Daytona Beach Makes Stride Toward Spay/Neuter Law

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Last night, Daytona Beach city commissioners passed a 6-1 initial vote that would require most Daytona Beach residents sterilize their dogs and cats.

The law would necessitate pet owners have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered by the time they are six months old, with the exception of:

• animals of registered breeds that compete in shows or other competitions.

• an animal whose owner is a member of a bona fide animal club that maintains and enforces a code of ethics for breeding.

• animals whose doctors pronounce them medically unfit for sterilization.

• animals used in law enforcement.

• service animals who assist people with disabilities.

• animals whose owners have a contract for breeding the animals.

• hunting or herding animals registered with a bona fide hunting or herding organization.

If the measure passes, City Attorney Marie Hartman said it will be primarily enforced by animal control officers inspecting loose animals. Once the animal is identified as unsterilized, the owner will have 72 hours to spay or neuter their pet. Hartman added the officers will not be permitted to enter private property without permission. Lower income residents will be able to utilize programs with significant discounts.

Five surrounding municipalities have already passed the law and Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare, who has championed the laws for more than ten years, hope all of Volusia County will soon require the same of pet owners. They said that every year approximately 18,000 dogs are cats are euthanized in the county. “The only way we’re going to fix this problem is to fix the animals,” Pat Mihalic, treasurer for Concerned Citizens for Animal Welfare, told commissioners.

A final vote is expected at the commission’s April 20th meeting.

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