(The following proposal has been patterned after the mandatory spay/neuter law passed in CAMDEN, NEW JERSY)


The Pet Population Task Force Recommendation

"Provide Spay or Pay"

October, 1997

The Pet Population Task Force Convened by the Board of Comtnissioners of LA Animal Services began its work in July. 1996. Since then the Task Force has rewashed and reviewed the various laws, policies and programs developed across the nation and sought advice from a wide spectrum of animal and public policy experts. After serious deliberation, the Pet Population Task Force makes the following proposal.

We recommend that the Clty of Los Angeles take legislative action and pass an ordinance that requires dog and cat owners to:

Provide (evidence that they are actively involved and informed owners)

Spay, or (This is always a desirable action!)

Pay an amount that will inspire them to either spay, or to become active, informed educated and responsible owners)

We recommend that the ordinance include the following elements:

1. Make it unlawful to own, possess or keep in the C:ity any dog or cat over the age of four months that has not bean spayed or neutered, except as provided below:

a. A licensed veterinarian states, in writing, that an animal is unfit to undergo the required surgical procedure because of an extreme health condition of the animal. Such exyreme health conditions shall include but not be limited to: severe cardiovascular comprise, bleeding disorder, respiratory disease. and hepatic disease. The old age of an animal shall not of itself, constitute an extreme health condition for the purposes of this section.

b. The animal is owned, possessed or kept in the city for fewer than thirty (30) days in a one (1 ) year period. However. the owner must show proof of ownership and residency in a town other than the City wth a valid, up-to-date dog license or cat (if or when applicable see Item 2.b) identification or license and/or other such documentation.

c. The animal is temporarily in the City to participate in a show or event sponsored by a non-proflt, sanctioned animal organization

d. The Owner obtains an Intact Animal Permit (see Item 2).

2. If an animal is kept intact for any purpose, the owner of the animal shall be required to annually obtain an "Intact Animal Permit" for each dog or cat that is not spayed or neutered

a. The "lntact Animal Permit" for dogs will be administered in conjunction with the annual dog licensing process. State law requires that dogs be inoculated for rabies and licensed at four months of age. The City of Los Angeles requires that dog licenses be renewed annually

b. The " Intact Animal Permit" for cats will be administered on a complaint and/or contact basis at present. The Board of Commissioners Of LA Animal Services has approved, in concept, a proposal to require cats to have identification and to be registered with the City. LAAS will move this forward at the same time as the microchip proposal, so that cat owners will have access to this form of ID. When the Cat Identification Program is irnplemented, the spay and neuter ordinance will be enforced for cats in conjunction with that program.

3. Outdoor cats will not be eligible for an Intact Animal Permit. As per current law, all outdoor cats must be spayed or neutered.

4. Annual fee structure:

The annual dog license or cat identification, combined with the applicable intact Animal Permit, shall result in total fees of:

a. $10.00 for spayed or neutered dogs per year. There is currently no fee for cats. This will be addressed further in the Cat Identification Proposal.

b. $35.00 for Intact dogs or cats per year,
(with Documentation that the Owner Meets Responsible Pet Owner Criteria)

c. $ 500.00 for Intact Dogs or Cats per year,
(With No Documentation)

5. All fee revenues collected under Item 5.c above shall be deposited in the Animal Welfare Trust Fund and be allocated for humane education programs and spay and neuter programs. The allocation ratio shall be reviewed annually by the Board of Commissioners and revised as deemed appropriate.

The City shall clearly indicate in all its legislative languages printed materials, and other communications, that it does not desire to utilize the fees in Item 5.c above to collect significant revenues; but rather that such fees be for the purpose of indicating the City's clear desire that pet owners accept responsibility for their pets, as well as any offspring of their pets; and that owners take responsible action to assure that they do not contribute to animal suffering by breeding unwanted animals; and that their pets do not harm people or other pets, do not damage property, or increase the public's fiscal burdens.

6. Licensing and fee revenues collected under item 5.a and 5.b above shall be deposited as dog license fees are currently.

7. Documentation of Responsible Pet Ownership:

a. The animal owner must meet certain criteria:

If the owner qualifies for the reduced fees, the reduced fees will apply to all the dogs or cats that the owner possesses, whether or not each of the individual animals are engaged in the activity that provides the owner with the needed qualification.

b. Why Documention is Required:

While the City recognizes that many responsible pet owners do not actively participate in ongoing, verifiable activities as described in this ordinance, the City also recognizes tthat in order to reasonably implement this program it must limit eligibility to owners that are able to provide documentation. The City recognizes that the incentive this may provide for more owners to join such activities will benefit the public good by resulting in happier healthier pets and more educated and informed owners.

c. Responsible Pet Owner Criteria:

Qualifying activities and programs will include, but not be lirnited to, the following examples

1. Professional service dogs, such as guide dogs, search and rescue dogs assistance dogs.etc.

2. Dogs and cats actively employed in recognized therapy programs.

3. Professional performing dogs and cats actively employed in commercial public exhibition, such as animals trained for motion pictures or television and/or belonging to other recognized professional animal trainers.

4. Dogs actively employed in law enforcement.

5. Guard dogs licensed as such by the City of Los Angeles under its provisions and permit requirements for guard dogs.

6. Conformation shows sponsored by recognized organizations including such organizations as the AKC, the UKC, recognized cat organizations or rare breed organizations.

7. Obedience and related events or trials sponsored by recognized or approved organizations..

8. Agility events or trials sponsored by recognized or approved organizations.

9. Working dog events or trials sponsored by recognized or approve orgainzations. This would include such activities as (but not limited to) herding, sled dogs, or Schutzhund competitions.

10. Sporting dog events or trials ssponsored by recognized or approved organizations. This would include such activities as (but not limited to) field trials, retrieving events, or coursing events.

11. The successful completion of 100 hours (per year) of volunteer service to Los Angeles Animal Services under the terms, conditions and policies applicable to all of the the Deparment's volunteers.

8. Implementation of the Documentation Program:

a. To be eligible, activities and programs must provide a high level of awareness of pet owner responsibility and of animal behaviors. These will usually be sponsored by sanctioned animal and/or humane organizations.

b. Los Angeles Animal Services will maintain a list of the qualifying Activities and organizations

c. The list of qualifying activities and organizations shall be reviewed in pubic hearing and approved by the Board of Commissioners at least once a years or as often as ncessary to keep it appropriately updated.

d. Anyone can petition the Board of Commissioners to have their group or activity reviewed for inclusion on the list at any items.

e. The Board Of commissioners shall appoint a committee consisting of representatives of the Department staff, the humane community. and other responsible animal organizations to advise then regarding list of qualifying activities and organizations.

f. The Ordinance will not go into effect for six months after its approval to provide dog and cat owners timse to get their pets; spayed or neutered and be in compliance with the new law.

9. Special Process for New Owners with Young Animals:

The City shall recognize that this ordinance might create a burden for a person that wishes to begin participating in a qualifying activity tor the first time (and therefore cannot yet provide qualifying documentation) and obtains a young, intact animal for doing so. They may be unable to make an informed decision about spaying or neutering at this point.

The Ordinance shall include an appropriate process to provide them the flexibility to make that judgement and meet the required critria by the time the animal is 14 months old and is licensed for the second; yet the process shall clearly discourage breeding of the animal during that period of time.

11. The City shall provide each purchaser of a dog license, or cat identification tag (and/or Intact Animal Permit) with documentation of such purchase together with a metal tag inscribed with the license number and the words "L .A. License". As per current law, all dogs must wear such tag, securely affixed to a Collar, harness or other devise, at all times, except while such dog remains indoors, or in an enclosed yard or pen. (L.A. Municipal Code Sections 53.15 & 53.21 ) Cats Will be addressed in the Cat Identification Program.

12. Los Angeles Animal Services shall continue and expand its efforts to facilitate pet ownership by senior citizens and the disabled (as defined in Municipal Code Section 53.15) by providing spay and neuter assistance either through the City's low-cost spay and neuter clinics (the first of which will open before January, 1998) or through the City's spay and neuter voucher program.

13. The City shall make animal license, identification annual permit application forms widely available and easily accessible to the public by encouraging a variety of venues to carry them. These venues shall include, but not be limited to; LAAS administrative offices, shelters, facilities, and events at the City Council offices and the Mayor's office , at veterinary clinics, pet supply stores; animal boarding, breeding, grooming, or triaining services and/or facilities, humane and other animal organizations; at public animal events; and over the internet. The City shall provide incentives to encourage such organizations and services to participate in this program, such as those currently provided to participitating veterinarians.

14.The City of Los Angeles shall amend Municipal Code Section 53.15 to require that any person owning or having custody or control of any dog shall obtain, for the privilege of keeping such dog, a license for each dog over the age of (8 ) weeks and shall the appropriate annual license and/or permit fees at that time.

All dogs must be vaccinated for rabies at the age of 4 months (California Health & Safety Section 121690). Therefore, LAAS shall send the owner a renewal notice at that time. The owner must return such notice to LAAS with proof of rabies vaccination within 30 days of such notice or the dog license and/or permit will be revoked. If the owner provides proof of rabies vaccination within the allow time frame, no additional fees shall be applied. Failure to comply will result in late fees of $10.00 per month for each month rabies vaccination proof is not provided. Failure to compy for 6 consecutive months ( this portion of the text was missing as I recieved it...jan)

Cats will be address in the cat identification program.

15. Los Angeles Animal Services shall create a public education program to imform the public about the laws and regulations they must compy with as dog and cat owners, as well as other aspects of responsible and humane pet ownership. This shall be funded the fee revenue allocation described in item 11.c; and by the appropriation of $75,000 per year from the General Fund, which shall be utilized by LAAS to provide such education equally to all areas of the City at the rate of $5,000 per year per council district.

16. LAAS shall collaborate with the non-profit humane community in additional efforts to provide public education on animal matters, such as the "Zero 2000" program. This does not, however, eliminate the need for LAAS to provide some direct education of its own that specifically includes information about the laws related to animal ownership.

17. Enforcement of the Mandatory Spay and Neuter Ordinance and the Intact Animal Permit process shall be implimented through the Cities dog licensing programs and issued by the Los Angeles Department of Animal Services. Implimentation methods for cats will be included in the cat identification program.

18. The City's Licensing Programs must be expanded for this ordinance to be effective, and to assure citizen compliance with the Mandatory Spay and Neuter Ordinance, to assure that the City is in compliance with State Laws requiring dog licensing programs, and to provide needed revenue for the Cities animal programs.

19. LA Animal Services shall initiate action against any owner of any dog found without a current active license, or without a certificate of rabies vaccination, or without a required Intact Animal Permit for each intact animal. Any person who violates this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $1000.00 and up to one year in the County jail.

(Note: Violators will also incur the expense of an additional 175% of penalty assessments in fees, automatically levied by, and paid tom, the court, as mandated by state law)

20. Failure to license and/or permit within thirty (30) days of notice to do so, shall result in financial penalties of 100% of the amount due andwill require the owner to obrtain Department approval to obtain an Intact Animal Permit, and such permit may be subject to terms and conditions as deemed appropriate by the Dept. Cats must be spayed or neutered or permitted if they remain intact. If the animal is spayed or neutered within the thirty (30) day notification period, the penalties shall be waived.

The Department of Animal Services shall have the authority in such cases to deny requests for licenses and/or permits and to require the owner to either spay or neuter said animals or to remove them from the city of Los Angeles.

21. Concurrent with the approval of this ordinance the City of Los Angeles will:

a. Repeal LA Muncipal Code Section 53.15.2, "Breeder's License Fee."

b. Amend LA Municipal Code Section 53.00, "Definitions", and 53.50 "Dog Kennels" to provide an more appropriate definition of "cat kennels" and "dog kennels" and/or change the number of animals that trigger the kennel definition. This provision requires additional review and consideration.

c. Amend the various LA Municipal Planning and Zoning Codes relating to dog limits to provide more appropriate language. This provision requires additional review and consideration.