General Question

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Should spaying and neutering pets be mandatory for pet owners?

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43 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Funny, I read that wrong the first time. I thought you were asking if spaying and neutering should be mandatory for pet owners. Hmmmm…..

asmonet's avatar

Hell no.

My dog was originally intended for breeding, she’s worth something like $3000. While I think the price is ridiculous, there is a huge business in breeding dogs responsibly and safely. Feral animals? Yes, catch and release.

Private ownership? No.

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

No. Because some people actually want to breed their animals and should be allowed too.

jrpowell's avatar


But it should be cheap/free if you want to have it done. I’m a socialist.

tocutetolive90's avatar

I would yes. If the animal has any disabilities that could be passed on to the young and cause them to have an lifetime illness or in pain then yes. If you wanna breed them then its fine to have them not fixed. But if you don’t plan on breeding them and just let them run around outside, wherever they want, I would say yes so they ain’t coming home all the time pregnant or getting the neighborhood pets pregnant.

asmonet's avatar

@tocutetolive90: Usually, that isn’t the argument so much as the animals developing health concerns. Cats and dogs have elevated risks for cancers and other illnesses when they aren’t fixed.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Perhaps a license/registration system could be implemented for breeders.

There are countless unwanted animals in the world whose suffering is needless.

cak's avatar

Even though I am of the thought process that all animals should be adopted from the pound or humane society (or ASPCA), there are people that want pure bred animals and should have that right to buy a pure bred.

There are true breeders, not the sick f’d up puppy mill scum, but true breeders that care about the breed that they are breeding. They do all the right things and do not over breed their dogs. I don’t think they should have that right taken away.

Like @johnpowell, I do believe that spaying and neutering should be more affordable. I think you would find more pet owners take the time to have their animals fixed, if it was more affordable.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I agree with @johnpowell in that I think it should be cheaper and/or free if you want it done. If we want to stop pet overpopulation then we need to make this more affordable. The only reason we haven’t spayed our dog currently is because we simply don’t have the money. We are trying to “get there” but just haven’t been able to quite yet. Not even for the low-cost spay clinic (which is really about 10.00 less than our vet). We are responsible with her until then but I can see how having it low-cost or free would be extremely valuable.

And I also agree with you @The_Compassionate_Heretic that it would be a good compromise to have a sort of process for breeders because the pet populations are so enormous and so many animals are needlessly put to sleep or are suffering. But if they were to make it mandatory, it should be free or low-cost mandatory. (IMO)

Supacase's avatar

I would like to see licensed or registered breeders, as @The_Compassionate_Heretic suggested. All others should be spayed or neutered.

Just because you think your puppy is cute and you want another one of him/her doesn’t mean the other litter mates will find good homes or that their owners will be responsible about spaying and neutering… and the owners of the puppies of those puppies and so on. It is an out of control and irresponsible problem. Totally agree that mandatory should equal free or low cost.

casheroo's avatar

I think any animal that goes through the pound should be fixed, which I’m pretty positive they are. I think breeders should have licenses and the penalties should be severe fines and community service.
Also, I thought spaying/neutering was affordable? I mean, it cost less tha 100 in my area, and I live in a highly populated area, so usually things are more expensive, right?
I do think it should be free though. Like, a once a month deal for vets just to help out.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@casheroo for many of us that extra 100 bucks is still too much money especially in these difficult economic times. For us it is a bit of money only because we have so many medical bills we are paying on, we would have to make the choice to pay less on a medical bill and go for the procedure. Instead of doing that we are just saving up for the procedure. Just a long way of saying that even though we have quite enough money to pay for our dog’s regular health care, food, and other needs, that extra hundred dollars is quite a bit for us. I’m sure it is the same for many others and I know we are better off than some. I’ve heard the argument that people shouldn’t be allowed to have a pet unless they can afford the procedure but quite frankly I think that is ridiculous although I know not all agree.

bcstrummer's avatar

No, it should be the owners choice, remember a pet is still a living thing, it should live on in my opinion

casheroo's avatar

@RedPowerLady I think spaying and neutering should be in the allotted amount of money you intend to spend on a pet. We are by no means doing well in this economy, but our cats are both fixed. I also had my dog fixed and he needed surgery to find a hidden testicle (and they never found it…)

Kayak8's avatar

There is some recent evidence that neutering large breed males early (as has been the tradition) may actually not be as beneficial as doing it after they are a year old.

With my GSD, my vet had me wait. He is a working dog, so he was with me and under my direct supervision the entire time. I would not have wanted to be forced to neuter him sooner per my vet’s advice and I am a responsible dog handler.

I do agree with @casheroo that the costs for neutering should be calculated into your adoption/purchase decisions for all pets (including rabbits!)

Most vets are strongly in favor of spaying/neutering (at the appropriate age for the pet) and many will work out a payment arrangement in the interest of not increasing the population of unwanted pets.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@casheroo Well perhaps that is true but most of us get our pets well before the appropriate age to spay/neuter them so the issue doesn’t arise until much later. And who knows what life is bringing you financially by that time. Of course I also don’t agree that an expensive procedure should be required for someone to adopt a pet. If it were more affordable, say 25–45$ then I would fully agree. But such is life, we don’t have to agree :).

casheroo's avatar

@RedPowerLady Thats why I like adopting at our SPCA, they give you a 25$ voucher for the vet, for the procedure. Because sometimes the cats are not old enough or whatever. They also tend to do the procedure on cats that have been there a little while, and I gravitate towards those sorts of cats anyways. Definitely shop around, you might find something. But, if you have ttwo males and they aren’t aggressive (like mine were becoming) I don’t see an issue with holding it off. You don’t want to wait too long though, the older they get the harder surgery is on them.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@casheroo Great Point about adopting from the SPCA!

crisw's avatar


“While I think the price is ridiculous, there is a huge business in breeding dogs responsibly and safely.”

How much you pay for a dog has absolutely zero bearing on whether the dog is breeding-quality or not. You can go into any petstore and pay $3000 for an expensive mutt from a puppymill that is a medical and temperamental nightmare and should be spayed immediately.

“Breeding quality” means a dog that is both physically and mentally sound, an excellent specimen of the breed, and free of any genetic disorders that occur in a given breed. You can’t pay for this- your $3000 puppy can still turn out to be dysplastic, aggressive, or lacking in breed character.

And responsible breeders are not out to make money- in fact, they usually lose money, as a whole. Anyone who breeds primarily for $$$$ is not a responsible breeder.

As to the original question, I am torn. I believe that the vast, vast majority of animals in this country should be neutered and that very, very few animals that are bred are actually of breeding quality, but I also believe strongly that the purebred dog is worth preserving. How to strike the delicate balance between these issues is not an easy question.

whatthefluther's avatar

I’m torn on this one. All my current pets are neutered and that includes two purebred dogs. However, many years ago, my best friend had a very special dog, a cockapoo mutt that lots of people knew and loved. Friends were eager to get a special dog like him (including me) and a waiting list grew quickly. We did some careful selective breeding after studying and consulting with a couple of vets. All puppies were reserved before ever being conceived and no money ever changed hands. The descendants were all great dogs through the first three generations (I personally had dogs from generation two and three and they were both wonderful). Despite very careful breeding, some health problems arose in generation four. We made it mandatory that those puppies be fixed and stopped any further breeding . So, although licensing and regulating breeders sounds nice, I would hate to think that it would be impossible or financially prohibitive for a responsible private party to do some careful breeding and that someone like me might be denied a B.J. and Baby, two incredible dogs that were a very special and important part of my life. I cherish my memories of them as much as I cherished (and spoiled) them while they were with me and I miss them both very much.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

In general for the common household pet, yes. As crisw brings up about preserving pure breeds, I’d make some exceptions for responsible breeders. Also, as time goes by, I feel more and more opposed to the whole business of pet stores.

rooeytoo's avatar

The annual license fee for an un-neutered dog should be prohibitive, that would encourage more people to desex the dogs. And anyone who has more than one litter a year would be considered a breeder and would have to have a breeder’s license. This hopefully would eliminate a lot of those who want to have a litter so the children can experience the miracle of birth (I tell them to hire a video) and people who are simply irresponsible.

The sad part is, most towns and counties already have laws such as this, it is enforcing them that is problematic. Not enough animal control officers to get the job done.

I have never known a responsible dog breeder who made money nor have I known one whose intent was to make money.

asmonet's avatar

@crisw: I said that was her price tag, we only paid like $450 for her and never bred her once. The breeder was in it ‘for money’ and for the love of the animals, she showed them, bred them and had four of her own. It was her career. And her dogs are wonderful.

I don’t understand why you responded that way, with those points as a response. I just don’t get why that was important for you to point out?

Not trying to be rude, I just I’m just confused as to your intention?

mbubbles's avatar

yes. its not fair to let them have babies and then not take care of them.

crisw's avatar


I responded that was because responsible breeders are not in it for the money and do not make money. It’s a very common and very destructive misconception.

syz's avatar

If people (Americans) were responsible pet owners, then we should be able to leave the choice to breed or not breed up to them. Hmmm, let’s review: 3–4 million animals in shelters euthanized every year. Every year!

Breeders should be licensed. (Licensing is required for people who paint fingernails, give a massage, and cut hair – and no one dies from those practices.)

England has managed to enact regulations, and you don’t see dogs become an endangered species there.

asmonet's avatar

@crisw: I’ve known many dog breeders all of which have made a living or a nice supplement to their income from breeding dogs, and none of them were irresponsible. I have never personally met a dog breeder who did not make some amount of money from breeding. They certainly weren’t losing money on a regular basis. Breeding dogs is profitable, developing new dogs breeds is not. Depending on what your goal is you will see vast income differences.

I don’t see how you see it as a destructive misconception.

rooeytoo's avatar

@asmonet – I don’t know how many breeders you have known but in my 35 years of owning and operating a kennel and grooming business, as well as professional handling and training, I never met a responsible breeder who made a dime. That is not even the game plan, they generally only have a litter when they want a pup, they don’t breed to have pups to sell. They know the world is already full of unwanted dogs, they don’t add to the problem.

If you know people who breed for profit, they are not the people who are interested in improving their breed, they have an entirely different agenda.

The misconception is that you can make money breeding dogs so more people have a couple of litters trying. Most learn the hard way that it is not a money maker if you properly care for the pups until they are of an age to be placed. Unfortunately in the meantime they exacerbate the overpopulation problem and put more dogs on death row in the process.

crisw's avatar


Please define what you think of as a “responsible” breeder. Our criteria may be very different!

To me, at a minimum, a “responsible breeder” does all of the following:
– Only breeds to better the breed, and has goals in mind of how to do so.
– Measures all breeding animals against a standard that is as objective as possible, and only breeds animals that meet those standards
– Is active in breed club or working breed club activities- shows or works the dogs
– Tests all breeding animals for all hereditary diseases found in the breed
– Keeps only as many dogs as he/she can personally care for and train
– Raises all puppies with adequate socialization and training
– Sells all non-show-quality puppies with spay/neter contracts or on limited registration
– Will take back any animal he/she bred at any time if the new owner cannot keep it

Any breeder who does all of these isn’t making money, when you take all of the costs into account,

For example, I have a flat-coated retriever. His father was Westminster Best of Group and had numerous field titles at the highest levels, his mother was Best of Opposite Sex as the FCR National Specialty and had many obedience titles. He was one of a litter of seven, for which the breeder charged $1000 each. That seems like a nice chunk of change until you look at:
– How much it cost to show these dogs and get working titles on them (entering a typical show-$25, entering a hunt test- $50 or more- and these dogs are owner-handled, it would be much more if they were paying pro handlers!)
– How much it cost to get genetic certifications (OFA rads at $200 or so, CERF tests at $100 or so, etc. etc.) and do all other genetic tests
– How much it cost for vet checks for the pregnant bitch and all the puppies
– Breeder days off of work spent caring for the puppies
– Paying a professional puppy tester to temperament-test all the pups at 7 weeks
Etc. etc. etc.

If you do it right, you don’t make money.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Why shouldn’t breeders be allowed to make money? That sounds backwards.

crisw's avatar


Because, unlike furniture or cars, dogs are living, feeling creatures that can suffer. Careless breeding and breeding for money leads to endless suffering- try Googling “puppy mills.” When you breed for money, you’re going to cut corners. You’ll breed any two dogs who happen to be of the same breed- not mates chosen to complement each other. You won’t show or train your dogs- why spend the money? You will breed the bitch every heat- hey, maximize those profits! You’ll produce pups with genetic defects because you won’t pay to screen for thewm- hey, what do you care if a dog becomes dysplastic at age 5; you got your money! You won’t take back dogs that don’t work out because it cuts into your profit margin- so they get dumped in pounds.

And, of course, this careless breeding hurts families too, when their beloved Golden drops dead at age 3 of subvalvular aortic stenosis, or their Irish Setter goes blind form PRA, or they face a $5000 vet bill to fix their dysplastic German Shepherd’s hips.

You cannot both breed for profit and breed ethically. The two simply don’t go together.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Ethics and business can co-exist.

rooeytoo's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic – that is true, but responsible dog breeding is usually not economically viable, too many costs involved.

And more importantly, that is just simply not the goal. If the world were not full of unwanted animals, perhaps it could be done, but in our world, why would they even try?

crisw's avatar


I don’t see how, in the case of breeding dogs- how, exactly, would you do it?

asmonet's avatar

@crisw / @rooeytoo

All of the breeders I have known, and worked for which total four have met nearly all of your guidelines.

It’s unfortunate that your experience has been different.

crisw's avatar


“Nearly all”? Which ones didn’t they do?

asmonet's avatar

I have no idea how many days they took off work, when they did have regular jobs. Nor did I ever hear mention of a ‘puppy tester’ – though I wasn’t exactly watching them like a hawk. They were acquaintances, not business partners. I did not analyze their lives, I just helped out and worked for one, and knew the others.

The majority of my knowledge comes from seeing them work, sell the dogs, show them, etc. I recognize I do not have ‘firsthand’ experience. I only know what I was taught on the subject by them and what I observed.

Which, does not fit with your or @rooeytoo ‘s ideas about breeding.

I prefer to think both types exist in the world, as I’m sure people exist that fit your description. Just as I know people do operate as I described.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@crisw It seems to me that if you’re not making any money, you’re selling your product too cheap, not selling enough of your product or your costs are too high. There’s breeders who turn a profit doing this business and they are ethical in the process.

As for how you’re going to do that you need to figure that out.

crisw's avatar


“There’s breeders who turn a profit doing this business and they are ethical in the process.”

Please, name one. Just one. You are making the claim, you should be able to document it.

I’ve trained and shown dogs for 20 years. I’ve never met one.

Dogs are not mass-produced widgets, and responsible breeders aren’t treating breeding as a business.

rooeytoo's avatar

well @asmonet knows 4 and they are all responsible, so I guess they exist, but it is interesting that crisw and I, who between us have 55 years of experience, never met any.

Breeding dogs is a different business than horses, there are no cash purses at dog shows, you show and train because you love it and the dogs. Therefore the money involved in selling just isn’t there. And @compassionate heretic, dog people don’t consider their pups “products.” And perhaps your idea of ethical and mine are different. To me anyone who is adding to the dog population for reasons of profit, are simply not ethical. If you researched the people who go to dog shows and have an occasional litter because they want a new pup to show, the ones who have a litter to improve the breed, they aren’t even trying to make a profit, it’s just not their agenda. I wouldn’t shop for a cheaper vet or feed a lesser quality food to save a buck and increase my bottom line.

From my experience, I have always been suspicious of the motives and the cheap talk of those who claim to be making money. You have to produce a lot of pups to make money and that is not what real dog people are about, and they are not the people I want to be associated with or buy from.

asmonet's avatar

Your definition is what stops you from seeing others as ethical, it’s rather rigid. I’m sorry, but people who are set on a Maltese or a Chinese Crested do not ant a pound puppy. There is a market, until the market goes away – sellers will exist. Porn has a market – sellers exist. Alcohol has a market – sellers exist. And so on.

You’re describing hobbyists. And you’re having a separate conversation.

I’m officially bowing out of this conversation, whether or not it was intentional – and I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt – I did not appreciate the implication in that first sentence of yours rooeytoo.

crisw's avatar


I will continue here, even though you’re bowing out, for the benefit of anyone else reading the discussion. I feel that it’s important that people realize that ethical breeders do exist, and why it’s important, if one wants a purebred dog, to purchase dogs from them rather than other sources.

“Your definition is what stops you from seeing others as ethical, it’s rather rigid. ”
Well, if they aren’t ethical, then they aren’t ethical. You haven’t pointed out any specific points in my definition that are questionable.

“but people who are set on a Maltese or a Chinese Crested do not ant a pound puppy.”
That is fine. No one is saying “get a pound puppy,” We are saying “If you do buy from a breeder, buy from a responsible breeder.”

If you want a Maltese, let us say, presumably it’s because you want a dog that looks and acts like a Maltese. If you go to a responsible breeder, that is what you’ll get. Go to a petstore or a backyard breeder, and you’ll likely wind up with a dog that doesn’t look or act like a proper Maltese should- a dog with coat problems, eye problems, patellar luxation, etc. One of the big myths about dogs is that if you want a pet, you should go to a “pet breeder” rather than “one of those snooty show breeders.” Nothing could be more wrong!

“There is a market, until the market goes away – sellers will exist.”
That’s true. And that’s why I am fighting the market. The people who buy dogs from petshops and backyard breeders need to be educated. I don’t want that market to exist. It’s a market that leads to suffering and death. I cannot be complacent and just say “oh well, let people buy them if they want them.” There’s just too much at stake.

“You’re describing hobbyists.”
Yes. I agree. But, again, in my ideal world, unrealistic as it may be, that is how it should be. Dogs are only bred by people who care about dogs, who love a breed and work to better the breed, who do not breed unless they have homes available for every puppy. People don’t get a dog unless they are prepared for a lifetime commitment. In this world, shelters are unnecessary, and dogs do not suffer and die from preventable genetic disease. It’s a world I very much want to see.

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