Is pet-neutering worth subsidizing?
Updated: 03/24/2009 09:05:28 PM PDT
Ed Boks, the head of Los Angeles Animal Services Department, raised hackles earlier this month when he decided to plug a hole in his budget by eliminating a popular spay-neuter voucher program.
The program helps low- and moderate-income residents get their pets "fixed" for free or at a deep discount so they can comply with the city's mandatory pet-sterilization law that went into effect just a few months ago.
But Boks' department, like every department in City Hall, is facing budget cuts. Boks said he had to focus on immediate needs and staffing first, and he cut the coupons to save $150,000.
Still, do anything that irks the animal advocacy community, which relies heavily on this voucher program, and you can expect howls of outrage. That's what happened, and now the City Council may force the department to reinstate the program, despite the fact that officials still have to cut city spending by millions of dollars.
The dust-up over this voucher program raises obvious questions about the city's responsibility for pet services. What do you think? Was Boks right or not?
While the voucher program might be helpful in getting people to abide by the city's spay-neuter law, is it the city's responsibility to give people a financial break? Or should pet owners take on the full cost themselves as part of the price of pet ownership?
Or is it a good investment to spent $150,000 a year to stop more animal babies from being born?
Could the voucher program pay for itself by cutting down on future stray animals that would find their way to the city's shelters?
Help us explore this hot topic. Send us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include your full name, the community or city in which you live and a daytime phone number. We will print as many responses as we can in Sunday's Opinionated section.
They just want content for the Sunday edition. Since they fired most of their writers they're trying to get us to write their content for free. I say we all send in responses. At least we can get the message out.
City subsidized spay and neuter makes sense just like City/state subsidized birth control makes sense. If you don't pay a little to prevent the birth, you will pay a lot to support the babies. With animals you'll end up having to support then kill the babies that no one adopts.
Yesterday Bill Bruce and I were fortunate to spend some time with Jim Bickhart of the Mayor's office. Concerned Dog Owners of California had brought Bruce, who runs the most successful animal program in North America, to speak to people here in Los Angeles and in Santa Barbara (tonight - 3/25).
When costs came up, Bickhart was clearly amazed and incredulous at sterilization costs quoted by Bruce. I think he actually had believed the costs given to them by Boks, Cardenas and Alarcon.
Deputy Mayor Jim Bickhart (the guy in the Mayor's office who is responsible for the ever-disintegrating Boks) is shocked - SHOCKED - to discover that Boks is not giving him the right numbers.
He was misinformed...
Let's make sure Bickhart doesn't get a job with even greater mismanageable responsibility, like (for example) deputy to the Governor.
Bickhart knows by now that Boks is the biggest liar on the planet.
This Daily News is just because the whole s/n situation gets people fired up and responsive...a change to the "usual" news. On the DN website, they have a little thing that says, "Maybe Boks was right" asking people to send in their comments. It's just to get some action going..much more controversial to say Boks was right (as we all know isn't the case) than to agree with the rest of the world.
Whoever wrote this Daily News article is phishing without doing any of their OWN investigative work. The following statement pretty much sums up the intent.
"Still, do anything that irks the animal advocacy community, which relies heavily on this voucher program, and you can expect howls of outrage." - Daily News Op
So Cathy Turner, notorious big dog breeder and opponent of the City spay/neuter law who is leading the lawsuit against it, is suddenly an expert on what city staff knows and doesn't know about sterilization costs quoted by some guy from 2,500 miles away? Gimme a break!
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