Clinton makes sure Buddy's sex life is beyond reproach

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The Independent Online
PRESIDENT Bill Clinton has decided to have his pet dog, Buddy, castrated. The First Puppy's private parts - and whether he would keep his reproductive powers - have been the subject of debate since last December when he moved into the White House. He used to frolic on a leash emblazoned "I'm the one in charge" and his master seemed loathe to meddle in Buddy's procreative future.

But Mr Clinton has been encouraged by animal-welfare experts, including the Doris Day Animal League (launched by the actress), to have the six- month-old chocolate-coloured labrador castrated and "make a statement" for responsible pet ownership.

A White House spokes-man, travelling with Mr Clinton to Cincinnati yesterday, confirmed that he had been urged to neuter Buddy "for the purposes of both the health of the dog and the issue of overpopulation of dogs". He denied that the puppy's behaviour had anything to do with the decision. "The president believes Buddy behaves just fine," Barry Toiv told reporters.

The news that Buddy would lose his reproductive powers was first mentioned by White House doctor Connie Mariano to Doris Day last week in a letter to let her know that the President was taking her advice and scheduling surgery for the puppy. But no date has yet been set; "Is nothing private anymore?" a White House spokesman asked.

Maybe it is just a case of the White House trying to stop leaks - intact dogs tend to mark their territory more than neutered ones, canine experts say. But the late-night talkshow hosts - whose barely printable jokes about the President's sex-life have led the national debate ever since allegations about his affair with Monica Lewinsky first broke - are expected to have a field-day with the news.

One television reporter announced that Buddy would from now on be free of the urges "that led certain two-legged creatures astray in political Washington", while an animal-behaviour consultant said that castration was a useful treatment for hypersexuality, and would help prevent a dog mounting guests' legs.