California Mandatory Spay or Neuter Bill Moves Forward

If enacted, most cats and dogs older than 4 months would have to be spayed or neutered.

Posted: May 25, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

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The California Healthy Pets Act, which would require most cats and dogs in the state older than 4 months to be spayed or neutered, is one step closer to reality.

The mandatory spay or neuter bill is now headed to the state Assembly floor after successfully passing through an appropriations committee. It will be heard by the full Assembly during the week of June 4.

If passed into law, cats or dogs of a recognized breed raised for show, sport, service, law enforcement or rescue are exempt from the mandate.

In addition, licensed dog or cat breeders could apply for a permit to keep their animals intact. Local jurisdictions would determine the permit’s cost.

Opponents of the mandatory spay or neuter bill, including the American Kennel Club, the Pet Industry Joint Counsel and the North American Police Work Dog Association, say the law is too broad. Opponents say the bill is financially burdensome and cumbersome to hobby breeders who might raise only a couple of dogs or cats per year.

Supporters say, however, that a mandatory spay or neuter law would save taxpayers millions of dollars, reduce the number of animals euthanized within the state and protect residents from bites and other health hazards related to strays.

Introduced by Rep. Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys), the mandatory spay or neuter bill has the support of many California-based animal rescues and shelters, as well as the California Veterinary Medical Association.

“Every year, hundreds of thousands of perfectly healthy and adoptable pets are euthanized by overcrowded shelters that are unable to find them good homes,” Levine said. “We need a common sense approach to solve this problem.”

If enacted, violators would face a $500 fine. The money raised from permits and fines would fund the state’s enforcement of the program, as well as free or low-cost spay and neuter efforts.

If passed, the law would take effect April 1, 2008.

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California Mandatory Spay or Neuter Bill Moves Forward

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Reader Comments

Deb    Pittsburgh, PA

9/10/2007 4:44:06 PM

With thousands of animals in need of adoption each year, requiring spay or neuter is a better idea than having to euthanize the animals. If a person wishes to adopt an animal they should be able to afford to spay or neuter them.

Elizabeth    Marshall, MN

5/25/2007 8:59:27 AM

This is a fantastic idea. Sure, some details need to be ironed out, but you gotta start somewhere. Low-income pet owners should consider the cost of caring for a pet, keeping it healthy with regular vet appointments, vaccinations, flea and tick treatment, and the responsibility to society not to contribute to the overpopulation of dogs and cats, before adopting a pet. Why not adopt one that is already altered? Spay/neuter is a one-time cost, leads to a longer and healthier life with fewer problems (behavioral, health, roaming, aggressiveness, spraying) for most animals. I hope other states follow suit and consider similar legislation. This will help to stop the hobby breeders that are in it for the money and don't follow laws and regulations for animal health and safety, that are not registered. The more vets neuter/spay, the more the cost can decrease, more can afford to offer discounts to those with low incomes or multiple animals.

Katlyn    Staunton, VA

5/25/2007 4:33:17 AM

Excellent plan! A bill of this nature should be passed in ALL 50 states!

Juene    Chesnee, SC

5/25/2007 2:18:11 AM

What about low encome pet owners? Does this mean if you are poor then you can't have a pet? That sounds a bit discriminatory.

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