Many of my clients ask why the rescue or shelter where they adopted their dog is making them neuter their dog at such a young age. It is not just a matter of the rescue’s or shelter’s policies. Virginia law mandates all rescues and shelters to submit certifications for every adopted dog and cat confirming that the animal has been spayed or neutered within thirty days of adoption if the animal is already sexually mature, or within six months plus thirty days if the animal was not yet sexually mature. Virginia shelters and rescues must also have adoption contracts that notify adopters of this obligation to neuter their animals.
The main reason behind this law is to help with pet overpopulation. According to The Humane Society, 2.7 million dogs and cats are put down in US shelters each year because of overpopulation. One of the proven ways to decrease this number is to spay or neuter your pet. By legally mandating that your dog is spayed or neutered, Virginia is addressing this issue of overpopulation and ensuring that all adopters are doing their duty to help decrease animal overpopulation and needless euthanasia.
The issue of early spaying and neutering of pets is not without controversy. There have been recent studies showing potentially negative physical and behavioral effects of sterilization before a dog is sexually mature. It is unknown whether these studies would cause Virginia to modify its laws – but for now, Virginia has legislatively chosen to endorse a policy aimed to reducing overpopulation.
If you have any questions regarding adopting animals from a shelter, the neuter policy, or animal training, contact the Law Office of Heidi Meinzer, PLLC today. Heidi Meinzer is an experienced animal law attorney and a professional dog trainer and is available to answer any of your animal law questions.