Barker pushes for law on spaying, neutering
Opponents say owners, vets should decide
By Hal Dardick (Come, on…transpose a few letters, and you’re laughing all day long) Chicago Tribune reporter
July 30, 2008
Former TV game show host Bob Barker came on down (wow – Dardick went to journalism school and gets paid for these gems) Tuesday to lobby Chicago aldermen on a plan to require that the city's dogs and cats be sterilized, but found his pet cause was far from a done deal. (What?! A celebrity took the time out his far-more-important life to tell a local government that he doesn’t live in what to do, and they didn’t just say, “yes sir!”? Outrageous!! Does Michael J. Fox know?!)
Aldermen questioned whether an ordinance requiring that all cats and dogs be spayed or neutered by age 6 months was even enforceable. (Now, how exactly could a cop know?! “Excuse me sir, but it appears that your dachshund still has a working nut sack…”)
The doubts emerged during more than three hours of debate at which longtime animal-welfare advocate Barker and several experts testified for and against the proposal.
"There are so many cats and dogs being born in our country that it is impossible to find homes for all of them," said Barker, the retired host of "The Price Is Right." "We need legislation. It's the obvious answer. It's the only answer." (Yes. The only possible answer to the over-population of dogs and cats is to fill our legislative and criminal enforcement infrastructure with new laws. Or we could just higher a few illegal immigrants, give them shovels, a wheelbarrow and pay them by the hide…)
The ordinance would "prevent tremendous animal suffering (except for the getting their nuts cut off part), but beyond that it will save the taxpayers of Chicago thousands, millions of dollars" (well, which is it Bob? Thousands or millions?) by reducing the need to shelter and euthanize animals, he said.
Barker had his say, held a news conference and left the chambers. But more than 80 ordinary folks (how quaint) who signed up to speak on the issue were muzzled (again, with the clever pun…well done, sir!). The crowd listened to politicians banter with the other witnesses before being told they would have to return another day because aldermen needed to consider other matters. (What could possibly be more pressing?!! Legislation on eating duck livers? Banning smoking in a theatrical performance?? These guys tackle the BIG issues)
The ordinance is sponsored by Ald. Ed Burke (14th), chairman of the Finance Committee, and Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th). They cited dog attacks on Chicago residents and said sterilized animals are less likely to be vicious. (I know I’m much friendly to people once I know their capable of slicing open my genitalia at will)
It "strives to control pet overpopulation in the city, seeks to eliminate unnecessary tragic dog attacks [and] can be used as a law-enforcement tool against those who use pets as weapons on our city streets," Burke said. (“One false move and the lady takes a goldfish in eye!”)
A violation would result in a ticket telling the owner to have the pet fixed. (Well, now THAT will nip it in the bud!) If that failed (whah??? After that stern warning?!), a $100 fine would be issued after 60 days. If another 60 days passed, a second fine could reach $500, and the city could impound and sterilize the animal. Owners would be able to reclaim their pets after paying the fines and other related costs. (So, let me get this straight…the people who are too irresponsible to keep their pets’ peckers in check are now responsible for getting their pet to and paying for government mandated surgery; if they don’t they will be fined and have their pets taken from them and put in the pound. So the net result is filling up the city pounds with the pets of irresponsible owners, which was the problem in the first place…gotcha. Well, that all sounds reasonable to me.)
Pets with medical conditions that make sterilization unsafe, show dogs, guard dogs and service dogs would be exempt. (“Oh no officer, my dog still has working ejaculate…you see, he’s got glaucoma…”) Animals belonging to federally licensed breeders also would be exempt, and pet owners could seek an exemption by applying for a city breeder's license, which would require a criminal background check. (So, you can buy an assault rifle with armor piercing bullets more easily that have a Pomeranian with a working vagina…gotcha. Well, that all sounds reasonable to me.)
The effort was backed by PAWS Chicago, a no-kill humane organization focused on reducing the number of stray animals, and the Humane Society of the United States.
But it was opposed by the Chicago and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Associations, which said decisions on pet sterilization are best made by a veterinarian and pet owner. (Awe, what do they know). The groups also said such laws can reduce rabies vaccination compliance.
"I believe the reason we have this problem is because we have irresponsible pet owners," Ald. Ray Suarez (31st) said, suggesting the ordinance could be viewed as government intrusion. "There are irresponsible parents that are having sons and daughters out there. What's the next step?" (Where you go with that, Ray…surely you’re not suggesting…Oh, dear God…)
Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th) suggested it would have little effect in Chicago, despite its apparent success in places like Santa Cruz, Calif.
"The problem I see is the people who don't obey the law today—the people who don't get shots for their animals, the people who don't abide by the licensing of their animals—are the same people who are not going to abide by this law," he said. (“Plus,” added Carothers, “we’re not like those queers in California. No offense, Bob.”)