Rio Rancho City Council to vote on spay and neuter ordinance

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A proposal before the Rio Rancho City Council Wednesday evening could require dog owners to get their pets fixed. It would also bring back some provisions the council took out of the city’s animal ordinance years ago.

Nearly 10 years ago, the city put together an Animal Welfare Task Force which recommended a series of changes and additions to the city’s animal ordinance. At that point, the city adopted some of the recommendations. Now, more are on the table.

Rio Rancho City Councilor Marlene Feuer wants some changes to the city’s animal ordinance.

“This issue was brought to me by some constituents,” Councilor Feuer said.

The first on the list: prohibiting the sale of dogs or cats from pet stores.

“We need to get this back into the orinance,” Councilor Feuer said

The city council approved that provision in 2011 only to change their minds a year later.

The other change would require dogs be fixed. The current ordinance only requires cats be spayed or neutered.

“When people register their dogs, they’ll have to prove that they were neutered and there are exceptions,” Councilor Feuer explained.

Some of those exceptions include service dogs, show dogs and dogs bred for specific purposes like herding, agility or scent tracking. Exemptions will require a special city permit.

“It’s something that needs to be done,” Councilor Feuer said.

She added that she’s confident the council will approve the changes Wednesday evening, especially since it tackles a bigger problem.

“We also need to control the pet population in our city,” Councilor Feuer said.

Something Rio Rancho resident Amanda Williams knows all too well after recently taking two kittens left on her doorstep to Animal Control.

“I think it would be a good idea, just like something like that would be prevented,” Williams said.

“To me, it’s a health and safety issue for the city,” Councilor Feuer said.

She said at least one councilor is concerned some dog owners may think it’s too expensive to get their dogs fixed, but she said that’s something she thought about.

“I worked with Animal Control and we came up with four locations that offer very very reasonable neuters and some have even low income which is even less,” Councilor Feuer said.

Rio Rancho does require pet owners to license their cats or dogs for $4. Right now, it’s $25 for pets that aren’t fixed.

According to the proposed ordinance, Animal Control could charge higher fees for licensing unfixed pets unless the owner presents a note against it from the veterinarian.

The city council will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening. A vote is expected.

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