Spaying and neutering pets isn’t exactly a controversial practice. It’s so non-controversial, in fact, that CBS allowed Bob Barker to end every episode of The Price Is Right with a message imploring viewers to do that to their own pets. Network daytime television programming is as aggressively apolitical a space as exists, but who was going to take the other side of “have your pets spayed and neutered”?
Not every attempt to convince people to spay and neuter their pets is as inoffensive as a game show host gently nudging viewers to make the right decision for population control, however. In Harlingen, for example—where the city is considering a mandatory spay/neuter law (which pet owners could pay a $50 annual license to avoid)—the push to remind the City Commission of the consequences of an out-of-control pet population involved representatives from the Humane Society attempting to show members a video of a dog being euthanized:
The video recording of a dog about to be euthanized malfunctioned at the City Commission meeting Wednesday night, but the stark reality was not lost as the Humane Society of Harlingen urged city officials to adopt an ordinance mandating spaying and neutering of dogs and cats and the placement of microchips.
“This is what happens,” Humane Society President Pat Turman-White told the commission, pointing to the still video showing a dog about to be euthanized.
“Three times a day our staff has to euthanize just to make space,” she said. “We are tired of putting them down.”
She provided data showing that in 2013, of 9,025 animals that arrived at the shelter, 8,190 were euthanized.
The practice of spaying and neutering dogs may be uncontroversial, in other words, but the push to mandate it as something more than just a good idea seems to require some aggressive steps. Showing city commission members video of puppies dying is certainly one way to attempt that—although, at the moment, it’s unclear if the city was swayed. Commissioner Danny Castillo described the license fee as “a fine for being a responsible pet owner,” according to The Monitor, and Harlingen City Manager Carlos Yerena declined to offer an opinion.
Whatever Harlingen eventually decides to do with its laws, in any case, do go ahead and get your pets spayed and neutered. It’s what Bob Barker would want.