Santa Cruz County – A Disastrous “Model for the State”

For years, California’s supporters of mandatory spay/neuter laws have proclaimed that Santa Cruz County’s 1995 MSN ordinance¬† is the “model for the state”.¬† Yet they never compare Santa Cruz County’s shelter stats to neighboring jurisdictions, or to California’s leaders in reducing shelter killing.¬† That’s because on a per capita basis

  • Santa Cruz County’s euthanasia rates are higher than those in nearby counties such as Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin — none of which have mandatory spay/neuter laws
  • Santa Cruz County’s euthanasia rates are 44% higher than San Diego County’s, which does not have mandatory spay/neuter
  • Santa Cruz County’s euthanasia rates are more than 4 times higher than Nevada County’s, which does not have mandatory spay/neuter
  • Santa Cruz County’s euthanasia rates are 16 times higher than Calgary’s, the best animal control program in North America, where they also do not have mandatory spay/neuter

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Sources: 2007 data from California Department of Public Health, Calgary Animal Services, US Census Bureau

Animal control costs in Santa Cruz County have doubled since they passed mandatory spay/neuter in 1995. More than 10 years after passing their MSN ordinance, “spiraling animal control costs” are causing cities within Santa Cruz County to cancel or threaten to cancel their animal control contracts with Santa Cruz County, according to an investigative report by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Santa Cruz County Animal Services Annual Budget from 1991 to 2005

Santa Cruz County spends a very high $11.92 per citizen for animal control, 74% higher than for California as a whole. If all of California spent that much, the cost of animal control to the state taxpayers would skyrocket; from $249 million to $433 million. California cannot afford the high cost of mandatory spay/neuter.

5 May, 2009 (01:05) | SB 250, Shelter Population, Track Record