Chicago considers mandatory neutering
By Jeff Fleischer
In mid-May, in a move that had been rumored for months, Alderpeople Edward Burke (14th Ward) and Ginger Rugai (19th Ward) introduced an ordinance to the Chicago City Council requiring guardians to spay or neuter their pets or face city penalties.
“No person shall own, harbor, or keep within the city of Chicago a dog or cat over six months of age which has not been sterilized,” the ordinance reads. First offenses would carry a fine up to $100, and offenders who fail to comply within 30 days could face a $500 fine and impoundment and sterilization of their pets by the city.
The measure is designed to both limit the number of unwanted animals and also to reduce incidents of aggression. Rugai has previously backed sterilization measures in the hope of reducing dog attacks, and says this ordinance was prompted in part by the April attack of a South Side mother by a pack of five Pit Bulls. The American Veterinary Medical Association says nonsterilized dogs are 2.6 times more likely to bite than neutered animals.
Exceptions would be allowed for breeders who apply for a license and are therefore subject to a background check. Other exceptions include guard dogs, service dogs, show dogs, and animals deemed by their veterinarian to need an exemption for health reasons. Some groups, including the American Kennel Club, oppose the ordinance, stating that mandatory spay/neuter laws are both unreasonable and unenforceable and such laws negatively affect responsible breeders.
As of press time, a vote on the ordinance had not been scheduled.
For more information, visit eGov.CityOfChicago.org.