At a hearing yesterday, the Los Angeles Board of Animal Commissioners was asked to reconsider a city pound policy where “dogs in late-term pregnancy are spayed and their puppies are put to death.”
According to the head of Los Angeles Animal Services, “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.”
The proposed new policy “would 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.”
A petition with over 2,000 signatures “saying the city has the rescue partnerships to ensure that the new policy would work and urging it to stop killing viable unborn puppies” was presented to Commissioners, along with information that neighboring Orange County scrapped the policy of spaying and killing late term unborn puppies last year with “no impact on shelter crowding.” The Commissioners, however, put off a vote, asking for more information and more time to reconsider it.
Not only does killing healthy, full-term in utero puppies violate the No Kill philosophy, it is a way to cheat on statistics. Because they are not yet born, even when they are viable and full term, 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 they are 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.
Los Angeles Animal Services expects to report back to the Commissioners in “30 to 60 days,” followed by a vote on whether or not to stop killing the puppies.
PETA, not surprisingly, argued against the change in policy.
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