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Florida Mandatory Spay/Neuter Bill Introduced

(Thursday, January 22, 2009)

Legislation that seeks to prohibit persons from owning or maintaining an intact dog or cat older than four months old has been filed in the Florida House. If adopted, Florida House Bill 451 would have a profound negative impact not only on responsible dog breeders in Florida, but also on all current and prospective dog owners. It is vital that all breeders and concerned dog owners in Florida contact their elected state legislators and voice their strong opposition to this unreasonable and unenforceable measure.

The American Kennel Club opposes the concept of breeding permits, breeding bans, or the mandatory spay/neuter of purebred dogs. Instead, we support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of purebred dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who take their responsibilities seriously. Additionally, we strongly support and actively promote a wide range of programs to educate the public about responsible breeding practices and the responsibilities of dog ownership.

As currently written, HB 451 would:

  • Require owners of every dog or cat in Florida to have each animal sterilized within 30 days of the animal reaching four months of age, or within 30 days of the owner receiving the animal.
  • Provide ambiguous exemptions, including dogs with veterinary certification showing that sterilization would endanger the animal’s health, until such issues no longer exist; Greyhounds currently used for racing, until retirement; show animals registered with an established breed registration organization to be approved by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; dogs or cats that have earned, or are in the process of earning, a competitive sports title; animals trained, or in training, for use in law enforcement, military, or rescue; and animals for which an owner holds a valid breeding permit issued in accordance with an ordinance of a county or municipality.

AKC believes that any attempt at restricting the rights and liberties of responsible breeders—especially via mandatory spay/neuter laws—must be defeated.

The Florida Legislature will convene its session in early March. As a recently filed bill, HB 451 has not yet been referred to a committee within the Florida House of Representatives. However, it is important that all responsible dog breeding and owning Floridians write their elected officials in Tallahassee now, respectfully expressing their strong opposition to HB 451, and asking them to oppose the bill. This will help ensure that the bill will not be considered when the legislature comes into session.

For a copy of the AKC’s Disagree Diplomatically brochure, please click here.

To find out who represents you in the Florida House of Representatives, please click here. For a sample letter to your Representative, please click here.

To find out who represents you in the Florida Senate, please click here. For a sample letter to your Senator, please click here.

The AKC Government Relations Department will continue to monitor the consideration of HB 451 and will notify the purebred dog community when the bill is assigned to a committee. Contact information for committee members will be provided and purebred dog owners should express their opposition to HB 451 to committee members at that time.

For more information, please contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org.

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