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Las Vegas Mandatory Spay/Neuter Ordinance Returned to City Council for Vote

(Monday, November 09, 2009)

The committee reviewing the proposed mandatory spay/neuter ordinance chose to send it back to the full city council without a recommendation. The measure will be heard at the November 18th city council meeting. Concerned fanciers and responsible dog owners and breeders need to attend this meeting to ensure that your voices are heard!

Las Vegas City Council Meeting
Wednesday, November 18th
9am
City Council Chambers
400 Stewart Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89101

If you are unable to attend the meeting, please email the council members and let them know about your concerns.

Mayor Oscar B. Goodman Ogoodman@lasvegasnevada.gov
Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian LTarkanian@lasvegasnevada.gov
Councilman Steve Wolfson SWolfson@lasvegasnevada.gov
Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese GReese@lasvegasnevada.gov
Councilman Stavros S. Anthony SAnthony@lasvegasnevada.gov
Councilman Steven D. Ross SRoss@lasvegasnevada.gov
Councilman Ricki Y. Barlow RBarlow@lasvegasnevada.gov

Silver State Kennel Club Legislative Liaison Ken Sondej (4winds@viawest.net) is coordinating speakers for the meeting. You can also contact the AKC Government Relations Department at doglaw@akc.org for additional information. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.

Provisions of the Ordinance

  • All dogs and cats over the age of 4 months must be spayed or neutered unless the owner qualifies for one of the following exemptions:
    • holds a valid dog fancier, cat fancier permit, breeder permit or professional animal handler permit
    • the dog is used by a law enforcement agency as a law enforcement dog
    • the dog is used by a search and rescue agency for search and rescue activities
      • Please note that many search and rescue dogs are privately owned and would not be exempt under the current proposal
    • The dog is a service animal such as a guide animal, hearing animal, assistance animal, seizure alert animal or social/therapy animal
    • The dog is being used by a pound, shelter, humane society or similar organization, whether public or private, the principal purpose of which is securing the adoption of dogs or cats, provided that such organization has a policy and rules requiring the spaying or neutering of all dogs and cats placed for adoption
  • All puppies or kittens born to dogs and cats that have not been spayed/neutered as required will be forfeited and may be given to the local shelter for adoption
    • This is a particularly puzzling provision if the goal is to reduce the number of animals in the shelter. Why would the city confiscate puppies and kittens who would likely find good homes without their interference? A fine would be understandable, but confiscation is unreasonable.
  • Fines for violation
    • $250 for a first offense
    • $500 for a second offense
    • $1000 for a third offense
      • These fines are outrageously high and will likely force some owners to surrender their pets
      • The fine is reduced by 80% if the animal is sterilized within 30 days, however as these surgeries themselves cost hundreds of dollars, that does not help individuals who cannot afford the fines
  • Impounded dogs or cats that are intact, but whose owners do not qualify for one of the above exemptions must be sterilized prior to release
    • The current wording of this section seems to mandate that animal control perform the sterilization, and would deny owners the ability to take the animal to a veterinarian of their own choosing
  • Provides that impounded animals be kept for only 72 hours
    • Three days is a short time frame, especially as it is not specified that these are business days. A family on vacation for a long weekend may return home to find their pet has been impounded and adopted out to someone else
  • Requires that impounded animals be microchipped and that the owner pay for the microchipping prior to release
    • This only adds to the fees owners are required to pay for reclaiming their animal
    • No fee for this service is specified
    • The ordinance does not require the microchip be enrolled with a national registry. The implantation of the chip does not help recover the animal, only enrollment with a national registry will provide the owner’s contact information
  • Pet Stores are required to provide the following information to Department of Detention and Enforcement
    • The name and residence address of the buyer
    • The address of the location where the dog or cat will reside, if not the same as the buyer’s address
    • The breed and approximate age
    • A description, including principal colors
    • Failure to provide this information shall be grounds for non-renewal of, or disciplinary action against, a business license
      • It is unreasonable to require a business to violate their customer’s privacy in this manner
      • Since many shoppers may not reside within the city, it will create burdensome paperwork that in many cases will be useless
      • May cause shoppers to choose pet stores that are not within the Las Vegas City limits, costing those stores business
      • Will increase costs for stores when they have to sterilize any animals that may be over 4 months of age

May in fact deter these stores from selling older animals

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