Los Angeles City Council Votes to Implement Mandatory Spay/Neuter

The council voted 10-1 in favor of requiring sterilization for most cats and dogs ages 4 months and older.

Posted: February 5th, 2008 5 a.m. EST

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Los Angeles recently voted in an ordinance that would require all dogs and cats 4 months and older to be sterilized
An ordinance passed by the Los Angeles City Council would require most 4-month-old cats and dogs to be sterilized.
The Los Angeles City Council voted last Friday in favor of adopting an ordinance that would require pet owners to sterilize their dogs and cats.

The controversial legislation drew a deeply divided crowd of those who spoke for and against the ordinance. After hearing community input, the council voted 10-1 in favor of the ordinance. The legislation must go through a second reading later this week before it can take effect, but it is expected to pass.

The ordinance would require most dogs and cats ages 4 months and older to undergo sterilization procedures. Exemptions apply for show dogs, service animals, animals of licensed breeders, or those whose veterinarians say the procedure is unsafe. Pets remaining intact would be required to have a microchip implanted.

Supporters of the bill tout it as a way to reduce the number of animals entering shelters where many are then euthanized. Bob Barker, the former host of “The Price is Right,” attended the council meeting and spoke in favor of the legislation.

“I think it’s obvious to all of us that mandatory spay/neuter is a necessity,” Barker said. “For decades, I closed every “Price is Right” urging owners to help control the pet population … It’s not enough. We need legislation.”

Opponents of the bill stated the ordinance was a violation of their rights, and said it’s a decision that pet owners should make with their veterinarian. The sole dissenting council member, Bill Rosendahl, said 4 months of age was too young to sterilize an animal. He added that he would rather see the animal services department focus its resources on ensuring dog owners comply with licensing laws. 

Those in violation of the ordinance would first be given a warning for non-compliance; future violators would be subject to fines and community service. A fourth violation could result in a misdemeanor charge.

The council voted to create an advisory committee that would report back annually to the council in an effort to gauge its effect.

The legislation is similar to a statewide effort in California to mandate dog and cat sterilization, AB 1634. The measure is pending and is expected to be heard in the spring.

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Los Angeles City Council Votes to Implement Mandatory Spay/Neuter

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Reader Comments

Mikaela    San Diego, CA

2/7/2008 8:04:23 PM

This is a great bill that should definitely be passed. Hopefully, other places will adopt this bill, too. It would greatly help with over-pet population, and would reduce the number of pets euthanized each year in shelters!!! I say, on behalf of the cats and other animals, "Neuter and Spay, they're the right way!"

Jennifer    Madras, OR

2/6/2008 10:38:59 AM

I think thats a GREAT idea! other places should pass that rule also!

Kathy    Morehead City, NC

2/6/2008 8:48:37 AM

Some vets will spay/neuter as early as two months (2 lbs). 3 months (3lbs) seems to be the norm for rescue vets. Waiting until 6 months is risky as females can get pregnant by that age. I'm sorry to hear of the loss of a young kitten after surgery but any surgery is risky and it's an exception rather than the rule that there are complications.

Sara    Atlanta, GA

2/6/2008 6:49:24 AM

More states should get on board

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