The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors asked its attorneys Tuesday to draft an ordinance requiring pet owners in unincorporated areas to spay or neuter their cats.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich joined with Supervisor Hilda Solis in calling for the regulation, saying it would limit the number of cats being euthanized in county animal shelters.
The Department of Animal Care and Control has an “open door” policy and takes in all dogs and cats needing care. Between July 1, 2014, and Feb. 1, the department had to euthanize more than 12,000 cats, roughly three times as many as were adopted or fostered by animal adoption agencies, according to department records.
Feral cats and unweaned kittens without a mother are most commonly euthanized, according to the supervisors’ motion.
“It’s a growing concern, at least in the First District, and I’m certain in other parts of the county,” Solis said.
The city of Los Angeles passed a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for dogs and cats in 2008. The county’s 2006 ordinance applied only to dogs.
Antonovich and Solis said mandating the surgery is the most effective way to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals.
The number of dogs picked up by county animal control workers or dropped off at shelter has gone down by 60 percent over the past 40 years, according to board documents. But cat intake over the same period has declined by just half that amount.
The county will spay or neuter dogs belonging to low-income residents for free or offer $50 vouchers to help pay for the cost of surgery by a private veterinarian.
The board asked staffers to report back on the estimated cost of providing such surgeries for cats.
— City News Service