A few months ago, you talked about a mandatory spay and neuter bill that was introduced to the state. What’s the status of that bill?
— Inquiring Mind in Irvine
The bill you’re referring to is California Assembly Bill 1634, which seeks to “prohibit any person from owning or possessing any cat or dog over the age of 6 months that has not been spayed or neutered, unless that person possesses an intact permit.”
In its current state, the bill calls for a $500 penalty to be slapped on any pet owner who does not abide by this law. One possible loophole is, essentially, a doctor’s note: If a veterinarian says the animal should not undergo the procedure, it may be put off.
Introduced by Assemblymember Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys), the bill is well intentioned, aiming to keep stray cats and dogs off the streets and, ultimately, out of the pound.
But if a recent poll conducted by media outlet MSNBC is any indicator, there has been a strong public backlash to the bill. There are a range of arguments against this — that requiring every cat and dog to be “fixed” will cause medical issues for many of them, that such a measure would make breeding darn near impossible, or that it will lead to all but the extinction of our small furry friends.
Out of more than 40,000 respondents, only 32 percent supported to the bill itself, with an overwhelming 64 percent arguing that such a decision — to spay or not to spay — should be left to the pet’s owner. Only 3.4 percent were uncertain.
As it stands, Levine will re-introduce the bill in January after it failed to pass through the State Senate. If AB 1634 were to pass, it would make ours the only state that would require spaying or neutering.