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Arkansas: Mandatory Sterilization Bill Rescheduled for Wednesday, 3/20

(Wednesday, March 20, 2013)

On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, the Arkansas House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development is scheduled to consider House Bill 2160, which would require sterilization of dogs and cats over the age of six months unless the owner qualifies for an intact animal license at a fee of $50.00 per year. It is unclear if a license would be required for each intact animal.

The owners of certain dogs and cats would be exempt. Exemptions would include breeds recognized and currently registered with the American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, and certain cat registries. Exemptions would also be provided, under specific circumstances, for owners of military, law enforcement and search-and-rescue dogs; service dogs; dogs used for hunting or field trial competition, and dogs unfit for surgery. Governmental animal shelters and certain humane societies would be exempt; however, rescue organizations and foster homes in residential areas would not be exempt.

Even with these exemptions, this vaguely constructed bill is problematic for responsible dog owners. Concerns with this bill include, but are not limited to:

  • It would require exempt dogs used for hunting or field trial competitions to be kept in a fenced enclosure at all times when not engaged in hunting, competition, or related activities. Also, the owner of a dog used for field trial competition would be required to present on request documentation proving participation within the past 12 months.
  • It would be a violation for an owner to allow an intact dog or cat to be “at large” and in direct contact with any other intact dogs or cats. Under this measure, “at large” would mean “not confined within a building, a fenced enclosure, or under the physical control of a competent person.” This restriction could make it a violation to allow intact male and female dogs to train for or to participate in outdoor off-lead activities such as obedience and agility competition, field work, coursing, performance events, and other activities where contact between dogs might occur outside of a fenced enclosure.
  • Certain officers of non-governmental humane societies would be empowered to enforce this measure.

The American Kennel Club opposes mandatory spay/neuter of purebred dogs. 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. We also encourage pet owners to decide in consultation with a veterinarian whether to spay or neuter their dogs as a responsible means to prevent accidental litters.

What You Can Do:

Immediately contact committee members to state your concerns with HB2160. Click on the link below, then click on each committee member’s name for contact information:
http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2013/2013R/Pages/Legislators.aspx?committeecode=870

Attend the committee meeting and state your concerns. A sign-up sheet will be provided if you wish to speak before the committee.

When: March 20, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
Where: Room 138, State Capitol, 500 Woodlane Street, Little Rock, AR 72001

For questions or more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at doglaw@akc.org or (919) 816-3720.

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