Thursday, February 11, 2010

Johnson City,TN Proposed MSN Will Violate Due Process Rights of Dog Owners

The Johnson City, TN, Commissioners will have the second reading of a proposed mandatory spay/neuter ordinance on Thursday, February 18.  The ordinance, which is being proposed by shelter director, Debbie Dobbs, seeks to make criminals out of dog owners who fail to have their pets spayed or neutered or who fail to "apply for" an intact animal permit from the shelter.

Here Comes That Pesky United States Constitution Again...

It appears that the city leaders need a refresher course in civics.  According to the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

So, let's break this down as to how it applies to Johnson City:
  • The City would exceed its authority by attempting to regulate the ownership or possession of property (dogs) a violation of the 14th Amendment - with no rational basis
  • The City would violate the 14th Amendment by predicating equal rights of animal ownership upon compliance with the unequal requirements of mandatory spay or neuter.
Not Without A Warrant, Mr Animal Control Officer!

Dobbs has stated that this proposed ordinance would be "complaint driven" and that "no one is going to go door-to-door" looking at your dog's reproductive parts (or lack thereof).

So, here is how this proposal would play out:  Let's just say that Mr Animal Control Officer gets a call from your neighbor that your pooch is barking incessantly and is interferring with trying to watch the latest episode of "American Idol" because they can't tell if that's the performer or a howling dog next door....

Mr Animal Control Officer comes to your door and knocks and says he has received a complaint that your dog is driving the neighbor crazy.  "I'm sorry, Mr Officer, but there's this squirrel that doesn't understand that "Fluffy's" dog food is off limits to him.  I'll make arrangements to feed "Fluffy" inside away from the squirrel."

"Ok", says Mr Officer, "but, by the way, I need to inspect fluffy and make sure he doesn't have his testicles, so I'm gonna take a quick peek at him in your yard."

OH!  I don't even think so, buddy.  Not without a search warrant you don't. 

I think we all see the obvious constitutional violations with this proposed ordinance.  Not to mention the fact that your dog's reproductive status is NONE OF THE GOVERNMENT'S BUSINESS.

Volumes of Opposition Letters Are Needed

Here is where you can help--no matter where you are from, or what breed or mix of dog you have--the folks in Johnson City, TN, need our help.  Write, email, fax or call and let the city commissioners know that mandatory spay/neuter has failed in every city in the United States where it has been implemented. 

Let them know that mandatory spay/neuter laws kills more innocent animals and that such laws interfere with YOUR rights as property owners.  Further, the costs associated with such draconian laws hurt local governments coffers.

Click here for all of the contact info for the Johnson City, TN, City Commissioners.

Oh, And One Final Thought....

For all of you dog owners out there that think that this ordinance "isn't that bad" or "isn't that big of a deal", consider this:  This is a classic "camel sticking its nose under the tent".  Dobbs has already stated that the "fee" can be raised in the future. 

And, to the individual that stated on a breed list recently that (in so many words) since this doesn't pertain to a specific breed, there really isn't a need to oppose....I personally thank my lucky stars that you have zero power of authority. Period.

Happy letter writing, ya'll.

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