Mandatory spay/neuter passed in Dallas on June 25th, 2008. As of the date above, all dogs must be spayed and neutered by 4 months of age.
Early spay and neuter is demonstrably bad for dogs. In sheltering situations, where dogs must legally be altered prior to being made available for adoption to the public, it’s inevitable (and preferable to death), but for the general responsible dog owner who does not allow his or her pet to roam at large and can safely confine them, it is NOT the best option.
Pediatric spay/neuter INCREASES the risk of hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma, both of which are cancers with poor survival rates even WITH treatment. It DOES decrease the risk of mammary and testicular cancers in dogs- two cancers which are relatively easy to treat. Spaying a female up to 2.5 years of age has a significant impact on her risk of future mammary cancer- the benefit doesn’t magically go away after 4 months. And her risk of spay incontinence in middle/old age is much higher than that of a dog who is spayed after physical maturity. The extended bone growth caused by pediatric spay/neuter is also linked to a significant increase in orthopedic problems.
I am very much in favor of spaying and neutering pets. I think it’s an essential part of being a responsible pet owner. But I don’t think ANYONE other than my veterinarian and myself has ANY right to tell me when is the best time for my animals.
This bill makes theoretical exceptions for responsible breeders in Dallas. It remains to be seen how they’ll be implimented. (In Houston, supposed ‘exceptions’ have not materialized because the AR-run animal shelter board has not yet created the forms to get an exemption as a breeder and have never, in a year and a half, granted a permit. All breeders are therefore lawbreakers by default, even though the form they are required to fill out does not yet exist.)