On Wednesday, May 17, the Kern County Animal Services Commission are reconsidering a proposed ordinance that seeks to further the licensing burden on dog owners in Kern County, and could lead to mandatory spay/neuter for one violation of animal control laws. If advanced, the proposal would go to the Kern County Board of Supervisors for review and possible passage into law.
County residents are strongly encouraged to contact both the commission and the Kern County Board of Supervisors to express your opposition to this proposal.
This is the same proposal that has been discussed in previous meetings of the Kern County Animal Services Commission. Scroll down for contact info.
Kern County Draft Ordinance of Animal Control Regulations
Status: Hearing to be held on Wednesday, May 17 at 6:00 PM
The Kern County Animal Services Commission is set to hear a proposal to animal control regulations that would institute an increased licensing regime in Kern County with severe penalties for a first violation. Current law already requires an unaltered dog permit. Under the latest version of this proposal, failure to license an unaltered dog could lead to mandatory spay/neuter on one violation of related animal control laws.
As currently constructed, the proposal is confusingly drafted and leaves some ambiguity around the availability of unaltered dog licenses. AKC appreciates the input of the Kern County Animal Services and their interpretation that unaltered dog licenses will still be available; however, we still have concerns with the precise language. Further, AKC has concerns that owners of intact animals who have not yet purchased a license could be required to sterilize their dogs for something as simple as a gate being left open and dog getting out—on just one occasion. It is unclear how this would apply to a young puppy who is not yet old enough to be sterilized. It is also unclear if when a hobbyist has a litter of puppies if they must immediately purchase permits for every dog in the litter.
Lastly, for those who purchase an unaltered dog license, three animal control violations over a 36-month period could lead to revocation of an unaltered dog license along with mandatory spay/neuter. AKC strongly believes that responsible dog ownership includes adherence to all local laws. However, as written, it does not allow for unintended actions such as a landscaper or someone leaving a gate open one time and a dog briefly escapes.
In its current form, AKC opposes this proposed ordinance.
In your community outreach, encourage the commission and board of supervisors to consider the following amendments being recommended by AKC:
- A clear allowance be inserted into the ordinance for responsible dog owners to unambiguously be able to purchase an unaltered dog license and therefore be exempt from mandatory spay/neuter laws.
- Given not everyone is aware that they must license their dogs, language should be included for a three-step warning process for dog owners to comply with the licensing system. A dog should not be subject to mandatory spay-neuter simply because it got out of the house one time.
- For responsible dog owners attempting their best to comply with the licensing system, AKC is recommending three violations over 12 months, as opposed to the 36 months that is currently in the draft ordinance.
Visit the Mandatory Spay/Neuter Key Issue page in the AKC Legislative Action Center for more talking points and information.
What You Can Do:
Attend the Animal Service Commission Meeting and respectfully express your opposition: The proposal is scheduled to discussed at the Kern County Animal Services Commission’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting:
Wednesday, May 17 at 6:00 PM
County Administrative Office, Third Floor Multi-Purpose Room
1115 Truxtun Avenue
Contact the commission and respectfully express your opposition. Encourage them to consider the amendments being proposed by AKC: (661) 868-7100 or AnimalControlCommission@kerncounty.com
Contact the Kern County Board of Supervisors and let them know you oppose the Animal Service Commission’s proposal:
- District 1 Supervisor Phillip Peters; email@example.com; (661) 868-3650
- District 2 Supervisor Zack Scrivner; firstname.lastname@example.org; (661) 868-3660
- District 3 Supervisor Jeff Flores; email@example.com; (661) 868-3670
- District 4 Supervisor David Couch; firstname.lastname@example.org; (661) 868-3680
- District 5 Supervisor Leticia Perez; email@example.com; (661) 868-3690
AKC Government Relations continues to monitor proposals in California impacting dog owners and will provide updates. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.