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NLR’s animal shelter director supports tougher laws on spaying

The North Little Rock Animal Shelter loves to adopt out animals, but it doesn’t happen as often as animal lovers wished.

Billy Grace, director of the North Little Rock Animal Shelter, said that is the reason he is supporting House Bill 2160.

If it would become law, it would stiffen laws in the spaying mixed breed animals so less would need to be euthanized.

“Virtually every work day, we place dogs and cats on a steel table located near the back of the North Little Rock Animal Shelter, and we euthanize them,” Grace said. “During 2012, we euthanized 2375 dogs and cats. The same thing goes on in every full access shelter within our state.”

Grace added it is estimated that somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in Arkansas Animal Shelters each year, and this only represents a fraction of the strays out there.

“The rest are shot by farmers, ran over by vehicles, or die of starvation, disease, or poisoning. Other animals kill many. It is estimated that there are approximately 10 times as many stray dogs and cats as there are available homes,” said Grace.

Because of their sheer numbers, there is no dollar value for a mixed breed dog or cat. Free ones are available everywhere.

“That is why so many irresponsible people own them,” said Grace. “The cruelty, neglect, abandonment, and other irresponsible behavior that we see, is caused by an over-population of animals. We have to reduce these numbers in order to give these animals some value. If people had to pay money for a mixed breed dog or cat they would most likely treat them better. People do not throw away what they have to pay for.”

Grace called these pet owners “irresponsible people” are not only causing a horrible life, and death, for animals, but also an undue financial hardship on responsible taxpayers. Millions of dollars are spent each year just “cleaning up the mess” left by irresponsible pet owners, according to Grace.

Low cost spay/neuter has been available all across the state for years, but the problem has only gotten worse.

“We have yet to convince the majority of pet owners to take advantage of it,” Grace said. “We sterilize them one at a time while they reproduce from four to twelve at a time, two and sometimes three times per year. It is easy to see why voluntary spay/neuter will never work.”

In order for a spay/neuter program to work, the majority of people have to be given a reason to do it.

“That’s what House Bill 2160 does. It mandates responsibility by requiring owners to spay or neuter their mixed breed pets or purchase a license to keep the animal intact,” Grace said. “Hopefully, if we can make this idea a reality, we will all see a day when mixed breed dogs and cats are no longer ‘throw away’ items. These animals deserve a better life than the one they have been given, but they will never have it without our help.”

Without this law, animals will continue to overpopulate, suffer, and die needlessly,” said Grace. “Please call your Arkansas State Representative at 682-7771 and your Arkansas State Senator at 682-6107 and voice your support for House Bill 2160,” said Grace.

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