Tallahassee -- A bill that would have required sterilization of all cats and dogs by the age of 4 months was substantially changed by the Florida House Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Committee.
The bill initially was introduced Jan. 20 in the Florida House of Representatives and would have required all cats and dogs, with exceptions for show, breeding, service or racing dogs, to be sterilized by 4 months of age or within 30 days of ownership.
But on March 24, the committee adopted a "strike-all" amendment, removing all mandatory spay/neuter language and instead giving local lawmakers the option of using a $5 charge already collected on animal-control citations to help pay for low-cost spay/neuter programs.
Florida is one of many states/cities to take a look at mandatory sterilization. A statewide bill in California failed last year, but has been reintroduced. Two bills concerning mandatory sterilization were introduced this month in Texas, and officials in Tennessee and Chicago also have considered such laws.