In the motion authored by Council Member Suja Lowenthal and co-sponsored by Gary DeLong and Patrick O’Donnell, City staff was asked to develop a plan to increase spay/neuter services at a lower cost to residents, create a mobile animal care program, introduce cat licensing requirements and expand public education about responsible pet ownership.
The issues of affordable spay/neuter services, microchipping and cat licensing go back to Lowenthal’s first year in office (2006-07), when she co-sponsored a motion with DeLong to evaluate how expansion of these services could reduce the number of unclaimed animals at the City’s Animal Care Shelter. Since the motion’s passage, various elements have been incorporated into policy or municipal code
Pointing to the large number of unclaimed animals euthanized each year (6,167), the motion’s sponsors hope to promote a strategy that reduces the cost of spay/neuter services and expands the capacity within the city to provide these services for both cats and dogs. Establishing a State Licensed full-time veterinarian to oversee animal care and mobile services is a major step forward from the part time and volunteer veterinarian services currently offered at the Shelter.
"Reaching out to those areas of the city where pet overpopulation and neglected animals are more prevalent requires a new strategy for community engagement and volunteerism," said Lowenthal. "Community-based prevention strategies not only reduce the number of unwanted animals impounded and euthanized each year, but also reduce costs associated with animal care and impounds."
There is no single strategy that will alter this community-based problem of animal overpopulation. However, doing the same thing and expecting different results is not a responsible policy. To drive down the number of animals impounded at the shelter each year, the City must work with residents to promote licensing, microchipping, vaccinations and spay and neuter of animals. These strategies work together and have worked in other communities; but require an expanded partnership between the community, non-profit, private and public sectors. The expansion of spay and neuter services, cat licensing, mobile services and community engagement are the building blocks for achieving this vision.
City staff will begin developing a program and budget for implementation of the approved policies in Fiscal Year 2011. For more information, please see below or call Councilmember Lowenthal's office at 562-570-6684.
Animal Care Services Motion (Lowenthal) - October 2009
Low Cost Spay/Neuter Services Motion (Lowenthal) - May 2007
( Animal Care Services - City Staff Report )