Las Vegas Mandates Spay/Neuter

dog and catBy a vote of 5-2, the Las Vegas, Nevada city council has passed an ordinance requiring residents as of April 1, 2010 to spay/neuter their dogs and cats 4 months of age or older. Mayor Oscar Goodman supports the new law.

There are some exceptions:

The animal cannot breed or a veterinarian certifies the animal is medically unfit for the surgery.

The animal has been trained and is used for law enforcement, search and rescue or as a service animal.

The owner has a valid dog fancier’s, cat fancier’s, breeder’s or professional animal handler’s permit.

A violation would be a misdemeanor with fines up to $225 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense and $1,000 for the third and subsequent offenses.

Last year, 2008, North Las Vegas, a suburb, passed a similar ordinance.  

Some thought the minimum age in the Las Vegas ordinance was too young and should be 6 months rather than 4.

Other opponents questioned whether a mandatory spay/neuter law will work to bring down shelter intake and euthanasia rates. At the Lied Animal Shelter, the Las Vegas public shelter, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "the number of impounded dogs has increased 10 percent a year for the past three years, and cat intakes have been up 5 percent annually." Lied Shelter takes in about 50,000 animals a year. At least 50% are euthanized. The attitude at the Shelter and among council members is that this ordinance is better than doing nothing.   

But they may need to do something else. Like make free or low cost spay/neuter readily accessible and aggressively educate people on the importance of spay/neuter and where they can obtain the surgery free of charge or at a heavily reduced rate.

The law is likely to prompt many people to spay/neuter their pets certainly over time as they get used to the idea. There is low cost spay/neuter available to some extent in the Las Vegas area. But, without free or low cost spay/neuter that is readily available, it is not clear the mandatory law will work to reduce significantly the numbers of unwanted animals that end up at Lied. Certainly, the law will be difficult to enforce and could not only divert but also increase animal control costs.

Also, studies have shown a mandatory spay/neuter law can mean fewer people license their pets, resulting in fewer animal control dollars and greater incidents of rabies and other diseases from animals whose owners fail to comply with licensing and vaccination requirements.

The burden of a mandatory law like this falls on low and moderate income pet owners. Without free, low cost and even moderate cost pay/neuter, many people are unlikely to be able to afford to spay/neuter animals and may simply dump them at least in the initial period following passage of the law. In Los Angeles, for example, shelter intake and numbers of animals euthanized increased following enactment of mandatory spay/neuter in 2008.

The new law will do nothing to stop breeding by for profit breeders, puppy and cat millers that are exempt from the requirements. It is estimated 25-30% or more of animals that end up in shelters are produced by for profit breeders.  


13 thoughts on “Las Vegas Mandates Spay/Neuter”

  1. I do think that Everybody should spay/neuter their pets to reduce the homeless amount of animals. But I do feel that the Cost to do so & NOT just the cost of Spay & Neuter all Services for animals should be lower. If they were a good price for everything more people would take care of their animals. But that is no reason why they cant do it now, if you are going to get a pet make sure you know that it’s not cheap or easy. The Oh How cute turns into Oh How Much! I do think that we should Shut down breeder for now, at least! There are thousands of homeless pets & people need to stop being so Dumb & Adopt. But everybody is too wrapped up in having a Pure Breed or I want a Dog just like Paris Hilton…Yuck! You could save a dog/cats life by adopting & some of the best dogs I have ever had were Muts from a Shelter. That’s the problem with America, they all want want want but No body Cares enough to save save save!

  2. So the mandate went through to spay or neuter dogs/cats but where can you get this procedure done at a discount and cost effective rate? some vets want 300$
    please help and give some good rates.

  3. is this just for the city of las vegas? or for clark county? is henderson included in this? thanks!!

  4. Heaven Can Wait Animal Sanctuary offers a low cost spay and neuter program. I believe it is about $120 for large dogs. Also, if you contact the animal shelters they can recommend you to a few places. Some are cheaper than others.

  5. The City of Las Vegas passed this, so I’m thinking it only applies to people living inside the city limits of Las Vegas.

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  7. As someone who spends free time and money trying to help the animals abandoned by the irresponsible, I get tired of hearing how spay/neuter laws impact the low and moderate income pet owners. If, knowing this law is in place, you cannot afford to spay/neuter, don’t get a pet. PERIOD. I would rather they never get a pet at all than get one and let her have even one litter. Cost of spay/neuter is a cost of having a pet. If you don’t have the money to pay for the spay/neuter, you don’t have the money to have a pet. I have no sympathy for that argument, especially since those who take advantage of low income spay/neuter rarely (NEVER, to my personal knowledge) give back. How about they spend a few hours at a shelter in exchange for a free spay/neuter?? No, of course not. They all want to take, but give nothing back and, once again, animals pay the price for human ignorance and irresponsibility. We need to ensure that spay/neuter laws are enforced and a part of the fines goes to caring for abandoned animals.

  8. Who let their animals roam and not watch them and actually DO contribute to animal issues in the city, or the country for that matter.
    But for the responsible pet owners, who keep track of their animals-
    Not so much.
    I like the way my dog acts.
    The energy she has.
    Having her fixed, will take part of that away.
    Thats not a debate, thats a fact.
    (Many may claim “it won’t change personality, it will only help eliminate undesirable behavior.” I can understand some male cats spray, that would be an undesirable behavior factor, however mine does not. Never has. Neither did any of the male cats in the home he came from.)
    Not to mention, my dog, she’s long past 4 months old-
    And I refuse to do that to her.
    Doing it to her NOW, would just be cruel.
    And I’m not up for animal cruelty.
    As a matter of fact, I’d move before I did-
    Because fixing her, would make her not the same puppy-ish acting goof that made me rescue her from being turned loose in the streets in the first place.

    How about doing something a bit more intelligent and offering a certain amount of time for FREE spay/neuter or if not free, extremely cheap.
    Its not like people have the cash right now, even if they want to,
    to be spending it on things that are not necessary-
    To the animal, or their survival.

    I’d be more likely to get behind fixing humans, since they are where the stupidity gene reproduces. All the morons who pop out kids, just so they can get welfare, or kill them, or abandon them…
    Lets do that instead.
    I mean, we’re already headed for a future similar to “Idiocracy.”
    (because all the morons screw like jackrabbits, and the intelligent ones are logical enough to think things through, or at least care for their children.)

    In other terms…
    Animals aren’t where the trouble lies.
    But! Since we have healthcare reform BS being shoved down our throats,
    Why not something else too, right?
    Already said before, Goverment- Is getting too much power.
    Been quite some time… And US, is not a democracy.

  9. I think this is ridiculous, my dog that is 13 years old just happened to get out of the gate somehow today, and long story short he ended up in the pound. We went to go pick him up and they wont let us because he isnt neutered!!! He has never got a dog pregnant in his life his whole 13 years of living and we cant get our dog back because of this law. (by the way, I live in Riverside County in California, so this law applies to here as well??) I think the owners should have the right to neuter thier pet. I do agree with getting animals neutered/spayed because of all the homeless animals out there, its so sad. BUT! if we spay/neuter all animals from now on then thier going to go EXTINCT! Do we really want that? My new puppy i adopted was neutered a week before I adopted her, thats fine. But I dont think its fair to have my 13 year old dog neutured. Do You?

  10. I dont agree with the price either. Yes we get pets and they cost money, but were able to provide for them with food and shelter, and thier shots. But money doesnt grow on trees. We dont have the money for extra stuff like this. A lot of people probably wouldnt mind this, but the cost just drives them away.

  11. i think it is absolutely disgusting and inappropriate to expect the average citizen to take their pets to a vet or other institution to be neutered or spayed BY LAW. what if a person has an older animal or is responsible enough to not let their animals out and allow them to get in to trouble. what they should say is starting from april 1st all “new” pet owners should have to abide by this rule. how do you justify taking a 7 0r 8 yr old dog to randomly get neutered all of the sudden. thanks alot to all of the jackasses who abandoned their pets when they lost their homes in the past couple of years. i would live in a cardboard box and eat dirt (my dog would eat b4 me) before i abandoned my dog. it just proves beyond a doubt that all of the transplants that come to las vegas with a dollar and a dream should have stayed in kansas or l.a. or wherever the hell they were from instead of ruining it for all of us otherwise law abiding LOCAL citizens.

  12. From a veterinary medical stand point, there is no harm in altering an animal at 4 months of age. The 6 month guide line is arbitrary and most vets recommend 6 months because ‘this is the way that it’s always been done.’ There’s no scientific data to support spaying and neutering at 6 months of age. Today’s generation of veterinarians are taught, in school, how to perform pediatric spays and neuters starting at 2 months of age or 2 pounds. The only slight disadvantage to neutering cats before 6 months old is that it MAY POSSIBLY lead to an increase in cranial cruciate rupture.

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