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UPDATE: Fanciers Force Amendments to Riverside County, CA Ordinance

(Wednesday, January 14, 2009)

Over 100 concerned dog and cat owners attended yesterday’s hearing in Riverside County and convinced the Board of Supervisors to accept amendments to the proposed spay/neuter and mandatory microchipping ordinance. Although the ideal outcome would have been the defeat of this ordinance and to focus efforts on responsible animal owner education programs and stronger enforcement of existing laws, the changes that were made are positive ones and fanciers should be proud of what they accomplished.

Most significantly, the ordinance will now require the spaying/neutering of a cat or dog on a third violation of the animal control ordinance, rather than on a single violation as was proposed in the initial draft. The ordinance will also provide some exemptions for "recognized breeders." This term will be defined by a 10 member committee appointed by the supervisors. Each supervisor will appoint a supporter and an opponent of the ordinance to serve on this committee. The committee will also conduct a review of the ordinance and evaluate its effectiveness over the next year.

The mandatory microchipping portion of the ordinance remains unchanged and all residents of the unincorporated parts of the county will need to have their animals microchipped and register the microchip with the county when they renew their animal licenses.

AKC wishes to thank the many fanciers who attended the hearing to oppose the ordinance, those who wrote letters and emails, and those who worked to support local clubs on this important issue. We know that the changes were adopted only because of your hard work. AKC will continue to fight mandatory spay/neuter proposals and other legislation that unfairly burdens responsible dog owners. We encourage communities to instead pursue strict enforcement of their existing laws and to promote responsible pet owner education.