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Issues Pertain To Every State And Municipality
by JOHN YATES
The American Sporting Dog Alliance
http://www.american sportingdogallia nce.org

LOS ANGELES, CA - Concerned Dog Owners of California filed a lawsuit this week against the City of Los Angeles, seeking to overturn a new ordinance
mandating the spaying and neutering of all dogs.

The lawsuit is primarily based on constitutional grounds, and alleges that the ordinance violates the civil rights of dog owners in several ways. The American Sporting Dog Alliance believes that the importance of this lawsuit extends far beyond the City of Los Angeles. It marks the first of several anticipated legal challenges to onerous laws and ordinances as dog owners turn to the courts to fight for their rights on constitutional grounds.
This lawsuit is based on legal issues that exist in every state.

An estimated 1.85 million Los Angeles residents have at least one dog or cat. The ordinance mandates the sterilization of all pets at four months of age. An
exemption can be obtained by purchasing a breeder's permit, for a dog registered with an approved national registry and is being shown or used in competition,
and for other categories such as seeing-eye dogs and police dogs. Fines and penalties are provided for violations.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance (ASDA) strongly supports Concerned Dog Owners of California in this lawsuit. Mandatory sterilization laws and ordinances
violate the basic rights of dog owners in many ways, and ASDA considers them a major part of the hidden animal rights agenda to eliminate the private ownership
of animals. We urge our members and all dog owners to offer their full support to Concerned Dog Owners of California, and also to financially assist this group
to pay for the cost of the lawsuit. They can be reached online at
http://www.cdoca. org/.

Here is a summary of the legal issues in the lawsuit:

a.. It violates the rights and familial relationships of 650,000 pet-owning households.
a.. The options provided in the ordinance to avoid pet sterilization
are not constitutionally valid. It infringes on basic rights of freedom of
association,freedom of speech, the guarantee of due process and freedom of
religion.

a.. It won't work. The evidence is clear in communities that have
passed similar ordinances. Similar ordinances have been proven to increase
the number of dogs euthanized, increase shelter admissions, increase the costs
of dog control programs and increase noncompliance with licensing
requirements.

a.. It will increase the number of puppies born, because people will
choose to get a breeding permit and to breed their dog simply to avoid mandates
to spay and neuter

a.. It exposes pets to unjustified risks to their health. Current
research shows that many significant and sometimes fatal health problems are
associated with sterilization, especially at a young age.

a.. Pet owners are threatened with immediate and irrevocable injury
when the ordinance takes effect October 1.

a.. Existing laws are not being enforced. An estimated 75% of the
pets in the city are not even licensed. Other proven means of reducing shelter
admissions and euthanasia rates have not been tried.

a.. Much of the ordinance, including the basis for exemptions, is
arbitrary and capricious, ambiguous and discriminatory.

The lawsuit states its case succinctly: "Owners who wish to keep their healthy pets unaltered have no constitutionally valid options to the MSP (mandatory spay
and neuter) ordinance. Although the ordinance provides for six alleged 'exemptions, ' and a breeder's permit, these exemptions and the breeder's permit
are, in actuality, nothing more than arbitrary and capricious compelled associations that violate an owner's fundamental free speech rights."

The ordinance forces a dog owner to join an organization approved by the city, and to identify her/himself as a breeder, which is state-compelled speech, the
document says. By requiring the city to approve of a dog owner's membership in an organization, such as a dog registry or club, government is both compelling
membership and dictating a list of acceptable organizations that a person is forced to join. The ordinance then mandates that a dog must compete in an event
sanctioned by one of those approved organizations, or is in the process of being trained to compete.

To obtain a breeder's exemption, a dog owner also is compelled to join one of those approved organizations and identify him/herself as a participant of that
organization, which is an infringement of free speech, the documents show. The right of free speech is infringed by forcing a dog owner to identify
her/himself as a breeder on government documents that are available to public inspection.

In essence, a person is forced to say, "I am a breeder," even if the person does not consider her/himself to be a breeder, or if he/she is personally
opposed to breeding.

Documents were attached to the court filing to show examples of harassment and vilification of breeders that were distributed by the groups that
support the ordinance. In essence, identifying oneself as a "breeder" exposes the person to danger, harassment and defamation of character as consequences of
government-compelled speech.

Several religious groups prohibit their members from sterilizing an animal. These groups include Orthodox Judaism and the Jehovah's Witness faith. Members
of these faiths are unable to sterilize their pets without violating their religious beliefs, which puts the city in the position of violating their constitutionally protected freedom of religion. Los Angeles has the second largest community of Orthodox Jews in the nation.

The ordinance also gives the city the power to forcibly seize and confiscate pets that are not spayed or neutered, if their owners are not granted
one of the arbitrary allowed exemptions. This violates the pet's owner constitutionally guaranteed rights of due process under the law, that also are
violated because the ordinance does not provide recourse through a hearing.

Forcing a dog owner to spay or neuter also represents an unconstitutional "taking" of property rights, as the ordinance compels taking away the value of a
dog's reproductive capacity, and due process is denied.

To compel pet sterilization also is to deny an owner the freedom to act according to her/his own religious beliefs, personal ideology or political viewpoint, all of which are protected under the U.S. and California Constitutions.

The lawsuit also contends that the City of Los Angeles has failed to take far less draconian actions that have been proven to reduce the number of
animals entering shelters, such as enforcing licensing requirements (a reported 75% of the dogs in Los Angeles are not licensed), offering low-cost
licensing for puppies that would allow their owners to be educated about the issues, or mandating permanent identification of pets so that animals taken to
the shelter could be returned to their owners.

Because of the reported dangers of spaying and neutering (especially at an early age) shown in numerous research findings, the city also is denying
dog owners the right to protect their pet's health and infringing on the relationship between a pet owner and his/her veterinarian.

The ordinance also infringes upon the basic concepts of the liberty and happiness of a pet owner, and also of the relationships between an
owner, her or his family, and the pets that are part of their family. Although most pet owners consider their dogs as family, rather than property, they are legally
defined as personal property and protected as such under the fundamental right of property in the California Constitution. The ordinance is an arbitrary and
capricious "taking" of those property rights by government, especially since the evidence from other communities shows that the ordinance will be
counterproductive to its stated goals.

The lawsuit also alleges that the ordinance contains much vague and ambiguous language, such as undefined concepts like "adequately trained" and "poor
health," or not stating clearly what registries have been approved, and which have not.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare the ordinance unconstitutional, and to order the city not to enforce it.

Please feel free to use any information contained in this report, and also to cross-post it and forward it to your friends.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance is the unified voice of sporting dog owners and professionals in America. We work at the grassroots level to
defeat unfair legislation and policies that are harmful to dogs and the people who own and work with them. Our work to protect your rights is supported solely
by the donations of our members. Your participation and membership are vital to our success. Please visit us on the web at
http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org.
 

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Now if only the froopy courts of LA county and the state of California have a lapse in their illogic and actually find in favor of the proper legal position we will have a strong precedent to point to when these types of things come knocking on each and every one of our doors courtesy of PETA and the good ol' HSUSA.
 

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Thanks for posting this information. I just sent them an online donation - I hope they kick butt!!!
 

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Originally Posted By: lhczth...
Several religious groups prohibit their members from sterilizing an animal. These groups include Orthodox Judaism and the Jehovah's Witness faith. Members of these faiths are unable to sterilize their pets without violating their religious beliefs, which puts the city in the position of violating their constitutionally protected freedom of religion. Los Angeles has the second largest community of Orthodox Jews in the nation
...
I sent a donation to the AMERICAN SPORTING DOG ALLIANCE yesterday was put on their mailing list. I guess I wasn't the only person who wondered about this part of the suit because I received an email from them today clarifying it.

Mandatory Spay and Neuter Laws Violate
Right Of Religious Freedom For All Jews

by JOHN YATES

The American Sporting Dog Alliance

http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org

Laws and ordinances that mandate pet sterilization violate the constitutionally protected right of religious freedom for all practicing Jews, not just those who adhere to Orthodox beliefs, The American Sporting Dog Alliance has learned.

This issue was part of the brief filed by dog owners in a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, which recently passed a pet sterilization ordinance. The court document did not elaborate on the sources for this opinion.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance has independently verified that traditional Jewish law – called Halachic Law – specifically forbids all followers of Judaism from spaying or neutering their pets.

The lawsuit document says the ban on pet sterilization applies to Orthodox Jews. However, the American Sporting Dog Alliance has verified that it applies to all practicing Jews, regardless of how reformed, contemporary or liberal their beliefs.

Jewish law does not prohibit keeping animals, and indeed many practitioners of Judaism own dogs, cats or other household pets. However, Jewish law does raise some complications for pet owners ranging from feeding to confinement. One of those complications, surgical pet sterilization, amounts to an outright ban of the practice.

Rabbi Howard Jachter of Yeshiva University in New York City summarizes the issues for practicing Jews.

“Halacha forbids removal of reproductive organs from humans or animals, whether male or female,” Jachta wrote in the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society.

Jachta also wrote that it was a violation of both Rabbinic and Talmudic principles for a Jew to ask or hire a non-Jewish veterinarian to spay or neuter an animal, or to transfer the animal to a non-Jewish third party to perform the procedure.

Jewish law contains 613 Halachic commandments, many of which are routinely practiced by many if not most Jews. Many regard them as a blueprint to the practice of Judaism. For non-Jews, perhaps the most familiar Halachic commandment is the requirement for eating only kosher food, which is practiced by a large majority of Orthodox Jews and a rapidly increasing number of liberal Jews. Other well-known Halachic commandments are observing the Sabbath on Saturday and not working on Saturday.

The issue of pet sterilization arose last year in Israel, where new laws were aimed at reducing pet populations.

Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, the chief rabbi of the city of Ramat Gan, Israel, and one of the leading rabbis of the religious Zionist movement, strongly opposed spaying and neutering of pets and other animals.

Last June, Rabbi Ariel issued a ruling that forbids practicing Jews from spaying female animals or castrating male animals. He cited Halachic law as the basis for his ruling.

The Torah (Lev. 22:24), a major holy book for practitioners of Judaism, specifically prohibits castrating a male animal of any species, and the neutering of female animals is prohibited by general laws against tza'ar ba'alei chayim (causing suffering to an animal for any reason except to save the animal’s life or cure a dangerous medical condition).

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a part of the Bill of Rights, forbids government from infringing upon the religious beliefs of any American. The amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”

Mandating Jewish people to spay or neuter an animal thus would violate the “establishment” clause of the First Amendment, if a person adheres to any part of Halachic law. This potentially applies to all practicing Jews.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, hobby breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life. Please visit us on the web at http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by the donations of our members, and maintain strict independence.

PLEASE CROSS-POST AND FORWARD THIS REPORT

The American Sporting Dog Alliance
http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org
 
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