that the Animal Cruelty's top enforcement effort would be to snuff out neighborhood disputes by impound and killing hundreds of cats.

Tell me it is not so Mr. Cardenas.

I am about to do a request for records to see how much of the Task Force's time and energy are spend on harassing people that have been reported by neighbors as having too many cats (or dogs), versus any other animal abuse allegations.

Remember, "too many cats" is a violations of Municipal Code 53.50, the kennel law. This is merely a license violation, an infraction. These people are then arrested on any number of changes, jailed, forced to provide bail ($20,000 for Ron Mason), have all their animals seized, impounded, and ultimately killed.

What is going on here? Are we living in hell?

Beverly Hills Colony Manager Needs Help

Katherine Varjian needs help. She is the colony manager in Beverly Hills who goes to court on Jul1 and may go to jail.

He cats need tending. We need to help her.

Apparently the laws she was charged against are no longer on the books, yet the City continues after her anyway.

Please call her. She will show you where the cats are. We need to get people to feed the colonies until this is resolved. The City prosecutor is demanding that her daughter stop representing her in court.

Katherine can be reached at (310) 775-0140

Feral Cat Feeder To Go To Jail?

Print
Los Angeles

Feral Cat Caretaker Faces Jail in Beverly Hills

June 23, 2009 : 1:12 PM
Cat Colony in Danger as City Prosecutes Humane Behavior

By Sandi Cain, Best Friends Network Volunteer

Each evening, the little group of 20 or so cats comes quietly padding into an alley in the lushly landscaped and star-studded city of Beverly Hills. The cats are hungry, but not starving thanks to area resident Katherine Varjian, 65.

It’s an odd juxtaposition—this group of homeless cats in a residential neighborhood so close to the L’Ermitage and Four Seasons hotels frequented by celebrities. But they’re the lucky ones. For the past 12 years, Varjian has fed cats in her former neighborhood, reduced the population through TNR and found as many as 40 cats and kittens new homes in any given year. She does it at her own expense. The effort should be a shining example of a successful feral cat community like others celebrated on these news pages.

Instead, Varjian could spend July 4—that most American of holidays—in a jail cell for violating a
City of Beverly Hills ordinance against feeding domestic animals that are not under her ownership or guardianship. Yet without her, they’d either starve or be picked up and taken to a shelter, where they’d cost the city money in maintenance and, possibly, euthanasia.

Neighborhood Driving Complaints Against Varjian
Some neighbors don’t care. About 30 people from the surrounding area signed a petition in January asking the city to force her to stop feeding the cats. On January 14, Varjian was charged with a criminal complaint. The neighbors say the food Varjian leaves for the cats is responsible for bringing cockroaches, raccoons and coyotes to Beverly Hills. Yet there are 16 parks in the city and Beverly Hills proudly touts its 23-year history as a “Tree City USA.” Current drought conditions send wildlife into many hillside communities seeking sustenance regardless of whether there are domestic pets outside.

The cat in this picture is just one of the many cats that Varjian has found a loving home for.

Varjian faced similar complaints in 2005, but the charges were dismissed. During the intervening four years, she continued to feed and maintain the colony without interference. She also took a 6-week feral cat workshop offered through
Los Angeles Animal Servicesthat is funded by PetSmart.

She has supporters—including veterinarians and neighbors, including one who said she should be given a medal by the city for the good she’s done.

“Katherine Varjian is an amazing woman and I really admire what she does. … We need more people in this world like Katherine,” said another neighbor, who adopted two of the cats. Another adopter wrote, “Thank you for your dedication to saving these homeless and hungry kittens and finding good homes for them.” None of these supporters wished to be identified for this story.

Good Deeds Ignored
Their opponents ignore the fact that Varjian has reduced the colony’s overall population; found homes for cats through
Kitten Rescue where she volunteers; and has for years paid for spaying and neutering the cats. They say she’s an outsider, though she lived in the neighborhood for 30 years and works nearby. They film her activities, try to block her from the alleyways and claim their children are in danger—all because of these 20 little cats.

It’s true that Varjian ignored a court order issued February 18 to stop feeding the cats. She’d pleaded with the judge to allow feeding to continue so the cats wouldn’t starve while the case was pending, but was denied. So she agreed to stop in order to stay out of jail. But she couldn’t let them starve. Now she’s the one at risk of a criminal record. Yet city documents indicate the municipal code section under which she is charged was deleted a week before charges were filed.

Her daughter Tina, an attorney who practices in the civil arena, is trying to help, but has met with resistance at every turn. Now she’s filed a motion to dismiss the charges as a violation of due process of law. According to public legal documents, Varjian was charged on January 14 with four counts of illegally feeding animals. She could face contempt of court charges for continuing to feed the cats. The section of the Municipal Code under which her mother was charged was deleted from the Code on January 6 when Beverly Hills finalized a contract with the city of Los Angeles to provide animal care services. Tina is hoping that will invalidate the charges.

Dona Baker, who started the feral cat workshop through LA Animal Services and heads the
Feral Cat Caretakers has offered to go to court on Varjian's behalf. "She's a reliable and responsible person," Baker said. Baker sometimes fields calls from Beverly Hills residents seeking feral cats to help reduce rodent populations.

Conviction Could Set Bad Precedent
But a dismissal won’t solve the bigger issue of the homeless cats. And if she’s convicted it could send a chill down the spine of TNR efforts in other communities—a step backward for community cats. It also would be a step backward for Beverly Hills, which could end up with a publicity black eye instead of being lauded for its humane efforts. Tina Varjian is hopeful that mediation with the help of feral cat experts will be the outcome.

One alternative for Beverly Hills might be to look to how this issue is addressed in the Bay Area city of Richmond, where three women have managed a colony with the help and support of area residents. They’ve conducted educational programs about feral colonies and even won over some members of the local police department. Instead, Beverly Hills will pursue this senior citizen.

The next hearing is scheduled for July 1, at which time Katherine Varjian could be sentenced to jail. She and her daughter request your support. “The authorities have the option of ignoring these violations because of the good that it does, or in throwing the book at her,” said Ben Lehrer of Kitten Rescue.” …They've taken the latter approach,” he said.

How You Can Help
• Contact the Beverly Hills Mayor, City Council and City Attorney’s office to voice your concern about this case, to encourage Beverly Hills to embrace TNR and community cats as a humane way to reduce stray populations and save shelter costs, and to encourage city officials to save court costs by mediating this case.

As always, polite, brief comments from those who live in the general Southern California vicinity are the most effective.

• To submit online comments via email, you must register on the
city website.

You may reach city officials by phone at:
• Mayor Nancy Krasne, (310) 285-1000
• City Attorney Laurence S. Wiener and prosecutor Maria S. Chung, at (310) 285-1055
• Vice mayor Jimmy Delshod and council members Barry Brucker, William Warren Brien, M.D. and John A. Mirisch, (310) 285-1013.

• You may also voice concern about the potential effect of the city’s actions on visitor perception about the city by contacting the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau:
Kimberli Partlow.

THIS IS JUST ME, BUT WE NEED TO CONTACT THIS WOMAN TO FIND OUT WHERE THE COLONY AND CONTINUE TO FEED THE CATS OURSELVES. MAYBE IF 20 PEOPLE ARE CITED AND MAYBE EVEN ARRESTED, SOMETHING WOULD CHANGE. I AM GETTING TIRED OF ALL THIS HASSLING WITH GOVERNMENTS ABOUT CATS, AREN'T YOU?

36 Cats to Die Tomorrow at South LA Unless Rescued


From: Stacy Robbins <stacyarobbins@hotmail.com>
Subject: FW: 36 Cats (Several of Whom are Kittens) Will Die on Wednesday 6/24 ALONE at the SOUTH LA SHELTER...WITHOUT RESCUE...IT IS REALLY ALL TOO MUCH TO BARE...
Date: Tuesday, June 23, 2009, 6:08 PM

Unfortunately, I could not attach 36 pictures and impound numbers to this email. But this link will take you to them all. Anyone Redlisted on Wed. 6/17 (CATS and KITTENS alike) will be killed on Wed. 6/24 and anyone Redlisted on Thurs. 6/18 will be killed on Thurs. 6/25. The shelter has already told us that they will make NO EXCEPTIONS... So, in 2 days, SOUTH LA will kill almost 1/3 of their cat population. Can you foster or rescue one? Thanks all...

http://www.petharbor.com/results.asp?rows=999&searchtype=ALL&friends=1&samaritans=1&nosuccess=0&orderby=shelter&imght=120&imgres=thumb&view=sysadm.v_lact_red&bgcolor=white&text=blue&link=008000&alink=000000&vlink=FF6600&fontface=arial&fontsize=10&col_hdr_bg=ADD8E6&col_hdr_fg=white&col_bg=ADD8E6&col_fg=008000&SBG=ADD8E6&shelterlist='LACT3'&where=type_CAT

More on Jimmy, the City, and Jones vs. the City of Los Angeles

A lot has been happening on the "Jimmy" case. Jimmy lives behind Bed, Bath and Beyond in Northridge.

I contacted Greig Smith, Councilmember in that area, and was responded to by his West Valley staff Head, Jim Dellinger who has emailed the City Attorney for a sit down. They realize he is not on private or City property.

In order to get Jimmy out, somebody is going to have to get the County involved. But now Jimmy is on the radar so is in more danger. However, he wanted me to make his plight public because he was on the verge of the courts throwing him out anyhow.

In the meantime, I did a little more research and in 2006 there was a court case the City lost called Jones vs. the City of Los Angeles, which severely restricted what LA could do in terms of evicting a homeless person from City property. I have contacted the ACLU who sued the City for Jones to see if they want to move this to the County area as has been happening to other counties in California.

JONES VS. the CITY OF LOS ANGELES:
ACLU of Southern California Wins Historic Victory in Homeless Rights Case (4/14/2006)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

Appeals Court Ruling Ends the Criminalization of Homelessness


LOS ANGELES -- The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a historic decision today in a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the National Lawyers Guild seeking an end to the criminalization of people who sleep on the streets when no shelter is available.

The decision in the case,
Jones v. City of Los Angeles, marks the first time in a decade that a court has struck down an ordinance that criminalizes the lack of shelter.

"Anyone who cares about homelessness and finding positive solutions to this serious issue in our community will be delighted and encouraged by this decision," said Ramona Ripston, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California. "The ACLU has always maintained that police should target serious crime like rape and drug trafficking and not criminalize people for sleeping on the street when there is nowhere else to go."

Writing for the majority, Judge Kim M. Wardlaw ordered the District Court to stop enforcement of a Los Angeles city code that allows police to arrest people for sleeping on the street when there are no available shelter beds. Judge Wardlaw’s opinion cited news articles about the issue from
The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, including a recent front-page series on homelessness on Skid Row by columnist Steve Lopez.

"The Eighth Amendment prohibits the City from punishing involuntary sitting, lying, or sleeping on public sidewalks that is an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless without shelter in the City of Los Angeles," Judge Wardlaw wrote.

ACLU of Southern California Legal Director Mark Rosenbaum, who argued the case in December, called the decision "brave."

"This decision is the most significant judicial opinion involving homelessness in the history of the nation," Rosenbaum said. "The decision means in Los Angeles it is no longer a crime to be homeless. The homeless in our community, twenty percent of whom are veterans and nearly a quarter of whom are children, can no longer be treated as criminals because of involuntary acts like sleeping and sitting where there are not available shelter beds to take them off the mean streets of the city. My hope is that the city will now treat homelessness as a social problem affecting all of us, not as a crime."

The case, originally filed in February 2003 by the ACLU of Southern California and Carol Sobel for the National Lawyers Guild, sought to end the enforcement of Section 41.18 (d) of Los Angeles city code.

In Los Angeles County at least 88,000 men, women and children -- 8,000 to 10,000 in Downtown Los Angeles alone -- are without homes. There are beds for less than half of the homeless in Los Angeles county, comprehensive services are available to far fewer than half, and the county jails are routinely used as a substitution for mental health facilities.

Homeless Man With 4 Cats to Be Evicted


Several months ago I posted some photos of "Jimmy" who lives on a bridge that serves as a railroad easement bridge over a County flood control channel in Northridge, right behind Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Now the railroad wants him gone. They gave him a citation for living on private property without permission, violation CA P.C. 647(j). The cops have wanted him gone for years. They harass him every few months. Now he has been to court, and he is due back on July 1.

Good for Jimmy, but bad for Union Pacific RR is that Jimmy is living on a bridge owned by Los Angeles County Flood Control, not the railroad. That is not stopping them.

Jimmy has four cats that live with on the bridge with him, but he tends to several feral colonies in a much larger area. One who lives in his tent with him, and several three more live in little cat houses he built surrounding his tent, or on a protected ledge under the bridge.


Jimmy has lived there tending his cats for almost three years. He makes it very clear he has been providing a community services for years, keeping the area free from trash as well as the storm channel itself. He also keeps his eye out for any criminal activity in the area. But it appears that the security service that covers Bed, Bath and Beyond and the other chain stores, Best Buy and Office Depot, does not like homeless people and have been pestering the City and Union Pacific to force Jimmy to move.


If Jimmy's tent is torn down and he has to relocate somewhere tentless, there will be no one to take care of his cats.

Also notice the unused tracks from the main line (At the right of the photo) that Union Pacific owns that used to go North to the Fashion Mall. The tracks have been unused for over 30 years and are over County property.


Looking at the arial map below, one can see it is in the middle of a commerical/industrial area. There are no residential housing within hundreds of feet.

He is supposed to go to court on July for a second time on July 1. The first time he said to the judge he will fight anyone who tries to hurt his cats. I think that is why he got a two week delay. They may be planning on a full court press with a dozen agencies right after winning in court. He has new evidence to bring to court which may help him prepared by Mary Cummins and I.

In any event, it appears that Jimmy may soon be "Masonized," and he needs help.

His tent is located behind Bed, Bath and Beyond at 8596 Tampa, in a tent over the flood control channel completely outside the area owned by Union Pacific Railroad.

This Google map below is several years old, before Jimmy moved there years ago. It clearly shows that that bridge Jimmy lives on is over the flood control channel. The photos show the same thing. The bridge used to be used by the railroad to cross the County property (an easement not used for 30 years and now dead). These spur tracks no longer connect to the main line or anywhere else. They just sit there broken.



View Larger Map

A Union Pacific Detective wrote Jimmy a letter left on his tent informing him he had been cited for violation of California Penal Code 647(j), Lodging on private property without permission.

My letter to Councilmember Smith:

Greig Smith

Councilmember

June 19, 2009

Re: Naser Abdel Nasralla (“Jimmy”) living in a tent behind Bed, Bath and Beyond at 8959 Tampa in Northridge.

Dear Councilmember Smith,

You know of this situation as your staff directed Mr. Nasralla to talk to your staffer, Mr. Dellinger some months ago, who ordered Mr. Nasralla to move.

Mr. Nasralla has been cited for violation of CA Penal Code 647(j), “Lodging on private property without permission” by the Union Pacific Police Department. The case number is 95R02362 and he is due in the San Fernando Court in Sylmar on July 1, 2009.

Mr. Naser Nasralla, a legal Palestinian immigrant, has been living on that small bridge over the flood control channel behind the Bed, Bath and Beyond store for three years. He tends to the area and keeps it clean. He also has several cats that live with him. He or his cats harm no one, and there are no nearby residences.

However, Mr. Nasralla is not living on private or City property.

That property is parcel number 2783-028-902 and is owned by LA County Flood Control District. It is not owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Please, see attached maps and property descriptions.

The railroad may have had an easement at one time to cross the LACFCD land, but it never had ownership rights, only easement rights. Since Union Pacific abandoned that spur (which goes to Chatsworth station) 37 years ago, even that easement would be dead.

Mary Cummins would be willing to make this statement in a court of law.

The LA animal community is well aware that the West Valley appears to be the center of the LA Animal Cruelty Task Force’s was on “animal hoarders,” pursuing and harassing them for any number of alleged violations, such as animal neglect or violation of the City’s kennel law (M.C. 53.50). The cats are routinely rounded up and then euthanized at the shelter. The survival rate for such cats “rescued” from alleged hoarders is well under 50%.

These tactics concern all animal rescuers in the City because one cannot rescue animals, either by taking them from the City’s shelters and then adopting them out, or by taking them from the street, without having more than three cats on hand at any one time.

Therefore, cases like that of Mr. Nasralla become focal points of the animal community’s interest because each such case becomes a measure of the City’s attitude towards members of the animal community, the pet-owning public as a whole, and towards animals in general.

It would be unfortunate if the City continues to try to remove Mr. Nasralla from County property where they have no jurisdiction.

In addition, the 2006 court decision on Jones vs. the City of Los Angeles is certainly applicable to Mr. Nasralla’s situation. The court imposed atrong restrictions against jailing homeless people for sleeping on public property and viewing it as a violation of their Eighth Amendment rights.

Sincerely,

Edward Muzika, Ph.D.

Arnie Says Off With Hayden

Email from Schwartzenegger:

Thank you for sharing your concerns with me about the proposal to lift restrictions on hold times at animal shelters. I value your input during these challenging economic times.

As you know, we are in the midst of the greatest
economic crisis since the Great Depression. We now face a budget shortfall that has grown to $24.3 billion. I have proposed cuts that I would have never proposed except in a worst-case scenario, including eliminating General Fund support for programs like Healthy Families, CalWORKs, Cal Grants and State Parks. This was not an easy decision for me. As a dog owner myself, I have always supported animal welfare and have worked to ensure the humane treatment of animals.

Currently, the state requires all shelters to hold stray animals for four or six days and reimburses them for the associated costs. To address our
budget crisis, I have proposed to suspend some Non-Proposition 98 mandates, including the reimbursement funds for these shelters. To help local shelters deal with the challenges of this difficult budget situation, I have also proposed that the state no longer require the four or six day hold time. Shelters still have the flexibility to keep the animals for more days, but my proposal avoids placing an unnecessary burden on local communities.

As I work with my partners in the Legislature to find solutions to these problems, know that I will keep your thoughts in mind. Working together, I believe we can weather this storm and start the slow but steady march back toward prosperity.

Sincerely,


Arnold Schwarzenegger

Here is Arnies' email: governor@governor.ca.gov

Write him a note.

Research from Nathan

This is what we need, more research. Hopefully Nathan will reveal more details of these studies later. However, his faith in S/N programs and TNR may be misplaced, because LA has ratcheted up the number of spay/neuters it subsidizes significantly for the last five years yet cat impounds remain static and are actually up this year.


For effective spay/neuter, you need to do it in the poorer and ethnic neighborhoods more than in Chatsworth or West LA.


Also, Nathan, if you are reading this, how about using a larger type face with more space between lines and paragraphs? The space is free and makes it so much easier to read. I added a line after each paragraph below, and it helps, but I can't add space between the lines.


The Costs of Saving Lives



The Costs of Saving Lives


A survey of animal shelter funding and save rates conducted by the No Kill Advocacy Center finds that if communities want lifesaving success, they should invest in leadership.


One shelter saved 90% of the animals. Another saved only 40%. One community has seen killing rates increase nearly 30%. Another has caused death rates to drop over 50%. There was, however, no correlation between success/failure and per capita spending on animal control. In other words, the difference between those shelters which succeeded and those which failed was not the size of the budget, but the commitment of its leadership.


Roughly, per capita funding ranged from about $1.50 to about $6.30. Save rates ranged from 35% ($2.00 per capita) to 90% ($1.50 per capita), but they did not follow any predictable pattern. There were shelters with an 87% rate of lifesaving spending only $2.80 per capita, and shelters with a 42% rate (less than half of the former) spending more than double that (at $5.80 per capita):


In other words, the amount of per capita spending did not seem to make a difference. What did make a difference was leadership: the commitment of shelter managers to saving lives.


While communities should provide adequate funding, only throwing money at the problem will do very little without leadership committed both to lifesaving and to accountability. In King County, WA, the City Council has spent millions of additional dollars since three independent evaluations in 2007 and 2008 revealed high rates of illness, deplorable conditions, cruelty and uncaring at King County Animal Care & Control (KCACC). In fact, the King County Council has never denied a funding request for KCACC. But no improvement in animal care has been made. Animals continue to languish, continue to get sick because of poor care, continue to go untreated, continue to suffer, and continue to die.


In Portland, OR, likewise:


Over the course of the past few years (fiscal years 2003 though 2008), a period during which the total number of animals brought into the shelter increased by only 5 percent and the agency’s budget increased by 50 percent (to a current $4.6 million), nearly every measure of the agency’s performance documents failure. Adoptions are down by 40 percent (dogs) and 18 percent (cats). Nearly half of the dogs not returned to owners are killed; so too are nearly two-thirds of cats. The “kill rate” is now well above rates in neighboring counties facing far more severe budget limitations. Thousands of dollars are squandered on adversarial enforcement efforts that have achieved no meaningful improvement in the public’s safety. The number of animals saved by cooperating life-saving organizations and individuals, a number widely recognized as a key measure of community support, has dropped by 40 percent.


That doesn't mean that governments should continue underfunding their shelters. Shelters with low per capita spending claimed difficulty sustaining programs. As a result, the study should not be used as an excuse by self-serving politicians to reduce shelter budgets.


It does mean, however, that to really make an impact, communities must also invest in progressive leaders willing to embrace the programs and services which make No Kill possible. In the final analysis, the most important element of the No Kill Equation is: A hard working, compassionate animal control director who is not content to continue killing by hiding behind the myth of “too many animals, not enough homes” or regurgitating tired clich├ęs about public irresponsibility.


Please note: The data is preliminary and still being analyzed. Some additional findings of the study included that municipal shelters save more lives than private shelters with animal control contracts, and that municipal shelters paid more for animal control than when private shelters performed animal control under contract. The conclusion for the latter finding was that governments tend to underpay private shelters for the service, at the expense of saving lives and the long-term financial health of these SPCAs and humane societies.


Private SPCAs and humane societies have been subsidizing animal control for so long that it has become the unfair and unreasonable expectation of municipalities that these private non-profits should continue to do so.


Assuming that the agencies will retain these contracts despite compensation levels that fail to cover the actual costs of running animal control, and regardless of whether they are No Kill or killing shelters, governments are, in effect, having shelters use private donations to subsidize a government mandate. As a result, these shelters are using money raised for adoptions, medical care, and other lifesaving work to pay the cost of sheltering and killing stray and seized animals under their animal control obligations. Donor funding may also be used to enforce often arcane and inhumane animal laws (e.g., breed bans, cat leash laws, feeding bans, pet limit laws) which are inconsistent with lifesaving.


There are other notable studies as well:


Breed Bans are Economically Wasteful. Not only are dogs needlessly being killed because of them, but they are also wasteful financially. A new study commissioned by Best Friends shows the high economic cost of breed bans, without the corresponding public safety benefit. The study demonstrates that breed discriminatory legislation tends to exhaust limited resources in already under-funded animal control programs by flooding the system with potentially “unadoptable” dogs due to the ban. It is not that the dogs themselves are dangerous. The vast majority (roughly nine out of ten) are healthy, friendly, or treatable. It is that the legislation declares them to be “unadoptable” and slated for execution. Costs to regulate or ban the animals can run into the millions and provide no help to prevent dog bites. At a time when communities are declaring bankruptcy, this is yet one more reason why breed bans should be abandoned.


Too Many Homes, Not Enough Animals. The Maddie’s Fund keynote from No Kill Conference 2009 was based on a study by the Ad Council. It shows that 17 million people are going to bring a new pet into their home next year and have not decided where that animal will come from. They can be influenced to adopt from a shelter next year, where there are roughly 3,000,000 available animals.


Cost is the Primary Barrier to Spay/Neuter. Alley Cat Allies has a new study that shows while most housecats are neutered, the primary factor for neutering rates in household cats is income. The lower the household income, the lower the sterilization rate. The primary reason cited was cost. The research also found that low cost sterilization of unaltered feral cats would have a dramatic impact on impound and death rates in shelters.


This research reaffirms what we have known in this movement since at least the 1970s when the city of Los Angeles opened the nation’s first municipally funded spay/neuter clinic in the United States for low-income pet owners and saw sterilization rates increase, and impound/death rates at local shelters plummet. Another study several years ago in Mississippi found 69% of pet owners with unspayed/unneutered animals would get them sterilized if it were free, a fact which is not surprising for a state with some of the lowest per capita incomes in the nation.


It also reaffirms a ten year JAVMA study of feral cat impound and death rates in Ohio. It reaffirms an analysis of impound dates at animal control done in San Francisco in the mid-1990s that found upwards of 75% of kittens are from feral moms. It reaffirms early to mid-1990s-era studies (one in Santa Clara County, CA and the other in San Diego, CA) putting the percentage of sterilized housecats at or around 80%. And it reaffirms many others going back decades.