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« New Mexico Woman killed by pack of dogs | Main | Update: Governor Nixon Signs SB 113, SB 161 now awaits his signature »

April 27, 2011



and here I thought you were in the "mandates don't work and are counterproductive" school of thought.....


Probably depends on what you're mandating.

If you're mandating that people license, or microchip, or alter their animals -- and they don't and the animal ends up at the shelter, then that's counter-productive.

I'm not sure how mandating a shelter to make every step possible to safe a life before ending it can be counter-productive. Nor do I see how giving the public recourse for a shelter like Memphis that is making not attempts to save lives whatsoever can be counter-productive. It's amazing to me that what is going on in Memphis is completely ok.

If you are seeing something I'm missing, please share.


The general public is subject to mandates against animal cruelty and would be subject to criminal charges. Why do our tax funded govt entities get a free pass? The idea that we must protect animals from POTENTIAL mistreatment and not the ACTUAL and CURRENT mistreatment and DEATH is ridiculous. Lord forbid a rescue with limited resources try to save an animal that needs "extra care" - yes, we must let the shelter kill it.

I admit I need to read CAPA more closely... I would like to see something mandating all rescues/shelters must disclose ALL of their numbers and policies. Then, any breaches will be more transparent. Yes, folks can stil fudge numbers but it will make it harder as we all know, if someone in AW thinks someone else isn't doing everything right it WILL be made known.


well I don't think that mandating that animals move from one bad situation into another bad situation is progress. The whole 501c3 thing is a joke... that only proves that someone knows how to do paperwork. The "anybody who hasn't already been convicted" part is a bigger joke. Most hoarders/collectors that masquerade as rescuers haven't been convicted; even if discovered, there's usually a plea bargain to avoid that. Oh I guess it's better for the dog to live in squalor (in which it may die from abuse, or from which it will have to be rescued or killed) than be killed. You're not naive enough to believe this rarely/never happens.

It's great that public shelters be held up to public scrutiny. Why should private shelters get a pass? If there were a requirement that the shelter/rescue demanding to take on a deathrow dog be approved in some meaningful way, I could see that as progress. As it is, it seems like a mandate that will become a burden.


Emily, do you really think there are more hoarders/collectors than there are shelters that are making no effort at all?


Do you not think we should address the hoarder/collecter regardless of whether or not we address the open access piece? Because there are cruelty laws in place to stop them...right now. Letting them live in squalor or die from abuse IS CURRENTLY ILLEGAL EVERYWHERE. What is happening in the shelters is, in most cases, completely legal, and equally tragic. CAPA does seek to change that.

I just don't understand giving shelters a free ride while they continue to do nothing to try to make things better -- with absolutely no recourse.


Private shelters DO NOT get a "pass", at least not here in Virginia. I work for a private no-kill rescue shelter, and we get inspected by the state every year. (We pass with flying colors every year, too. ;))

But just letting you know that actual private sheltering facilities are held to the law, in VA. Now, county shelters, it appears whether or not they have to meet requirements in the law seems to be up to whether those that manage them care or not. I still don't know who you report AC to for violations....

If you have a rescue in your home, I suppose you would be subject to the zoning regulations, pet-limit laws, and other laws concerning an individual's pet ownership for your county or city. We need to be proactive and report those who are violating animal cruelty laws. I reported people once who lived in filth, had cats that were breeding indiscriminately, and were neglecting the care of the animals they had quite badly.

We also need to be intelligent though, and know how to tell the difference between an actual cruel situation, and someone who has a large number of animals, but cares for them well. I know some people who have a large number of cats in their home, and based on numbers alone, people would call them "hoarders". However, all these cats are quite happy, healthy, and well-cared for.


Cristy, it is a good point. The actual wording of CAPA does refer to both Public and Private shelters.


So Emily I guess you suppport BSL too? Put aside that the VAST majority of pit bull owners are loving, responsible owners. With the hoards of dog fighters let's ban pit bulls to keep them from ever having a chance at being fought or abused. All it takes is someone with a basement to build a fighting ring...


No Emily, that would be ME that's a disciple of the "mandates don't work and are counterproductive" school of thought.....', LOL. Hey, we must have rules! to quote a great philosopher (Red Foreman on "That 70s Show"), "We must have rules, because if we didn't have rules we'd all be sitting in trees flinging crap at each other".

Seriously though, I need to look at this more closely. I've been busy with other stuff.

I have to say, though, when I read things like this the first thing that comes to mind is, "Do we really need a LAW for this stuff?". You have to wonder why we need a law prohibiting shelters from killing animals when there are empty cages available. Seriously? It's called an Animal SHELTER. If I ran the shelter and enjoyed killing animals, or didn't want to clean up dog poop, or didn't want to walk dogs, I'd just bulldoze all but about three cages and that would solve THAT problem. I'd teach those bureaucrats to try and tell me what to do! I don't care for cats so I'd bulldoze every last cat cage.

Clearly I'm being sarcastic but this reminds me a little bit of BSL, where legislators are attempting to legislate common sense and responsible behavior with ridiculous laws. It's like laws against texting and driving. Why do we need a law to tell people not to look at a phone and type on litle bitty keys while they're flying down the interstate at 70 mph in a two-ton vehicle?

I really like number 7 - "Forbids public or private shelters from limiting or obstructing adoptions for any animal based on arbitrary criteria such as breed, age, color ..."

COLOR? There are shelters that don't adopt an animal out to someone because of its color? We need a law for that?

And the counterintuitive nature of all of this drives me nuts. Texas is desperately working on passing HB1451, a bill similar to Missouri's Prop B that would kill a lot of dogs. So what's the point of Texas looking at CAPA? They'd better be building a ton of new animal shelters to hold all the animals they'll end up confiscating, not to mention all the new prisons they're going to need for the "dog criminals".

I haven't had any sleep in two weeks. Perhaps I should get some.


If there's anyone reading this that lives in Delaware, I'd like to know how this CAPA law is working for you in Delaware.

My initial reaction to this CAPA law, as well-intentioned as it sounds, is that it reminds me of every other coercive animal law and even echoes some of the same arguments. (By golly, if you won't keep your dog on your property we'll ban EVERYONE'S pit bull).

Or, more simply, to quote comedian Ron White, "You can't fix stupid".

All along we've preached education, not coercive legislation, is the answer to animal and pet problems. But now we want to force coercive legislation on the people that are supposed to be on our side?

I like how the first and last points in the law address speutering. Of course. Nobody speuters anything in Europe and the UK, yet they don't have "pet overpopulation". Not that I don't recognize the importance, but I'm not even sure it's legal to tell a city what to do with pet license income, particularly a home rule city. I live in a city with no pet license. Now what? And requiring the shelter to be open seven days a week? Forget that - can we require the DMV to be open seven days a week? That would be a WHOLE lot more useful to most people!

Here is yet another law that's a response to shelters, be they public or private, either (a) not following laws that are already on the books, or (b) just behaving stupidly when it comes to trying to save animals. How are laws going to fix people that are on a power trip and their job at a shelter or their rescue efforts are more about either their ego or control rather than helping animals? Don't we need to do what they did to Tom Skeldon in Toledo? Demand that these people leave?

How are more laws going to change the people brainwashed by the Animal Rights rhetoric?

Oh well, as long as we're passing another law, I can think of a few of critical things that are missing from CAPA -

#13 - All city councilmembers, city attorneys, and city managers/administrators in cities with BSL/MSN/limit laws are required to go to the shelter when they euthanize pets that were confiscated due to BSL/MSN/limit laws. Being required to take the pets out of the hands of the crying kids right before they're killed isn't a bad idea either. Toss that in for good measure.

#14 - shelter workers and rescues are REQUIRED to go to City Hell every time a pet is confiscated/turned in/euthanized due to BSL/MSN/limit laws and make at least a half-hearted effort to convince the city to get rid of the law, rather than being enablers. Shelters that like these laws because they keep the "wrong people" from owning pets should be firebombed and bulldozed, and the people that work there shall be given jobs cleaning kennels in other shelters.

#15 - my personal favorite - Shelters and rescues can NOT import dogs, cats, or anything else that can be construed as a "pet" from outside the 50 States of the United States of America. (Note to the Geographically Challenged and Jay Leno's Jaywalking All-Stars: Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Okinawa, Taiwan, the U.S. Virgin Islands, anything in Eastern Europe, and - surprise!, Mexico, ARE NOT STATES).

I'm thinking I may be in the same corner with EmilyS on this one.


Re: The color thing, black dogs, black cats (and to a lesser extent, brindle dogs) tend to be more difficult to adopt out because they aren't as flashy as other colors, or as with the cats, there are superstitions about them that turn people off. Some shelters will just take those animals straight to the kill room because they figure they won't get adopted anyway. Also, during Halloween, some shelters are afraid of people adopting black cats to use in Satanic rituals or something, and will put a hold on adopting out black cats during October. Although, cat sacrifices seem to be really rare, and if some sick person really wants to kill a cat, he will get one somehow, unfortunately. These things are what that color thing is probably trying to address.

(And I agree with you, KMK, on the import thing. I don't think we should import dogs from other countries that do not have vaccination protocols. Who knows what diseases they'll bring with them. I think there was a case of several dogs being imported with rabies once).



You said: "Here is yet another law that's a response to shelters, be they public or private, either (a) not following laws that are already on the books, or (b) just behaving stupidly when it comes to trying to save animals. How are laws going to fix people that are on a power trip and their job at a shelter or their rescue efforts are more about either their ego or control rather than helping animals?"

The way the law fixes this is by giving the public (or animal welfare community) recourse for people who are on their power trips.

Yes, what is being legislated is common sense. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of it at many shelters. Just look around the metro:

Wayside Waifs continues to not be open with their number of impounds and kills -- and claims to be no kill even though everyone knows they're not reall.

Half Way Home's leadership just locked out volunteers for a two month time period.

Lee's Summit has a brand new shelter that largely sits half full so they can move animals from one side to another every day for easier cleaning -- yet routinely kill animals for space.

Springfield absolutely refuses to let pit bulls out of their shelter -- even to breed-specific rescue groups. If you're a pit bull in Springfield and end up in the shelter, you're dead. No questions asked.

So tell me, would we be better off legislating it so there is public recourse? Or little by little continue to have to change the leadership of every shelter in the country in order to help save the lives of animals? How long did it take Toledo to get rid of Skeldon?

It's a mess.

And unlike other laws designed as coercive legislation that have negative drawbacks in the way of dead dogs, CAPA has few drawbacks, and more live dogs.


BTW, I read through the Texas bill about a month ago (I'm sure it's changed since then) and honestly am not sure what all the huff is about. The law seems mostly similar to the current Missouri law and then puts into place a method for inspections. Unless I'm missing something, it doesn't seem as horribly "anti-breeder" as everyone is making it out to be -- and only continues to reinforce my notion that some people will just oppose every set of legislation, regardless of whether it makes sense or not.


The reason the Texas bill is being opposed is because ...

(1) what happened here. We had a good state breeder law and the HSUS came in and mounted a ballot initiative to pass something untenable. The Texas constitution doesn't allow for ballot initiatives, but...

(2)The Texas Humane Legislation Network has already promised to come back again...and again...and make the law more and more restrictive once it's on the books. Yes, they said it! and...

(3) There is currently no state department in Texas similar to our Missouri Department of Agriculture. the inspections will be performed by the same people that inspect things like barber shops (I am not making this up). And the fiscal note guessed it, ZERO! Funny how regulation never costs anything. Mary Beth Duerler said it's going to cost a lot of money to build all the prisons it will take to house all the dog criminals.

Believe it or not I was talking to my friends in Texas several years ago and they were looking at our ACFA law. Once Prop B reared its ugly head, that was the end of that. It made it difficult for them to go to their legislators and say, "Look, Missouri has a good law! Let's do this".

So, that's what all the fuss is about. Better the Devil you know, as they say.


Brent - I will make one correction to your first reply - the Lee's Summit shelter is a WHOLE lot more than just half-empty. ;-) At least it was the day I stopped in. There was an entire wing with no lights on!

To Wayside Waifs' credit, they admit on their web site that they've achieved no-kill by going to a "limited admission policy". yea, that's ridiculous, but give them points for honesty. They won't release their euth numbers because it would ruin their reputation.

Same for the Independence, Missouri shelter, which is a taxpayer funded shelter. They've cut down their euthanasia by telling people they're full. They put taxpayers on a waiting list. Now they're bragging about being no-kill. My head hurts.

I don't have a problem with the concept of CAPA and I absolutely support the concept. What concerns me is the "unintended consequences" of telling these already crazy shelters what to do. Somehow, it never has a happy ending. Shelters can sure dish it out but they can't take it. They can support all sorts of laws for breeders but they can't pour **** out of a boot and successfully identify the heel of the boot three out of five times when it comes to doing something correctly themselves. Whenever you turn up the heat on them they solve the problem by doing something stupid - see Independence for Exhibit A. A lot of people in Independence wanted the shelter to be "no kill". well, by golly, it's no kill now! Same goes for Wayside - supporters wanted them to be no kill. Now they are. Happy? Uh, not so much.

Newton's Third Law of Motion - for every action there is an equal and oppposite reaction, and nowhere do we see more horrendous examples of that than in shelters. For every action there's a dog or cat that ends up dead.

Shelters were supporting Prop B because they saw the prospect of scoring a lot of lucrative Toy Breeds if breeders had to comply with the 50 dog limit, which would have resulted in mass euthanasia of less desirable mixed breeds already in the shelters. Again, "the law of unintended consequences", although I'm not sure how "unintended" that one was.

We both know what No Kill has done to the Kansas City metro (again, I support the concept of no-kill). No Kill is a great concept, but a less-than-earnest execution results in a whole 'nuther set of problems. I can't even imagine what would happen if CAPA were foisted upon these nutcases. Look what happened when spay/neuter got too successful in other areas of the country and shelters didn't have what people wanted - those shelters started importing animals from overseas. We haven't seen that here, but we are seeing situations where small dogs are auctioned off to the highest bidder and shelters are refusing to turn purebreds over to rescues.

Again, Brent, you're 100% correct about your complaints about the shelters. I think we're on the same page - we're just looking at it from different angles. The public already has the power to do something about the problems with shelters - they're just too lazy to do the work. Unfortunately, as we've seen so often, people don't get involved unless something affects them personally.

It amazed me how nearly every suburban resident in Missouri found the time to call their legislators and tell them not to mess with Prop B, which was only going to affect breeders with dogs that already had care! Where is the outrage for those dogs that don't have care? Where is the outrage about what's happening in our cities and shelters every day? That's kind of like Mike Vick - there was plenty of outrage for Mike Vick, but none for places like Springfield MO that kill pit bulls on a daily basis.

And finally, how long did it take Toledo to get rid of Tom Skeldon? Too long.

I'll stop preaching to the choir now. We're on the same page. I'm just more scared of the consequences.


Here's the deal - you already have the negative consequences you're afraid of.

Almost everyone wants to be no kill. And at this point, the folks who can't get there, but badly want to be. So they're doing what it takes to be able to say they're 'no kill': Which involves hiding numbers, lying. turning people away, etc.

The legislation is designed to get them to do it the right way.

California has a similar law. And here's a report for the success of the law. I confess that I haven't gotten a chance to read all the way through it...but all of the dooms-day unintended consequences things don't seem to have happened there.

And when you talk about for every action there is an opposite reaction that equals a dead dog -- at least this way we get 48 hours notice before it can happen.


Oh, the "Hayden Law". Tom Hayden, animal rights activist, domestic terrorist and member of the Chicago Seven. Or Chicago Eight. Or whatever they called themselves. Thank goodness Manson is in prison or he'd probably be in the California legislature as well, passing laws.

As I recall there were portions of this law that were quite egregious but I've slept since then and I can't recall what they were. But, if it's helped out some animals, that's good.

I have major heartburn trying to support anything from California. This is a state that's 65 billion dollars in debt but spent several years and who knows how much taxpayer money trying to pass a state law to force everyone to speuter their pets.

The President of the Miniature Bull Terrier Club of America (at that time) and the club's delegate to the AKC lives in Petaluma and took multiple newspaper articles to Sacremento about California shelters importing dogs from Mexico. She offered this as proof there was no "pet overpopulation". Most of the legislators didn't care, because it's about the control, not the animals.

Her own state representative listened when she threatened to switch parties and become a Republican, LOL. He didn't care that shelters were importing dogs from Mexico, where rabies, botfly, and leishmaniasis are pandemic, but he cared about her becoming a Republican. Go figure. Perhaps he was afraid she'd take all her wealthy, influential friends over to the Dark Side with her. :-)

California passed a state law in 1990 or so prohibiting municipalities from passing BSL, but in the wake of a couple of highly publicized dog fatalities in San Francisco due to stupid people California went to work and passed a bill several years ago that allows cities to pass MSN if they deem a breed "dangerous" (for every action there is a reaction). SB861 was sponsored by Jackie Spier, who was Congressman Leo Ryan's assistant and survived a harrowing night in the jungles of Guyana when she accompanied Ryan to investigate Jonestown in 1979 or so(Ryan was not so lucky). Good night, if Jackie Spier doesn't understand cult behavior, there's little hope for everyone else, because animal rights is little more than a well-funded cult.

I know we're on the same page, Brent. I just have a problem with laws that attempt to close the barn door after the horse is loose rather than finding a way to keep the horse in the barn in the first place. It seems weird to support a law that requires shelters to hold dogs for X number of days, requires shelters to notify rescues, etc. when we have laws that are putting pets in shelters unnecessarily. I would prefer to see us expend effort to get THOSE laws off the books first. Then we can examine where we are and what we need to do to go forward. Let's examine what we need to do to keep animals out of the shelters in the first place (which will probably result in our own shelters importing dogs from Mexico and Puerto Rico, but I guess we'll cross that bridge when we get there).

The HSGKC absolutely makes me insane. They are Exhibit A as to my gripe with laws like CAPA. What is the point of the Hayden law if California insists on passing laws that result in pets ending up in the shelter unnecessarily?

We know we're making progress. If someone had told me back in 1985 that in 25 years we would see very few puppies, small dogs, and purebreds in our shelters I would have said "no way". But that's what we're seeing. Most of that progress is due to education and low-cost spay/neuter programs with very little goverment interference. Oh, and shelters not letting anyone give them a dog in the first place. That seems to be working better than anything, along with cooking the books. Suddenly everyone is "no kill" but good luck getting a dog into a shelter.

The cry for CAPA reminds me a bit of what city councils say when a child is bitten by a pit bull - "We have to do something". Laws by nature are reactive. It's difficult to force anyone to do anything.

I may be wrong and I'll admit it if I am.



How do you mandate a piublic shelter mjust spay/neuter all pets if that shelter is a rural shelter with one animal control officer and little or no budget? How do county shelters already facing budget cutbacks in communities closing down libart find funding for all the mandates in CAPA. Wouldn't it be easier to close the shelter?

What is a "trained behaviorist? and where do we find one here in rural America? Who pays the court costs and legal fees when the activists start filing lawsuits against the taxpayers who won't provide this funding?

Shouldn't we oppose government mandates that only support larger government control and higher taxes? If my taxes go much higher I might be eating dog food along with my dogs.


Concerned - the law only mandates the spay/neuter for the dog being adopted. It doesn't mandate it for all dog, or dogs being transfered to other rescues. This is actually the law currently in most states (and certainly in Missouri and Kansas) and there have been no issues with shelter closing because of it.

Most of the statues of CAPA are fairly economical -- and most can be handled fairly easily by even a half-way decent volunteer program at the shelter. I don't think any of those elements are expensive to implement.

Doug Elerath

I own one rescue mutt. However, based on well documented scientific findings presented by both Laura Sanborn (Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs) and by Parvene Farhoody & M. Christine Zink (Behavioral and Physical Effects of Spaying and Neutering Domestic Dogs), as a responsible dog parent (just say NO), I have no interest in ever adopting another that has been sterilized. Give me intact dogs. Make me pay a big ($1,000 big enough for you?) deposit which gets refunded if I don't make puppies without a litter permit. But don't damage my dogs just because some people can't operate a leash or a fence.

Down with CAPA


Doug -- I don't necessarily disagree with your overall premise -- and am familiar with Laura's work and the Farhoody/Zink study.

I also flip flop in my mind how I feel about laws mandating dogs be altered prior to leaving adoption facilities. On one hand I'm very aware of the health issues. On the other, I'm also aware of the number of animals getting killed in shelters. Is altering them (and shortening their lives) worse than not altering them, then creating more puppies, and shortening all of their lives because there aren't homes for them?

I don't know the answer.

But the reality is that laws requiring shelters and rescues to alter before the dog is adopted already exist in almost every state at this point. So it's not adding something that doesn't already exist. Thus, I kind of don't even include it as part of the law.

I think the rescue community is very shortly going to have to deal with some of the realities of spay/neuter and the health issues because I sense the public is becoming more aware of the darker side of this.


"Then, if another shelter or rescue agrees to take an animal that is to be killed, the animal must be surrendered to that organization with no pull fee." Christie Keith has reprimanded me today for making this comment, stating that the law does NOT do this and that argument is specious. (don't know if she means it's only specious if you oppose CAPA because of this provision).

And indeed, if you read all 20 pages, she's right. All a group has to do is SAY it wants an animal. The holding entity does not have to give that group the animal. It just can't kill the animal. This is not in any way specious though.

IRL of course, it DOES mean that holding shelters will release an animal to any organization that requests it, because what shelter possibly has the resources to investigate the requesting entity?

However much we need shelter reform (and I certainly agree that we do), I fail to see how 20 pages of mandated bureaucracy will improve the lot of animals.



I'm assuming you've been reading YesBiscuit's blog about Memphis.

You realize, right, that almost everything they're doing is actually legal? That they're killing 70+% of all the animals they impound, and rescues want to help but aren't allowed to?

And that's legal. And there is nothing that anyone can do -- in spite of the visual evidence and in spite of growing outrage in the community -- to change the situation at all.

And yet, with CAPA, they could. It would be illegal, and they would have legal grounds to fix it. Tommorrow.

And you don't see how it will improve things? Even just a little?

You seem more convinced that this will have negative consequences like other laws simply because you seem to not want more legislation -- even though the other laws you compare this to have consistently had negative consequences (that are ignored by the proponents) whereas the one example of any law similar to CAPA has not had any of the widespread problems that people claim it will have.


I don't want 20 pages of bureaucratic mumbojumbo.. and I can't believe you do either.

According to the people posting on YB, some of the treatment at MAS IS illegal.

If you want to wait till CAPA gets passed in Tennessee (which will probably be when hell freezes over), then don't get all morally indignant at me.


So you don't want it because of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo?

Sorry, that is what politics is. It's part of the deal.

And I would guess that Tennessee would pass CAPA long before we run every Tom Skeldon/Matthew Pepper type dog warden in the country out of their jobs.

I'm not saying we sit around and wait for CAPA to pass before trying to get rid of these guys and replace them with competent people -- but I'm not ready to throw out something that I believe will work -- and indeed has proven to actually work without the doom and gloom consequences a select few warn about -- just on some form of moral principle against 20 page laws.

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