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Spay, neuter of pets could become mandatory in Davidson County

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- Right now, the decision to get your pet spayed or neutered in Davidson County falls on each pet owner. But a proposed animal control ordinance update could make it mandatory.

Davidson County tried to pass a similar requirement about nine years ago. Now the debate is back on the table.

"We receive calls almost every day from people who have dogs, cats, kittens and puppies that they need to find homes for," said Becky Everhart, president of the Davidson County Humane Society.

The kennels are full at the Davidson County Animal Shelter and volunteers there say stray dogs, cats and overbreeding are to blame.

"When dogs and cats are constantly having litter after litter, it prevents that animal from having a healthful life," Everhart said.

Davidson County wants to solve the overpopulation problem by making spayed or neutered pets a requirement at 6 months old. The ordinance is up for debate at Tuesday night's commission meeting.

"I think it's a good idea as far as population control goes," said Jada Wyatt, a pet owner and Davidson County local. "I think it should be up to the pet owner, however."

The ordinance has some exceptions for breeders, hunters and with permission from a veterinarian.

"I think it would be a great thing for the mere fact of these animal shelters get so overpopulated," said Dustin Spaugh, who volunteers at the animal shelter.

Violators would face a misdemeanor charge and a $100 fine each day after the initial citation.

"If they have plans for, you know, providing the funding that would go along with enforcing it, and hopefully there would be funds available for people to access and have assistance in getting the spay and neuter done," said Bobbi Coble, a pet owner and Davidson County local.

The Humane Society of Davidson County already works with Planned Pethood, a clinic in Greensboro, to provide affordable surgery for pet owners. It ranges from $47 to $72 for dogs and cats.

"That's sort of an issue right now with the spay and neuter problem is the affordability," Coble said.

"The financial piece can't really be the reasoning why, it has to be more taking your choice away," Spaugh said. "And in that situation, like I said, that's just you being selfish."

Commissioners will also talk about tethering at Tuesday night's public hearing. Possible updates to the ordinance include no tethering allowed with chains or rope, a least at least 15 feet long and attaching tethered dogs to a swivel so they can't get stuck.

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