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The Las Cruces City Council held a special work session to discuss a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance and continues to receive pressure from a local animal advocacy organization to implement this proposal.

A draft ordinance is not publicly available, and it is unclear when a draft will be available. The AKC expects there will be one more special work session to discuss this ordinance before it will be sent to the city council for a vote, but there are none scheduled at this time.

How to Help

Dog owners and prospective dog owners in and around Las Cruces should urge the mayor and city councilmembers to oppose the formal introduction of a mandatory spay and neuter ordinance. You can find your lawmakers contact information HERE.


In June, city officials publicly expressed concerns about adopting a MSN ordinance due to a lack of resources. Las Cruces already requires owners of intact dogs to purchase an intact dog permit for $150 per animal.

The AKC has reached out to the city council to oppose the development of an MSN ordinance and requested an opportunity to participate in any future work groups on the issue.

Talking points and resources:

Mandatory spay/neuter laws are sometimes proposed as a hasty or “feel-good” solution in response to animal control concerns in the community. Proponents of these laws incorrectly believe that mandatory spay/neuter laws will reduce the numbers of animals at the local shelter and strays roaming in neighborhoods. However, these laws have not proved to be an effective solution to animal control issues, and often result in increased rather than decreased numbers of homeless dogs and cats.  Consider the talking points below and this one-page handout when communicating the concerns with these proposals:

  • Owners who are financially unable to comply with the demands of the law may be forced to relinquish or abandon their pets, thereby increasing shelter and stray populations.
  • Such laws also punish responsible owners who choose to keep their dogs intact for conformation competition, field trials, hunting, responsible breeding programs, and similar purposes.
  • Emerging scientific studies demonstrate that spaying/neutering, particularly before a dog is fully mature, can cause detrimental long-term health impacts.
  • Mandatory spay/neuter laws are very difficult to enforce, and in some cases result in public health concerns when owners avoid routine veterinary appointments, including rabies vaccines, to hide their lack of compliance.
  • Rather than a mandatory spay/neuter law, lawmakers should instead focus on increased enforcement of leash laws, fully funding low-cost spay/neuter programs, and public education programs to promote responsible dog ownership.

For additional information, please contact American Kennel Club Government Relations at