The New Orleans City Council has introduced an ordinance that, if passed, would require owners or keepers to spay/neuter all dogs older than six months. The council plans to discuss, and possibly vote on, the ordinance at its meeting on May 6.
Exemptions would extend to dogs younger than six months, dogs present in New Orleans for less than 30 days and dogs that are used by a government or law enforcement agency or an agent thereof for government, rescue, law enforcement or other government purposes. A licensed veterinarian may also certify that a dog should not be spayed/neutered for a specific health reason. Owners or keepers who have obtained or submitted an application for an “intact dog permit” may also be exempt.
An “intact dog permit” would be available from the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In order for the society to grant the permit, owners or keepers would need to adhere to the following conditions:
- Submit appropriate forms and fees, including, but not limited to, a written description of the dog, a photo of the dog and a photo of the dog’s living conditions;
- Proof the dog has been microchipped;
- Proof of current vaccinations for rabies, distemper and parvo virus;
- Not allow female dogs to breed before reaching 18 months old;
- Not allow female dogs to have more than one litter per year;
- If a permit is granted, owners or keepers must display the permit number when advertising puppies for sale/adoption; and
- No animal under six weeks old may be sold, given away or adopted.
Upon approval, the applicant must pay the initial $10 application fee plus a prorated portion of the annual $20 annual permit fee. The annual renewal fee would be $20, due and payable by Jan. 1 of each year.
The ordinance also provides fines for those who fail to comply with the permit requirements. Fines for a first violation could be up to $100 per dog, second violation up to $250 per dog and a third violation would result in impoundment and fines of up to $500 per dog.
If a permit is not renewed on time, a $10 per day late fee will be assessed in addition to the renewal fee. If the permit is not renewed within 15 days of the annual expiration, a first violation will be issued.
Proceeds from the fees and fines would be used to support animal control activities within the city, according to the ordinance.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, which issued a PetAlert mid April, is urging anyone affected by this ordinance to contact the council and express that restricting owner rights is not the best way to protect the welfare and health of dogs.
“Pet over population is a complex issue that cannot be solved with a one-size-fits-all mandate for dog owners,” according to the organization.