27th Annual International Homeless Animals’ Day®

i Jul 15th

Join ISAR in Commemorating the 27th Annual International Homeless Animals’ Day® on Saturday, August 18 and Raise Much Needed Awareness About Pet Overpopulation

In conjunction with ISAR’s educational efforts to spread the companion animal overpopulation message and spay/neuter solution, ISAR will consider grant requests to not-for-profit organizations participating in ISAR’s International Homeless Animals’ Day which incorporate a spay/neuter component.

Since 1992 ISAR has used the third Saturday of August as a platform for animal protection organizations, humane societies, rescue groups, veterinary professionals, caring individuals, public officials, and animal-friendly businesses — throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and abroad — to come together in solidarity to enlighten the public about a tragedy that affects all communities: Dog and cat overpopulation and the urgent need for spay/neuter and adoption programs.

Twenty-seven years since its inception, International Homeless Animals’ Day continues to grow, helping pave the way to bring pet overpopulation to public attention.

In 2018, IHAD will be observed on Saturday, August 18. Already, we have events scheduled throughout the United States and in AUSTRALIA, CANADA, FRANCE, HONDURAS, INDONESIA, LITHUANIA, MALAYSIA, PANAMA, PERU, SOUTH AFRICA, SWEDEN, SWITZERLAND, UKRAINE, UNITED KINGDOM, VENEZUELA and VIETNAM.

We invite you to join a worldwide movement focusing on the dog and cat overpopulation problem and the urgent need for spay/neuter and adoption programs by participating in IHAD. There are a variety of ways you and/or your organization can participate:

  • Pet adoptions (often at local pet supply stores)
  • Meet & Greets
  • Shelter Open Houses
  • Educational events
  • Candlelight vigils
  • Spay/neuter, microchip/vaccination clinics

Organizations participating in IHAD can receive free promotional publicity materials upon request and your organization’s event, website and pet adoption pages will be advertised to thousands of people on ISAR’s website, as well as our online communities such as Facebook and Twitter.

Please contact us to receive additional information, grant application, or to register your event.

ISAR Seeks International Homeless Animals’ Day 2018 Volunteer Representative From Every Country

i Feb 15th

ISAR would like to call your attention to one of our major programs: International Homeless Animals’ Day (IHAD).

Conceived and commemorated originally in 1992, ISAR’s IHAD is the first and only worldwide event focusing on the dog and cat overpopulation problem and urgent need for affordable spay/neuter and adoption programs.

On IHAD, ISAR along with animal protection organizations, humane societies, rescue groups, veterinary professionals, caring individuals, public officials, and animal-friendly businesses from throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and abroad, join together to send our spay/neuter and adoption message.

Since its inception, ISAR’s International Homeless Animals’ Day has continued to grow and gain momentum in the war against dog and cat overpopulation. To date, ISAR’s International Homeless Animals’ Day observances have been held in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, in over 50 countries, on 6 continents.

For IHAD 2018, IHAD will be held on August 18. We are now selecting at least one International Homeless Animals’ Day (IHAD) volunteer representative for every country where we don’t have one already.

Our representatives will encourage local animal protection organizations, businesses, veterinarians, political leaders, local celebrities, teacher associations, school students, and scouting groups to organize an observance in honor of International Homeless Animals’ Day.

IHAD activities vary, including educational events, candlelight vigils, blessing of the animals ceremonies, spay/neuter clinics, adoptions, shelter open houses, microchip clinics, award ceremonies, marches, speeches by public figures, celebrities, local veterinarians, humane workers, and many more.

IHAD’s representatives can apply for an International Homeless Animals’ Day grant to support free or low-cost spay/neuter and adoption programs.  (Grants are restricted to applications from registered, not-for-profit organizations, and for spay/neuter and adoption services.)

Please feel free to share International Homeless Animals’ Day 2018 with your Facebook and Twitter followers.

For additional information, please contact International Society for Animal Rights.

ISAR Newsletter Autumn 2017

i Nov 15th

President’s Message

Dear Friends,

ISAR is supporting a powerful new tool in the fight for one of our most important goals: ending the dog and cat overpopulation crisis. We are always searching for new ways to shed light on the overpopulation tragedy and the spay/neuter solution. We have found this in The Cat Rescuers (catrescuersfilm.com), a film documentary–in– progress that spotlights the epidemic of literally countless abandoned and feral cats on New York City’s streets, and the heroic efforts of four activists who hit the streets in Brooklyn to fight overpopulation.

ISAR recently had the opportunity to view the trailer of The Cat Rescuers. Believing it can help raise awareness of the plight of homeless animals not only in Brooklyn, but everywhere, ISAR provided a sizeable contribution through Kickstarter to put the funding for the documentary over the top.

The film’s producers told thousands of its social media supporters, “We made our Kickstarter goal, thanks to The International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR), one of the oldest animal rights organizations in the U.S. They came in with a sizable contribution, putting us over the top! Thank you, ISAR!”

Stay tuned to hear more about this moving and motivating film and how rescue groups can screen it in their communities.

Animal Rights Law Reporter


We are pleased to inform ISAR’s supporters that the Animal Rights Law Reporter– founded and edited by Professor Henry Mark Holzer, and published by International Society for Animal Rights – is now part of the online collection of the Animal Legal and Historical Center at Michigan State University College of Law. Read all about it here.

Professor Holzer, chairman of ISAR, conceived the area of Animal Law as a distinct legal practice in the U.S. Animal Law did not exist as a separate legal specialty until 1973 when Professor Holzer filed the landmark lawsuit Jones v. Butz, which advocated for animals’ rights by challenging an exception under the federal Humane Methods of Livestock Act of 1958.

Professor Holzer’s lawsuit served as the opening salvo in what is still the emerging field of Animal Law. Since then, the interest in animal law of lawyers, law schools, the legal profession, the public, and the media has burgeoned.

Spanish Language Billboard Update


Tucson, Arizona, immediately across from Nogales, Mexico, is the site of one of ISAR’s most recent Spanish language spay/neuter billboards.

Spanish language spay/neuter billboards.

ISAR’s most recent Spanish language spay/neuter billboard.


Since January, ISAR spay/neuter billboards in Spanish have spread across the U.S. in cities with sizable Spanish-speaking populations: Fort Myers, FL; Fresno and Los Angeles, CA; New Haven, CT; Philadelphia, PA (English); Denver, CO; Atlanta, GA; Allentown and Easton, PA; Dallas, El Paso, San Antonio, TX; Albuquerque and Anthony, NM; Chicago, IL; Springfield, MA; Providence, RI; Las Vegas, NV; Milwaukee, WI; and the above billboard in Tucson, AZ, which borders Nogales, Mexico.

In August, ISAR supporters in Patterson, NJ, and the New York metropolitan area saw a new Spanish language billboard in the neighborhood.

These billboards have caught drivers’ eyes, prompting numerous calls to ISAR requesting information on local low-cost spay/neuter programs.

Advocating for Animals: ISAR and Animals Today Radio


Animals – powerless and voiceless – have two committed and compassionate advocates in ISAR and Animals Today Radio. Since 2009, ISAR has been a major sponsor of the “Animals Today” radio program/podcast (animalstodayradio.com), an influential national voice that addresses a variety of contemporary animal-related topics with warmth, knowledge and a fierce love of all animals.

Hosted by Dr. Lori Kirshner, founder and President of Advancing the Interest of Animals (AIA), “Animals Today,” a project of (AIA), features news about animals, interviews with veterinarians and other experts, as well as discussions on the important issues affecting animals in the United States and around the world today.

Dr. Kirshner and Dr. Peter Spiegel, the other founding member of AIA, promote respect and compassion for wild and domesticated animals while educating listeners with an appealing mixture of wisdom and warmth. For example, the September 23 show featured Laura Beven, Southern Regional Director for the Humane Society of the United States, who provided a firsthand account of the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and how animal welfare groups, government agencies and individuals are working to protect and rescue animals affected by the disasters. On the October 7 show, Lori discussed the origins of the field of Animal Law, sharing the recently published International Society for Animal Rights Special Report, Seeds, that describes how Animal Law began and what it has become. Lori express her appreciation to ISAR’s chairman Professor Henry Mark Holzer saying, “We’ve come a long way! Congratulations to Professor Holzer and our most sincere thanks.”

A previous show introduced listeners to Meera Gajjar, an attorney with the Wildlife Whistleblower Program of the National Whistleblower Center. She discussed how animal lovers and advocates can confidentially report if illegal wildlife trafficking, logging, fishing and other wildlife laws are being violated. She stressed that whistleblowers who disclose original information concerning wildlife crimes that result in a successful enforcement action may receive monetary rewards.

Pet owners always tune in to hear Lori and Peter share tips on pet care, such as how to protect pets in hot weather (think ice cubes in water dishes that are placed out of the sun and portable water bowls when you leave home). Before walking your dog in hot weather, do you “test” asphalt by putting your hand on it? You should!

Anyone with an interest in animals – wild or domestic – and their welfare should tune in to Animals Today Radio: Live shows air and stream on Saturday, at 1 p.m.; check your local market for the station. Podcasts of shows are posted on www.animalstodayradio.com within 24 hours of airing and the page features archived shows.

So please, for some serious talk about animals and to hear what actions listeners can take to help animals locally, nationally, and around the world, listen to, learn from, and support Animals Today Radio!

International Homeless Animals’ Day® 2017: A Quarter-Century of Caring Continues


Across the world, Saturday, August 19 marked the 26th annual International Homeless Animals’ Day® (IHAD®). In more than 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia and more than 25 countries spanning six continents, hundreds of animal protection organizations celebrated International Homeless Animals’ Day. Every year, more and more organizations and animal lovers come together on the third Saturday of August to raise awareness of the tragedy of pet overpopulation and the spay/neuter solution.




In Stowe, Vermont, the North Country Animal League Mutt Strutt attracted 60 people and their dogs of all shapes and sizes to Stowe Village for a parade through town followed by a festival on the events field in honor of International Homeless Animals’ Day.

The Mutt Strutt event raised more than $6,000 for North Country Animal League to support its mission to promote 3 4 responsible and compassionate relationships between humans and animals through adoption, humane education, and spay/neuter initiatives. At least 10 of the dogs at the event had found forever homes through NCAL.




Tri-County Animal Rescue in Clarion, Pennsylvania, hosted its fifth annual IHAD event in Veteran’s Memorial Park. Every year, the event draws more people for a day of fun and fostering love for animals and pet adoptions.

Festivities included a pet parade, pet blessing, animal advocate award presentation, and raffles to help raise money for the shelter.

Throughout the day, speakers from the Humane Pennsylvania Political Action Committee, Safe Haven Small Breed Rescue and Happily Ever After Rescue spoke on a variety of topics including the importance of spaying/neutering and banning puppy mills.

Participants ended the day by lighting luminaries (left) whose glow memorialized homeless animals’ suffering and brought the day to a close.

It was a day of hope and remembrance as Tails of Hope, which runs a low-cost spay and neuter clinic in Hermitage, observed IHAD with events that included a candlelight vigil, led by the Rev. Joe Yurka, (bottom left) to pay homage to the millions of dogs and cats annually put to death in shelters.

“What we want to do is end this senseless killing,” said Tails of Hope board member Maleia James, who is president of Cat Landers. With Tails of Hope, “There’s no excuse now not to spay and neuter animals,” she said.

Rev. Joe Yurka

Rev. Joe Yurka

The city of Hermitage commissioners signed an IHAD proclamation, State Representative Mark Longetti and candidates for local office attended the event.

A beautiful evening and musical entertainment set the scene for those attending the 20th annual International Homeless Animals’ Day Candlelight Vigil sponsored by Defenders of Animals.


Rhode Island

Rhode Island

The Rhode Island-based non-profit has endorsed pro-animal legislation on the national, state, and local levels since 1978, and many of its accomplishments were highlighted during the vigil.

“We have always believed in this credo: ‘The smaller the victim, the bigger the crime,’” said Dennis Tabella, director of Defenders of Animals, seen speaking at left. “I have always taken the side of the underdog, and there is no greater underdog than the dogs and cats that are waiting for homes at our shelters or those poor souls that walk the streets and throughout our neighborhoods without the love and security from a human being.”

“The International Homeless Animals’ Day/Candlelight Vigil was held in conjunction with the International Society for Animal Rights campaign and serves as an opportunity for animal advocates from around Rhode Island to band together on a special day and jumpstart new spay/neuter/adoption campaigns,” said Tabella.

Defenders of Animals is dedicated to keeping the issue of dog and cat overpopulation before the public. It’s crucial that Rhode Islanders have their cats and dogs spayed/neutered and support local organizations that work toward keeping the pet population down so that municipal and private shelters do not have to euthanize animal due to over population issues.



“Something good happens every time we hold this annual event – another cat or dog finds a home, another member helps to foster a dog or cat, or someone new volunteers to help out at an event,” said Tabella.

SOS Chats, held its 12th annual IHAD observance on the Place Pury in Neuchatel, Switzerland. Several guests came to show solidarity for animals abused and killed throughout the world, including a delegation from Kiev, Ukraine, journalists, politicians and celebrities. Each year, SOS Chats utilizes IHAD as a platform for gathering many signatures for their ongoing petition campaigns to protect the animals in Switzerland.



AnimaNaturalis Colombia, Humanitarian Management of Fauna Callejera, Donatón por los Animales, and The Spoon Revolution made the Donate for Animals 2017 IHAD event a day to remember at the Blue Pavilion of Plaza Mayor in Medellín. Music and fun set the tone but there was also a serious side as representatives of animal protection and adoption groups spoke about the need for spaying/neutering and laws protecting animals.




Using the power of social media and the internet, Red de Apoyo Canino observed International Homeless Animals’ Day with an E-Adoption (virtual adoption fair) on its social media channels, followed by a Google Hangout, where the organization provided information on adoption, fostering and spay/neuter campaigns.

Thanks to a generous grant from ISAR, Red de Apoyo Canino organized a three-day spay and neuter program in Sucre State, Venezuela (right), where 125 dogs and cats, many of them homeless, were sterilized, improving their quality of life and slowing the cycle of more unanted animals.



A matching grant from ISAR helped SpayPanama mark IHAD in the best way possible – with volunteers helping vets sterilize 200 mostly feral cats and 70 dogs (right) in the city of Parque Lefevre, Panama where many homeless animals live desperate lives. Said Patricia Chan, director and founder of SpayPanama, “Thank you ISAR for being our guiding light.”



SPCA Penang, Malaysia, alerted city residents to International Homeless Animals’ Day 2017 by sponsoring the SPCA Fun Photo Contest, themed “My Pet, My Best Friend.” City residents were invited to visit the SPCA Shelter to meet new animal friends available for adoption, learn how vital spaying/neutering is and considering volunteering.

The photo contest, winners and their best friends, (right), spurred interest in SPCA Penang, which houses 50 animals. Prizes of pet food were donated by a pet food company and a photo studio donated photo frames.

SPCA Penang added neutering vouchers prizes for each winner. SPCA administrator Leng Lily, was pleased with the turnout and press coverage by the Penang Star and Chinese media. “Events like our IHAD Open House encourage people to adopt pets instead of buying them.”



International Homeless Animals’ Day was observed at the Plaza María Luisa Bombal, Calle Villanelo, in Viña del mar, Chile, with a Venezuela Panama Malaysia Chile 7 responsible ownership pet fair. Mayor Virginia Reginato, participated in the open fair urging animal guardians to spay and neuter their companion animals.

Graduates of the local veterinary medicine college performed free veterinary check-ups for pets and provided information about caring for dogs and cats. Nonprofit associations related to the protection and defense of homeless animals also participated in the fair and provided information on responsible pet ownership and adoption of dogs and cats.




Calling for the protection of “our smaller brothers,” the Group for the Protection of Animals in Tver, a city 90 minutes northwest of Moscow, observed IHAD in Russia. Joined by several other animal rights organizations and with the support of the Gorky Library, a cultural mainstay in this city on the Volga River, the Protection of Animals’ supporters organized a successful pet food and medical supplies drive for animal shelters. Volunteers collected donated supplies at a booth featuring photos of animals for adoption in front of the Library and talked about the importance of spaying/neutering.

IHAD 2017 Proclamations


Recognition by local and state officials of the importance of each year’s International Homeless Animals’ Day is a vital part of keeping the issue of animal rights before the public and progressing proanimal laws through legislative bodies. Several animal protection organizations were presented with signed proclamations declaring August 19, 2017, as International Homeless Animals’ Day.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp proclaimed Aug. 19 as International Homeless Animals’ Day in the Virgin Islands, consistent with the observance by the International Society for Animal Rights. He called attention to the suffering of abandoned and homeless animals and the issue of pet overpopulation awareness. Mapp’s proclamation noted that millions of unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized at U.S. animal shelters each year because homes cannot be found for them.

Michigan State Rep. Martin Howrylak of Troy promoted House Resolution 126, which declared International Homeless Animals Day throughout the state.

Sadly, Michigan is contributing to this troubling problem. According to a 2014 Michigan Shelter survey, nearly one out of every four animals that enter a shelter in the state are eventually euthanized.

“These are eye-opening statistics,” said Rep. Howrylak. “Unfortunately, many of these animals were loving companions who were ready to be adopted. Due to limited space at local shelters, these animals simply ran out of time to find a new home.”

The August 8 Washington Post featured an article on IHAD and quoted ISAR President Susan Dapsis: “Children can participate in IHAD by walking shelter dogs, grooming shelter animals and spending time with them. This will bring much happiness to the animals and prepare them for their journey to a new home.”

The article highlighted the work of the Soi Dog Foundation in Phuket, Thailand, where many of its 500 dogs are socialized and transported to North America for adoption.

ISAR is continually grateful to all those who help ISAR promote our annual International Homeless Animals’ Day observances and the important spay/neuter message. Many advertising outlets assist ISAR each year to shed light on pet overpopulation. We greatly appreciate every radio and television interview, newspaper article, letter-to-the-editor, blogs, YouTube videos, websites, and social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, all of which have helped ISAR to enlighten the public to the tragedy of pet overpopulation and its self-evident spay/neuter solution.

IHAD – August 18, 2018


Please join us in commemorating ISAR’s 27th annual International Homeless Animals’ Day!

ISAR extends a warm invitation to all our veteran event coordinators, as well as to a host of new ones, to join us on Saturday, August 18, 2018 for International Homeless Animals’ Day. Please contact ISAR by mail, phone, fax, or email to receive an IHAD 2018 planning packet.

Together we will continue to be a voice for the animals and continue to demand an end to the suffering and exploitation inflicted on animals each day.


Susan Dapsis
ISAR President

On the Air “En Español”: Spreading ISAR’s Spay Neuter Message Across the U.S.

i Aug 16th

Those listening to KMXX 99.3 and KSEH 94.5 radio stations in California’s Imperial Valley – a majority of whose residents speak Spanish – are hearing a vital Public Service Announcement in that language six times each day: “In the U.S., 70,000 puppies and kittens are born every day … If you let your animal have a litter, even just one, these kittens and puppies will go on to produce more offspring – and very quickly, that adds up to many unwanted dogs and cats. Countless dogs and cats are killed in shelters each year because there is nowhere for them to go.”

Listeners are then advised to act responsibly by spaying and neutering their pets: “Your veterinarian or a low-cost clinic in your area can do the procedure. Fixed cats are less likely to get certain cancers and less likely to bite, fight, roam or run away.”

So, for a healthier and happier pet and to help improve the pet overpopulation problem, make sure you get your animals fixed right away.”

Sponsored by the International Society for Animal Rights and Advancing the Interests of Animals, this Public Service Announcement (PSA) is currently being heard on radio stations serving Spanish-speaking audiences across the U.S. From WHAT 1340, Philadelphia’s top Spanish language radio station, to WPSP 1190 in Palm Beach, Florida, which provides programming for Hispanics ages 25 and up, to KGRW 94 in Amarillo, which is the largest city in the Texas Panhandle, these stations – and dozens more like them – are getting the word out on the necessity of spaying and neutering.

As a result of ISAR’s efforts countless pet owners are learning how a simple procedure, performed by their vet or at a low-cost clinic, can help animals by fighting the curse of overpopulation.

ISAR’s Spanish PSA – along with spay/neuter billboards in English and Spanish in 30 U.S. states Canada and Ireland – is another powerful tool in ISAR’s crusade to keep the issue of animal overpopulation in front of the public and educate them on how to combat it.

Remember, Saturday, August 19 is International Homeless Animals’ Day® (IHAD®). Over 100 events will take place in more than 40 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and 10 countries.

The August 8 Washington Post featured an article on IHAD and quoted ISAR President Susan Dapsis: “Children can participate in IHAD by walking shelter dogs, grooming shelter animals and spending time with them. This will bring much happiness to the animals and prepare them for their journey to a new home.”

The article highlighted the work of the Soi Dog Foundation in Phuket, Thailand, where many of its 500 dogs are socialized and transported to North America for adoption.

Follow ISAR on Twitter, is_ar (@is_ar) and Facebook.

ISAR’s Spay/Neuter Billboards Get the Message Out!

i Jun 21st

Dear Friends and Supporters:

ISAR is taking our spay/neuter billboard campaign a step further. We are targeting those who currently hold office or are running for election, with hopes that these individuals will welcome the opportunity to utilize ISAR’s billboard campaign by sponsoring the spay/neuter message for their current or would-be constituents.

To show support for this campaign please forward the following message to your elected officials, and to political candidates, and to others, who may be sympathetic to our cause.

Susan Dapsis
ISAR President

ElectedOfficialSample2 copy

ISAR’s brightly-colored spay/neuter billboards are an opportunity for you and/or your campaign to inform your constituents just how much the scourge of dog and cat overpopulation troubles you!

ISAR’s Spay/Neuter Billboard Campaign has proved to be an effective means of raising awareness about pet overpopulation and a major solution: mandatory spay/neuter.

In just 2016 alone, more than 60 ISAR “Spay/Neuter. It Stops the Killing” billboards have been displayed in states from California to Pennsylvania, including South Carolina, Arkansas, Kansas, West Virginia, Indiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama, Virginia, Florida, and New Mexico. ISAR’s Spay/Neuter billboard campaign has even crossed the United States border into Niagara Falls, Canada!

Available year-round, ISAR’s eye-catching billboards are a standard 10’5″ x 22’8″ with space to include the sponsor’s name.

Political candidates wishing to have an ISAR Spay/Neuter Billboard installed in an area of their choice anywhere in the continental United States should contact ISAR.

We’ll do all the work.

We’ll contact the outdoor advertising company and find out what space is available in or around the general area you choose and for how long.

We’ll order the billboard from our vendor, once you give us the sponsoring information you want to appear on your billboard.

We’ll have the billboard shipped directly to the outdoor advertising company.

We’ll make sure the billboard has been installed when and where it’s supposed to be installed.

All you or your campaign has to do is make a contribution to ISAR covering our $125.00 cost for the poster, plus the outdoor advertising company’s charge for installation labor and space rental. Because most outdoor advertising companies have a reduced rate for 501(c)(3) organizations such as ISAR, in our experience the total cost of this effective way to spread the spay/neuter message will usually be less than $500.00.

For you as a political candidate, ISAR’s “Spay/Neuter” billboards have a dual benefit: Reminding your constituents of your concern about the awful dog and cat overpopulation problem, and helping International Society for Animal Rights spread the “Spay/Neuter” message and prevent countless puppies and kittens from being born, thus saving countless numbers from a life of disease, pain, hunger, abuse, cruelty and, ultimately for many of them, a terrible death.


i May 10th

What do the titles, “Why is Dodger Stadium full of dogs?”, “All About That Spay”, “What is kitten season?”, and “Pet overpopulation is not cute” have in common?

Always searching for innovative ways to enlighten the public about companion animal overpopulation, these four titles are only a few of the many videos that ISAR has compiled in our new Overpopulation Video Library. Our new Internet resource provides links to, and descriptions of, scores of YouTube videos carrying the overpopulation and spay/neuter message, furthering ISAR’s efforts to reduce cat and dog overpopulation.

Since ISAR’s founding in 1959 our organization has not wavered in our commitment to improving the lives of animals through legal, legislative and educational efforts. The latter, public education about animal rights, both theoretical and practical, has long been a primary activity of ISAR, and will continue to be an important part of our programs.

ISAR is making a difference by working with others to enlighten the world about the needless killing of dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens that sadly occurs daily around the world because there are not enough good homes for them.

A comprehensive list of overpopulation and spay/neuter-related videos can be found on ISAR’s website here: https://isaronline.org/programs/animal-rights-education/spayneuter-videos/.

We ask our supporters to share our library of educational videos with friends and family allowing ISAR to continue to be a resource, a teacher, and a voice for companion animals everywhere.

If you have a favorite spay/neuter video that you would like to share with us, we may be able to include it in our library. Please send submissions to contact@isaronline.org.

ISAR’s Spay/Neuter Billboards Reach the Public

i Apr 28th


spayneuter billboard

ISAR’s brightly-colored spay/neuter billboards are now posted across America, like this one in Columbia, South Carolina. We are grateful to all of the outdoor advertising agencies and account executives who have helped with our billboard campaign so far this year. ISAR’s billboards raise awareness about pet overpopulation and the importance of spay/neuter. Please visit ISAR’s website, www.isaronline.org, to see a sample of our billboards!

In just the last few months, more than 50 of ISAR’s striking billboards have been posted in various locations throughout the United States including California, Indiana, Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Alabama, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and New Mexico.

ISAR’s brightly-colored billboards raise awareness about the plight of pet overpopulation, and promote spaying and neutering companion animals.

Because of our billboards, ISAR has received much positive feedback, including a message from a new supporter in Florida who came across several ISAR billboards during her travels. Marcelle C. told ISAR in a recent email, “In case you’re wondering, your billboards are effective because this is how I learned of your organization! I hope you are getting a great response.”

Other feedback from ISAR’s 2016 billboard campaign includes:

“I was thrilled to see two on hwy 98 between Navarre and Fort Walton Beach [Florida]!” — Michelle H.

“Thank you Lamar Outdoor Advertising for getting in the game to reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats.” — Vicky P.

“Great marketing!!! We saw one of these billboards on our way to Florida!!!!” — Susan B.

ISAR’s billboards are a great way to advertise upcoming spay/neuter clinics, shelter events, International Homeless Animals’ Day observances, or simply to publicly sponsor the spay/neuter message.

Available year-round, ISAR’s brightly-colored, eye-catching billboards are a standard 10’5″ x 22’8″ with space to include an individual’s or organization’s name and contact information.

Once someone contacts their local outdoor advertising company and learns what space is available, here’s what happens:

* ISAR will order the billboard from our vendor, with the name and other information you want to appear on the artwork (two lines with 39 characters per line including spaces for the printing of your organization’s name, contact information and/or message.) See our website for examples.

* ISAR will have the billboard shipped to the outdoor advertising company in the designated location.

The cost of $125.00 per poster includes shipping and handling within the continental United States. Please note: the outdoor advertising company’s charge for installation labor and space rental is in addition and may vary per company. Because most outdoor advertising companies have a reduced rate for 501(c)(3) organizations such as ISAR, in our experience the total cost of this effective way to spread the spay/neuter message will usually be less than $500.00.

Please visit our website at www.isaronline.org to view ISAR’s colorful billboard designs and place your order today!


ISAR Petitions for Worldwide Spay/Neuter Postage Stamps

i Mar 22nd

International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) has long-recognized that pet overpopulation is an issue of international importance, extending beyond political boundaries and taking the lives of homeless unwanted dogs and cats worldwide. These unfortunate animals, like those in the United States, suffer immeasurably while adversely impacting public health, safety, and the environment through no fault of their own.

For any organization, ISAR included, to engage in overpopulation and spay/neuter public education in other countries requires enormous human and financial resources. As a practical matter, with so much to be done in the United States alone little overpopulation-spay/neuter public education can currently be done abroad. But there is something that can be done to send the spay/neuter message to countless people around the world, and at no cost to American animal rights organizations or the other countries themselves.

Issuance of a spay/neuter stamp by the hundred-plus countries throughout the world.

Stamps issued by sovereign nations serve the purpose of raising the consciousness of the millions who send and receive them. Foreign commemorative stamps carrying the “Spay/Neuter” message can provide a way to educate the public about dog and cat overpopulation.

Hundreds of millions of people here and abroad have seen the American spay/neuter stamp issued in 2002.

ISAR has contacted several nations’ postal administration departments throughout the world. So far, we’ve received responses from members of stamp advisory committees in Hong Kong, Israel, and New Zealand. They’ve agreed to give ISAR’s Worldwide Spay/Neuter Stamp campaign serious consideration in their upcoming selection process for 2018 stamp suggestions.

To show support for our campaign, please sign our petition for Worldwide Spay/Neuter Postage Stamps and please forward our petition to others who may be sympathetic to our cause.

Demand that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) modify its final Rule redefining “retail pet store” to prohibit sales of companion animals (Part V)

i Nov 14th




By demanding that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) modify its final Rule redefining “retail pet store” to prohibit sales of companion animals (Part V)

The commercial retail sale of dogs and cats begins with their breeding of dogs in puppy mills and cats in kitten factories.  As to those infernal mass-production hell-holes, in ISAR’s Anti-Breeding Statute Monograph we wrote:[1]

An elaboration of this sordid story of puppy mill and kitten factory horrors could fill many volumes, dramatizing conditions and practices which are immoral and inhumane no matter where they are found.  But for them to exist in the United States somehow seems worse.

Being in the United States, however, a nation which prides itself on possessing high standards of humaneness (at least in certain respects), much more can be done to ameliorate the plight of the countless wretched animals captive in the [companion animal] trade . . . if only our legislators and political leaders will take the matter seriously and not, as they have repeatedly, say one thing but act differently.

For example, the related issues of animal cruelty and pet adoption were brought to national attention during the 2008 presidential election.  While campaigning, then-Senator Barack Obama replied to a question about animal welfare by stating, “I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other.  And it’s very important that we have a president who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals.”[2]  The cited article states that in the book A Rare Breed of Love: The True Story of Baby and the Mission She Inspired to Help Dogs Everywhere, Obama specifically advocated pet adoption as a means to end puppy mills.  However, an examination of the book itself reveals that Obama actually made only a vague, general commitment to stop animal cruelty.  Obama was even photographed in front of the Lincoln Memorial holding “Baby,” a puppy mill survivor . . . .[3]

However, despite [his] campaign promise to adopt [a] shelter dog, the President acquired a dog which had originated with a breeder.  The Vice-President, despite his earlier promise to adopt a shelter dog, obtained one from a Pennsylvania puppy mill — one which had actually been cited for violations.[4]  Unfortunately, the cynicism of these two politicians regarding the humane treatment of animals is widespread through the executive, legislative and administrative branches of the American government and undercuts efforts to deal with the blight of puppy mills.Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS, has correctly articulated one of the reasons why puppy mills are a blight on 21st Century America: “[I]t’s precisely because we are intelligent and powerful that we have responsibilities to these animals.  They are helpless before us, and they rely on our good conscience.”  Pacelle continues, “[T]he terrible thing is the inhumane treatment of these animals at the puppy mills.  It’s awful.  It’s contributing to the larger pet overpopulation crisis, which is resulting in over 4 million dogs and cats being killed every year.”[5]

No one can dispute that government has a moral and political obligation to protect children from harm.

At common law, before the enactment of modern statutes, it was the consistent policy of government to look after the interests of children (although the form and extent of that protection often left much to be desired).  Laws protected children from their own folly and improvidence, and from abuse by adults.  From the time of their birth, children were considered wards of the state. These common law principles have been enacted into statutes in every state in America. Modern child-protection laws reflect governmental humane concerns with physical and mental wellbeing, neglect, abuse, food, clothing, shelter, education, vagrancy, capacity to contract, lack of capacity to consent to sexual acts, and much more.

The principle underling all modern child protection legislation unites the cause of children’s rights with the parallel cause of animal rights, and [seeks to end] the immoral and inhumane treatment of [companion animals].Government intervenes to prevent or remedy a child’s fear, hunger, pain, suffering and abuse because children are incapable, mentally and physically, of protecting themselves from these conditions.  So, too, are companion animals.  Like children, they are alive but defenseless.  Like children, they can experience fear, hunger, pain, suffering and abuse.  Like children, government has a duty to protect them (though the line-drawing about which animals should be protected, in what manner, and to what extent continues to bedevil everyone from legislators to moral philosophers . . . .).

This proposition — that government has an obligation to protect animals, at least some, in some manner, and at least to some extent — is not novel. The fact is that existing animal protection legislation in every state and at the federal level is an explicit recognition by government of its responsibility.

The genesis of that moral and legal responsibility, and the ensuing legislation, is not widely known.

Lewis Gompertz (1779-1865) was a founding member of the British Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (later the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), and probably the first public person in modern times to opine in the English language about the rights of animals.

In his Moral Inquiries into the Situation of Man and of Brutes Gompertz wrote that:

The dreadful situation of the brute creation, particularly of those which have been domesticated, claims our strictest attention.[[6]]  * * * Who can dispute the inhumanity of the sport of hunting, of pursuing a poor defenseless creature for mere amusement, till it becomes exhausted by terror and fatigue, and of then causing it to be torn to pieces by a pack of dogs?  From what kind of instruction can men, and even women, imbibe such principles as these?  How is it possible they can justify it?  And what can their pleasure in it consist of?  Is it not solely in the agony they produce to the animal?  They will pretend that it is not, and try to make us believe so too, that it is merely in the pursuit.  But what is the object of their pursuit?  Is there any other than to torment and destroy?[7]

It seems that the crime of cruelty proceeds greatly from improper education. Subjects of moral inquiry are too often chased from the attention of youth, from a false idea that they are mere chimeras too difficult to enter into, that they only serve to confound us and to lead us into disputes, which never come to a conclusion; that they cause us to fall into eccentricities, and unfit us for all the offices of life, and at last drive us into downright madness.[8]

Forbid it that we should give assent to such tenets as these!  That we should suffer for one moment our reason to be veiled by such delusions!  But on the contrary let us hold fast every idea, and cherish every glimmering of such kind of knowledge, as that which shall enable us to distinguish between right and wrong, what is due to one individual-what to another.[9]

Some two hundred years later, Gompertz’s words eloquently remind us that cruelty to animals continues to demand a moral inquiry, including asking and answering questions about the consequences of dog (and other companion animal) overpopulation.

Anyone who looks closely at how animals are treated in America today cannot help being confused.  Hunters cherish their hunting dogs, but kill and trap wildlife without conscience or regret.  Stylish women coddle furry house pets, but think nothing of wearing the skins of animals.  At animal farms and petting zoos, parents introduce their children to a world of innocence and beauty, but see no harm in exposing them to circus acts which degrade animals, and to rodeos, which brutalize them.

The law, too, is contradictory.  It is legal to butcher livestock for food, but not to cause them to suffer during slaughter (although federal law contains an exception: “ritually” slaughtered cattle are allowed to suffer).  It is legal to kill chickens for the pot, but not to allow fighting cocks to kill each other.  Animals can be used for painful laboratory experiments, but they must be exercised and their cages must be kept clean.  Kittens can be drowned, but not abandoned.  Certain types of birds are protected, but others are annihilated.  With a permit, one can own a falcon, and with a falcon, one can hunt rabbits; but rabbits cannot be dyed rainbow colors and sold at Easter Time.

It is not surprising that countless contradictions exist today in man’s relationship to animals, because never has there been a consistent humane principle to guide him in dealing with those dependent creatures who share his planet.  What is surprising is that animals have been accorded any decent treatment at all, considering the overwhelmingly dominant attitude, from the earliest of times, that animals could be used, abused, and even tormented, at the utterly capricious will of man.  Absent from the history of ideas has been even a semi-plausible notion to the contrary, let alone a defensible, fully integrated theory of animal rights.

The problem of animal rights antedated Lewis Gompertz by thousands of years, and begins with the Book of Genesis[10]: “And God said: Let us make our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  Later, after the flood, “. . .  Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar, and the Lord smelled the sweet savour . . . .”[11]  To express his gratitude, “God . . . blessed Noah and his sons and said unto them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, and upon all wherewith the ground teemeth, and upon the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be for food for you; as the green herb have I given you all.”[12]

In short, the view expressed by scripture was that animals were put on earth by God to be used by man.

The predominant Greek attitude, as expressed by its most influential philosopher, Aristotle, was no better: “. . . we may infer that, after the birth of animals, plants exist for their sake, and that the other animals exist for the sake of man, the tame for use and food, the wild, if not all, at least the greater part of them, for food, and for the provision of clothing and various instruments. Now if nature makes nothing incomplete . . . and nothing in vain, the inference must be that she has made all animals for the sake of man.”[13]

As to the attitude of the Romans, one need only recall history’s bloody forerunner to today’s bullfights and rodeos — the Coliseum — where no distinction was made between  animal and human victims.

When pagan Rome gave way to Christianity, men may have fared better, but Christian charity was not extended to animals. Indeed, early Christian thought seems obediently to echo the Genesis thesis: animals exist merely to serve man’s needs.

Hundreds of years passed, with no discernible change in attitudes toward animals. With the advent of St. Thomas Aquinas in the 1200s, the concept of animal servitude was reinforced.  Aquinas, drawing on the Old Testament and on Aristotle, not surprisingly concluded that since all things are given by God to the power of man, the former’s dominion over animals is complete.

Aquinas’ theory of dominion says nothing, one way or the other, about the nature of the animals being dominated, but renowned Christian philosopher-mathematician Rene Descartes had a great deal to say on that subject.  He held that animals were automatons — literally.  He asserted that lacking a Christian “soul,” they possessed no consciousness.  Lacking a consciousness, he concluded, they experienced neither pleasure nor pain.  His conclusion was a convenient one: It allowed him to rationalize dissection of unanesthetized living creatures.

Although Descartes’s hideous experiments purportedly were done to advance the knowledge of anatomy, they properly earn him a place in history as the Seventeenth Century soul mate of Mengele, the Nazi concentration camp doctor who experimented on human beings.

Although the existence of the dominant Genesis-Aristotle-Descartes view of animals, and the resultant lack of an appropriate theory of animal rights, is reason enough to explain more than fifteen-hundred years of man’s maltreatment of animals, there is a related explanation: during this same period there was no appropriate theory of the rights of man.

From the days of the Pharaohs to the threshold of modern philosophy in the 1600s, man’s status fell into one of two categories: oppressor or oppressed.  The tyrants of Egypt had much in common with the despots of feudal Europe; the Hebrew slaves who built the pyramids, with the serfs who tilled their lords’ estates.  It is not surprising that cultures which regarded some men as other men’s chattels would treat animals, at best, as plants, and, at worst, as inanimate objects. Accordingly, when man’s lot improved, the lot of animals also improved, albeit very slightly.

The historical turning-point for the Rights of Man came with the 18th Century’s Age of Enlightenment.  It was a time of Adam Smith and laissez-faire capitalism, of John Locke, and of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence.  Man was recognized, at least by some, to possess inalienable rights, among them the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  By no means had the world’s ideas about liberty changed, but a fresh wind was blowing for man, one which would soon lead to the creation of a new Nation — one, as Lincoln would say nearly a century later, “conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Surely, it is more than coincidence that at about the same time, thinkers like Voltaire, Rousseau, Pope, and Bentham were questioning man’s maltreatment of animals.

Yet, despite these questions, for another two centuries the lot of animals did not improve noticeably even in the civilized world, because the attitudes of most people remained rooted in the ideas of Genesis, Aristotle, and Descartes.

Before change could come, these ideas had to be discarded.  Although it was a long gestation, finally, in the last quarter-century, a handful of philosophers, scientists, theologians, and lawyers — among them Brigid Brophy, Andrew Linzey, Richard Ryder, Peter Singer, Gary Francione, and Steven M. Wise — have launched broadside attacks on the basic ideas which for so long have served to rationalize man’s brutalization of the only other living species with whom he shares this planet.

But as important as that is, merely exposing fallacies and immoralities does not itself constitute propounding anything affirmative.  Recognizing this, today’s animal rights activists have begun to build that affirmative, defensible theory of animal rights.

An inevitable result of this growing inquiry into the rights of animals has been scrutiny of various aspects of the abuse of companion animals generally and of dogs [and cats] in particular — a particularly monstrous example of which are puppy mills [and kitten factories].

That scrutiny has led to some successes in society’s efforts to alleviate, though not nearly eliminate, the puppy mill [and cat factory] abuse.

For example, to HSUS’s great credit in recent years it conducted several investigations into U.S. puppy mills.  It campaigned, and filed a class action lawsuit against, Petland, the largest retailer of dogs acquired from puppy mills.[14] HSUS lobbied for an amendment to the Farm Bill that bans the importation of dogs from foreign puppy mills. And numerous dogs were rescued from puppy mills throughout the country by HSUS itself, and through its efforts.[15]

Public awareness was also heightened through several puppy mill exposures featured on such television shows as Oprah Winfrey, featuring Main Line Animal Rescue (an organization that has rescued over 5,000 animals from puppy mills),[16] Animal Planet featuring Philadelphia’s SPCA,[17] and National Geographic featuring Cesar Millan (the “Dog Whisperer”).[18]

All well and good. But after all these good works and many others by countless people from every walk of life, the moral question remains: By what right can humans treat companion animals — or for that matter, any animals — as if they were soulless automata, existing solely for man’s pleasure?


How to contact APHIS to demand prohibition of retail pet store sale of companion animals:

Website: www.aphis.usda.gov


Mailing Address:
4700 River Road, Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1234

E-mail: ace@aphis.usda.gov

Phone: (301) 851-3751

Fax: (301) 734-4978

Western Region

Mailing Address:
2150 Centre Ave.
Building B, Mailstop 3W11
Fort Collins, CO 80526-8117

E-mail: acwest@aphis.usda.gov

Phone: (970) 494-7478

Fax: (970) 494-7461

Eastern Region

Mailing Address:
920 Main Campus Drive
Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27606-5210

E-mail: aceast@aphis.usda.gov

Phone: (919) 855-7100

Fax: (919) 855-7123

Center for Animal Welfare

Mailing Address:
Beacon Facility mailstop 1180
9240 Troost Ave
Kansas City, MO 64131

Phone: 816-737-4200


Please copy ISAR with all letters, emails, and faxes.

1 All the following text though not blocked nor containing quotation marks is taken from that Monograph.

2 Author Who Featured Obama in a Book About Adoption Speaks Out About His Broken Pledge, Examiner.com, available at http://www.examiner.com/article/author-who-featured-obama-a-book-about-adoption-speaks-out-about-his-broken-pledge

3 Id.

4 Id.  The USDA’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement warned the puppy mill’s owner about drainage and maintenance violations during an inspection in Jan. 2009, just after Biden had purchased the six-week-old puppy.  During a follow up inspection, investigators found “the conditions had not improved.”

5 Investigating Puppy Mills, Oprah, available at http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Investigating-Puppy-Mills.

6 Lewis Gompertz, Moral Inquiries On The Situation Of Man And Brutes, Fontwell Sussex: Centauer Press, Ltd, 1992, 22.

7 Gompertz, 29.

8 Gompertz, 30.

9 Gompertz, 30.  Emphasis in original.

10 Genesis 1:24-28.

11 Genesis 8:20-21.

12 Genesis 9:1-3.

13 Aristotle, Politics, Bk I, Ch. 8, Random House, 1941, 1137.

14 Regrettably, as of Aug. 9, 2009, HSUS’s complaint was dismissed.  See Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Petland and Hunte – For Now, Mar. 21, 2009, available at http://www.animallawcoalition.com/.

15 Why Must Puppy Mill Regulations Raise Hackles?, HSUS, May 6, 2009, available at http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2009/05/puppy-mills.html.

16 Investigating Puppy Mills, Oprah.com, available at http://www.oprah.com/ .

17 Inside a Puppy Mill, Animal Planet, available at http://animal.discovery.com.

18 Inside Puppy Mills, National Geographic, available at http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/.  Millan is a dog trainer, TV host of the “Dog Whisperer” (seen in 80-plus countries), has received two Emmy nominations, and is a best-selling author.

Demand that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) modify its final Rule redefining “retail pet store” to prohibit sales of companion animals (Part IV)

i Oct 31st


By demanding that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) modify its final Rule redefining “retail pet store” to prohibit sales of companion animals (Part IV)


Lest there be any mistake about the foundational intention of ISAR’s Model Statute Prohibiting Retail Sale of Dogs and Cats, we here state it categorically:

Having concluded that overpopulation of dogs and cats and the attendant social and other problems it engenders will not be solved by mere regulation of puppy mills, kitten factories, breeders, facilitators and commercial retail sellers, ISAR supports an outright prohibition on: (1) the commercial retail sale of dogs and cats within the jurisdictions enacting the prohibition, and (2) the purchase by persons within those jurisdictions of cats or dogs bred in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of ISAR’s Anti-Breeding Statute no matter where bred.

As we have explained in the Memorandum, among the major faults of virtually all animal protection legislation is its failure to set forth explicitly the fundamental legislative premises upon which the statutes and ordinances are based. ISAR has sought to remedy that omission by making clear in our Model Statute exactly upon what premises ISAR’s proposed legislation rests.

Again, lest there be any misunderstanding, having recognized that even the most stringent regulatory laws (which are few and far between) have made no noticeable impact on the companion animal overpopulation tragedy, ISAR now seeks to greatly reduce the flow of dogs and cats through the production pipeline by closing off their sales at the point of destination. Not just at pet stores, but at all commercial retail sales points.

As a matter of principle, ISAR deplores the commercial, and most other, breeding of dogs and cats. We have hoped that until the day comes when ISAR’s view of how to deal with the overpopulation problem is accepted as a moral imperative, and is translated into law subject to virtually no exceptions, we would have to be content with the statutory provisions set forth in our other monographs — if they were rigorously and intelligently enforced.

Because ISAR no longer believes that outcome is likely, as a matter of principle and policy we now support an outright prohibition on commercial retail sales of dogs and cats.

In ISAR’s monograph “The Policy and Law of Mandatory Spay/Neuter” we wrote that:

Let’s assume that mandatory spay/neuter laws are enacted by every state in the United States, in the real world there will be statutory exceptions, some people will violate the law, underground breeding will proliferate, foreign sources of companion animals will attempt to fill the void.

In other words, while mandatory spay/neuter laws will surely reduce the population of unwanted companion animals in the United States (and possibly contribute to a widespread national No-Kill policy), in the harshness of the real world the problem of too many dogs and cats will continue to exist no matter what.

This sad fact must be taken into account when government considers mandatory spay/neuter legislation. Those laws must be grounded not in hope, sentiment, or a benevolent opinion of mankind, but rather in the world as we find it. A world where companion animals are too often thought of as virtually inanimate objects, property to be used and abused by humans.

It is in this context that the subject of mandatory spay/neuter must be considered.

The relevance of our earlier observation for this Model Statute is ISAR readily acknowledges that a ban on the commercial retail sale of dogs and cats will never be enacted federally, let alone by every state. But even if one was, “there will be statutory exceptions, some people will violate the law, underground breeding will proliferate, foreign sources of companion animals will attempt to fill the void.”

So why has ISAR devoted substantial research and other resources to the preparation of the Monograph and Model Statute?

Primarily for two reasons, policy and practicality.

As to policy, for decades — through our legal, legislative and humane education efforts — ISAR has been working to solve the dog and cat overpopulation problem (https://isaronline.org/site-contents/ — etc).

This Model Statute is yet another means of advancing that policy goal.

As to practicality, we believe that a growing trend of village, town, city, county and even state West Hollywood-like statutes and ordinances, while not ending the commercial retail sale of dogs and cats, will make it more difficult for casual purchasers to acquire them. For example, despite the weaknesses in the West Hollywood ordinance examined at length in the Memorandum, the casual buyer of a dog or cat must now go elsewhere to purchase one. If Los Angeles County had a no-sale statute, buyers would have to go elsewhere. And so on. [1]

The Statute Findings

Whereas, there have been and are today within the United States countless unwanted dogs and cats lacking permanent homes, that are a major cause of dog and cat overpopulation; and

Whereas, a major source of such dogs and cats are commercial breeders who operate puppy mills and kitten factories, and other breeders; and

Whereas, the treatment of dogs and cats and their physical conditions at the hands of breeders, puppy mills, kitten factories, facilitators and commercial retail sales outlets are a matter of political, economic, legal and moral concern affecting the public, health, safety, welfare, and environment; and

Whereas, although some of the dogs and cats produced by breeders, puppy mills, kitten factories and elsewhere, and sold by facilitators and commercial retail sales outlets, may be healthy, many are not; and

Whereas, many of the dogs and cats produced by breeders, puppy mills, kitten factories and elsewhere, and sold by facilitators and commercial retail sales outlets have an adverse impact on the public health, safety, welfare, morals and environment; and

Whereas, the social impact of these dogs includes, but is not limited to, the transmission of disease, the injury and sometimes death of humans and other animals and the drain on public finances; and

Whereas, many of these animals and others from random sources are eventually euthanized by shelters, humane societies, and similar organizations; and

Whereas, euthanizing dogs and cats except for bona fide medical reasons is inhumane and abhorrent to the people of the United States; and

Whereas, euthanizing dogs and cats except for bona fide medical reasons is not an effective, economical, humane, or ethical solution to the problem of dog and cat overpopulation; and

Whereas, one of the most effective, economical, humane, and ethical solutions to the problem of dog and cat overpopulation is to substantially reduce, if not entirely eliminate, their breeding, facilitation and their commercial retail sale without which there would be substantially less breeding; and

Whereas, such reduction or elimination, especially of commercial retail sales, will protect and advance the public health, safety, welfare, and environmental interests of its citizens; and

Whereas, existing state and federal laws merely regulate, but do not prohibit, dog and cat breeding and pet stores and other places that sell dogs and cats. These include the Lockyer-Polanco-Farr Pet Protection Act (California Health and Safety Code Section 122125 et seq.); the Polanco-Lockyer Pet Breeder Warranty Act (California Health and Safety Code Section 122045 et seq.); the Pet Store Animal Care Act (California Health and Safety Code Section 122350 et seq.); and the Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) (7 U.S.C. Section 2131 et seq.); and

Whereas, the Albuquerque and West Hollywood ordinances are mere regulation but not prohibition; and

Whereas, the Animal Welfare Act is mere regulation but not prohibition; and

Whereas, it is commonly known that American consumers purchase dogs and cats from commercial retail sales outlets that they believe to be genetically sound and healthy, but when in reality the animals often face an array of health problems including communicable diseases or genetic disorders that become apparent immediately after sale or that do not surface until several years later, all of which lead to costly veterinary bills and distress to consumers; and

Whereas, review of state and USDA inspection reports from more than one hundred breeders who sold animals to the nation’s largest commercial retail pet store chain revealed that more than sixty percent of the inspections found serious violations of basic animal care standards, including sick or dead animals in their cages, lack of proper veterinary care, inadequate shelter from weather conditions, and dirty, unkempt cages that were too small; and

Whereas, a 2005 undercover investigation of California commercial retail sales outlets revealed that nearly half of the premises visited displayed animals that showed visible signs of illness, injury, or neglect, and nearly half of the premises also sold animals showing clear symptoms of psychological distress; and

Whereas, according to The Humane Society of the United States, hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats in the United States have been housed and bred at substandard breeding facilities known as “puppy mills” or “kitten factories” which mass-produce animals for sale to the public through commercial retail sales outlets. Because of the lack of proper animal husbandry practices at these facilities, animals born and raised there are more likely to have genetic disorders and lack adequate socialization, while breeding animals utilized there are subject to inhumane housing conditions and are indiscriminately disposed of when they reach the end of their profitable breeding cycle; and

Whereas, according to USDA inspection reports, some additional documented problems found at puppy mills include: (1) sanitation problems leading to infectious disease; (2) large numbers of animals overcrowded in cages; (3) lack of proper veterinary care for severe illnesses and injuries; (4) lack of protection from harsh weather conditions; and (5) lack of adequate food and water, and similar problems are found at kitty factories; and

Whereas, while “puppy mill” puppies and “kitten factory” kittens were, for example, being sold in commercial retail sales outlets such as pet stores throughout the metropolitan Los Angeles area, in 2009 alone more than thirty-five thousand dogs and sixty-seven thousand cats were euthanized in city and county shelters; and

Whereas, while the legislature recognizes that not all dogs and cats sold in commercial retail outlets such as pet stores are products of inhumane breeding conditions and does not classify every commercial breeder selling dogs or cats to commercial retail sales outlets such as pet stores as a “puppy mill” or “kitten factory,” it is the legislature’s finding that puppy mills and kitten factories continue to exist in large part because of public demand and the ease with which dogs and cats can be purchased from commercial retail sales outlets such as pet stores; and

Whereas, the legislature finds that the commercial retail sale of dogs and cats in outlets such as pet stores in this jurisdiction adds to overpopulation and all of its unacceptable consequences, and is also inconsistent with the legislature’s goal of reducing the number of unwanted dogs and cats, and the principle of animal protection; and

Whereas, the legislature believes that eliminating the commercial retail sale of dogs and cats in outlets such as pet stores in this jurisdiction is a matter of political, economic, legal and moral concern affecting the public, health, safety, welfare, morals and environment and will promote humane awareness of the dog and cat overpopulation problem and, in turn, will foster a more humane environment in this jurisdiction; and

Whereas, the legislature believes also that elimination of the commercial retail sale of dogs and cats in outlets such as pet stores in this jurisdiction will also encourage consumers to adopt dogs and cats from shelters, thereby saving animals’ lives and reducing the cost to the public of sheltering animals;


Commercial retail sale of dogs and cats prohibited.

A. Definitions.
For purposes of this statute the following definitions shall apply:

  • “Animal shelter”: a municipal or related public animal shelter or duly incorporated nonprofit organization devoted to the rescue, care and adoption of stray, abandoned or surrendered animals, and which does not breed animals.
  • “Commercial”: “relating to the buying, selling, or barter of dogs and cats in return for a monetary or non-monetary benefit.”
  • “Retail”: “the selling of dogs and cats directly to purchasers.”
  • “Sale”: “the transfer of ownership of dogs and cats for monetary or other consideration.”
  • “Seller”: “any person or legal entity that makes a sale.”
  • “Outlet”: “the place where, or through the means of which, a retail sale occurs.”
  • “Purchaser”: “any person or legal entity that is the recipient of a sale.”
  • “Breeder”: “any person who, or legal entity which, intentionally, recklessly or negligently causes or allows a female dog or cat to be inseminated by, respectively, a male canine or feline.”
  • “Mill”: “a place where at the same time more than three female dogs or cats are kept whose sole or major purpose is producing puppies or kittens for sale.
  • “Facilitator”: “any person or legal entity, not a breeder, seller, outlet or purchaser, as defined herein, who acts as a broker, dealer, wholesaler, agent, bundler, middleman or in any similar role in the sale, purchase, trade, auction, or other transfer of the ownership of dogs or cats, whether or not such animals are in the custody or control of the facilitator at the time of transfer.”

B. Prohibition.

  1. No commercial retail sales outlet shall consummate a sale of dogs or cats in this jurisdiction on and after the effective date of this statute.
  2. On and after the effective of this statute no person within this jurisdiction shall purchase a dog or cat from outside this jurisdiction which has been bred in a mill.
  3. Every purchaser of a dog or cat in accordance with Section 2 above shall produce for inspection by, and to the satisfaction of, animal control or similar authority a sworn written statement provided by the breeder and facilitator containing the following information: a) the name and address of the breeder and facilitator; b) when and where the dog or cat was bred; c) its general state of health when sold.

C. Existing commercial retail sales outlets. Commercial retail sales outlets existing as of the effective date of this statute may not consummate sales of dogs and cats more than 30 days thereafter.

D. Exemptions.

This statute does not apply to:

  1. The sale, barter, adoption, or gift of a dog or cat made necessary because its owner can no longer care for it.
  2. Surrender of a dog or cat to a publicly operated animal control facility, authorized animal shelter, or authorized private humane, rescue or similar organization.
  3. Dogs or cats in the legal possession of a publicly operated animal control facility or animal shelter or duly authorized private humane, rescue or similar organization.

E. Adoption of Shelter and Rescue Animals.

Nothing in this law shall prevent an outlet that does not sell dogs or cats or other mammals from providing temporary weekend space and appropriate humane and temporary care for dogs and cats legally possessed by a publicly operated animal control facility or animal shelter or duly authorized private humane, rescue or similar organization for the sole purpose of offering such dogs and cats for adoption by the public.

F. Penalties.

  1. First violation of this statute shall be punished by a fine of $1,000 per dog or cat sold or purchased.
  2. Each subsequent violation of this statute shall be punished by a fine of $2,000 per dog or cat sold or purchased.
  3. The fifth violation of this statute shall be punished by a fine of $5,000 per dog or cat sold or purchased, up to six months in jail, or both.

G. Separability clause.

If any provision of this statute shall be held unenforceable, the remaining parts thereof shall survive.

H. Effective date.

This statute shall become effective as provided by law.

For too many people, including some in the animal protection movement and bureaucrats at USDA and APHIS, the phenomenon of companion animal overpopulation in the United States caused largely by breeding is a mere “practical” problem to be dealt with in a “practical” way.

On the other hand, ISAR has always seen the problem as a moralone, and that the commercial retail sale of companion animals raises serious moral questions. They are addressed in Part V.

1 We are using the West Hollywood ordinance as the template for this Model Statute, and making such changes as are necessary to correct the deficiencies in that law, as explained at length in the Memorandum.