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From the News Desk

A BILL that would require most cats and dogs in California to be spayed or neutered fell two weeks ago in a SNow here’s an anniversary you might not know about. On 24th June 1947, Kenneth Arnold was flying from Chehalis, Washington to Yakima, Washington in a CallAir A-2 plane on a business trip.

He spotted nine unusual objects flying in a chain near Mount Rainier. Arnold described the objects’ shape as reminiscent of crescents or flying wings, or as resembling a flat saucer, and described their erratic motion as ‘resembling a saucer skipped across water’.

From this description, the media quickly coining the term ‘flying saucer’ to describe such objects, many of which were reported by other people within days after Arnold’s sighting. Thus was a modern pheneomenon born and over the past 60 years there’s been intense speculation as to whether Unidentified Flying Objects (or U.F.Os) are natural phenomena, misidentified planes, secret military aircraft, alien spacecraft or space debris burning up in the atmopshere.
They’re probably all of the above, in varying numbers.

So what’s this got to do with cats? Nothing really, it’s just that I saw a strange, unidentified, glowing object in the sky just a few days ago.

It was painfully bright to look at and it exuded heat, whilst illuminating the whole landscape. Some people have claimed that it was something called the Sun, although I don’t believe this, given the fact that Summer 2007 took place in April and has apparently been replaced by Monsoon Season.

But if anyone else notices this strange, celestial light and heat source, maybe on a cat show day, please let us know at OUR CATS, maybe take a snapshot of exhibitors basking in its warmth. At the very least it may cheer us all up a bit, even if it doesn’t prove the existence of alien life…
Still with America, another, more recent event may well be commemorated in anniversary form years from now.

The infamous Californian Spay and Neuter Bill – AB 1634 – was withdrawn by its author, Congressman Lloyd Levine on Wednesday, 11th July, the very day it was due to go before the Senate Committee who would either approve or reject it. It became clear to Levine that he wouldn’t get a majority of votes in the Senate because of the Senators’ concerns that his Bill would unfairly penalise cat and dog owners, breeders and exhibitors.

The fact that the Bill was effectively defeated was a great coup d’etat for organisations such as the Cat Fanciers Association, the American Kennel Club and PetPAC, a powerful lobbying group set up to fight such legislation on behalf of cat and dog owners. But at the heart of this successful protest movement were thousands of ordinary cat and dog owners who weren’t going to be railroaded and bullied by a handful of politicians who did not understand – or chose to ignore – the fundamental errors and unfairness at the heart of Levine’s Bill.

The full story appears in this week’s issue and it shows just what us cat owners can do when we put our minds to it. And like I’ve said ad infinitum, it IS of concern to us here in the UK what happens over in America or mainland Europe, Australia or anywhere for that matter, because dollars to donuts (US spelling) some political pygmy over here will think ‘Oooh, what a good idea!’ and try to enact something similar here. They have the mechanism to do so too – it’s called the Animal Welfare Act.

At the beginning of July, Dublin City Council passed an order to ban 11 breeds of so-called ‘dangerous dogs’ (inlcuding crossbreeds) from all council owned accomodation. And so private homeowners weren’t left out, they are pushing through a bylaw prohibiting any dogs of these breeds from being walked in council parks or on council property – i.e. the streets. Needless to say, dog owners and dog organisations – and our sister paper OUR DOGS – are organising a big protest and fightback campaign to make the councillors change their minds, which is a tall order to start with.

Should we care? After all, it’s dogs and it’s in Ireland. Er - well yes, we should, because once politicians get away with passing a law like that, even at local level, you can be sure it will be taken up at regional, national or international level, and it won’t be limited just to dogs. There’s plenty of anti-cat people out there too.

There’s a clever analogy here about cause and effect; you know the one – a butterfly flaps its wings in China and they get a Hurricane in America. But they just brings us back to the weather again… and UFOs.

Mind you, if I were an Alien visitor studying the Earth, I’d think very carefully before landing, especially as millions of us allow ourselves to be govered by a very few of this strange sub-species known as pol-it-ish-uns.

‘Scout Craft to Mother Ship.Commander - I am now over the United Kingdom area. Should I land?’
‘No son! U.F.O. – quick!’

Nick Mays - News & Features Editor