Bill would require all mixed breed dogs and cats to be sterilized

    8:55 AM, Mar 18, 2013   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - State lawmakers are reviewing a bill that would require some pet owners to spay and neuter their pets.

    Lawmakers will soon weigh in on a bill that would require pet owners to spay or neuter their mixed breed dogs and cats.

    Jake Hillard operates a spay and neutering clinic in Pulaski County for low-income pet owners and fears this law would do more harm than good.

    "This is a solution that has been proposed to help Arkansas' animals, but the unintended consequences I think we're going to see [include] revolving doors of people trying to get pets and hiding their pets instead of getting them cared for like they should be," Hillard explained.

    However, Little Rock Veterinarian Dr. Bob Hale says this legislation is needed to protect thousands of unwanted dogs and cats killed every year in the state.

    "This is the only way we're going to make people be responsible for these dogs and cats that we're having to euthanize," said Hale.

    The bill, sponsored by Rep. Eddie Armstrong of North Little Rock, would require pet owners to sterilize their mixed-breed dogs and cats by the time they are six months old.

    It does exempt pure-breeds, service animals, and hunting dogs.
    Pet owners who don't comply would face a $50 fee each year, per pet.

    Hale said this bill is designed to keep down the unwanted animal population.

    "By passing a law that gives law enforcement the ability to go in and educate and tell people and explain the benefits then over time, it may take 10 or 15 years, but over time they will see how good it is to have their dogs spayed and neutered and it will stop this problem," Hale explained.

    But Hillard's concern with this legislation is that it would be a burden on local governments and she thinks lawmakers should make spay and neutering programs more accessible.

    "What we've seen work in other states have been voluntary programs, which provide universal access through discounts, through statewide voucher programs, the money is raised through licensing fees, but it's not mandated," Hillard said. "So people don't get in trouble if they haven't done it, but they have access to do it."

    Hale says the cost associated with the law pales in comparison to the amount of tax dollars paid out every year for euthanasia.

    "Sixty-thousand animals are killed in Arkansas last year, 2012. How much did it cost the tax payers to go capture that unwanted animal, put it in a truck, to pay that man to drive that truck to the animal control, house the dogs for seven, days, feed the dog and then kill the dog with a euthanasia solution? How much did that cost times sixty thousand?," wondered Hale.

    Little Rock enacted a similar ordinance in 1998; statistics show it has reduced the amount of dogs and cats killed by about $4,000 per year.

    Dr. Bob Hale with Briarwood Animal Hospital shared this list with THV 11 News of affordable spay/neuter clinics:

    1. Companions Spay and Nueter Clinic in Greenbriar,Ark 501-679-7900
    Female Puppy $75
    Male Puppy $65
    Female Kitten $50
    Male Kitten $40

    2. City of Bryant 501-557-5518
    Female Puppy $70
    Male Puppy $60
    Female Kitten $50
    Male Kitten $40

    3. Arkansas For Animals Rescue 501-455-5400
    Female Puppy $65
    Male Puppy $65
    Female Kitten $35
    Male Kitten $35

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