Spay/Neuter Legislation in Triad Happy Tails

Triad Happy Tails Magazine features Dr. Huth and his veterinary perspective on new spay/neuter legislation in Guilford County

What Age is Best to Spay/Neuter? New Legislation in Guilford County and the Veterinary Perspective

So, if you are perusing this magazine, you likely have a pet or are in the market for one. You are also probably an owner that wants to make responsible decisions regarding your pet’s healthcare. But what if I told you that an ordinance was recently passed in Guilford County that actually DISCOURAGES good judgment when it comes to spaying and neutering? A new law passed last Fall went into effect January 1, 2018, stating that any cat or dog over the age of 6 months of age that has not been spayed or neutered is subject to a $200 fine or “unaltered animal permit”. The ordinance is vague and does not specify if that is a recurrent or one time fine, and it also exempts dogs registered with certain organizations, service dogs and those “whose health would be adversely affected by a procedure”. While enforcement of this law will prove to be very difficult, as a veterinarian, it concerns me that this law was passed without regard to studies presented to them stating that spaying and neutering is contraindicated prior to sexual maturity and growth plate closure. In addition, like the tethering law that was passed previously- there should have been widespread education among pet owners and the wider professional animal community to promote law abiding, responsible decision making. While I believe there were well-meaning intentions behind the ordinance’s creation, there are more appropriate ways to go about the desired outcome. Pet licensing and pet lemon law legislation would be effective, while still ensuring that pet owners with intact animals could be held accountable.

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