Excuses, Laws, and Homeless Cats

What is the most annoying excuse you’ve been handed from somebody who refuses to spay or neuter their cat? Is it “Oh, I know I can find homes for all the kittens” or perhaps “My kids need to see the miracle of birth”? Is it “I can’t afford it” (from a person who buys large amounts of cat food, constantly obtains more cats, and drives a large expensive car in a community that has low-cost spay-neuter options) or “I don’t have time”? Or how about the feral—cat feeder who doesn’t want to “put the cat through the trauma of being trapped and taken to the clinic”?

Whatever the excuse, haven’t you wished there was a law that would force these irresponsible breeders to either spay or neuter their animal or pay a fee that would help support local spay-neuter efforts?

PETA operates mobile spay-neuter clinics in one of the worst areas of the country for homeless animals. Those clinics performed more than 4,700 spay-neuter surgeries on cats in 2008; 684 of those were feral cats who live in presumably “managed” colonies. PETA’s national animal birth control campaign has reached millions with creative messages that spay-neuter is good for the individual animal and vital if we are to save animals from sad lives of suffering on the streets. Good people—sometimes with support from PETA—have passed some great laws.

But there are always those people with excuses. There have been exciting successes that provide local authorities with additional tools to convince people to do the right thing. For instance, the number of homeless cats and dogs has decreased in localities with measures that mandate spay-neuter!

Imagine, then, the outrage experienced by those of us who have spent decades fighting for spay-neuter when a national “feral-cat advocacy” group vigorously opposed a proposed California law that would mandate that (in most cases) people either spay or neuter their cats and dogs or obtain a breeder’s permit! It’s true!

Despite the fact that groups that actively provide spay-neuter services to feral cats in California supported the bill, this national cat group’s name appeared alongside that of other “illustrious” opponents such as the American Kennel Club, the California Cattlemen’s Association, the California Greyhound Coursing Association, and a long list of profit-driven breeder organizations. Is there any excuse for this?

Don’t you have to wonder if, with friends like these, animals have a chance?