Spay Neuter – A Las Vegas Legal Primer

It's a pretty frequent question we get at Hydrant Club. Do we require that dogs be spayed/neutered in order to use our facility and services.

It's simple - we abide by the law of the City in which we operate.

While personally - both as a dog owner and a trainer - I have a strong belief that there isn't any good reason not to get your dog altered I try to stay out of other people's business. Unless the person engages me as a trainer or wishes to use the services of the Hydrant Club, in the end, the choices they make are their own decision.

My personal wish to be Switzerland aside, the simple fact is this - in Las Vegas (in most major municipalities in fact) owning an unaltered animal is against the law. Period. There are allowances that some cities make, but as a rule, they require that any pet over a certain age (in Las Vegas that's 4 months old) must be fixed.

Here in Las Vegas, there are a few exceptions that will allow someone to legally have an unaltered dog.

Now let's talk about WHY spay/neuter is so crucial. Putting aside the fact that to not do so generally has someone in direct breach of the law, there are serious and important considerations to support the practice.

Let's start with the colossal problem of dog overpopulation. While the desire for a "No Kill" world is a solid one (and a great goal that intense and consistent efforts can one day hopefully attain), when you're talking about a volume that pegs into the tens of thousands (among all shelters in any given major municipality) you're talking about a volume of dogs that would be difficult to home even if we were to stop the overpopulation problem today. By enforcing spay/neuter and combining it with an aggressive education program designed to put the RIGHT dogs into the RIGHT homes, we could stave off the issue of people returning dogs to shelters or, even worse, just dumping them on the streets. Spay/neuter is not THE answer to too many dogs needing homes, but it sure would put a dent in it.

One of the reasons dogs get dumped at shelters or just dumped is because people have a difficult time handling them. Oftentimes a great number of those behavioral issues are ones that could be easily addressed and in some cases would go away altogether if the dog were to be altered. This isn't to say that an unaltered dog cannot be behaviorally stabilized and properly trained. In fact, in my experience, some of the most well-behaved, well-trained dogs I've met were unaltered dogs that were subjected to deep training and behavioral work from the time they were small puppies. As a result, their behavior as an adolescent and then adult dogs was flat out superb. The dogs have focus, drive and calm balanced energy. In these cases I've also often noticed that the scenario where an altered dog "has a problem" with an unaltered one, doesn't happen.

All that said, when I meet deeply unruly dogs in many cases they are either unaltered or they were altered very late and in both cases little to no training or (even worse) bad training was used.

My personal take - it's a failure in training. In my experience, dogs that get behaviorally stabilized and properly trained early,

Many spay/neuter advocates imply that dogs are less dangerous when they've been fixed. While fixing a dog definitely shaves the edges off of dominant behaviors, if a dog has not been properly trained whether it's altered or not won't really matter. In the end, altering your dog will give you a better handle on managing its behaviors, relieve the scenario of other dogs having an issue with your dog and it will help avoid the possibility of adding even more puppies to a world where the ones we have cannot even find homes.