Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Good News from the Windy City

Breed-specific legislation, which would have banned certain breeds and was a real possibility in Chicago, has been pushed back, thanks to the tireless efforts of well-known radio personality and pet writer Steve Dale and a coalition of companion animal experts and public officials. Here's what will happen instead:

The Task Force on Companion Animals and Public Safety, a coalition of experts representing various organizations, is now authorized under the auspices of the License and Consumer Protection Committee, Dale says.

A model for pre-empting breed-specific legislation has been created, which can be used by other cities.

People whose dogs have not been spayed or neutered--and thus are more likely to roam and to become a public nuisance or danger--must pay higher license fees. That's a good way to encourage spaying and neutering to reduce the production of unwanted puppies.

All dogs boarded in kennels or doggie day care or that are used by guard dog services must be microchipped. (I'd like to see this go further, with all breeders required to microchip puppies before they go to their new homes, so that breeders can be traced if dogs become lost or are turned in to shelters or rescue groups.)

People whose dogs are chronic wanderers face increased fees.

It's a good start. All dog owners owe thanks to Steve for his efforts, as well as to the many experts who provided support, including Patricia McConnell, Ian Dunbar, Gary Landsberg, Bonnie Beaver, AVMA president Roger Mahr and AVMA Animal Welfare vice president Gail Golab. Good job!

My friend Deb Eldredge, a veterinarian in New York, says: "Go Steve!!! Even if Chicago can't field a decent baseball team, they are smart about dogs!"