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Mandatory Sterilization

Here's an interesting story concerning the new mandatory sterilization ordinance in Los Angeles, CA. When the Los Angeles City Council approved the measure in February,...

Horst Hoefinger  |  Sep 25th 2008


Here’s an interesting story concerning the new mandatory sterilization ordinance in Los Angeles, CA.

When the Los Angeles City Council approved the measure in February, the hope was that pet sterilization would stem the tide of unwanted and stray animals flowing into shelters. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 3 million to 4 million animals are euthanized in shelters nationwide each year.

The new ordinance, which goes into effect in less than a week, orders all dogs and cats 4 months and older be sterilized.

The ordinance would exclude those dogs and cats that have special skills or are being trained for special activities. Also exempt, are show dogs and those trying to join the show circuit. Lastly, are those that have medical excuses. Hmm….as in, “No don’t cut those off, I may need them at a later date.”

Since spaying or neutering can be expensive the city has put into place a number of low cost options.

There are a number of reduced-cost options for sterilizing your animal. The city’s shelters and many of their private rescue partners offer vouchers — to everyone — worth $30 toward the cost of a sterilization procedure performed by participating veterinarians. Senior citizens, the disabled and low-income residents quality for a certificate for a free procedure at certain veterinary hospitals or a mobile clinic.

Interestingly, City Controller Laura Chick, released a report stating that “L.A. Animal Services was ill-prepared to implement or enforce the new law.”

She contends that animal control officers already have difficulty enforcing the other ordinances in place. While I realize it may be hard to enforce every ordinance, such as the leash law, it doesn’t mean an important issue such as this should be swept under the carpet.

It seems to me, the city controller is more concerned about the bottom line than the fact that millions of innocent animals are being euthanized each year. By putting an ordinance like this into place the number of suffering and abandoned animals will be substantially cut down.

There are already major costs involved to catch, temporarily take care of, and euthanize these abandoned animals. I would think that, in the long run, the enforcement of this ordinance would be cost-effective for the city.

Do you think that it should be mandatory for all pet owners to sterilize their pets, unless they fall under one of the exemptions ? Or, do you think the this is something the government should stay out of ?