Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Long Beach, CA City Council to DEFER vote on Mandatory Spay/Neuter Ordinance

UPDATE:  The proposed mandatory spay/neuter ordinance has been removed from today's agenda and tentatively rescheduled for March 10th. AKC will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates. If you have not yet written a letter or email, please do so.
February 24, 2015
On Tuesday, March 3rd, the Long Beach City Council will hear and vote on a proposed mandatory spay/neuter ordinance.
There are no provisions in this ordinance to exempt hunting or sporting dogs, those who compete in companion events such as agility or rally, and even for exempted dogs the Director of the Animal Care Services Bureau has the power to disallow an intact license. It is also important to consider that in the neighboring City of Los Angeles, a similar, ordinance was passed with exemptions for dogs that participate in hunting, agility, obedience and other events, but those exemptions were later removed because it was too time consuming for staff to administer them. It is not unreasonable to think that Long Beach could also further restrict the rights of responsible owners to own intact animals.
It is vital that responsible dog owners and breeders oppose this burdensome ordinance.  
Long Beach City Council Meeting
Date: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
Time: 6 PM
Location: Council Chamber, 333 W. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802
Please scroll down for additional contact information.
What the Proposal Does
The ordinance will require that all dogs or cats over the age of eight months be spayed or neutered unless they qualify for one of the following exemptions:
  • A licensed veterinarian certifies that sterilization would likely cause the animal's death or substantially aggravate a physical condition of the animal. The veterinarian must state the medical basis for the exemption and whether the unsuitability is temporary or permanent. If temporary, the certificate shall indicate how long the period of unsuitability will last.
  • The dog is undergoing or has received training and certification by a recognized agency, if such certification is available, and will be or is utilized or is retired from use:
  • By a law enforcement agency for law enforcement activities
  • By a search and rescue agency for search and rescue activities (it should be noted that most search and rescue dogs are privately owned and trained)
  • As a guide animal, hearing animal, assistance animal, seizure alert animal or social/therapy animal approved by the Animal Care Services Bureau.
  • The animal is breeding stock for dogs described above by a recognized agency or organization approved by the Director. (This places a lot of power in the hands of the agency to determine which organizations are acceptable. There is no requirement in federal law that recognized assistance dogs be trained by specific agencies or organizations.)
  • For each of the above, the owner shall provide proof to the satisfaction of the Director with each application for a new or renewal license. (It is not clear what criteria the Director will use and standards could change as staff changes.)
  • A dog or cat harbored by a public shelter, humane society, or similar organization, whether public or private, the principal purpose of which is securing the adoption of dogs or cats, provided that such organization requires the spaying or neutering of all dogs and cats placed for adoption by such organization.
  • A dog or cat that is a breed approved by and registered with a national or international breed registry or association which, at a minimum, requires identification of breed, date or birth, names of registered sire and dam, the name of the breeder and recordkeeping relating to breeding, transfer of ownership. The owner shall provide verified proof to the satisfaction of the Director with each application for a new or renewal license.
  • A dog which is undergoing training or currently is trained to compete or be used for herding of other animals, or as a livestock guardian dog, or a dog designated as breeding stock for these purposes by a recognized agency or organization approved by the Director. The owner shall provide proof to the satisfaction of the Director with each application for a new or renewal license.
The American Kennel Club opposes mandatory spay/neuter as ineffective because it fails 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. Mandatory sterilization requirements will merely punish those who are responsible owners and breeders; irresponsible owners who are not complying with current laws are unlikely to continue their behavior under new laws. 
The report from Long Beach Animal Care Services shows that the department is making great strides in improving shelter intakes and euthanasia rates and in providing low-cost sterilization services. These good works should continue to be supported. Because mandatory spay/neuter policies are known to be ineffective in reducing shelter intakes and euthanasia, none of the major national animal welfare organizations support mandatory spay/neuter. The AKC, AVMA, ASPCA, No Kill Advocacy Center, and the American College of Theriogenologists are just a few of the groups that oppose mandatory spay/neuter policies because they do not benefit dogs or the community.
The proposed ordinance will also prohibit the sale, barter, giving away or transferring of dogs, cats or rabbits unless the person or shop is in compliance with the following:
  • Possess a breeding permit issued in accordance with city code 6.16.190
  • A dog, cat, or rabbit is obtained from a publically operated animal shelter
  • A dog, cat, or rabbit is obtained from a private humane society or duly incorporated organization devoted to the rescue, care, and adoption of stray, abandoned or surrendered dogs, cats and/or rabbits
What You Can Do
  • Attend the Long Beach City Council meeting at 6pm on March 3rd.
  • Contact the members of the Long Beach City Council and ask them to oppose this ordinance.
AKC Resources:
Long Beach City Council
Robert Garcia, Mayor
Tel: (562) 570-6801
Fax: (562) 570-6538
Dr. Suja Lowenthal, Vice-Mayor, Second District
Tel: (562) 570-6684
Fax Number: (562) 570-6882
Lena Gonzales, First District
Tel: (562) 570-6919
Suzie Price, Third District
Tel: (562) 570-6300
Stacy Mungo, Fifth District
(562) 570-5555
Dee Andrews, Sixth District
Tel: (562) 570-6816
Roberto Uranga, Seventh District
Tel: (562) 570-7777
Al Austin, Eighth District
Tel: (562) 570-1326
Rex Richardson, Ninth District
Tel: (562) 570-6137
If you have any additional questions, please contact the AKC Government Relations department at doglaw@akc.org or 919-816-3720.


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