On Tuesday, December 10th, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors will hold a final vote on an ordinance that would establish mandatory spay/neuter of dogs and cats in the county unless the owner qualifies for an exemption. The measure passed by a vote of 4-1 in November. It also would require breeders to purchase a $100 breeding permit and submit to property inspections. It is imperative that responsible owners and breeders attend this meeting and oppose these burdensome and ineffective proposals.
Dog clubs and organizations are encouraged to personalize and send a sample letter to the Supervisors at the email addresses listed below. A sample letter for individuals to personalize can be found here.
Ventura County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Date: Tuesday December 10th
Time: 2:00 PM (Special hearing time for this item)
Location: County Government Center, Hall of Administration, Board of Supervisors Hearing Room, 800 S. Victoria Avenue, Ventura, CA 93009
The full draft of the ordinance can be seen online here. Very few modifications have been made from the November draft. Provisions include:
Section 4221: Prohibition against Unaltered Dog or Cat
Animals may only remain intact if one the following exemptions apply:
- The dog or cat is a breed approved by and is registered with the American Kennel Club or a similar foreign registry recognized by the Division, whose program and practices are consistent with the humane treatment of animals, and the dog or cat is actively used to exhibit or compete and has competed in at least one legitimate exhibition or sporting competition hosted by, or under the approval of, the American Kennel Club or a similar foreign registry, within the last two years, or is being trained or groomed to exhibit or compete and is too young to have yet competed.
- The dog has earned, or if under three years old, is actively being trained and in the process of earning, an agility, carting, herding, protection, rally, hunting, working, or other title from a registry or association approved by the Division.
- The dog is being, or has been, appropriately trained and is actively used in a manner that meets the definition of a guide, signal or service dog as set forth in Penal Code section 365.5, subdivisions (d), (e) and (f), or the dog is enrolled in a guide dog program administered by a person licensed under Business and Professions Code section 7200 et seq.
- The dog is being, or has been, appropriately trained and is actively used by law enforcement agencies, the military, or search and rescue organizations, for law enforcement, military, or search and rescue activities.
- The owner of the dog or cat provides a letter to the Division from a licensed veterinarian certifying that the animal's health would be best served by spaying or neutering after a specified date; or that due to age, poor health, or illness of the animal, it is detrimental to the health of the animal to spay or neuter the animal; or that arrangements have been made to spay or neuter the dog or cat within 60 days after the compliance deadline and the dog or cat is spayed or neutered within that 60-day period. This letter shall include the veterinarian's license number and the date by which the animal may be safely spayed or neutered. The letter shall be updated periodically as necessary in the event the condition of the animal changes.
- The owner of the dog or cat is an AKC "Breeder of Merit."
- The dog or cat has a valid breeding permit issued to the owner by the Division.
The American Kennel Club opposes the spay/neuter laws and arbitrary breeder permits as ineffective because they fail to address the underlying issue of irresponsible ownership. California state law already provides for the sterilization of animals adopted from shelters and mandates that the license fee for intact animals be at least double that of sterilized animals. The mandatory sterilization requirements proposed in this ordinance will merely punish those who are responsible owners and breeders, and the irresponsible owners who are not complying with current laws are likely to continue their behavior.
Many communities that have implemented mandatory spay/neuter policies have found them to be ineffective and expensive. For example, after Dallas, Texas enacted MSN policies in 2008, it experienced a 22 percent increase in animal control costs and an overall decrease in licensing compliance. MSN laws often result in owners either ignoring animal control laws entirely, or relinquishing their pets to the public shelter to be cared for at the taxpayers’ expense rather than pay for expensive sterilization surgery or breeder permits. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), some owners also opt to avoid rabies vaccinations and other general veterinary care in order to hide their lack of compliance with MSN laws.
Section 4225: Breeding Permit
- The fee for this permit will be $100 and a separate permit is required for EACH animal to be bred.
- Limits residents who own female dogs to a single litter per household per year unless written permission is obtained from the animal control director.
- Requires breeders to submit to inspections of their property.
- Requires breeders to provide their permit number to puppy purchasers and in advertisements.
- Requires breeders to provide the department with contact information for puppy purchasers.
- AKC Breeders of Merit are exempt.
Section 4428: Prohibition on the Sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores
- Prohibits the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in any pet store, retail establishment or commercial establishment, with the exception of animals obtained from an animal shelter or rescue group.
AKC Position Statement: Canine Population Issues
AKC Position Statement: Spaying and Neutering
Mandatory Spay-Neuter Issue Brief
Issue Analysis: Why Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws are Ineffective
What You Can Do:
- Attend the Ventura County Board of Supervisors Meeting Tuesday, December 10th at 2:00 PM and speak in opposition to this burdensome and ineffective measure.
- If you are unable to attend this hearing, please send an email to the commissioners asking them to oppose this ordinance:
First District – Supervisor Steve Bennett email@example.com
Second District – Supervisor Linda Parks Linda.Parks@ventura.org
Third District – Supervisor Kathy Long firstname.lastname@example.org
Fourth District - Supervisor Peter C. Foy email@example.com
Fifth District - Supervisor John C. Zaragoza John.firstname.lastname@example.org