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Local News

Santa Barbara Council Adopts Spay/Neuter Pet Ordinance

The measure requires pet owners seeking an unaltered animal license to first consult a veterinarian

The Santa Barbara City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt a new spay/neuter ordinance that requires pet owners to obtain a veterinary certificate before getting an unaltered animal license.

The county Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance in November 2009 that made it mandatory, beginning Jan. 1 of this year, for pet owners within the unincorporated county areas to fix their cats or dogs. However, owners can buy an unaltered animal license with a veterinary certificate.

Councilmen Grant House and Bendy White brought the issue before the council. The city contributes about 44 percent of unwanted pets in county shelters though it has no spay/neuter ordinance of its own.

To keep an unaltered dog, city pet owners first must consult with a veterinarian to discuss options for spaying or neutering the animal as well as the responsibilities of choosing to keep a dog unaltered. Dogs that have been determined vicious can’t be licensed as unaltered, according to the draft ordinance.

Additionally, the ordinance requires a city license for unaltered cats, which would be enforced by county Animal Services. To get their cats released from the shelter, owners need to obtain either a veterinary certificate to get an unaltered animal license or consent to having the cat spayed or neutered.

A surcharge on the licensing fee for unaltered pets will go toward an education and outreach fund for information about maintaining an unaltered pet.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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