Posted on 03/08/2009

Chicago Dog Ordinance Alert

Sunday, March 8, 2009 6:12 PM

Open Letter To Chicago Aldermen:

Do You Really Want To Do This?


Spay/Neuter Mandate Will Destroy City’s

Budget, Shelter Programs, Neighborhoods



American Sporting Dog Alliance


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CHICAGO – A City Council joint committee has scheduled a hearing for this coming Thursday on a proposed citywide spay and neuter mandate for dogs and cats. The American Sporting Dog Alliance is urging Chicago dog owners to attend this hearing and voice strong opposition to this ordinance. The 10 a.m. hearing will be held on March 12, 2009, in City Council chambers.


We also are asking dog owners to take an active role by contacting the aldermen and informing them about the issues described in this report, and your own reasons for opposition. Faxes and letters are best, followed by phone calls and emails. Here is a link to contact information for each member of City Council: Here is a link to the web pages of each of the aldermen, where you will find contact information:


Prompt action is urgent and should be the highest priority. Inaction will doom dog ownership in Chicago.


The latest available draft of the ordinance:


  • Mandates sterilization of all dogs and cats at six months of age.


  • Requires $100 breeding permits for every litter of puppies or kittens.


  • Subjects dog owners to invasive criminal background checks.


  • Requires extensive paperwork and record keeping for hobbyists.


  • Imposes fines of $100, plus $100 per month of noncompliance.


  • And denies dog owners their day in court if cited for an alleged violation. Only an administrative hearing before an animal control board can be used to appeal. The city thus becomes the cop, judge, jury and executioner, which is unconstitutional.


A new version of the ordinance has been promised before the hearing, but it was not available only four days beforehand. It is unethical to have a hearing on an ordinance that the people haven’t even had a chance to read. This report is based on the most recent version, which was made public in December 2008.


Dog owners are horrified at this ordinance, which clearly reflects a special interest animal rights agenda, makes no sense and is based on lies.


However, this report is written to Chicago’s aldermen. We will prove to them that they have been lied to, manipulated and brazenly used to accomplish an agenda that is the diametric opposite of what they have been led to believe.


During the hearing, the aldermen will receive incontrovertible proof of every assertion in this report.


The aldermen will learn that:


  • This ordinance is not directed toward irresponsible people or lawbreakers. It is directed toward their friends, family, neighbors and constituents. It will impact only good people who voluntarily obey the law. The ordinance will harm only the innocent, and do nothing to solve the alleged problems. Gangbangers, dog fighters and drug dealers don’t vote or pay taxes. They don’t comply with animal ordinances, either. This ordinance is supported by only a tiny minority of elitist animal rights activists, and does not reflect the views of the general public. Polls conducted last year by the mainstream Parade Magazine and MSN/NBC News showed that between 79-percent and 90-cent of Americans oppose all forms of spay/neuter mandates.


  • The aldermen already have the tools to solve animal control problems, and lack only the animal control management ability and finances needed to do the job. Chicago has strict licensing and leash laws that are not being enforced. The lack of compliance with these existing ordinances is an embarrassment to the city. A new law that will not and cannot be enforced simply makes all laws into a bad joke. If City Council wants its animal control program to do its job, they should enforce current licensing laws to provide the money to get the job done. With adequate enforcement, the city can easily eliminate roaming dogs by enforcing the leash laws against the guilty and rounding up the strays that don’t have an owner.


  • The State of Illinois already has the tools to solve the rest of the problems that are falsely used to justify this ordinance. Existing state laws make dog fighting a felony, forbid convicted felons from owning an intact dog, provide stringent penalties and enforcement of laws about dangerous dogs, and regulate anyone who raises more than a handful of dogs. The ordinance does nothing to strengthen these state laws, and does not even address these issues.


  • There is no “pet overpopulation” problem in the City of Chicago. The animal rights groups are lying through their teeth to City Council. Please read the official Chicago Animal Shelter Alliance (CASA) annual reports for the past three years for all the evidence needed to prove this assertion. The vast majority of dogs that enter the Chicago sheltering system find good homes or are returned to their owners. Fewer than 450 healthy dogs a year are euthanized, and almost all of these dogs were brought to the shelter because of severe behavior problems and cannot be adopted. Many of these dogs originate from outside the city limits.


  • Chicago already has one of the very best sheltering systems in America. This ordinance will destroy its enviable record of success. In every community in America that has tried a spay/neuter mandate, shelter admission and euthanasia rates have soared, while revenues have plummeted. Chicago also stands to lose at least $4 million in Maddie’s Fund grants if a spay/neuter mandate passes, and this loss will have to be covered by the city budget. In addition, it will divide the shelter and rescue community, resulting in more dogs that won’t find homes. This already is happening in Chicago, as testimony will show. In Los Angeles, which passed a similar ordinance last year, rescue and foster group placements declined at an annual rate of 14-percent in 2008.


  • The ordinance will reduce the availability of high quality dogs and puppies for Chicago residents, while increasing the number of pet store puppies from “puppy mills.” Hobby breeders in Chicago now produce some of the highest quality dogs in America, and these fanciers will be discouraged by the costs and intrusions provided in the ordinance. However, consumer demand for pets is at an historic high level. The law of supply and demand will apply, and “puppy mills” will step into the void left by the departure of responsible breeders of dogs with superior dispositions, intelligence and genetic health. Puppies from commercial kennels are far more likely to come with temperament and health problems, and thus are far more likely to be taken to animal shelters.


  • The ordinance simply flies in the face of the facts. American Veterinary Medical Association research shows that at least 60-percent of the dogs in America already are spayed and neutered, as are up to 70-percent of the cats that have owners. Other research shows that unwanted dogs rank between 7th and 10th on a list of the reasons why dogs are surrendered to shelters (the major reasons are social and economic).


  • The most serious problems involve stray dogs that run loose, and feral cats. The ordinance will do nothing to solve these problems for a very simple reason: No one can be found to claim ownership of these stray dogs and cats. Ordinances can be enforced only against people. If there is no owner, there is no way to enforce the ordinance. The only solution to roaming dogs and feral cats is to use conventional animal control methods, combined with adoptions, fostering and sterilization of feral cats.


  • The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association and the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association are completely opposed to this ordinance for several reasons. Chief among those reasons is that political decisions should not be the basis for professional medical decisions. On a human level, imagine what would happen if elected officials passed a law controlling medical decisions by doctors and hospitals. This ordinance also violates the professional doctor/patient relationship that is at the heart of the veterinary Code of Ethics.


  • At the same time, the most recent veterinary research is divided in its findings about the risks and benefits of spay/neuter, especially at the young age of six months required by the Chicago ordinance. Much research has shown an increased rate of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, including certain kinds of cancers, as a result. These findings have been documented by Rutger’s University, and are the basis of opposition to spay and neuter mandates by the American College of Theriogenologists (veterinary reproductive specialists).


  • The ordinance will be a financial disaster for Chicago. Other cities have consistently reported major reductions in animal control revenues, as many people will avoid licensing their pets. The Los Angeles program has been reduced to financial shambles in less than a year, resulting in complete insolvency, the layoff of 44 key employees, the inability to operate satellite shelters and a budget that soared to $21 million in taxpayers’ money. Houston revenues also have plunged in the year after a license differential ordinance, resulting in a wholesale purge of managers and veterinarians, rampant illness in the shelter animals, and investigations and sanctions for improper practices. Chicago can’t afford this ordinance.


  • Chicago residents can’t afford it, either. In the current tough economy and mortgage crisis, City Council should be trying to ease the financial burdens on people, instead of increasing them. Large numbers of city residents are losing their jobs and homes, and pet abandonment will result. City Council should look for ways to help people keep their pets. This ordinance especially targets poor people and inner city neighborhoods, where many people simply won’t have the money to comply and also cannot afford to pay any resulting fines. This will widen the gulf that poor people perceive between themselves and government.


  • Chicago’s economy also cannot afford it. There are at least a half-million dogs and cats in Chicago, based on national studies, and they represent a significant economic impact for the purchase of goods and services. Making it more difficult for people to keep their pets will result in an economic loss to city businesses of at least $500 for each dog and cat that no longer has a home. The totals loss could be counted in the millions of dollars and dozens of jobs, and Chicago can’t afford to lose either in the current economy. The loss will be even greater, as nonresidents will no longer bring their dogs and cats to Chicago for vacations, shows and other events. A person typically spends $500-to-$1,000 to attend a weekend show, for example, and some shows have as many as 2,000 dogs in competition. Tourism losses will be substantial.


  • A human health hazard will result, as pet owners avoid seeking medical care and vaccinations for their dogs and cats. This was proven conclusively in Fort Worth, Texas, where City Council rescinded the law after rabies vaccination compliance fell dramatically during the first year, while the number of rabies cases doubled. Lack of proper veterinary care also will expose humans to serious parasitism. In addition, urban veterinarians will lose customers and revenues as city residents decide to part with their pets or take them to suburban veterinarians for services.


  • Other human health hazards include a higher potential for injury from aggressive dogs. A 2007 study showed that 93-percent of the dogs that bite people already have been sterilized; a 2006 study showed that spayed females are more aggressive toward people than unspayed females, and intact males are no more aggressive than their neutered counterparts; and a 2005 study showed that spayed females are more reactive than intact females. Data from Chicago also shows that the number of reported dog bites in the city has fallen from about 10,000 in 1971 to about 2,000 in 2005.


  • Neighborhoods will become divided if this ordinance passes. Squabbles between neighbors will result in petty enforcement complaints. Experiences in other cities such as Louisville, KY, Palm Beach County, FL, and Plano, TX, have shown that undercover civilians will be used as “snitches” to enter homes, report violations, and orchestrate forced confiscations of dogs from noncompliant households. Many people also believe that these kinds of ordinances are inherently racist, as they appear to target Black and Hispanic neighborhoods in the stated reasons for passage.


  • The ordinances clearly reflect an animal rights agenda stemming from the radical Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which does not operate a single animal shelter and provides virtually no assistance to private or municipal shelters. The stated goal of HSUS leaders to is gradually eliminate animal ownership in America, including animals that are used for food, leather and textiles. The ordinance is a major step toward that goal in Chicago, and it will spread to surrounding communities if it is passed in the city. Moreover, the animal rights agenda conflicts with a large part of Chicago’s economy through stockyards, livestock exchanges and giant feed cooperatives. This ordinance is indirectly but tangibly a step toward eliminating that important part of the city’s economy. It also does not reflect the belief of the vast majority of city residents, who want to eat meat, wear wool and leather, and own pets. Most of the supporters of the ordinance, such as Paula Faseas, are closely linked to HSUS.


  • Last but certainly not least, this ordinance is an unwarranted, ill-conceived and arbitrary intrusion into the lives of law-abiding citizens that lacks the slightest shred of evidence to justify it. City Council should not treat dog owners as second-class citizens. Dogs are considered to be private property by Illinois law, and owning them is not a privilege. The ownership and enjoyment of private property is a right in Illinois. Please get off of our backs. We have done nothing to deserve it. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the people who will pay the price of this ordinance have any involvement with roaming dogs, aggressive dogs, dog fighting or crime. In the absence of evidence, this ordinance violates the most basic principles of American law and justice.


The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We also welcome people who work with other breeds, as legislative issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life.


The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by your donations in order to maintain strict independence.


Please visit us on the web at . Our email is .




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