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September 9, 2019

The Bakersfield City Council will address both new animal ordinances and amendments to existing ordinances on Wednesday, September 11.  These will, among other things, require any animal that is picked up twice as a stray to be spayed or neutered, regardless of the time between the impounds.  The proposals will also designate three or more dogs as a kennel and subject them to fees and inspections.  In addition, the proposals require licensing of any dog three months or older, which requires proof of vaccination. Puppies at 12 weeks of age are not fully vaccinated for contagious diseases, including zoonotic diseases such as rabies.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) strongly believes that owners should be responsible for their animals and comply with all animal laws and regulations.  The Bakersfield proposals do not address significant issues with shelter population and irresponsible owners in the county.

However, the AKC believes that, as currently written, the Bakersfield proposals not only fail to address the county’s animal control, shelter population, and irresponsible owner concerns, but are also unreasonable, particularly for minor offenses.  For example, if a dog owner’s gate is accidentally left open more than once during the lifetime of a dog, animal control can pick up and sterilize the dog even though it has not demonstrated nuisance behavior, such as a dog that habitually gets out of its owner’s yard.

Talking Points:

AKC is encouraging the City to not proceed with these proposals as currently written.  Instead, we encourage the city to consider amendments 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.

Bakersfield residents and those who participate in events in the area encouraged to contact the council and consider attending the hearing on September 11.  Respectfully ask them to:

1) Not support the proposals 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.

Hearing Details:
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
5:15 pm
Council Chambers, City Hall, 1501 Truxtun Avenue
Bakersfield, California

AKC Government Relations will continue to closely monitor these proposals and will provide further information as developments warrant.  For more information, contact or call (919) 816-3720.