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Last week, the San Marcos City Council gave initial unanimous support of an ordinance that will mandate spay/neuter for all dogs following a first offense of the city’s at large dog ordinance. Additionally, this ordinance will prohibit the sale of dogs at pet stores sourced from dog breeders.

There will be one more reading of the ordinance and a final vote is expected on Tuesday, November 15.  Local residents are encouraged to use the information below to reach out to the council and express concerns.

Spay/Neuter Talking Points

  • The ordinance includes exemptions to the mandatory spay/neuter language for anyone who is a member of national breed clubs, local breed clubs or all breed clubs. While AKC appreciates the exemption for members of clubs, establishing club membership waivers for owners is not an effective solution. Many clubs have strict membership criteria (such as personal sponsorships or having participated in shows or other events over a number of years, etc.) that may not be possible for new dog owners. In addition, many responsible owners may simply choose not to join a club.
  • AKC agrees with the desire to prevent at-large dogs.  However, a one-time offense of the at-large dog law may not be indicative of an irresponsible owner.  For example, a maintenance or repair worker could inadvertently leave a gate open, allowing a dog to escape.  Mandatory sterilization is not the appropriate penalty for all at-large dog offenses.
  • Mandatory sterilization may not be in the best interest of all dogs. Studies are increasingly demonstrating that sterilization – particularly at an early age – can lead to serious health issues including cancer, ligament damage, and even a shorter life span. The decision to sterilize an animal is an important decision that should be made by an owner in conjunction with their veterinarian.
  • Rather than imposing spay/neuter mandates, lawmakers should instead focus on better enforcement of existing animal control laws to reduce the number of strays and unintended litters, expand low-cost spay/neuter programs, and provide resources for public education programs to promote responsible dog ownership.

Pet Choice Talking Points

  • Retail pet sales bans/restrictions limit consumer protections and choice, while doing nothing to actually help dogs.
  • A better solution is to consider broad consumer protection and cruelty laws that hold all accountable who sell or transport dogs and continuing to allow pet stores to source from all humane sources including from breeders.

For additional talking points on spay/neuter and pet choice please go to the AKC Government Relations website.

How to Help

Dog owners and prospective dog owners in and around San Marcos should email the city council and encourage them to oppose this ordinance as currently written. Contact information for the city council can be found here.

The meeting is scheduled for 6:00pm at:

630 E Hopkins
San Marcos, TX 78666

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