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Most Las Vegas pet owners will be required to spay or neuter their cats and dogs by 4 months of age under an ordinance adopted today to help manage the pet overpopulation problem.

The ordinance garnered the support of local veterinarians and animal rescue groups, who emphasized that not sterilizing animals is irresponsible pet ownership that can lead to rampant reproduction, especially among cats that end up on the streets.


At the Lied Animal Shelter, the number of impounded dogs has increased 10 percent a year for the past three years, and cat intakes have been up 5 percent annually. The shelter now takes in about 50,000 animals a year and ends up euthanizing half of them because owners or new homes can’t be found.

“We can’t adopt our way out of the problem,” said Amy Mitchell, a veterinarian at the shelter. “We have to nip the problem in the bud.”

The measure had its opponents. Criticism included the idea that 4 months is too young to spay or neuter a pet, and that no studies have shown that a mandatory spay-neuter program is effective in reducing unwanted pet populations.

“I acknowledge that,” said Karen Coyne, head of the city’s detention and enforcement department, which includes animal control. “But I don’t need a study to tell me ... (that) doing nothing qualifies as the definition of insanity.”

The ordinance states that dogs and cats in the city of Las Vegas must be spayed or neutered by 4 months of age. There are exceptions for people with a breeder’s, animal handler’s or fancier’s permit, and for pets that qualify for a temporary or permanent medical exemption.

The ordinance is scheduled to take effect April 1. It will be reviewed annually to see if it is effective.

Council members approved it 5-2 after a lengthy hearing. Lois Tarkanian and Ricki Barlow voted no.

Tarkanian said that after talking to veterinarians, she thought that 4 months was too young and that she wouldn’t vote for anything that required sterilization under 6 months of age.

Barlow asked a series of questions about owners who wanted to keep a dog whole to eventually breed it, and the requirements to obtain a breeder’s permit for that purpose. He said the city was walking “a fine line” in requiring people to fix their pets.

Mayor Oscar Goodman asked some of the same questions but voted for the new law.

“This is an easy one for me,” he said, citing the high number of animals impounded and euthanized at the shelter. “We’re not going to accept this kind of behavior.”

The ordinance was pushed as a way to address Southern Nevada’s pet overpopulation. At Lied, which provides shelter services to Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and unincorporated areas of Clark County, 86 percent of the animals taken in are not sterilized, said Director Christine Robinson.

If owners must sterilize pets at the beginning of their lives, the pets won’t reproduce — especially important if the animal ends up homeless as a runaway or abandoned pet.

“The way we solve this problem is to reduce these numbers on the front end,” Robinson said.

North Las Vegas passed a similar ordinance in January 2008, and Clark County is working on one.

Violating the Las Vegas ordinance would be a misdemeanor.

Coyne said letters will go out to new pet owners informing them of licensing, vaccination and sterilization requirements, and animal control officers will check compliance when answering calls as part of their regular duties.

Contact reporter Alan Choate at [contact info removed- unsure of forum rules].
SOURCE: Las Vegas council mandates spaying, neutering of dogs, cats - Breaking News - ReviewJournal.com

Thoughts? It's already passed, and I'm not sure exactly how to feel about it. I don't imagine it will be enforced any more than rabies vaccines, lisencing, and legal pet limits are, so I'm not really concerned. I think mandating it on all pets at 4 months is a bit young, and a little extreme. I'm curious to see how this effects BYBs.
 

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I think it's way too young. I know that shelters neuter and spay really early but there are some dogs that need to wait until they are older to be spayed or neutered. There are some studies that need more research that suggest neutering too early can lead to joint and bone issues. I did my dogs at 6 months and was fine with that age.
 

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Yeah I agree that age is just way too young, especially for larger to giant breed dogs. I know people on my Doberman forum who don't like to get their dogs fixed until they are completely done growing. I dunno, it'll be interesting to see if this is enforced at all.
 

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Most Great Dane people want to wait until 18months for a male dog. He needs testosterone in order to grow that muscular masculine looking head and body. Othewise he will look like a girlie dog. :smile:
 

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I understand the reasons behind the people who don't believe in spaying and neutering at all, but I personally have always believed in early sterilization... but not THAT early. I feel like 6-9 months is much more appropriate.

I totally understand the pet overpopulation problem, but I'm not so sure it's fair to require this on all people. I know quite a few responsible pet owners who opt to not have their dogs fixed due to moral or health beliefs, and their dogs don't contribute at all to overpopulation. It's the people who are irresponsible and BYB and let their dogs loose that will ignore this new law anyway, so I just don't see it helping as much as they might think it will.

I doubt it will be THAT enforced. Maybe about as enforced as rabies vaccines and dog licensing. The kind of law that's only even checked up on if complaints are filed or something.
 

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I think it's way too young. I know that shelters neuter and spay really early but there are some dogs that need to wait until they are older to be spayed or neutered. There are some studies that need more research that suggest neutering too early can lead to joint and bone issues. I did my dogs at 6 months and was fine with that age.
I was thinking thats a little young myself. I have never had one spayed/nueterd that young.
 

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Most Great Dane people want to wait until 18months for a male dog. He needs testosterone in order to grow that muscular masculine looking head and body. Othewise he will look like a girlie dog. :smile:
Well, I did my last boy Chow at 5 months like the vet recommended and he definetely did not look girlie :biggrin: He had a MASSIVE head and jowls but he did have severe knee and bone problems which my breeder is sure related to being neutered too young. She recommends waiting on the boys until they are at least a year old. If I get another big boned boy like that again I will probably wait until he is mature to get him neutered just because of possible bone issues. Guess I can't live in Nevada then!
 

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Yeah just avoid las vegas at the time! Northern Nevada still doesn't care, though we don't like to consider Vegas part of Nevada anyway :tongue:
 

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Yeah just avoid las vegas at the time! Northern Nevada still doesn't care, though we don't like to consider Vegas part of Nevada anyway :tongue:
off topic: I hate las vegas. with a burning passion.
 

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Animals that I have seen fixed at that young of age have huge growth spurts
 

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I thought that 4 months was too young for spaying or neutering puppies. I even know here in Illinois 6 months is what they say. They even tell you ,you can do it later depending on the breed of dog and size . They dont want the feamles to go into heat. A woman in the mom and pop store I go to (well one of the few places I go to), her daughter has an under 3 lb. tiny breed yorkie and he is 9 months old. She told me the vet will not neuter him because of his tiny size and will do it only when he is a year old. I dont think he will be much bigger but she said because of his size the vet says not until a year old. Do they have provisions in your area for special things such as this?
 

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I'm not for mandatory spay/neuter at any age. Do some research and you'll find that the cities with mandatory s/n have the HIGHEST rates of euthanasia in the country. By far.

Save Our Dogs Shelter Population

It also will eliminate working dogs from our society.

Save Our Dogs Working Dogs

I'm a huge advocate against mandatory spay/neuter for more than just those reasons listed above. I think it's also really important to note that the AVMA and the ASPCA do NOT support mandatory spay/neuter laws. That says something.
 

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I have never thought of that angle. It makes a lot of sense.
I agree. Something like this would probably cause a lot of inbreeding as well...by trying to preserve that working dog ability. I can imagine that it would cause more inbreeding over all. :frown:
 

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Hmm...I too, personally, believe that four months is too young. I got Ryou neutered at six months old, and I plan to spay Amaya soon. She's eight months now. Even if it doesn't cause health problems to spay/neuter early, there is still the chance of them.

I know that in Ventura County California, they require cats and dogs to have a permit to breed. I think places should begin doing something like that, so if you see a random litter of puppies on CraigsList, or out in front of Wal-Mart, you can call someone to go investigate, and if those people don't have permits, then fine them something outrageous, like, $1000, not to mention making the permits really expensive to obtain, so that BYBs aren't just going out and purchasing a $50 permit just to breed their dogs and sell them for $500. *shrugs* Or just make it really difficult to get a permit, so that way people who are only doing it for money won't be able to get one. XP



off topic: I hate las vegas. with a burning passion.
*cough* I hate Nevada. With a burning passion.

Move to Reno! We'll have a grand ol' time!
But if you move to Reno, perhaps Nevada wouldn't be such a bad ol' place. XP
 

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and if those people don't have permits, then fine them something outrageous, like, $1000, not to mention making the permits really expensive to obtain, so that BYBs aren't just going out and purchasing a $50 permit just to breed their dogs and sell them for $500. *shrugs* Or just make it really difficult to get a permit, so that way people who are only doing it for money won't be able to get one. XP
That's the problem to begin with. Mandatory s/n, at least in CA, required a fee (or a permit) for each dog that was intact. Each city could make it whatever they wanted. So it could be a penny, or it could be a million dollars.

Reputable and responsible breeders have one or two litters a year, tops. So they would probably NOT be able to afford spending $500 to $1000 (or more!) per dog in their breeding program. And regular folks with working dogs, who participate in sports or show, probably wouldn't be able to afford it either. And we'd be out of A LOT of excellent breeding stock.

The breeders who are in it for the money, and who breed a gillion litters a year, are the ones that sell the most pups and make the most money. So they'd reign victorious in this situation, IME.
 
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