Brosnan is actually a longtime advocate of resolving pet overpopulation, and the license plate is one of the latest projects he’s supporting. “This bill will do good things for dogs and cats in the U.S. and will save lives that otherwise would go by the wayside,” Brosnan said. On Tuesday, June 8, Brosnan and his broadcast journalist wife, Keely, joined L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; city officials, including L.A.’s Seventh District Councilmember Richard Alarcón; the California Medical Board; and many other animal welfare advocates, Judy [Crumpton] included, at the West L.A. Animal shelter in celebration of this special program, with a delicious vegan taco-and-salad lunch donated by Native Foods. With dogs yipping their approval and cats nodding and smiling in the background, the mayor, Pierce Brosnan and Social Compassion in Legislation’s dynamic president, Judie Mancuso, put forth the facts about the overwhelming number of homeless and unwanted dogs and cats in California and the importance of spaying and neutering companion animals to limit that number.
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, animal welfare advocate Judie Mancuso and actor Pierce Brosnan proudly display the new California plate.It was Keely Brosnan, Mancuso said, who first introduced her to the term pet overpopulation, and she took it and ran with it. Villaraigosa aptly referred to Mancuso as “the driving force behind the spay-and-neuter plate—a force of nature who doesn’t accept no as an answer.” “Pet overpopulation simply means that there are more pets than there are available homes,” Mancuso said. “In our society, the way we have dealt with this overload is to eliminate the homeless animals by euthanizing them. This heartbreaking norm has gotten so out of control in our state that we now euthanize over 500,000 dogs and cats per year, at a staggering moral cost and financial cost of over a quarter billion dollars.”
Long Beach Animal Care Services reports that 4,479 cats and 1,203 dogs were euthanized or otherwise died at the shelter in 2009. When the State’s private shelters are included, it is estimated that one million pets enter California’s shelters each year, and over half of them are euthanized. Mancuso stressed the need to be proactive in dealing with the problem and prevent unwanted litters and strays by spaying and neutering pets. Villaraigosa also said that, despite L.A.’s tough spay/neuter laws and stakeholders in the program, too many pets are still euthanized. He hopes to bring spay/neuter laws statewide and to make it affordable and available to everyone, much as we’ve been doing in Long Beach.
The special plates will fund spay and neuter surgeries through local animal care and control voucher programs such as the ones in operation through Long Beach Animal Care Services; none of the proceeds will go toward shelter overhead costs. Volunteer members of the California Spay and Neuter License Plate fund, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, will manage and administer the program. Alarcón, in pointing out the thousands of animals added to shelter overpopulation because of mortgage defaults and other economic concerns, praised Mancuso for bringing forth an ingenious idea to raise money to help solve the problem and also thanked Pierce Brosnan for his creativity and generosity and for coming up with a design that includes “the perfect California cat.”
In our [actually, Judy’s, but Kate echoes the sentiment] own words, this plate has given spay/neuter advocates a shot of hope in the arm, especially after a few of our previous bills failed. The plates will do so much good for the cause and for California shelters, as they have the potential of saving many animals’ lives and reducing their suffering. Patty Shenker, a well-known animal advocate active in Social Compassion in Legislation and Animal Acres, knows that California’s status as a car will, so to speak, drive home a message engraved on a permanent license plate to a number of commuters. “I expect everyone who cares about pet overpopulation to preorder their spay/neuter license plates so we can save so many more lives—and let shelters become shelters again,” Shenker said.
The new specialty plates will be produced and sent out when at least 7,500 prepaid applications have been collected. If you want to be part of that “first 7,500,” as the mayor put it, you can order them here. Expect us to honk in support if we’re behind you.