Spay And Neuter Law In Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz shelter

Debates over the California Healthy Pets Act continue as the act has moved on to the Senate. One city in California has had a mandatory spay/neuter law for the past 12 years and is “being touted as a model” in these debates. In 1995, Santa Cruz County became one of the first in California to mandate the spaying/neutering of pets. Officials for Santa Cruz animal organizations say that they see improvements in shelters after the spay/neuter law came into effect.

“There was a time when we would euthanize for space — we’d pick five or six animals that had to be killed to make room for incoming strays,” said Tricia Geisreiter, the county’s animal services coordinator.

Before 1995, the shelter warehoused 14,000 animals a year. Today, it takes in about 5,500. Euthanasia has dropped from 30 percent to 17 percent of sheltered dogs and from 60 to 50 percent of sheltered cats.

In Santa Cruz today, more of the sheltered animals get adopted because they can stay longer in their cages. They can stay longer because there’s more room — spaying and neutering laws have resulted in fewer unwanted litters and fewer strays roaming the beaches and streets, officials say.

Mandatory spay-neuter in Santa Cruz “changed morale in the shelters,” said Jody Cramer, the Santa Cruz SPCA director from 1991 to 1998.

7 Responses to “Spay And Neuter Law In Santa Cruz”

  1. e wem says:

    I understand the need but it still bothers me.

    There are some fine animals that should be reproduced to continue the line. It is a shame the public abuses the privilege so many upstanding animals will never have offspring to make room for overbred or inbred offspring who should be neutered.

    I do not mean purebred show animals, but animals of special intelligence, great heart, or qualities that deserve to be carried on.

    I hate euthanesia and hope one day we have only no kill shelters

  2. Bridgett says:

    Albuquerque now has a mandatory spay/neuter law as well. I recently ran into the woman who works with the group from whom I adopted my little dog at one of the local pet food stores. I asked if she had seen an increase in the number of dogs and pets surrendered or abandoned because of the law. She said that the situation was just the opposite. They had been receiving tons of calls about the low cost spay/neuter programs. I thought that was very encouraging.

  3. Kevin says:

    Before jumping on the bandwagon for these new laws, people should educate themselves before passing judgment.

    AB 1634 in California is not the answer to the control of pet over population. In fact, it is nothing more than the extortion of money from legitimate breeders and pet owners. It does nothing about the criminals, unscrupulous breeders and is very unhealthy to the animals.

    Laws should be designed to target abusers and criminals in society and not law-abiding citizens. Below is a link to further your investigation.

    No to AB 1634

  4. Purina Puke says:

    I live in California and I so don’t want this law to pass. Four months to neuter is too young. Six months maybe, but not four months! If they pass this law and stiff the good responsible breeders I will be seriously mad.

  5. Luisa says:

    AB 1634 doesn’t “mirror” Santa Cruz County’s law, and certainly wasn’t “modeled” after it. You can compare the Santa Cruz law to AB 1634 online (and I hope you do):

    Santa Cruz County Code:

    Latest version of the “Healthy Pets” Act:

    Under AB 1634, a vet may request a waiver based on an animal’s age or poor health, and the vet is requested to indicate when the animal can be safely speutered. Santa Cruz: a vet can write a letter exempting any animal whose owner wants to keep the dog or cat intact.

    Under AB 1634, intact permits are granted to dogs that are registered, shown and/or titled.
    Santa Cruz: ANY dog, purebred or mutt, may remain intact and be used for breeding provided the owner is reasonably responsible and law-abiding.

    Santa Cruz has a full exemption for stockdogs and livestock guardian dogs. AB 1634 does not, and since some of the finest working stockdogs and LGDs in California are not registered, never shown, and not bred often enough for owners to qualify for a breeder’s license, some of the finest working lines in the state will be at risk if AB 1634 passes.

    AB 1634 wants everything speutered by 4 months. Santa Cruz: 6 months.

    Volume breeders and pet shops are not allowed in Santa Cruz County. AB 1634 gives both a free pass.

    AB 1634’s supporters seem to have no qualms about spreading the “Santa Cruz model” story and other falsehoods to get their bill passed. I’ve discussed a few of these whoppers on my blog — Pet Connection linked to these posts:

    For an interesting report on the “Santa Cruz model,” see Save Our Dogs:

  6. anna_2007 says:

    Though I dislike draconian measures, I consider this a necessary law for “in these times, in this place”. There are cycles to everything, somehow this last cycle of a very self-indulgent (perhaps lazy? “not my job?”) society has failed the freedom of self-management of this issue, and it has become a crisis. Perhaps in the future we can afford the emotional luxury of not having such a law, but right now, I thing not.

    I recently adopted a feral rescued kitten. This kitten has more heart, brains and compassion than lots of college students. Yet, she was a few days away from being put down. The volunteer already had three dozen rescued kittens, on her ranch, desperate for homes. The fleas became resistant to the meds they were using and at the same time the volunteer became sick. That’s all it takes … I’d rather have this law than have the lose-lose systematized killing of spirits like the gentle, sweet one one inhabiting my new kitty’s body.

  7. bethany says:

    Anna - I completely agree with your comments. People have not been able to govern them selves on this issue. That’s why ‘common sense’ laws are created. Just like the seatbelt law, because otherwise people won’t have the common sense to do it on their own.
    It is heartbreaking to think of the 100’s of thousands of animals being put down every year. We need to do something and we need to do it now.
    I have two rescued dogs, one from an actual rescue and one that was just abandoned and wandering the streets. Our shelters and rescues are overflowing.
    Irresponsible people are allowing their animals to have litter after litter and a good percentage of the offspring end up in shelters, rescues, or worse, just left to wander and fend for themselves.
    Back yard breeders are out of control. They are in it solely for the money, and not because they ‘love the breed’ and want to keep the bloodline going. This is evident from the irresponsible and deplorable conditions the poor animals are kept in. They are just baby machines and a paycheck to these people. Well I say GET A REAL JOB and quit using these poor animals to make a living.
    It is out of control and it is going to take something drastic, like mandatory spay/neuter, to solve the problem. We are quite clearly not capable of fixing the problem with any ‘voluntary’ methods.

E-mail It