Florida Town Could Insist on Cat Spay/Neuter

Daytona Beach mulls a mandatory spay/neuter law for city's cats and dogs.

In an effort to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs, officials in Daytona Beach, Fla., have introduced an ordinance that would require all of the city’s dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered. A public hearing on the measure is set for Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit anyone from harboring in the city a dog or cat six months old or up that has not been spayed or neutered, unless the dog or cat owner obtains an unaltered dog or cat permit for the animal.

To qualify and receive an unaltered dog or cat permit, the dog or cat must be:

• A show or competition cat or dog;

• A law enforcement dog;

• A service animal;

• A hunting or herding dog;

• A dog or cat used for breeding; or

• Medically unfit, as determined by a licensed veterinarian.

An unaltered cat or dog permit would cost $10, except for law enforcement and service animals, and be valid for the life of the dog or cat. As a condition for obtaining an unaltered cat or dog permit, some dog and cat owners would have to implant an identification microchip in the cat or dog and provide that microchip number to the animal control division. (This condition would not apply to hunting, herding and sporting dogs.)

Exemptions are provided for dog or cats harbored within the city for less than 120 days or those being kept by a humane society or dog or cat shelter.

If approved, anyone who currently owns a dog or cat in Daytona Beach would have to spay or neuter the cat or dog or obtain an unaltered animal permit within 30 days of the dog or cat turning six months old or by Sept. 1, 2011, whichever is the later time.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) issued an industry alert today in which the organization criticized the mandatory sterilization of pet cats and dogs.

“The decision to sterilize is one that should be made on a case-by-case basis by pet owners after consultation with their veterinarian, and pet owners should not be subject to punitive fees to keep their pet intact,” PIJAC stated in the alert. “Pet ‘overpopulation’ is a complex issue that cannot be solved with a one-size-fits-all mandate.”

The Daytona Beach City Commission is set to hear the ordinance at its regularly scheduled meeting on April 20, 6 p.m., in City Hall. To view the proposal in its entirety, click here.

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