Memphis to Consider Mandatory Spay/Neuter, New Dangerous Dog Definitions & Fee Increases on August

The Memphis City Council Services & Neighborhood Committee will consider four ordinances amending...

The Memphis City Council Services & Neighborhood Committee will consider four ordinances amending the city’s animal control laws on Tuesday, August 10th. The proposal will require mandatory spay/neuter of all dogs over 29 pounds, define any dog that has "bitten once and been at-large twice" as a dangerous dog, increase fees for owners of intact dogs and limit tethering.  It is vital that responsible dog owners and breeders attend this meeting to oppose these changes.

Memphis City Council Public Services & Neighborhood Committee Meeting
Tuesday, August 10th
10:15am
City Council Conference Room
5th floor of City Hall
125 N. Main
Memphis, TN 38103

Provisions of the Ordinances:

  • Require dogs over 29 pounds to be spayed/neutered
     
    • Exemptions
       
      • Dogs trained and used as law enforcement dogs.
         
      • Dogs trained and used as a guide dog, hearing dog, assistance dog, therapy dog, seizure alert dog or designated as breeding stock by an agency approved by the director.
         
      • Dogs trained and used as search and rescue dogs or designated as breeding stock by an agency approved by the director.
         
      • Dogs trained and used as herding or livestock guardian dogs, or designated as breeding stock by an agency approved by the director.
         
      • Dogs unable to be sterilized for a medical reason.
         
      • Dogs boarded in a licensed kennel.
         
      • Dogs registered with AKC or other recognized registry or trained and kept for the purpose of show, field or agility trials. However, these owners must comply with the following:
         
        • Must apply for a Fertile Animal Permit
           
        • Must purchase a one-time $200 intact animal permit (It is not truly an exemption if you have to buy an expensive license).
           
        • Owners are allowed only one litter per residence per 12-months.
           
  • Defines dogs that have "bitten once and been at-large twice" as dangerous dogs, but does not define "bitten." Does this mean bitten a person and inflicted injury? Bitten another domestic animal? What if the bite does not cause injury or is provoked?
     
  • Requires a dog that has bitten or attacked to be sterilized.
     
    • Again, it is not clear what would happen if the bite was provoked or if there was no injury resulting from the bite. If the intent is to require sterilization of dogs that have been adjudicated to be dangerous or vicious, then that should be specified.
       
  • Sets the license fee for intact dogs weighing 29 pounds or less at $35 annually and removes the license fee and requirement for sterilized dogs.
     
    • It is unreasonable for intact animal owners to be solely responsible for funding animal control operations. Licensing was originally established to ensure that dogs were vaccinated for rabies – this will significantly undermine that goal if the majority of dogs no longer need to be licensed. If this ordinance is adopted, it becomes solely a tax on owners of intact dogs. Additionally, one wonders why intact dogs weighing less than 29 pounds are licensed annually and intact dogs weighing more than 29 pounds are offered a lifetime license.
       
  • Requires that dogs restrained by tie-outs or overhead cable runs also be restrained by a traditional or invisible fence. This will mean that many owners will have to construct a traditional fence or install an invisible fence; likely costing thousands of dollars.
     
  • Requires that dogs restrained by tie-outs or overhead cable runs for more than 2 hours be sterilized.

 

What You Can Do:

  • Attend the Memphis City Council Public Services & Neighborhood Committee meeting on August 10th to oppose the ordinance. Our AKC Federation, The Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee will be coordinating speakers and can be reached at raotinc@aol.com.