Please support the spay and neutering bill in Springfield

Opinion

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In a world where healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are put down by the thousands, in a world where there is still no room for a friendly, playful dog or cat because there are no homes for them, and try as you may, while private shelters do an outstanding job of getting many of these animals adopted and even while local animal control makes a reasonable effort to help, far too many friendly animals are still put down. But help is on the way.

Overwhelming as this problem is, both humanly and practically, the solution to a large degree stares us in the face, fewer animals on the loose means homes may be available for many of those remaining.

To address this problem in the State of Illinois, state senators Don Harmon and Adeline Geo-Karis introduced Senate Bill 2078, the "Illinois Public Health and Safety Animal Population Control Act." This bill seeks to humanely address the source of the burden by reducing the numbers through a voluntary spay and neuter program provided at low or no cost and financed by private donations, a voluntary tax write-off and a $3 public safety fee on each rabies vaccination. Feral and free roaming animals are also covered by the act with the intent to reduce procreation and thus the number of unwanted animals eventually euthanized.

This not a novel idea. Originally conceived and done in the State of New Hampshire a number of years ago, the program is a resounding success, resulting in a substantial decline in animal impoundments and euthanasia, and has saved taxpayers $3.23 for every dollar invested. So successful has the New Hampshire plan been, it has been modified and adopted in the states of Maine, New York and New Jersey with similar benefits.

We wish particularly to thank our state senator, Don Harmon and State Senator Adeline Geo-Karis for their statewide hearings on this issue and for their dogged support in bringing this important matter to a head.

Occasionally this newspaper may publish some article addressing this problem and of the many friendly animals euthanized on a daily basis, but that is soon forgotten except by those directly affected. If you as a reader of this message want to reduce the numbers of friendly dogs and cats dispatched through no fault of their own and because the world has no room for them, write, phone and e-mail your state senator and ask him or her to co-sponsor and support Senate Bill 2078, the "Illinois Public Health and Safety Population and Control Act," introduced by senators Harmon and Geo-Karis. This bill was recently recommended by committee and will appear shortly on the Senate floor.

Please also write and/or call your state representative and our governor to encourage them to get behind this bill so that we in Illinois can also benefit humanely and fiscally by a program successfully proven in other states.

David and Patricia Spagat
Oak Park

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