Although I sympathize mightily with the Poodle’s frustration at last week’s City Council meeting [“Intact, Unaltered, and Out of My Mind,” 2/4/10], there’s actually some good news to report: Of the nearly 30 people present regarding a proposed spay/neuter ordinance, several did not speak—recognizing that the council does have other business to transact. Further, only six people present were there in opposition.

That meant that only a small amount of time and oxygen was spent retelling the same canards about the dangers of spay/neuter laws. Maybe the opposition has finally figured out that Santa Barbarans don’t easily fall for cherry-picked and distorted data. We know better than to believe in death panels just because some ditsy ex-governor invents them to scare people off health-care reform. Nor do we believe that spay/neuter laws lead to increased shelter intakes and euthanasia, when common sense and hard data prove the contrary.

The county passed its spay/neuter ordinance after 18 months of staff work and public input. Over time, opposition has shrunk from a good-sized crowd (albeit mostly out-of-towners) to a smaller, local group of dedicated anti-government types to Tuesday’s tiny cadre of fear-mongers. We have the county’s patient persistence to thank, not just for studying and passing its ordinance, but for the resulting reduction of hysterical rhetoric. Now the city will neither have to reinvent the wheel of learning about the issue from scratch, nor listen to more than 100 people on the subject. How’s that for time and oxygen saved? — Lee E. Heller, Summerland


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