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Monday, November 12, 2012 - 2:30am

Macon Could Force Pet Sterilization

Macon city councilor Nancy White is pushing an ordinance at the city and county level that would require pet owners to sterilize their dogs and cats.

Similar measures designed to keep down the unwanted animal population are common in other parts of the country, White says, "but for whatever reason this Middle Georgia community has never been that supportive or attentive of the stray animal population."

Under White's legislation, owners who do not want their dogs fixed would have to pay an extra licensing fee. Violators would face a $50 fine

White acknowledges that the expense of sterilization, particularly for female animals, is a disincentive to adoption. But she points out that Bibb County recently received a two-year grant from PetSmart Charities to offer free spay and neutering services.

Patti Jones, chairperson of the animal advocacy non-profit Central Georgia CARES, says the measure is long overdue. "I have seen an increase in strays and animals that are surrendered, and it seems to be linked to the economic downturn," she says.

State law requires anyone adopting an animal from a shelter to have it fixed within 30 days, but that’s proven hard to enforce.

34 other states require shelters to fix pets themselves before adoption. In the absence of that, Jones says it's up to cities and counties to regulate owners.