Memphis Mulls Mandatory Sterilization Of Dogs, Cats

Memphis considers passing law to mandate sterilization for dogs, cats.

Suggested Veterinary Products

A Memphis, Tenn., City Council committee has recommended mandatory spaying or neutering of cats and dogs. The full council is expected to vote on the issue Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010.

The ordinance, approved by the Committee on Public Services and Neighborhoods, would require dogs weighing 30 pounds or more and cats over 6 months old to be sterilized. Exemptions would be provided for:

• Police dogs.

• Service dogs.

• Hunting dogs.

• Dogs or cats certified by a licensed veterinarian as having a health reason for not being spayed or neutered.

• Dogs or cats boarded in a licensed kennel or business.

• Dogs or cats registered with the American Kennel Club, Cat Fancier Association or other recognized registry or trained and kept for the purpose of show, field trials or agility trials.

“There is an element of overpopulation prevention that comes by this naturally, but the key here is in public safety,” said Councilman Shea Flinn, the ordinance’s sponsor.

Owners of unaltered animals would have to pay a one-time $200 permit fee. The permit would authorize the whelping of no more than one litter per female dog in any 12-month period and no more than one litter per domestic household in any 12-month period.

Violators would be subject to a $50 fine and court costs. The fine would be waived for first-time offenders if proof is provided that the dog or cat is or has been spayed or neutered by the date of the hearing.

The council is expected to consider other ordinances, including one that would require a dog that has bitten or attacked to be spayed or neutered within 30 days and one that would require dogs restrained by tie-outs or overhead cable runs to be spayed or neutered.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council issued an industry alert on the spay/neuter proposal. The organization says the sterilization decision should be left to pet owners after a consultation with their veterinarian.

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The Committee on Public Services and Neighborhoods’ Aug. 10 discussion can be heard here.

The Sept. 28 council meeting will be broadcast live on the council’s website and archived.


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