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Las Vegas gambles on compulsory neutering

THE CITY Council of North Las Vegas, Nevada is getting tough on owners who don't spay or neuter their pets. The city council adopted a compulsory pet sterilisation policy during last week's session. Those owners found in violation of the new policy could get their animals taken away or even end up in jail.

Last year, the Lied Animal Shelter euthanased almost 30,000 animals. This was reason enough, according to animal advocacy groups, to take a hard line on pet sterilisation.

‘There is no other way to solve this crisis and the fact is it's very solvable,’ Gina Greisen with Nevada Voters for Animals said. The ordinance the City of North Las Vegas just adopted makes it mandatory for all animals to be spayed or neutered before they are four months old. It carries some pretty stiff penalties for non-compliance too, such as fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

But there are exceptions. If an animal is medically unfit for sterilization, or if its owner has a breeder's license, it need not be neutered.

‘I go to the animal shelters and it's just disappointing to see them all out there,’ Devin Rummelhoff told TV news channel News 3. Rummelhoff and his partner run Sin City English Bulldogs. He holds a breeder's licence from the American Kennel Club as well as a business licence with the City of North Las Vegas.

Rummelhoff says he thinks the new ordinance is a great idea. ‘It'll cut down on a lot of mix breeding and make sure that people aren't trying to scam other people.’

Animal control officers will not be going door-to-door enforcing the new ordinance. But if they respond to a noise complaint, they will ask you whether or not your animal is fixed. If the answer is no, you'll have 30 days to get it neutered, spayed or to get a breeding permit.

The ordinance is similar to the proposed Bill AB1634 which, as previously reported, would have seen compulsory neutering of animals in the neighbouring State of California.

The Bill was held in abeyance by the State Senate late last year, but it may be revived later this month if it is felt there is a reasonable chance of it being passed. Many individuals and groups opposed AB1634, including the American Kennel Club.

It is expected that the AKC will also oppose the Las Vegas law.