From the No Kill Advocacy Center:

Los Angeles Board of Animal Services Commission
Department of Animal Services
Ani.Commission@lacity.org

Dear Members of the Commission:

The General Manager of Los Angeles Animal Services is proposing to eliminate the policy that dogs in late-term pregnancy be spayed before they are released. As she noted in a 2013 memo to the Commission, “The spaying of late-term pregnant dogs results in puppies being born by the equivalent of a C-section. They are able to survive on their own, but these puppies are immediately put to death in our shelters.” While always deadly for the puppies, she noted that sterilization of pregnant dogs during the third trimester can also create additional surgical risks for the mother. Dogs can die as a result of complications.

Although the Commission denied her request five years ago, she has recently again asked the Commission to prohibit third-trimester spaying and “let dogs in late-term pregnancy give birth at city shelters or allow volunteers to care for them and their puppies, so long as veterinary staff says the pregnant dog is healthy enough to give birth.” We endorse her proposal enthusiastically.

Not only does killing healthy, full-term in utero puppies violate the No Kill philosophy, it is a way to obscure statistics. Because they are not yet born, even when they are removed from the mother and killed one by one through an overdose of barbiturates, their deaths are not recorded. They simply do not count. Even when not individually killed, when a mother is spayed, the puppies die from anoxia (oxygen deprivation) due to lack of blood supply from the uterus once the vessels are clamped. They suffocate.

Moreover, the fundamental mission of a shelter is to save lives. Everything a shelter does should be a means to stop killing. Spay/neuter is no exception. But under current policy, it is. Spaying is used as a tool to kill puppies. Not only is it an inherent contradiction to try and kill one’s way to No Kill, but if pounds could, given that millions of animals are put to death every year, we would have been a No Kill nation many generations ago.

Please allow Los Angeles Animal Services to follow the humane and progressive lead of other shelters throughout the nation, which have eliminated the deliberate killing of puppies. Their lives matter, too.

Very truly yours,

Nathan J. Winograd

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