AB 1634 is a bill in California that has been brought to my attention by Bichon Frise breeder, Matthew Culmore. (http://homepage.mac.com/mculmore/Bichons/) This legislation seeks to force owners to spay or neuter their dogs by the age of six months. While I can understand the dreadful suffering that motivates the bill, it seems there are many problems with such harsh measures.
Matthew points out that while small hubby breeders would be put out of business, puppy farms would slip through the net as they would be businesses. Clearly not a state of affairs any dog lover wants. I am not opposed to neutering – but I am opposed to its enforcement.
We have two dogs – the bitch is spayed, the dog is entire. The reasons behind this were well thought through, and involved discussion with our veterinarian. I am pretty sure though that if anyone had been trying to force my hand, I would have resisted and protested very strongly.
Obviously, I don’t want dogs to suffer or die unnecessarily, but as Matthew points out in an article on the DogCast Radio site (www.dogcastradio.com/node/5581) there are twice as many people in the UK as in California, we have dogs, we don’t have enforced neutering, and it works.
I think an important factor is that there is simply not the opportunity in the UK to impulse buy a puppy at the pet store. The more thought that has to go into getting the dog, the more likely it is to be going to a good home.
You can find out more about AB1634 at www.cahealthypets.com/, and you can see what the American Kennel Club has to say at http://www.akc.org/canine_legislation/CA_action_center.cfm
Clearly there is a problem which needs solving – what would your answer be?