A city in Georgia, USA, is two weeks away from voting on a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance (law). Some residents would welcome the ordinance being passed, yet others feel it’s an invasion of privacy and their civil liberties. Whether or not laws need to be introduced to make pet owners more responsible is a contentious matter. Many local authorities are debating it.
According to a June 12 report by WTOC News, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Animal Control is proposing all animals in the city, six months of age or older, be spayed and neutered by January 16 or their owners be fined and taken to court.
Of course there are exceptions if the person can show they’re a licensed breeder, or if the operation would be dangerous to the animal’s health or if a person has a rare type of animal. The goal of Savannah-Chatham is to reduced “backyard breeding”.
Animal Control Supervisor, Christina Sutherlin, said another reason the city wants mandatory spay/neuter is to help out the many rescues who step up to help the community. Fewer unwanted litters mean fewer kittens and puppies a rescue would have to find homes for. Having spoken to several rescues in the U.S. personally, it’s a common agreement that rescues would like nothing more than to be put out of business because there are no unwanted pets. Taking control at curbing reproduction won’t eliminate the need for rescues, but anything to slow down kitten and puppy pregnancies would be welcomed by rescues.
It can be expensive to spay or neuter a pet, with private vet prices ranging from $200-$700. Hopefully the rescues and residents in the Savannah area have access to low cost spay and neuter programs, or some will spring up, should the ordinance pass. Cost is not the reason for opposition to the proposal by residents in the area who are against the ordinance being passed.
One residence believes the ordinance would be very restrictive and invasive, believing that responsible pet owners should have a choice on whether or not they wish to have their dog or cat sterilized, calling a mandatory ordinance an infringement on the owner’s rights.
Those in favor of the ordinance know that putting a legal stop to unwanted litters will only benefit the dogs and cats in their community. Not only are there simply not enough homes for the animals that go into the shelter, but a spayed or neutered pet has a better temperament.
Sutherlin goes on to say the city doesn’t want to get into breed specific legislation stating:
“All dogs bite, all cats can bite, we don’t want to get into breed specific legislation. We see bites from everything from Chihuahuas and Dachshunds, to St. Barnards, Huskies and everything in between.”
This three minute video from WTOC has more on the spay/neuter ordinance that may soon take effect.
As a writer, I’ve watched social media pages where countless litters of kittens and puppies are killed or euthanized in our nation’s shelters, either for lack of homes or for illnesses their tiny bodies just can’t survive (such as upper respiratory infections). I’ve watched rescues become overwhelmed because no matter how hard they try, not enough foster or permanent homes can be found. The financial expenses alone are overwhelming.
But should people be forced to have their animals spayed/neutered – should the ordinance be passed? Please leave a comment below on how you feel.
Did you find this article useful and interesting? Can it be improved? Please tell me in a comment. I am always keen to improve the site for animal welfare and reader enjoyment.