Dogs Gone

Dogs Gone

Council passes controversial spay and neuter ordinance

By Mariela Patron 07/24/2014

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A divided Pasadena City Council passed an ordinance that will require pet owners to spay and neuter dogs over the age of 6 months. 


Opposed by Council members Jacque Robinson, Terry Tornek and John Kennedy, the new law exempts animals licensed by registered breeders, service dogs, law enforcement dogs, competition animals and those with health issues. Owners who refuse to spay or neuter their pets will be charged $60 extra each year to license their dogs. Cats are not required to be licensed in Pasadena.


“It’s tragic that a significant part of the (Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA) is used not to help animals, but to kill them,” said Councilman Steve Madison, who introduced the measure. Madison initially wanted the law to apply to only pit bulls, but supports the ordinance. 


“Hopefully this will be a step in the right direction,” he said.


The council’s July 14 meeting featured more than 50 speakers, who seemed as divided as the council, which voted 5-3 to approve the ordinance.


Originally introduced in October, supporters said they believe the legislation would help reduce animal violence and the large amount of unwanted animals left at the Humane Society. Opponents say the ordinance will disproportionately hurt poor pet owners. 


According to data released by the Humane Society, the facility has housed 5,329 animals so far this year, euthanizing 28 percent of them. Pit bulls, according to the Humane Society, are the least likely dogs to be adopted and were the most euthanized animals in the last two years.


Ricky Whitman, vice president of community relations of the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA, said spayed or neutered animals are less prone to violence. 


“The statistics show that most dog bites are from unsterilized animals — by unneutered males or females that have just given birth,” Whitman said.


However, people who oppose the ordinance said there is not enough research done to support any type of spay and neutering legislation. Kennedy said the city should instead focus on educating its citizens on animal population control. 


The ordinance will be presented again in 60 days for a second reading and possible approval.


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