Wednesday, February 27, 2008

CT- ASDA: Connecticut Spay & Neuter Task force a Study in Irony

HARTFORD, Ct - There is a grim irony surrounding Gov. M. Jodi Rell's
recent call for a task force to study a mandatory spay and neuter law
for Connecticut.

The alleged reason for such a mandate is to cut down on the
population of unwanted dogs and cats in animal shelters, and to
reduce the necessity for euthanasia of animals that are not adopted.

The irony is that Connecticut animal shelters are begging for dogs to
adopt, and in fact are hauling in dogs from as far away as Georgia,
Oklahoma and even Puerto Rico to meet the demand, an investigation by
The American Sporting Dog Alliance shows. There are not enough
unwanted dogs in Connecticut to go around because voluntary spaying
and neutering has cut the number of adoptable puppies to a fraction
of their former number, research at Tufts University has shown.

Moreover, ASDA has uncovered evidence that pet overpopulation is not
the real issue. One of the most vocal leaders in the push to mandate
the sterilization of dogs makes no bones about his real goal: the
elimination of purebred dogs. This is a major platform of the most
extreme animal rights groups, such as People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Connecticut Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)
Executive Director Fred Acker defended his organization's program of
bringing in dogs from other states in a 2004 article reprinted on

"People will get the kind of dog they want, even if they have to go
to a breeder for it," Acker said. "So why not save a dog from
somewhere else, rather than breed another dog."

Acker said that the Connecticut SPCA goes on designer shopping trips
to shelters in other states in order to bring the kind of dogs people
want back to Connecticut. Popular breeds, such as Labrador
retrievers, small breeds and puppies are high on the list because the
demand far exceeds the supply in Connecticut, Acker said.

The Connecticut SPCA shelter charges people $295 to adopt a dog or
puppy, which an article in USA Today said effectively places them in
the pet store business.

Why aren't there enough unwanted homegrown Connecticut dogs to meet
the demand?

A study by the Tufts University says that many people, especially in
the northeastern states, are voluntarily spaying and neutering their
dogs. This has virtually eliminated unwanted puppies for adoption,
and even older dogs of the more popular breeds, the study concluded.
Most of the dogs that are not being adopted in the northeastern
states are elderly, ill or of an unpopular breed, such as pit bulls.

This vacuum of supply and demand has left a lot of empty kennel runs
in Connecticut animal shelters. Rather than close down and claim
credit for accomplishing their mission, the shelters are going
elsewhere to find dogs to fill the vacancies - and meet the demand.

On a trip to Oklahoma, reported by KFOR News in Oklahoma City, Acker
and two other people from Connecticut shelters took 31 dogs from the
Oklahoma City shelter, and planned to pick up more dogs from shelters
in Bethany and Moore, OK, and also from a group called Pets and

"This is going to make a lot of people happy," Acker told KFOR. "The
little dogs are few and far in Connecticut. The demand is great so
we're just connecting the dots throughout the United States." Acker
told the reporter that he planned to make a trip to Oklahoma every
month to get a truckload of dogs.

But he'll have to get back from Atlanta, GA, first. Acker's website
reported that one trip to Georgia required two vans, and that 20 dogs
would be taken from a shelter there.

Another Connecticut animal shelter, the Danbury Animal Welfare
Society, reportedly picked up six puppies and an adult dog from the
Atlanta shelter.

"You've got small dogs and we don't," Acker told KFOR in
Oklahoma. "We'll probably have homes for half of them before we get
back...Every single small dog goes home with 20 back up applications

The Connecticut SPCA website also details a program to "rescue" dogs
caught in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast.
These dogs also are being used to meet the insatiable demand for
adoptable dogs in the Northeast.

USA Today reported that 14,000 stray dogs from the streets of Puerto
Rico were adopted in the United States over a seven-year period, and
Connecticut got some of them.

In neighboring Massachusetts, the "underpopulation" of unwanted dogs
is so severe that one shelter literally is scouring the globe for
dogs to sell for adoption. The Northeast Animal Shelter told USA
Today that it imports 800 dogs a year from the South and 200 from
Puerto Rico. This shelter goes as far as Taiwan and Mainland China to
come up with enough dogs to meet the demand.

The situation is similar on Long Island, NY, which reportedly brings
in dogs from several distant states, and then hauls them to
Connecticut for adoption in special vans.

The Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut groups participate in two
networks to import dogs from elsewhere. The first is called
the "Puppies Across America Program," which focuses on southern and
midwestern states. The second is called "Save a Sato," which brings
in stray dogs from Puerto Rico. Sato is the Spanish word for a stray

A similar situation exists across the continent in California, which
also is considering mandatory spay and neuter legislation. A reported
10,000 dogs a year are brought to California from Mexico to meet the
demand that animal shelters in that state can't fulfill.

Data from the California Veterinary Public Health Section of the
state Health Department shows that there has been a 43-percent
decline in the number of dogs euthanized in animal shelters over five
years, and a 75-percent decline since the mid-1970's. Connecticut
does not publish similar data.

(The American Sporting Dog Alliance is a grassroots organization to
protect the rights of owners and professionals who work with breeds
of dogs that are used for hunting. You can learn more about us on the
web at

The American Sporting Dog Alliance

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