A proposed spay and neuter ordinance for the city of Princeton is necessary, and its passage will certainly help in terms of curbing the local homeless animal population.
The first reading of the proposed ordinance was approved by the Princeton City Council last week. The ordinance will be up for a second reading, and possible adoption, at the council’s first meeting of the new year in January.
The idea of drafting a spay and neuter ordinance started when the city was approached by local supporters of having pets spayed or neutered and local veterinarians, according to Princeton Mayor Tim Ealy.
If the ordinance is approved, it would be unlawful to own, possess or keep in the city any dog or cat more than 6 months old that has not been spayed or neutered, according to a copy of the ordinance provided to the Daily Telegraph.
Owners would have to alter their dog and cat unless the pet is less than 6 months old. The owner could obtain an unaltered animal permit from the city clerk to keep his or her pet intact with a $50 permit for each animal for the life of the animal. A licensed veterinarian could state in writing that the animal is medically unfit to undergo spaying or neutering. The ordinance would not impact dogs or cats kept in the city for fewer than 30 days in a one-year period, according to the ordinance.
“It would give our animal control officer a little more authority when it comes to these things,” Ealy said. “She’s not going to be going door-to-door checking. It’s just if she gets a call, there’s an ordinance.”
The city already has ordinances limiting the number of dogs and/or cats a resident can keep, Ealy said. There is also a leash law for dogs. A spay and neuter ordinance is the next logical step.
We support the city ordinance as currently proposed, and we believe it is necessary for Princeton. And we also still strongly believe that a spay and neuter ordinance is needed for the county as well.
If dog and cat owners prevented their pets from creating unwanted litters of puppies or kittens, fewer animals would be homeless and there would be less stress on county animal shelters. Euthanasia, an option disliked by many people, also would be less necessary.
An effective spay-neuter law would reduce the homeless animal population. In some instances locally, animal rescue organizations move dogs and cats to areas where there are effective spay-neuter laws.
That’s why we believe the Princeton ordinance merits passage. And we also believe the Mercer County Commission should reconsider a spay and neuter ordinance for the county as well.
At the end of the day, we must realize that animal problems in the region will not subside until we cultivate a culture of responsible pet ownership. Unspayed female dogs should not be giving births to litters twice a year. New pet owners need to be fully aware of the responsibilities they accept when they bring a pet into their homes. That responsibility involves getting pets spayed or neutered or accepting the financial and personal challenges of raising litters of pups or kittens and finding them homes.