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Mandatory Spay/Neuter Ordinance Proposed in Austin

(Tuesday, May 24, 2005)

Purebred dog owners in Austin—we need your help! The city's Animal Advisory Committee recently approved a proposal that could have a devastating impact on our sport. The measure, which now goes to the City Council for consideration, includes a mandatory spay/neuter provision for all dogs and cats over 6 months of age unless one purchases an intact animal permit at a cost of $100 per animal per year. Owners will further be required to microchip their intact pets.

Austin's proposed ordinance also places restrictions on breeding within the city unless one obtains a $500 breeding permit for each litter produced. Breeders must display their permit number in advertisements and make it available to new owners on the bill of sale or transfer.

First-time violators will face an expensive $150 fine for each animal cited in addition to payment for any required permits. Upon a second offense, the city will seize and sterilize the owner's animal(s). Even intact-animal owners traveling through or visiting the city could face charges if they do not carry proof of ownership in another city, or if they allow their unaltered dog to run loose.

The ordinance under consideration in Austin will do little to address the city's problems with animal care and control. Instead, it will hurt responsible hobby breeders, those who dedicate much time, money and love to breeding well-tempered, sound dogs for the pet-buying public. If breeding regulations are enacted, these small breeders may be forced out of existence, denying puppy purchasers a conscientious, knowledgeable, source of purebred dogs. Additionally, hundreds of fanciers who show but do not breed their unaltered animals may have no choice but to give up their enjoyment in the sport.

Low-cost spay/neuter programs, strong enforcement of reasonable leash laws, and public education campaigns to teach people about responsible dog ownership are all better ways to address animal control concerns. Urgent help is needed to fight this unfair legislation!

What You Can Do:
Contact Austin City Officials immediately and respectfully ask them to oppose this punitive ordinance.

City of Austin
PO Box 1088
Austin, TX 78767
http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/council/groupemail.htm (Reaches all member of the council.)

Mayor Will Wynn
Ph: (512) 974-2250
Fax: (512) 974-2337
E-Mail: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/council/wynn.htm

Mayor Pro Tem Jackie Goodman
Ph: (512) 974-2255
Fax: (512) 974-1888
E-Mail: http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/connect/email_jackiegoodman.htm

Councilman Raul Alvarez
Ph: (512) 974-2264
Fax: (512) 974-1887

Councilwoman Betty Dunkerley
Ph: (512) 974-2258
Fax: (512) 974-1886

Councilman Brewster McCracken
Ph: (512) 974-2256
Fax: (512) 974-1884

Councilman Daryl Slusher
Ph: (512) 974-2260
Fax: (512) 974-3212

Councilman Danny Thomas
Ph: (512) 974-2266
Fax: (512) 974-1890

Points to Consider:
MANDATORY SPAY/NEUTER PROPOSALS ARE NOT THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO SOLVE ANIMAL CONTROL PROBLEMS
Mandatory spay/neuter is an ineffective solution to animal control problems because it fails to address the heart of the issue—irresponsible ownership. Mandatory spay/neuter laws are extremely difficult to enforce and can be evaded by irresponsible animal owners by not licensing their pets. More regulations increase the workload of already financially strained animal control offices, making it even more difficult for them to perform their duties.

MANDATORY SPAY/NEUTER PROPOSALS ARE UNFAIR TO RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERS AND BREEDERS
Responsible owners should be allowed to use their own discretion in determining whether to alter their animals. Spay/neuter requirements target all owners regardless of their actions. Spay/neuter requirements would restrict the many responsible breeders who raise and breed purebred dogs for the purpose of showing. These breeders make a serious commitment to their animals with the intention of promoting the sport of purebred dogs and improving the individual breeds. Spaying and neutering is a surgical procedure that may not be right for all animals. A licensed veterinarian should perform these procedures only after consultation with and a thorough examination.

A BETTER SOLUTION IS AVAILABLE
Strongly enforced animal control laws (such as leash laws), and increased public education efforts are better ways to address the issue of irresponsible dog ownership. A public education campaign would help teach community residents about how to properly care for their pets, as well as the need to be a responsible pet owner.

For additional information, contact:
Responsible Pet Owners Alliance
http://www.responsiblepetowners.org
Mary Beth Duerler
rpoa@texas.net
(210) 822-6763

Need materials, talking points or other assistance? Contact AKC's Canine Legislation department (doglaw@akc.org, 919-816-3720.)

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