California Responsible Pet Ownership Act

California Responsible Pet Ownership Act

by Michael
(London, UK)

AB 1634, the California Responsible Pet Ownership Act, is highly controversial. Why are people taking such polarized views on this Bill? The Bill would, if enacted, make it mandatory to spay female and neuter male pet cats and dogs before the age of 6 months. There are exceptions for breeders of purebred cats and dogs (an “intact animal permit”) and for families who want one litter from their pet cat or dog (“one litter” permits for the family pet). If caught in breach of the law there would be a fine of $500 refundable on rectifying the omission. How reasonable is all that?

None of us like to have to remove the manhood from a boy cat or spay a female kitten but it is generally universally accepted that spay and neuter is a must under the present circumstances of overpopulation of cats and dogs. Most people are responsible pet owners but enough are not to cause a feral cat and dog problem. It doesn’t take much irresponsibility to create a lot of misery. Then there is the expense in dealing with feral cats and dogs. As is always the case in society the good and decent get walked over by the bad and irresponsible. The irresponsible create the feral cat problem and the good clear it up (take the burden). It is a lack of social awareness or conscience.

Yes, there are downsides to mandatory neutering but the Bill is a compromise in which the greater good is served. In other words the Bill is designed to produce a net gain in terms of happiness for animals and humans alike. It is a utilitarian Bill, a pragmatic and practical Bill. Objectors are for example cat breeders. This can only be due to a fear that it is the thin end of the wedge for cat and dog “ownership” generally. They foresee more erosion of “pet owners’ property rights”. The Bill, as I understand it, would not, as it presently stands, impact negatively on a cat or dog breeder (perhaps there will be a fee for an intact animal permit, however).

Some of the most vociferous attacks on the potential California Responsible Pet Ownership Act come from people proclaiming “an assault of a pet owner’s property rights”. I am personally against the concept of “ownership” of cats, dogs and animals generally. It indicates the wrong approach to pet keeping in my opinion. I also don’t like the idea of a cat being the “property” of a human. The law says cats are “property” but the law is outdated. The emotional bond between cat or dog and human creates a value in the relationship far beyond the value of the pet as an object.

What I am saying is that some people protesting against AB 1634, California Responsible Pet Ownership Act have the wrong attitude towards pets anyway so their voice should not be heard. Others who object probably have financial interests at stake. Money is the main reason for saying and doing most things. As to objections by vets that early neutering causes a greater occurrence of certain diseases I think the jury is out on that. Also the idea that most cats and dogs euthanized are unwanted, unsocialized, old and ill and the Bill will not impact these animals seems incorrect. The Bill is intended to prevent the birth of these animals isn’t it?

It is a shame that the Bill, AB 1634, for the California Responsible Pet Ownership Act has to be promoted at all. In a better world it wouldn’t. But in an imperfect world it must be, reluctantly, admitted that it is a good compromise. And something needs to be done. The time for passivity and dilatory behavior is passed. People moan year in year out about the feral cat and dog problem, yet nothing changes. This Bill tackles one area of the source of the problem. Objectors should think more altruistically, put their interests and rights to one side and think about the rights of the lost and vulnerable pet cats and dogs that live miserable, short lives before being euthanized, if they are lucky.

California Responsible Pet Ownership Act to Home Page

Note: Forgive me for being an outsider and if I have any details regarding AB 1634 incorrect.

To Feral Cats

There isn’t a cat overpopulation problem, so say some.


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California Responsible Pet Ownership Act

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Jan 27, 2009 Support the Bill
by: Anonymous

With sadness, I support the Bill as the best compromise. I am surprised at the widely diverging views expressed.



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