The Guilford County (NC) Commission is holding a public hearing on Thursday, September 21, on a proposal that would require cat and dog owners to spay/neuter their dogs by the age of 6 months or pay a $200 fee for an intact animal permit. The proposal offers a few exceptions, however AKC believes that the decision of when and whether to spay or neuter a dog is one that should be made by a dog’s owner in conjunction with their veterinarian, not as the result of arbitrary laws.
The purpose of the Guilford County proposal is to address significant issues with shelter population and irresponsible owners in the county. While a bit unclear, it would appear that the fee would only be enforced if someone is in violation of another portion of the county animal laws.
The AKC strongly believes that owners should be responsible for their animals and should comply with all animal laws and regulations. However, this proposal as currently written will not address the county’s animal control concerns and is unreasonable – particularly for minor offenses. For example, if someone’s gate is left open one time and their dog gets loose and is picked up by animal control, or wanders into a neighbor’s yard and damages their garden, they could be declared a public nuisance under current law. Under this proposal, that dog would be required to be sterilized immediately unless the owner pays a $200 intact animal fee.
There is a vague exemption for those who can prove their dog has participated in an AKC sanctioned event. However, this is difficult to prove, and it is unclear whether this is one event over the lifetime of the dog, or whether the dog must be actively participating in events. It further offers no protection for those dogs and young puppies that have not yet participated in an AKC event.
AKC is encouraging the county to not proceed with this proposal and instead consider an amendment that would only require sterilization on a third at-large offense within a year. This would protect responsible owners and still hold irresponsible owners accountable.
Guilford County residents and those who participate in events in the county are encouraged to contact the commission and consider attending the hearing on September 21. Respectfully ask them to:
1) Not support the proposal as currently written and
2) Delay the vote in order to allow time to develop an effective alternative solution
Visit AKC’s Government Relations Policy Resources Toolbox and scroll down to “Mandatory Spay Neuter” to view sample letters to legislators that you can personalize. Also check out the AKC Issue Analysis Why Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws are Ineffective and the AKC Issue Brief on Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Old County Courthouse, Second Floor
301 W. Market Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
** Please note testimony will likely be limited to 20 minutes for each side, so if you would like to testify, please keep your comments very brief.
Commissioners Contact Information: Visit http://www.myguilford.com/boc/ to obtain contact information for each commissioner. When contacting them, please indicate if you are a county resident and/or participate in AKC events in the county.
AKC Government Relations will continue to closely monitor this proposal. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call (919) 816-3720.