Mandatory Spay/Neuter Legislation

NAIA policy statement: Mandatory Spay/Neuter Legislation

NAIA opposes mandatory spay/neuter legislation because:

  1. there is no evidence to suggest that it is effective in achieving its stated goal;
  2. it causes well-documented health and developmental problems in some pets, especially when performed before sexual maturity;
  3. it pushes responsible breeders out of the licensing system;
  4. it reduces the availability of well-bred healthy, home bred and raised puppies and kittens;
  5. it encourages the importation of puppies and dogs from less acceptable sources, including foreign countries;
  6. laws that force owners to perform surgery on their pets without a rational basis for doing so may be unconstitutional.

Click here to read NAIA's full position statement on this issue.

In view of continuing campaigns that tout the benefits of mandatory spay/neuter legislation which have never been substantiated, the NAIA believes that it is time for a new and clear resolution to guide governmental efforts in solving pet-related problems. Therefore, we respectfully submit:

The Responsible Pet Owner's Approach to Animal Regulation

WHEREAS, even the most sincere lawmakers can get swept along momentarily by well marketed but flawed ideas; and

WHEREAS, mandatory spay/neuter legislation has never succeeded anywhere in the US; and

WHEREAS, mandatory spay/neuter laws have generally led to increased costs for animal control agencies, as Santa Cruz, California encountered; and

WHEREAS, mandatory spay/neuter laws like the one proposed in Chicago penalize only the law abiding minority who actually license their pets; and

WHEREAS, similar legislation elsewhere has pushed good people out of the licensing system and reduced certainty regarding rabies vaccination rates; and

WHEREAS, top medical professionals and animal experts, such as the Illinois ( and Chicago ( veterinary associations, the American Kennel Club ( and Cat Fanciers Associations (, and moderate, fact-based animal welfare organizations such as the National Animal Interest Alliance ( all oppose mandatory spay/neuter; and

WHEREAS, the veterinary scientific literature disputes claims that neutering dogs will diminish dog bites; and

WHEREAS, mandatory spay/neuter laws have proven unenforceable and generated constitutional challenges that are currently in the courts; and

WHEREAS, virtually everyone but outright criminals wants to eliminate dog fighting; and

WHEREAS, any system that makes the law abiding, responsible pet owners who license their pets accountable for the ones who don't is inherently unfair and destined to fail; and

WHEREAS, modern learning theory and dog trainers teach that success only comes from 1) rewarding good behavior; 2) correcting bad behavior; and 3) never giving a command that cannot be enforced;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the city of [ ] vote NO on this new spay/neuter proposal and instead work with the law abiding pet experts in veterinary associations, kennel and cat clubs and national animal welfare groups to write effective, enforceable laws that will build rather than destroy community support for Animal Care and Control and respect for pet laws.

Further, NAIA recommends a serious look at NAIA's Guide to Pet Friendly Ordinances and Model Ordinance:

Pet Friendly Guide
Model Ordinance

Together they offer methods for writing enforceable laws that build support for community animal control by rewarding responsible pet owners and applying meaningful penalties to problem owners.

For more information, please call on the National Animal Interest Alliance at or at 503-761-8962

Be sure to see these additional NAIA policy statements
Pet Ownership / Dogs / Pets and the Community / Guardianship / Animals in Entertainment
Animal husbandry / Animal Careers / Agriculture / Research / Wildlife / Mandatory Spay/Neuter Legislation