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?
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