Palm Beach County Approves Law to Limit Breeding of Dogs and Cats

 The Palm Beach County Commission has approved an unusual ordinance that they hope will sharply limit breeding in the county.

Under the new law anyone breeding a dog or cat must obtain a permit at a cost of  $150. The fee is waived if the breeder registers within 90 days.  Even with a permit, breeders can breed no more than 2 litters of puppies or kittens each year.    

The breeders must supply the county with the names and contact information of all people who buy the puppies and kittens. 

All other pet owners would be required to spay/neuter their dogs and cats unless they register with the county, pay the $75 unaltered license fee and sign an affidavit agreeing not to breed the animal. 

Violators could face revocation of the breeding permit and fines.

It is reported that 8,683 cats were euthanized in 2007 at the county’s animal shelter. 4,137 dogs were killed at the county animal shelter in 2007.

Critics say the measure punishes breeders and will not reduce the population of unwanted animals that end up in the shelter.

One problem is likely to be enforcement. Even now without the limits on breeding and mandatory spay/neuter, only 30% of dogs and 7% of cats are registered. But the county did approve an increase of $500,000 to the animal care and control budget. 

Significantly, the commissioners have also taken steps to make low cost spay/neuter available. They approved a voucher program for low income residents to help pay for the sterilizations. The commission expanded a no cost spay/neuter clinic and increased the number of days the Spay Shuttle, the mobile spay/neuter clinic, will operate.  

There is a plan to stage 3 24 hour spay/neuter events for cats. One event has already been held. Called "Op Around the Clock", the event resulted in the spay/neuter of 415 cats.

One thing is certain: No large scale or even small puppy millers are likely to venture into Palm Beach County. And that’s a good thing.