The Mercer County (WV) Commission is considering a proposal that would impose mandatory spay/neuter and breeder licensing requirements on county residents in order to address animal population concerns, particularly the “hundreds of dogs and cats that run at large and are a threat to public health”.
A virtually identical measure was considered in 2011, however, thanks to the numerous concerns raised by local breeders and sportsmen, the issue was tabled.
Now, the commission has decided to reintroduce the measure and is again seeking feedback from the community. It has not yet been formally scheduled for a meeting, so those who reside or participate in dog events in the county are strongly encouraged to contact the commission NOW to express your concerns with this proposal before it moves forward.
Mercer County Commission Contact Information:
1501 W. Main Street
Princeton, WV 24740
Online contact form
The commission requests that you include your address on all correspondence.
The AKC Government Relations Department has numerous concerns with this proposal, including:
- Mandatory sterilization of dogs, unless an intact animal permit is purchased – All dogs and cats over 6 months old must be sterilized unless the owner purchases a $50 unaltered animal permit for each animal owned.
In order to qualify for the permit, owners must prove to the County Clerk that “the permit is sought for a proper purpose” and they have not had more than one violation of any provision of the animal code in the past two years. Owners must also have the pet examined regularly by a veterinarian, vaccinated annually, and “housed properly”. These terms are not defined, and it is unclear how these requirements would be determined and enforced.
In addition, AKC is concerned about this mandate, as scientific studies increasingly demonstrate juvenile spay/neuter may have long-term harmful impacts on a dog’s health and well-being.
- Breeder Permit Requirements – In addition to the unaltered animal permit, an owner must purchase an annual $30 breeder permit for each animal bred. The permit would allow one litter per animal each year and allow animals to be sold, adopted or transferred once they are seven weeks old, as long as they have been “immunized against common diseases.” The proposal does not state which diseases it considers common. It is also believed that this permit would be in addition to the required intact animal permits.
The AKC opposes breeding permits and mandatory spay/neuter laws for purebred dogs. Instead, we support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the health and welfare of dogs without restricting the rights of responsible owners and breeders who meet their responsibilities. We believe that all owners, regardless of whether or not their pets are intact, should be responsible and provide proper care for their animals.
This proposal will not address the issue of at-large and stray animals, but rather punish responsible breeders, dog owners, and sportsmen in the county.
AKC Government Relations will continue to monitor this proposal and provide more updates as they become available. For questions, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.