Date of Graduation

Fall 12-13-2013

Document Type

Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Affairs (MoPA)

Department/Program

Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good

First Advisor

David Ryan

Second Advisor

Corey Cook

Third Advisor

Angela Fleekop

Abstract

This Capstone explains the dog overpopulation problem in San Francisco where the increase in dog impoundments and animal cruelty cases, particularly ones involving dogs, has been straining its Department of Animal Care & Control’s already limited resources. At least 33 local governments around the United States have implemented mandatory spay/neuter laws for all dogs as a way to curb dog overpopulation. This Capstone argues for San Francisco to adopt a similar mandatory spay/neuter law, in which all dogs over the age of six months must be spayed or neutered, with certain exceptions. This will relieve the strain on Animal Care & Control, save the City money, and decrease pain, suffering, and even death among San Francisco’s dog population. Not only is spaying and neutering crucial to reducing the population of unwanted dogs, but it also has many health, behavioral, and societal benefits. This Capstone analyzes the arguments for and against mandatory spay/neuter laws and ultimately argues that such laws should be mandatory. It provides an analysis of shelter data from two municipalities—Clark County, Nevada, and Los Angeles County, California—that have implemented mandatory spay/neuter laws, which reveals that recent dog intake and euthanasia rates are the lowest they have been in the past two decades, indicating that these laws are successful at reducing the unwanted dog population. This Capstone then outlines details of a mandatory spay/neuter law that would be ideal for San Francisco.

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