Proposal for New Law Initiated by the SPCA

Dogs and cats will be given up for adoption only following surgical procedures for sterilization

A new Proposal, initiated by the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Israel, aims to obligate all authorized dog pounds, protected shelters and animal welfare organizations to neuter and spay cats and dogs being given up for adoption. The Proposal, presented jointly with the Let Animals Live Organization, has won the support and backing of MK’s Eitan Cabel (Labor), David Tsur (HaTnuah), Dov Hanin (Hadash) and Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz).

Since its establishment 85 years ago, the SPCA has had to deal with the problem of excessive overpopulation of dogs and cats, and for over three decades we have given animals out for adoption only after they have been sterilized. A few months ago, a law initiated by the SPCA came into effect by which owners of dogs which have not been sterilized will pay an higher annual license fee, and the present Proposal is a further step in our efforts to promote animal welfare in Israel.

Israel copes with a painful and widespread phenomenon of dogs and cats that are abandoned, left to their own recourses and wander around alone. It is estimated that each year over one hundred thousand dogs are abandoned in Israel and over two million homeless cats are living in the streets; most of them eventually finding their deaths in terrible suffering from illness, hunger, dehydration, abuse, road accidents or euthanasia. Some of them reach shelters where the chances of them finding adoptive homes are negligible, since the number of people wishing to adopt is far smaller than the number of abandoned animals.

There is overall agreement amongst animal welfare organizations that the humane solution for reducing the phenomenon of overpopulation in dogs and cats is implementation of sterilization procedures. These simple surgical procedures, accepted in all advanced countries, also prevent certain illnesses to which animals are prone.

Unfortunately, not all organizations that are authorized to give animals up for adoption strictly observe the rule of carrying out sterilization before giving animals up for adoption. Some of them charge a fee for the operation and trust the adopting owner to have it done at a later stage, but they have no way of ensuring that this takes place. According to studies carried out on this issue, sterilization can be carried out as early as two months of age, the age when animals are weaned by their mothers. Since animals are not given up for adoption while they are still nursing, there is no reason for not carrying out the operation before giving the animal for adoption.

As stated, the aim of the proposal is to minimize overpopulation of dogs and cats and to prevent suffering amongst the many unwanted animals. The Proposal even gives details of unusual instances where it is permissible to postpone the operations, with the owners obligated by Law to carry out the operations at a later date (for example; an animal’s state of health that does not allow surgery, females still nursing puppies, puppies that have not yet been weaned), and allows the local authorities to charge a fee for the operation from a person who adopts a dog or cat from an authorized shelter.

As MK Eital Cabel says: “This is a further step in our humane war against the horrifying phenomena of dog euthanasia and abuse. Our aim is to reduce these phenomena to a minimum and for that to happen all animal lovers must get involved”. And in the words of MK David Tzur: “As a sworn animal lover, I am appalled by the number of abandoned animals that are euthanized each year because no one wants them. The Proposal that I presented together with MK Eitan Cabel and others is meant to put an end to this sad phenomenon of uncontrolled increase in the dog population”.