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Haywood Needs Spay/Neuter Laws

Updated: Apr 9, 2019

The new Haywood County Animal Shelter has been at full capacity almost since the day the doors opened on April 25, 2018. At the front desk is a long list of citizens waiting for an opening so they can surrender their unwanted dog.

Did you know that for years, Sarge’s Animal Rescue in coordination with the Haywood County Animal Shelter, has been transporting homeless dogs to the New Jersey Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees Township? Yes, they load up some 30 dogs and drive 694 miles moving our homeless dogs to another community. By the time these drivers return home, our shelter is back to full capacity.

This following is from Sarge’s website:

“Why does Sarge’s transport animals to rescue partners in the northeast?

The simple answer is that in Haywood County there are more animals that need help than we can adopt to local homes. And because of the highly developed spay/neuter programs in the northeastern states, there are not enough dogs available locally there to supply the demand. Statistics show that the intake of stray and unwanted animals in Haywood County is twice the national average, and that we simply do not have the population base to place them all locally. Nor do we have the resources to harbor them over time.”

I was shocked when our Animal Control Director told me in a meeting that he was headed to New Jersey the next day with 30+ dogs. “How can NJ do that,” I asked. I suggested he ask the folks at the NJ Animal Welfare Association what are they doing that we are not. Through my own research, I learned that the NJ State Law and local ordinance require the annual licensing of dogs and cats. Voorhees Township’s dog license fees are $12.00 for spayed/neutered dog or cat and $15.00 for non-spayed/non- neutered. With a few exceptions, the near-by city of Camden does not allow an un-spayed/un-neutered dog or cat within the city limits.

Just this month, in Whitfield County, Georgia, the Animal Shelter Director, Diane Franklin, requested that the board of commissioners approve a law requiring that most pet owners spay/neuter their dogs and cats if they are over six months old. Those in violation face up to a $1,000 fine. However, the law allows for the citation for the first offense to be dismissed if the owner provides documentation that the same animal has been spayed or neutered. The law also allows exemption for breeders, but they must pay for a breeder’s license. Franklin also asked the board to increase the fee to reclaim an animal from the shelter. The fee would increase to $150 from $25, but would be reduced to $25 if the animal had been previously spayed or neutered. If the animal was not spayed/neutered, the fee will be waived entirely if the owner allows the animal control to take the animal to a licensed spay/neuter clinic of the owner’s choice.

What a noble effort by Haywood County Animal Control and Sarge’s…finding a resource that will take our unwanted animals. But, I wonder, wouldn’t a better solution be to pass strict spay/neuter laws like those in NJ, Georgia and thousands of other communities?

We could improve the lives of our animals, our animal control staff, and all citizens if we would just open our eyes and stop resisting change. There are so many other communities setting examples for us to follow. Let’s get on board!


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