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Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Big Fix: My Article for the Fall 08 SoMar Newsletter


Brunswick was an owner surrender to L.A. Animal Services. Thanks
to the Spay/Neuter Adoption Program at the West Los Angeles
Animal Care Center, he now has a loving home in Mar Vista.

Here is the article that I wrote for the Fall 2008 SoMar Neighborhood Association Newsletter:

The Big Fix: Los Angeles’ New Animal Spay and Neuter Law

by Selena Inouye

On February 28, 2008, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed
a landmark new law requiring the spaying or neutering of
all pets living in the City of Los Angeles by the age of four
months. Los Angeles Animal Services praised the new law,
nicknamed “The Big Fix”, and declared the City of Los
Angeles to be a national leader in decreasing the number of
homeless cats and dogs in city shelters.

No More Dogs Behind Bars

“This law is for the dogs behind bars who were abandoned
in the shelter because someone didn’t understand the
commitment of pet adoption---what would actually be
involved,” explains Dr. Wendy Brooks, DVM of Mar
Vista Animal Medical Center. This law is for the litters of
unwanted puppies or kittens discarded by “…someone who
thought it would be fun to have one litter or someone (who)
didn’t get around to spaying or neutering…” their pet. Dr.
Brooks believes that the City of Los Angeles, “…cares about
… the thousands of animals euthanized in the shelter system
and expenses associated with this. There are vastly more dogs
and cats than there are homes for them. The City started by
increasing the licensing fee to $100 for unspayed/unneutered
dogs, but people still didn’t get the message. Hopefully now
people will get the message. ”

Pet overpopulation is not the only reason to spay and neuter.
Dr. Brooks notes, “The medical benefits to the female dog
are largely about mammary cancer prevention. Spaying
also prevents pyometra which is a uterine abscess, a lifethreatening
emergency. For the male dog, the main benefit
for health is prevention of prostate enlargement.” There are
behavioral benefits as well, detailed by Dr. Brooks at Mar
Vista Animal Medical Center’s website www.MarVistaVet.
com: The interest in roaming is eliminated in 90% of
neutered male dogs and cats. Aggressive behavior against
other male dogs is eliminated in 60% of neutered dogs;
fighting is eliminated in 90% of neutered male cats. Urine
marking is eliminated in 50% of neutered male dogs and 90%
of neutered male cats.

Grace Period Ending, Pet Parents Urged to Comply

Mar Vista pet parents may not know the new law went into
effect on April 1 and the grace period to comply ends on
October 1, 2008. Pet parents may also be unaware that
L.A. Animal Services can help them spay or neuter their pet.
The West Los Angeles Animal Care Center and partnering
animal rescue organizations provide coupons worth $30 off
the spay or neuter surgery. These coupons are available by
request to all City residents. For senior citizens, persons
with disabilities and lower income households, L.A. Animal
Services offers a free spay and neuter certificate. Pet parents
can redeem coupons and certificates at participating local
veterinary hospitals, like Mar Vista Animal Medical Center.
L.A. Animal Services urges all pet owners to voluntarily
comply with the law to avoid fines ranging from $100 to
$500 and penalties of 40 hours of community service and/or a
misdemeanor charge.

Learn More and Share Your Opinion

More information can be found at www.LAAnimalServices.
com, including a fact sheet with details about the new law and
information about spay and neuter programs. Contact Los
Angeles Animal Services by telephone at (888) 4 LA PET 1
(888-452-7381) or visit the West Los Angeles Animal Care
Center at 11361 West Pico Blvd., just West of Sawtelle Blvd.
Contact Dr. Wendy Brooks at Mar Vista Animal Medical
Center, 3850 Grand View Blvd., (310) 391-6741.
Log on to the Discussion Forums at www.NeighborhoodLink.
com/LA/SouthMar and share your thoughts about The Big Fix
and its goal to reduce the number of homeless pets in the City
of Los Angeles.


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