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Answers to Your Questions About the Las Vegas Mandatory Spay/Neuter Law

Submitted by Hila Ronquillo, HCWS Volunteer

By a vote of 5-2, the Las Vegas City Council has passed an ordinance requiring residents to spay/neuter their dogs and cats.  Many are questioning the need for such a law, but the high numbers of sheltered animals in Las Vegas should be explanation enough.   The municipal animal shelters in the Las Vegas Valley take in more than 50,000 animals per year and 30,000 are being euthanized.   And those numbers do not count the cats and dogs fighting for their lives on the streets of Las Vegas.


When did the spay/neuter ordinance go into effect?

 April 1, 2010

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, there are exceptions to this law.  If –

  • The animal cannot breed or a veterinarian certifies the animal is medically unfit for surgery.
  • The animal has been trained and is used for law enforcement, search and rescue or as a service animal.
  • The owner has a valid dog or cat fancier’s, breeder’s or professional animal handler’s permit.

What are the consequences if I don’t get my dog or cat neutered/spayed?

A violation would be a misdemeanor with fines up to $225 for the first offense, $500 for the second, and $1,000 for the third and subsequent offenses.

 At what age is it mandatory for my pet to have the surgery?

4 months and older

Are there risks for my pet to get neutered /spayed?

  • Since it is surgery, there are always risks, as with every medical procedure. 
  • Spaying/neutering is one of the most common procedures performed by veterinarians.
  • Go to a veterinarian you trust and if you are on a budget, organizations like Heaven Can Wait provide low-cost spay/neuter services, but with the same high-quality service as any veterinarian clinic.

Are there any benefits to having my dog fixed?

Studies show that there are many health benefits for your dog after being fixed:

  • On average, it will increase your canine friend’s life by one to three years.
  • Altered dogs have low to no risk of mammary gland tumors, prostate cancer, perianal tumors, pyomeria, and uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers.
  • Less desire to roam, therefore less likely to be injured in fights and auto accidents.  (85% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered.)

Are there any benefits to having my cat fixed?

  • An average of a 3- to 5-year increase in your cat’s lifespan.
  • Eliminates possibilities of false pregnancies.
  • Altered cats have low to no risk of mammary gland tumors, prostate cancer, perianal tumors, pyomeria, and uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers.
  • Urinary infections greatly reduced
  • Less desire to roam

Are there any benefits for me when I get my pet spayed/neutered?

Besides showing that you are a responsible pet owner and are helping to reduce the suffering of homeless pets, there are many benefits for you as the owner as well:

  • Since the risks for cancers and other diseases are lowered and eliminated in the long run, you will save money on expensive vet visits and medical care.
  • Less aggression in male dogs due to being territorial, including urinating to mark territory
  • Your community can benefit by decreasing the number of stray animals. 
  • And one more benefit for your wallet:  by reducing the number of animals impounded and the eventual destruction of unwanted animals, millions of taxpayers’ money can be saved.

 Does my dog have to have her first heat before she can be spayed?

No, she does not. You can begin to spay/neuter your animal as young as 8 weeks, depending upon their weight.

Should my pet have at least one litter to be healthy?

Giving birth does not improve your pet’s health.

Will my dog lose its hunting or retrieving abilities?

These instincts are located in the dog’s brain – not on the other end of the dog. Actually, an intact dog can be distracted during the hunt by the smell of a canine in heat.

Will my pet get fat?

Whether or not your pet will gain weight depends upon diet, exercise, age and genetic factors.  

Will my pet’s character change?

Surgery will not change your companion’s character.  

For every human born in the United States each day, SEVEN unwanted puppies and kittens are born.  There will never be enough homes for them.  Please, make this law a success and neuter/spay your companion.  And if you think about expanding your family – ADOPT A PET.

If you need more information on spaying and neutering or want to make an appointment, visit the Heaven Can Wait Animal Society website. 


One Response

  1. I love Las Vegas!! Thank you for trying to make a difference for animals!!

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