Here's an interesting article from the CNN web site, about California advancing legislation that would require pet owners to neuter/spay their pets (cats and dogs only?) or pay a $500 fine. Breeders and guide dog owners may be exempt from the legislation. The State of California estimates that it "puts down" about a half-million animals each year, at a cost of about $300 million each year.
This issue is important to all of us, as the legislation could very well set precedents that would eventually affect other U.S. states.
I agree with the legislation.
Certainly spaying and neutering of pets is helpful in regulating pet population. Regulating the pet population would in turn lower the rate of unwanted pets - which usually end up at a shelter (at best). Life is short for most pets that are in U.S. shelters. Only 15% - 25% of pets at shelters walk out alive; the rest are "euthanized." And it certainly would lessen overcrowding and financial distress at shelters, city- and state-owned and otherwise. Most importantly, it would lessen the number (though perhaps not the percentage) of unwanted pets that end up in shelters or in already-stressed adoption foster programs, thereby lessening the number of pets that endure such hardships.
Contrary to many protests, this legislation would not eliminate the dog population. Legislation would work about as well as marijuana legislation; marijuana is still around. (Or at least it was the last time I checked.)
However, in spending money to feed and shelter our pets, there are those that may not be able to afford to have them spayed/neutered. If the legislation is approved, then perhaps low-cost spay/neuter programs should increase. (Perhaps partial monies saved from no longer having to care for and euthanize the animals.)
No fines for breeders and guide-dog owners? On that topic, I do disagree.
What defines a legitimate breeder?
Certainly a very small percentage of these dog-breeding businesses exist to offer dogs for the specific purpose for which they were originally "created." For instance, most U.S. breeders of border collies do not sell the dog for animal-herding purposes. Greyhounds are bred strictly for racing and no longer for sight-hunting. After their racing careers are over, most of them are "euthanized" or shot and dumped. or have their ears lopped off so that they cannot be identified by their track tattoos.
Just look at the dogs available at your local Humane Society or on Pet Finder, and you'll find all kinds of purebred dogs without homes. This legislation might curb dogs bred for already-illegal purposes such as dog fights and dog racing. And one would hope that puppy mills would be put out of business, thereby lessening careless and reckless breeding that accounts for so many pet health issues and congenital deformities. Breeders contribute to the homeless and unwanted pet population on a very large scale; this is not an issue only for the non-business owner.
The dogs should be spayed/neutered when of age, and before they go into service. And the service agency should pay the cost. Additionally, many guide dog services breed their own dogs, and not every dog becomes a service dog. Which means that the rest are left to find adoptive homes. There is no reason that a service dog or a dog put up for adoption should not be spayed/neutered, and no reason why the service agency cannot provide this service free of charge.
detroitdog's advice: Spay or neuter your pet. It's the responsible thing to do. Why not make things right from the get go?