Reducing the Homeless Dog Population - It's Simple
The Rational for Registration
In 2005 the Aiken City Council, at the request of its shelter partner, now the SPCA Albrecht Center, took a major leap forward in the interest of animal welfare and its own tax paying citizens, by passing an ordinance that required all owners of fertile dogs to pay a $100 lifetime registration fee. This is in exchange for the risk of that dog contributing to the homeless pet population. Owners of spayed or neutered and micro-chipped dogs pay nothing, but the micro-chip becomes part of the city data base so dogs are returned quickly.
At that time, the City was reimbursing $80,000+ /yr to the SPCA Albrecht Center to care for its strays and abuse cases. Dog admissions numbered 667.
Compare these statistics to 2018, where the City admitted 252 dogs, returned 99 to their owner, and paid the SPCA $89,000. Just to clarify, let’s realize that this is 13 years later and the city has grown by thousands of citizens.
This success is despite at least one very vocal AKC representative decrying the initial move to a differential fee for fertile dogs, by loudly and vigorously ensuring us all that this was discriminatory and would not work. Well, it did work, and now other municipalities and even whole counties took the city’s lead and are moving in the same direction to reduce costs and create a better quality of life for dogs and people alike.
Spaying and neutering is affordable for everyone through the city and county voucher programs and low cost spaying and neutering clinics like the SPCA Albrecht Center’s Veterinary Care Center.
Unless you want to breed your dog there is no excuse not to spay or neuter. If you do want to breed your dog and sell the puppies for income, then it only seems fair that you be required to obtain a business license, just like everyone else who has a business and be subject to inspection to ensure certain standards are met.
In the case of commercial breeders that standard ought to be that their facility is open for inspection to ensure all animals are up to date on vaccinations, that the premises are clean, that the animals have good food and shelter, and that their mental welfare is taken into consideration by requiring exercise areas and fresh air; not confined to a small cage all their lives. Females should only be bred once a year and only be bred if a licensed veterinarian certifies they are in good health.
Aiken County, in 2006 declined the opportunity to solve a great deal of their current animal control problems when they were asked by citizens to follow the same course that the City did in 2005. Unfortunately, this is resulting in thousands of dogs still being admitted to the county shelter. With Aiken County declining to establish a registration ordinance, but still wanting to follow humane principals and not euthanize, they have turned to transporting thousands of dogs to northern states where there are registration ordinances; therefore, less homeless dogs.
Do you as a human want to live in an area with a huge population of neglected, sick, and homeless dogs roaming around begging for help and who then end up in overcrowded animal shelters that have to euthanize for space? Or, do you want to live in an area that has taken just one simple step that asks animal owners to be responsible citizens?
If you feel the latter, then think about expressing your sentiments to elected officials.