Fla. Mandatory sterilization bill cut from consideration

Fla. Mandatory sterilization bill cut from consideration

May 25, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
Tallahassee, Fla. -- A bill that started as a mandatory spay/neuter proposal and was altered into a sterilization fundraising program has been dropped altogether by Florida lawmakers.

House Bill 451 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.

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.

March 25, the bill was transferred to the Military and Local Affairs Policy Committee, which withdrew the bill from consideration May 2.

The bill's failure coincides with the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) revision of its policy on cat and dog population control, which frowns on mandatory sterilization.

"The AVMA does not support regulations or legislation mandating spay/neuter of privately owned, non-shelter dogs and cats," AVMA says in its revised policy. "Although spaying and neutering helps control dog and cat populations, mandatory approaches may contribute to pet owners avoiding licensing, rabies vaccination and veterinary care for their pets, and may have other unintended consequences."