Ordinance change aims to get more dogs licensed
Quincy Chief of Police Kieth Siebert has been reading through city ordinances and found one he wanted to change, title 8, section. 8.05.055, concerning the neutering and spaying of domestic dogs.
At the Feb. 19 meeting of the Quincy City Council, the change that Siebert sought was adopted by the city, eliminating that portion of the code.
The previous version of the city code read: “No person may own or harbor a dog over the age of one year within the corporate limits of the City, unless it has been spayed or neutered. This prohibition shall not apply to a certified purebred dog.”
According to the city code, a certified purebred dog is defined as “a dog that is registered as purebred by the American Kennel Club or the United Kennel Club.”
The ordinance, No. 19-528, approved by the council on Feb. 19 repealed the ordinance that was the basis for the code requiring dogs be spayed or neutered. The new ordinance states that similar spay and neuter ordinances have been challenged in courts; the city was having difficulty enforcing the code; and it appeared to be reducing the number of dog owners who voluntarily register their pets (for licenses).
Dog licensing is done at the Quincy Animal Shelter, which is part of the Quincy Police Department.
“We no longer require that owners have their dogs spayed or neutered,” Siebert said in an interview March 12. “The animals still have to be licensed and vaccinated, and female dogs must be confined when in heat.”
Siebert said he did extensive research on the matter, comparing relevant laws throughout the United States, and preferred the most prevalent practice of not requiring spaying or neutering.
The Police Department is keeping a close eye on pet licensing, however. Officer Sergio Castillo, for one, patrols the city for such infractions.
“In Quincy, 700 dogs pass through the animal shelter every year,” Siebert said. “We do have a (stray) animal problem here.”
Before stray dogs that have been picked up are released from the city’s animal shelter, they receive vaccinations and microchips, which is a significant effort and expense for the city. Not having also to spay and neuter the dogs will save time and money.
Siebert is currently working on coordinating the databases at the police department and the animal shelter so that both organizations have access to each other’s information. At the moment they do not have mutual records.
By Jaana Hatton, For the Post-Register