Los Angeles and New Jersey will stay in neutering business

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 1993:

The pioneering Los Angeles and New Jersey
discount neutering programs, in financial trouble a few
months ago, are back up to speed, top officials have
“As you noted in your June edition, City of Los
Angeles general manager Elza Lee wrote, “the city did
indeed close its low-cost neutering clinics due to a budget
crisis. But I am pleased to inform you that we have insti-
tuted another program to take its place. The Department
of Animal Regulation, with assistance from many com-
munity humane groups, is now issuing vouchers valued
up to $28 toward the sterilization of pet cats or dogs. Pet
owners who receive a voucher are referred to a participat-
ing private practice veterinarian, who will accept the
voucher as payment in full or as partial payment toward a
reduced fee surgery. Another program which is new for
us is the pre-release sterilization of dogs and cats adopted
from our animal care centers.” All six centers were “on
line with this project,” Lee said, by July 5.

New Jersey governor Jim Florio meanwhile
pledged on June 23 that, “No funds will be transferred
from the Animal Population Control program to the
Rabies Trust Fund in fiscal year 1993, nor is such an
action being considered for fiscal year 1994,” which
began on July 1. Tranfers totalling $600,000 in 1991 and
1992 crippled New Jersey’s statewide subsidized neuter-
ing effort, but Florio emphasized that there will not be “a
termination or discontinuation of the program,” which is
strongly supported by the New Jersey Veterinary Medical
Association as well as animal protection groups. Because
revenues from the differential for licensing unneutered
dogs are down, due to the increasing number of neutered
dogs, the APC fund is now augmented by proceeds from
the sale of special license plates for motor vehicles.
Veterinarians Marvin Mackle of San Pedro,
California, and Arthur Baeder II of Rockaway, New
Jersey, presented details on the Los Angeles and New
Jersey programs to the Spay USA conference held August
5-7 in Waltham, Massachusetts. Mackle explained that a
low-cost neutering clinic has to perform 30 to 40 surg-
eries a day to become self-supporting, while the City of
Los Angeles clinics performed only 15 a day. Thus, he
argued, the voucher system will be more cost-efficient.
Baeder suggested that cat licensing might be the ultimate
financial solution for the New Jersey program, since two-
thirds of the animals it neuters are cats.
“However,” Baeder continued, “the first thing
we have to get away from is that nasty term ‘licensing ani-
mals,’ and license people. Then we have to deal with the
limit problem. Some people can take care of seven or
eight animals, and some shouldn’t have any.”
––Merritt Clifton
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