In February, 2008, Los Angeles passed their ordinance mandating the spay/neuter of all dogs and cats in their city with the intent on minimizing the number of animals killed in their shelter. They began truly enforcing the law in July (giving people adequate time to comply).
Like many cities that pass such laws, the number of dogs & cats impounded went up after passing the ordinace -- and with the number of impounds increasing, the number of dog and cats euthanized did also. And like many cities, their impounds started going up almost instantly, even before they began enforcing the ordinance. This appears to be a problem in a lot of places as most people don't pay enough attention to know the ins and outs of all of the laws, and it sounds like the general public may not have been informed all that well.
So with that, here is a look at the intake and euthanasia stats for DOGS for LA Animal Services for the past 8 years:
2001 Intake: 40,442 Euthanized: 22,675
2002 Intake: 34,295 Euthanized: 17,335 (-24%)
2003 Intake: 30,605 Euthanized: 12,821 (-62%)
2004 Intake: 26,949 Euthanized: 9,985 (-22%)
2005 Intake: 25, 740 Euthanized: 8,127 (-19%)
2006 Intake: 24,999 Euthanized: 6,949 (-15%)
2007 Intake: 25,792 Euthanized: 6,051 (-13%)
2008 Intake, 30,813 (+19%) Euthanized: 7,518 (+24%)
I won't get into as many specifics, but the numbers for cats are very similar, reflecting a 22% increase in impounds and a 35% increase in euthanasia.
Many, including shelter head Ed Boks, will point to the struggling economy and large number of home forclosures as the reason for the huge increase (after at least 7 consecutive years of double digit % decreases). I won't completely dismiss that that may have played a role. But given that these results seem to mirror the results from other cities that pased identical laws NOT in a bad economy, I think it's worth considering that both were likely a negative factor.
In order to end the killing of animals in our shelters, we must minimize the number of animals we intake (and then increase adoptions on the back end). Creating mandatory spay/neuter laws that create more reasons for animal control to seize animals out of people's homes and bring them into the shelter only increases intake, and thus, shelter killing.
Hat tip: LA Animal Watch