Catnip and Carrots Animal Bunch is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cats & rabbits (and the occasional canine)! We specialize in animal welfare, spay/neuter/microchip education & referrals, lost & found services & on occasion, as funds allow, we offer veterinary assistance to at-risk pets of low income senior or disabled families.
HB INDEPENDENT APRIL 18, 2007
H.B. to consider spay mandate
Supporters say ordinance would curb overpopulation of animals in area.
By Michael Alexander, Huntington Beach Independent
April 18, 2007
Huntington Beach city staff will now look at making neutering, spaying and microchip tracking a fact of life for many of the city's pets.
With support from animal welfare groups, the City Council voted 5-1 Monday to have staff study a mandatory spay, neuter and microchip ordinance for dogs, cats and possibly for rabbits. Councilman Keith Bohr, who proposed the measure, called it an easy and cost-saving way to cut down on euthanizing animals in shelters.
A single cat and her offspring can produce hundreds of thousands of descendants in less than a decade, said Alison Stanley, co-director of the California Lobby for Animal Welfare.
"Too many dogs and cats are being killed because too many are being produced," she said. "For those of us trying to reduce the number of animals being killed, it feels like trying to stop a tidal wave with a paper towel."
The proposal came out of community requests for Huntington Beach to build its own animal shelter rather than contracting out to the county shelter in Orange, Bohr said. Though he ruled out that option for now because it would likely take Central Park land, Bohr said shelter workers suggested this second option.
"What few concerns that come up can all be addressed by what we do here tonight," he said at the meeting. "Who enforces it? Do we do a phase-in program, with six months where it's a 'fix-it' ticket? How do we best implement such a program so we can have lots fewer of our pets put to sleep?"
The one dissenting vote came from Councilman Don Hansen, who said enforcement could prove difficult and cost residents too much. Councilwoman Debbie Cook was absent from the meeting.
"I would rather have the city work to promote spaying and neutering," Hansen said. "People use an old cliché of herding cats, and this is exactly what we're trying to do. I think when it comes down to enforcement, the police chief's going to look at us and go, 'Do you want me to chase the murderers or the cats?' "
When council members asked Police Chief Ken Small about enforcing the ordinance, he said it would likely not be a problem. Bans on smoking on the beach and use of cell phones in libraries did not prove difficult to enforce, he added.
"Most people are law-abiding," he said. "And most of these issues will fall on Animal Services."
Bohr's proposal would have studied just cats and dogs, but an amendment put forward by Councilwoman Cathy Green added rabbits, the third most common animals in shelters.
Karen Chepeka, president of the nonprofit Save Our Strays of Huntington Beach, said her group offers $30 spay and neuter services to city residents, and microchips cost only $5 more. For residents on Medicare or Medicaid, it costs only $5 for the whole package. She said her group strongly supports such an ordinance.
"Our mission is to improve the lives of lost and stray pets in Huntington Beach," she said. "These are proven ways to accomplish this, and will in turn reduce the number of animals being killed in our community shelter."
The availability of low-cost spaying and neutering made such an ordinance feasible, even if it may require licensing of cats, Green said. Currently, only dogs are licensed in Huntington Beach.
"It does cost money for us if a cat is picked up and taken to Orange County," she said. "Don't you want to protect your cat and get them back? Of course you do. Very few people said no — it was more the cost."