None of the 5000 dogs a year that end up in Calgary, Canada shelters are euthanized for population control. The per capita animal shelter euthanasia rates (per 100,000 population) in California’s mandatory spay/neuter counties compare very poorly to Calgary, which does not have mandatory spay/neuter:
- Santa Cruz County — SB 250 supporters’ “model for the state” for mandatory spay/neuter — kills 16 times as many animals as Calgary, per capita
- Los Angeles County – one of the few counties in California with mandatory spay/neuter — kills 22 times as many animals as Calgary, per capita
- Lake County — also one of the few counties in California with mandatory spay/neuter — kills 104 times as many animals as Calgary, per capita
California’s “model for the state” should be the one that works, not the failed policy of mandatory spay/neuter.
Calgary’s dog licensing rate is over 90%, where 10-30% is the norm in California. Many stray pets that are picked up by Calgary Animal Services are returned straight home, they aren’t even taken to the shelter to be impounded. This saves money and it saves lives.
Over the past 18 years, the city of Calgary has cut their number of dog bites and chases by more than 50% (all the while, the human and dog population of Calgary has doubled).
The taxpayers of Calgary pay nothing for this excellent service. It’s all paid for by pet licensing fees. “Your pet’s license is his ticket home” is the motto. California’s taxpayers pay $249 million a year for animal control, but get inferior service compared to what Calgary delivers at no cost to their taxpayers.
Calgary, when it comes to animal control, is the envy of the continent.
The leader of this superb organization is Bill Bruce. He spoke in Van Nuys, CA and Santa Barbara, CA in March. Please watch this video of Mr. Bruce’s presentation.
Key to Calgary’s success
- no – mandatory spay/neuter
- no – breed specific legislation
- no – pet limit laws
- no – anti-tethering laws
- yes – providing valued services rather than simply punishing citizens into compliance
- yes – buy in and cooperation among community stakeholders thanks to an animal control director who is a professional mediator
- yes – extensive education and PR campaign to emphasize responsible pet ownership
- yes – low license fees and modest fee differential for intact pets
Calgary’s phenomenal success depends on a sense of trust among pet owners that they will be treated fairly by and obtain good services from Calgary Animal Services. Trust makes for unprecedented high licensing compliance. High licensing compliance means that the taxpayers do not foot the bill for animal services, and it means that nearly all stray pets are quickly reunited with their owners which saves lives and keeps costs low.
There is no way to achieve this kind of licensing compliance in an environment where citizens feel they must hide their dogs and cats from pet limit laws, BSL, crushing differential licensing fees, or mandatory spay/neuter laws. Without the high licensing compliance, none of the rest of the success could have happened.