City of Austin considering mandatory spay/neuter ordinance

The City of Austin is considering making spaying and neutering your pets something that's mandatory.

The idea came in the form of a referral from Mayor Adler's office.    
The Health and Human Services Committee looked at it Wednesday afternoon.

Tawny Hammond is the Chief Animal Services Officer for Austin.
The Austin Animal Center is celebrating 5 years of its 'No kill status' this year.  Hammond says making it illegal to have an unaltered pet is not the way to go if they want to continue in their success.

"My professional recommendation is that mandatory spay/neuter ordinances have negative consequences in communities," Hammond said.

Council member Ellen Troxclair is a member of the Health and Human Services Committee.  She said the same thing.

"A lot of national animal organizations are against mandatory spay and neuter because it leads to owners not providing their pets with the appropriate vet care or vaccinations," Troxclair said.

"It also makes them not take their animal to a vet.  They won't go to a vet for routine veterinarian care or for a rabies shot which is a public health issue because they're afraid of getting in trouble," Hammond said.

Hammond says in other cities that have made it mandatory, the shelter intake has spiked.  She says it's because it makes people afraid to have a pet because of the consequences and costs.
Every dog or cat adopted from the Austin Animal Center is spayed or neutered before leaving.
At the meeting on Wednesday, Hammond planned to recommend they continue allowing spaying and neutering to be voluntary.

"77,000 animals spay or neutered either through the Austin Animal Center of our partners.  Our intake has gone down from 23,000 to less than 18,000 with those voluntary measures," Hammond said.

Council member Troxclair says she's not inclined to support the measure.

"In general it always raises red flags to me when the city does mandatory blanket policy for anything," Troxclair said.

By the way just because the referral came from the mayor's office it doesn't mean he necessarily supports it.
He just wants the issue discussed in committee.

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