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Santa Fe County Proposing Mandatory Spay/Neuter, Breeder Fees

(Wednesday, December 19, 2012)

Santa Fe County has proposed numerous problematic changes to its animal control ordinance. This includes mandatory spay/neuter on an animal’s first impoundment and extensive fees for dog owners and breeders.

The Board of County Commissioners is expected to consider the proposal in January 2013. County residents are strongly encouraged to contact the commissioners and respectfully ask them to not support laws that unfairly punish responsible owners of intact dogs. Click here for the mailing address and e-mail form for the commission.

Summary

The proposed ordinance has several items of concern to the AKC, including:

  • Huge fee increases for dog owners and breeders – Numerous fees are proposed, including increasing annual intact animal permits from $10 per animal to $100 per animal and kennel permits from $50 to $200 per year. A kennel is defined as any place where dogs, cats or other animals are boarded, kept, bought, sold, traded, groomed, let for hire, or trained for a fee. This would include shelters and rescues.

    It also would establish a new breeding permit at the cost of $125/year for each breeding dog and a $25 fee for each litter. These fees will match those already in place in the City of Santa Fe.

    Those holding permits must allow animal control officers to inspect at “any reasonable time” to ensure compliance.

  • Mandatory spay/neuter on first impoundment – Any animal impounded by the Animal Services Department for any reason must be spayed/neutered before it is released to the owner. Exemptions are made for service animals and animals that “have attained champion status from a nationally recognized club.”

    The measure also requires all animals over 6 months of age to be sterilized unless the owner purchases an intact animal permit for each animal.
  • Vague Dangerous Dog Definitions – A dangerous animal is defined as one which, when unprovoked and off the owner’s property, causes someone to take a defensive action to avoid injury. It is also defined as an animal that causes injury by biting or another aggressive behavior. Animals designated as dangerous must be muzzled and kept on a 3-foot leash when off the owner’s property. Current law already provides additional requirements for animals declared “vicious” by causing serious injury or death.

    The AKC understands the desire to protect the community from dangerous animals, but is concerned that a puppy could potentially be designated as “dangerous” for its life and the owner will have no opportunity to get the designation removed.

Talking Points:

Read AKC’s Issue Analysis “Why Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws are Ineffective”
Read AKC’s Issue Analysis “The Value of Responsible Dog Breeders”

Visit the AKC Government Relations Toolbox for sample letters on mandatory spay/neuter and breeder regulations.

AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will continue to closely follow this proposal and provide more information as it becomes available. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.