Warren County commissioners appear to be fixed against a mandatory spay/ neuter requirement, opting instead to strengthen rules at Animal Control.
In a joint meeting on Thursday, the county’s Health and Welfare Committee and Policy and Personnel Committee discussed the policy proposed by Commissioner Blaine Wilcher.
The new policy originally imposed a countywide mandate to spay/ neuter all pets, unless the animal met one of seven exemptions.
Wilcher has since relaxed his stance on the issue because of possible problems it could create.
“I’ve learned from other cities and counties that have done this that they have had an increase of people dropping off their pets, because they don’t want to deal with having them spayed or neutered so they just get rid of them,” said Wilcher. “That’s a negative.”
Wilcher added that enforcement would be difficult for Warren County Animal Control and Adoption Center director Kim Pettrey.
“Also, it would be hard to enforce,” said Wilcher. “As I have said, Kim doesn’t need any more to do. She’s got enough on her.”
Animals are viewed by law as private property and the policy could be challenged as interfering with that right.
“Another one that a lot of people have reached out to me about, and I have to agree with them, is it would infringe on our personal rights as pet owners,” said Wilcher. “I don’t want to punish someone who’s taking care of their animals.”
Wilcher suggested the committees consider changes to Animal Control rules and procedures that would increase spay and neuter at the facility and would require people who bring in litters of puppies and kittens to spay and neuter.
Specifically, any dog or cat not claimed by its owner – known or unknown to the department – in seven days can be medically altered and placed for adoption. Additionally, litters of puppies and kittens will only be accepted if the owner can provide proof the mother has been spayed or would bring in the mother to be spayed.
“People want to bring in litters,” Wilcher said. “That’s fine, but we need to stop the problem.”
Other minor changes were also suggested.
“In the past, we’ve kept animals five to seven days, if their owner didn’t come and get them,” said Wilcher. “By state law, we need to keep them seven days. We usually keep them more than seven days, but our policy needs to reflect state law. If we have something come through our doors and it is not claimed in seven days, it’s going to be spayed or neutered.”
The changes to Animal Control’s policy and procedures manual received unanimous joint committee approval. Warren County Commission approval is required.