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Issue Background

Mandatory Spay/Neuter

Mandatory spay/neuter laws are usually considered by state and local governments in response to animal control concerns in the community. Proponents believe that mandatory spay/neuter laws will reduce the number of animals at the local shelters and strays roaming in neighborhoods. However, these laws have not proven an effective solution to animal control concerns and punish responsible breeders and those who choose to keep intact dogs for conformation, field trials, hunting, and other similar activities. 

Mandatory spay/neuter laws are very difficult to enforce, and in some cases result in public health concerns when owners avoid routine veterinary appointments to hide their lack of compliance.  They also by their very definition prevent consumers from being able to obtain a healthy, well-bred dog from a responsible breeder.  Rather than impose a mandatory spay/neuter law, lawmakers should instead focus on enforcing effective animal control laws, implementing a low-cost spay/neuter program, and considering public education programs to promote responsible dog ownership.  The American Kennel Club, as well as many local dog clubs, can assist communities in developing effective animal control laws and public education programs that address the issue of irresponsible ownership while still protecting the rights of responsible owners and breeders. 

“Although MSN may sound like a logical solution… these laws only address a symptom… A truly effective solution will require addressing the larger issue of [irresponsible dog owners].”