West Virginia Introduces Mandatory Spay/Neuter Proposal

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A proposal has been introduced in West Virginia that would require the sterilization of all dogs and cats, with very few exceptions. All bills must be considered in committee by the end of this week, so it is important that all who reside or participate in conformation, hunting, performance, or other activities with dogs in West Virginia to contact the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee TODAY and respectfully ask them to OPPOSE House Bill 4653.

A proposal has been introduced in West Virginia that would require the sterilization of all dogs and cats, with very few exceptions.

All bills must be considered in committee by the end of this week, so it is important that all who reside or participate in conformation, hunting, performance, or other activities with dogs in West Virginia to contact the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee TODAY and respectfully ask them to OPPOSE House Bill 4653 (click on the individual names in the links above for contact information).  Also consider contacting the bill sponsor and respectfully let him know your concerns with HB 4653. 

Visit our Mandatory Spay/Neuter key issue page in the Legislative Action Center for talking points on why mandatory spay/neuter laws are ineffective and are not in the best interest of dogs, responsible owners, or even public health.

Background:

As currently written, House Bill 4653 includes the following provisions:

  • Mandatory sterilization of all dogs of “reproductive age” with few exceptions. It would be considered illegal to keep an intact dog or cat  of reproductive age (in the bill that is 9 months for a female and 1 year for a male, and 6 months for all cats) unless there is a signed statement from a veterinarian that the dog is not healthy enough for the procedure. 

 

  • Vague and narrow exemptions to the mandatory spay/neuter requirement. Those who keep dogs or cats “as breeding stock by registered breeders of purebred domestic dogs and cats” are exempt, but it is unclear how this is determined.  Also, those animals kept by animal shelters and rescues are exempt.  It is unclear why this is included, as the bill states the purpose is to address shelter population concerns.

    HB 4653 would also exempt dogs kept by law enforcement for the purpose of carrying out their duties, educational institutions providing education in veterinary sciences, and animal wardens and other public officials as part of their official duties.

    Local counties must maintain a registry of all who are exempted from the law.  Any person seeking an exemption must provide a sworn affidavit as to why they qualify for the exemption and agree to inspections, no more than once every six months.   

AKC Government Relations will continue to closely monitor this legislation and provide more information as it becomes available.