Select Page

LEGISLATION

Because the Animal Law movement began in the United States, it is not surprising that one of ISAR’s major programs has been domestic legislation. Not, however, attacking existing laws, but instead writing model legislation to benefit animals. For example: 

As is evident from the subjects of ISAR’s legislative efforts, they have been focused mainly on one of two of our major programs, with the goal of changing American law for the benefit of animals. Brief summaries of some ISAR-developed illustrative statutes follow.

The Policy, Law and Morality of Mandatory Spay/Neuter 

It is estimated that approximately seventy thousand puppies and kittens are born in the United States every day. Many are born into households whose members cannot provide for them, or mistakenly believe they can, but later learn otherwise and relinquish the animals.

In good conscience, this country can no longer countenance the abhorrent cyclical spectacle of endless companion animal birth and death, turning blind eyes and deaf ears to the silent cries of those who did not ask to be born, let alone want to die. Mandatory spay/neuter may not be the only solution, but it is one solution—and it must be given a chance. 

Regulation of Dog Breeding, Facilitation and Sales      

At this very moment, countless dogs and cats, are held captive around the world in wretched conditions, while being used and abused as living breeding machines by conscienceless breeders, facilitators, and commercial retail sales outlets whose only concern is their own profit.

Because much of that abuse occurs in the United States, ISAR has prepared a comprehensive regulatory statute, which is unapologetically draconian. Only in this manner can the dog and cat trade’s participants’ appalling, and often illegal, conduct be regulated out of existence or at least minimized.

Prohibition of Retail Commercial Sale of Dogs and Cats         

When ISAR promulgated our model statute, we understood it would be unpopular not only with dog breeders, facilitators and commercial retail sales outlets, aiders and abettors, and others complicit in the dog and cat trade, but also with other animal protection organizations.

Our expectation proved correct, doubtless because our Model Statute challenged the root premises of commercial production of dogs and cats, from their conception to retail sale.

Many individuals and organizations who should have known better, and from whom we expected more understanding and support, have opposed ISAR’s Model Statute. (The nature and quality of their objections lack consistency, let alone substance.) 

On the other hand, some of ISAR’s supporters have argued for an outright ban on retail sales of dogs and cats, and have sought our help in making the argument in support of that goal.

Accordingly, this monograph and Prohibition of Retail Commercial Sale of Dogs and Cats Statute is a brief in support of that goal.   

Model Adoption Sterilization Statute

Every day, unwanted kittens, puppies, dogs and cats die because humans refuse to spay or neuter them. Sadly, the pet overpopulation crisis knows no borders. It is a horrific problem with devastating consequences that are felt in every corner of the world.

International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) fights tirelessly against the human ignorance and breeding at the heart of the companion animal overpopulation scourge, an immoral phenomenon that is the principal reason millions of unwanted companion animals die globally each year.

Many jurisdictions in the United States require sterilization, or a promise to sterilize, to adopt an animal from a pound, animal shelter, or animal rescue organization. Even though some of these states require a monetary deposit to ensure future sterilization, neither the amount nor the promise are sufficient to guarantee that the adopted animals will be spayed or neutered. But some of these laws are riddled with exceptions.

Indeed, according to a survey by PetSmart Charities, approximately one in three pet owners do not have their pets spayed or neutered in a timely fashion following adoption, if at all. Of those surveyed, thirteen-percent of dog owners and nineteen-percent of cat owners had allowed their pet to have at least one litter, usually negligently.

The survey revealed also that substantial confusion exists among pet owners regarding the appropriate age for spay/neuter. When animal adoption organizations require neutering but fail to perform the surgery prior to placement, they inevitably contribute to the litters born in their community. Even if a shelter has an enviable ninety-percent compliance rate for post-adoption spay/neuter, if one of their adopted dogs has a litter of ten puppies, the overpopulation problem is right back where it started. For these reasons, the law and thus the shelters must mandate spay/neuter before adoption for all cats and dogs, including those often-overlooked kittens and puppies.

Mandatory Identification of Dogs and Cats

In recent years there has been an increased public awareness of something that shelters, humane societies, and animal protection advocates have known for years: There is an incalculable population of unwanted cats and dogs in America. Despite the heroic, front-line, efforts of shelters, humane societies, and animal protection advocates in caring for (and disposing of) many unwanted animals, the appalling statistic is that countless numbers of them are euthanized every year. Year after year. Decade after decade. Countless other unwanted dogs and cats scratch out a feral existence awaiting premature deaths, or, too often, fates worse than death.

But there is a solution which can ameliorate the problem: ISAR’s model statute requiring Mandatory Identification of Dogs and Cats. 

Model Department of Animal Affairs Statute

It is beyond legitimate dispute that enlightened societies have a moral and political obligation to protect innocent children from harm. In the United States, even before 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 and neglect by adults. Today, in every state in America, child-protection statutes reflect governmental concern with a child’s nutrition, clothing, shelter, education, capacity to contract, inability to consent to sexual acts, and much more.

The principle which underlies all modern child protection legislation unites the cause of children’s rights with the parallel cause of animal protection. Government intervenes to prevent or remedy children’s fear, hunger, pain, suffering, neglect, abuse and even death because children are incapable, mentally and physically, of protecting themselves. So, too, are companion animals. Like children, they are defenseless. Like children, they can experience fear, hunger, pain, suffering, neglect, abuse and even death. Like children, government has a duty to protect them—a duty manifested in the many state laws regarding the protection of companion animals.

Regrettably, however, companion animal protective legislation is woefully inadequate.

Today we live amidst what can fairly be characterized as animal genocide, especially of dogs and cats. Puppy mills, cat factories, and back-yard breeders manufacture countless companion animals. American cities are rife with pet shops, selling dogs and cats.

Strays, dogs and cats alike, breed indiscriminately. And unwanted animals end up dead in the streets or countryside, or euthanized at shelters and humane societies. Estimates vary as to how many unwanted dogs and cats are killed annually, and “countless” is the best description.

Today we live amidst people who cause untold animal suffering through ignorance, irresponsibility, negligence, recklessness, and yes, often even intentional cruelty.

Today we live in an environment which, at best, has animal protection services spread across state and many local levels, and throughout various agencies. At worst, some localities have no such services. And even in those jurisdictions where private shelters or humane societies do exist, they cannot—mostly, they do not— adequately cope with the profound animal protection problems which exist throughout America today.

Those problems do not include merely the countless strays who roam our streets and countryside, the fecal matter which pollutes our environment, the euthanasia of millions of unwanted dogs and cats, the cruelty, the neglect. Those problems also embrace every other aspect of the relationship between humans and companion animals, and the responsibility of the former to the latter. And because, taken as a whole, there are so many problems born of this interaction, what is needed governmentally is a single public entity with know-how, power, and resources, a single public agency concerned with companion animal problems, one empowered to take a coordinated across-the-board approach to those problems in the public interest and in the interest of companion animals.

What is needed on a state level is a Department of Animal Affairs.

Euthanasia Statistics Statute

There are several ways to characterize the undeniable fact that uncountable and unwanted dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, are euthanized annually in the United States by shelters and other humane organizations: sad, disgusting, ghastly, horrendous, sickening, appalling, uncivilized, barbaric, horrific, and more. Words alone, of course, cannot begin to adequately describe the true nature and extent of the killing rooms.

Largely, the euthanasia phenomenon is attributable to the seemingly intractable problem of dog and cat overpopulation. Killing healthy dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, is a loathsome business, but still necessary today in the United States.

ISAR believes that as a matter of policy the public would be well-served—both for informational and activism purposes—if there were at least some knowledgeable figures available on a state level of how many dogs and cats were euthanized annually. Among other reasons, the numbers are bound to be shocking—and that knowledge could, in turn, lead activists to work even harder to promote spay/neuter, adoption, and other policies aimed at reducing the unwanted population.

 

* * *