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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - Bill: "Dogs and cats dispatched to new homes by local shelters should be sterilized"

Maureen Hayden, CNHI State Reporter, has this story in a number of Indiana papers today. Some quotes:

INDIANAPOLIS – Dogs and cats dispatched to new homes by local shelters should be sterilized, according to lawmakers who want to reduce the millions of dollars spent keeping, and often euthanizing, unwanted animals.

A measure awaiting Gov. Mike Pence's signature aligns Indiana with 33 other states that require shelters to spay or neuter pets as a condition of their release.

“Without this, thousands and thousands of dogs and cats will continue to be killed each year,” said Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, who wrote the bill.

Lawson, a self-described animal lover, has pushed a similar measure for years after seeing pit bulls abandoned in her community.

Her bill never got a hearing, she said, and was stymied by conservative lawmakers wary of mandating rules for pet ownership.

This time her bill was recast as a policy with long-term savings, since it pledges to pare back the estimated $50 million spent by local governments each year on impounding and destroying homeless animals. * * *

Rep. Mike Karickhoff, R-Kokomo, said he signed on to this year’s bill after seeing numbers from other states that have mandatory sterilization laws. He noted a New Hampshire study that found local governments save $3 in impoundment costs for every $1 invested in spay and neuter programs.

But communities must first bear the upfront costs of sterilizing animals. Procedures run from $50 to $100 per cat, and up to $300 for a dog.

Because of that investment, the legislation gives local governments until 2021 to implement the new rules.

“It’ll be a burden but one we should take on,” said Maleah Stringer of the Animal Protection League, which runs the animal shelter in Anderson.

Though the law applies to every shelter, humane society and animal rescue group – public or private - it does exempt puppies and kittens too young to be sterilized.

The law requires shelters charge a $75 fee to adopt those animals, however, which is refundable once the new owner can prove the procedure has been done.

Despite the promised savings, the law's true fiscal impact will be unknown since the state doesn’t track local animal control facilities. The measure asks the state Board of Animal Health to create a new registry of animal care facilities and eventually to track compliance with the law.

ILB: Here is the bill, HB 1201. Good bill, IMHO.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 25, 2016 10:21 AM
Posted to Indiana Government