Saturday, August 20, 2022

City Goes Light on Spay/Neuter Citations

The City of San Angelo passed a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for pets in October 2015.  Nearly seven years later the Animal Shelter is chronically overcrowded, even after the addition of a PAWS adoption center and kennels next door.

In early June the Animal Shelter issued a plea to the public after three dogs gave birth producing 20 puppies in an already full shelter.  One of the mothers had been in the shelter twice before and released unaltered.  She had been in the shelter two months, plenty of time for a spay to have been conducted.  City Council awarded PAWS its veterinary surgical equipment in December 2019 for such a purpose.

Flashback to August 2015 when staff began floating the idea of a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance

If Animal Control Services picks up an animal over 4 months old, and that animal is not spayed or neutered, the repercussions will be a citation. Not to mention, the Shelter would spay, neuter and microchip the animal at the owner’s expense. The only exceptions to this ordinance would include people who breed with a current license and microchip, people who need their animals for medical reasons, people who compete their animals professionally, and those people who use animals for specialty reasons, including law enforcement.

“Of course we would need to allow time for citizens to get ready for the ordinance, which would be 6 months.” 

Animal Services is under Neighborhood and Family Services while includes Code Enforcement.  The City has four Animal Services Officers and four Code Enforcement Officers.  Between them they average just over 4 failure to spay/neuter citations per month.  That's less than 1 per ASO/CEO.  That seems rather sparse for a city with an abundance of irresponsible pet owners.

Update 8-22-22:  Shelter Chief Morgan Chegwidden was on KLST News last night talking about the Animal Shelter's increase in the number of dogs entering the shelter.  She said there has been a 10% increase relative to last year.  The Animal Shelter Advisory Committee met last Thursday and one agenda item was further restricting intake from city residents trying to do the right thing after finding a lost dog.

Update 8-25-22:  Morgan told the Animal Shelter Advisory Committee the dog increase is mainly due to puppies.

Update 10-7-22:  Yesterday the city issued a press release which stated:

Effective Aug. 16, 2022, citizens who have failed to prove compliance for spaying or neutering their pets have received citations through a newly approved process that allows violations to be issued by mail rather than in person. This has replaced the shelter’s practice of allowing a 10-day grace period to collect proof of compliance for those in violation. 
This newly approved process did not go through City Council or the Animal Services Advisory Committee.

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