Despite opposition from responsible pet owners, on October 10, 2023, the Floyd County, Georgia, County Commission enacted changes to the county animal ordinance that make it “unlawful for any person to own, keep, or be in possession of a sexually mature dog or cat which has not been spayed or neutered, unless otherwise exempt from this requirement hereunder.” Prior to enactment, the ordinance was amended to include exemptions for show, sporting, and hunting dogs.
Per a copy of the ordinance provided this week by county staff to the American Kennel Club (AKC), spay or neuter is not required if:
- The owner provides documentation signed by a licensed veterinarian that an animal is currently unable to be safely altered due to health concerns. Such provision shall require the documentation to include an estimated timeframe in which the animal should be medically sound for alteration, if said licensed veterinarian is reasonably able to make such a determination.
- The owner is a registered and licensed Georgia Pet Dealer through the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the animal in question is kept for purposes of Commercial Breeding.
- The animal is deemed to be a Working Dog as defined in this Chapter.
The definition of “Working Dog” was amended to provide for certain additional exemptions. As enacted, “Working Dog” is defined as: “a dog suitable by size, breeding, or training for useful work (such as draft, herding, show, sporting and hunting) especially as distinguished from one suitable primarily for a pet; and is trained for and employed in meaningful work. The requirements for this definition are not met by the animal simply possessing common canine traits or characteristics.”
Microchipping of sexually mature pets is required unless the owner provides documentation signed by a veterinarian that the animal is currently unable to be microchipped due to health concerns.
A WGRA news story reported, “[County Manager Jamie] McCord noted that this is a secondary ordinance, which means animal control is not going to be actively searching for unaltered pets. ‘It will not be surveying properties looking for these problems,’ he said. ‘It will be a secondary enforcement after another issue is identified.’”
However, the copy of the ordinance provided to AKC does not define nor provide for “secondary enforcement.”
View AKC’s most recent legislative alert on this issue that discusses the ineffectiveness of and canine health concerns associated with mandated spay/neuter.
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) thanks dog owners, club members, the Georgia Canine Coalition, and members of sportsmen’s groups for contacting county commissioners and attending the commission meeting.
For additional information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.