The Town of Yucca Valley is moving toward mandatory spaying and neutering of pit bulls and pit bull mixes as a way to reduce the number of pit bulls in the animal shelter and to prevent dog attacks. In this editorial opinion, managing editor Tami Roleff doesn’t think mandatory spay-neuter ordinances are the answer some make them out to be…
How does requiring people to spay or neuter their dogs solve the problem of irresponsible owners? And how do you even get irresponsible owners to take the responsibility for spaying or neutering their dog? If the Town of Yucca Valley requires pit bulls to be sterilized, do you think owners of intact dogs are going to license them with the town? Of course not, and that’ll mean reduced revenue for the Town. If an intact pit bull is picked up by animal control, how many owners do you think will be willing to pay the impound fee, the cost of the ticket for having an unsterilized dog, AND the cost of the surgery? What if you have a lab mix but Animal Control says it’s a pit bull mix? Sterilizing a dog will NOT change its behavior; pit bulls and other dogs are TAUGHT to be aggressive by their owners. A government that requires people to surgically alter a dog is too much government intrusiveness into private people’s lives. Spaying and neutering is a medical surgery with risks; the decision to sterilize a dog should be between a vet and the dog’s owner, and not forced on the owner by the government. Recent research links health issues, like cancer and torn cruciate ligaments, with spaying and neutering at an early age. And four months is WAY too early; most reputable breeders urge their puppy owners to wait until at least one year, preferably two years, before their dogs are altered. And watch out, Yucca Valley dog owners. Mayor Pro Tem Robert Lombardo and Council Member Dawn Rowe are not content with mandatory spay/neuter of just pit bulls. “Is it practical to extend this measure to all breeds and not just limit it to pit bulls?” “Along with Dr Lombardo, I would also encourage us looking into all breeds.” Mandatory spay/neuter ordinances of any breed is a bad idea.
This is an editorial opinion by managing editor Tami Roleff.


  • Claude Short

    Maybe we should spay Dawn Rowe and neuter Dr. Lombardo! That would make much more sense. BTW- Sterilizing a dog WILL change his/her behaviors- especially in male dogs and even more so at breeding time.

  • I am a Yucca Valley resident, a former veterinary technician, a volunteer with spay and neuter clinics, a rescue worker, and a pit bull owner.

    I fully support mandatory spay and neuter, and emphasize that it should be all breeds.

    Your claim that spaying and neutering does not affect behavior is solidly false. It’s been long-accepted, scientifically-proven that sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) influence problem behaviors. Now, surgery does not ELIMINATE behaviors, they reduce and can prevent some of the problem behaviors seen.

    You can hold irresponsible owners accountable by allowing them to be reported, and following through with the citations. Do you really think these irresponsible owners already license their animals? No, that’s not really how irresponsibility works!

    The health risks you list are in recent studies, sure, however the long list of health and behavioral benefits substantially outweigh the risks that are minute (especially since there has not yet been a study to link breed, diet, genetics, exercise, and sterilization in any parallel format – all of those things influence risks of torn ligaments as well as cancers.)

    “Most reputable breeders…” — I’d love to know your source for that information, since that’s again, an inaccurate declaration (read: lie).

    As far as citizens paying the impound fee, sterilization, and licensing fees: Many owners already refuse to pay the impound fee to start with. Regardless of sterilization inclusion.

    Spaying and neutering not only reduces many problems with health and behaviors, but it reduces a dog’s general desire to roam to mate – reducing the cost of picking up strays, reducing the risk of dog fights and attacks, and overall keeping a community safer and cleaner. ALL dogs, not just pit bull type dogs.

    Pit bull, by the way, is not a breed. It’s a term that encompasses a number of breeds and ultimately describes the way a dog looks. I have a dog classified as a “pit bull” because of how he looks but he has been DNA tested and his dominant breed is Boston Terrier, with less than 25% American Staffordshire Terrier. But, all breeds spay and neuter would eliminate any stress over breed misidentification.

    You fail to recognize that there are allowances in the ordinance for dogs from breeders that are registered with the AKC/UKC/Other papered breeds, there are health exemptions if authorized by a veterinarian, and that people with a breeding license are not required to spay and neuter their animal.

    The cities that already have mandatory spay and neuter implemented have seen a decrease in stray/roaming dogs, dog bites, and decreased shelter intakes. So, your claims are false and misleading at best. What shameful “reporting”.

  • From FAQ at
    Mandatory spay and neuter
    Another form of breed-specific law that is growing in popularity is mandatory spay/neuter. Nearly all large cities are plagued with a similar reality: pit bulls occupy 50% or more of animal shelter space, high pit bull euthanization rates and a high number of pit bull bites. Due to these reasons, San Francisco enacted a pit bull sterilization law in 2006. Results of the law show a reduction in all three areas.3 A number of other California municipalities have enacted a similar law including: Barstow, Gilroy, Lancaster, Manteca, Ripon, San Bernardio County and Sonoma County.

  • Z107.7 News

    It’s clear that you and I will never agree on this issue, so we will have to agree to disagree.
    However, for you to claim that I am “lying” and that I used false and misleading facts in my editorial is offensive. I am a journalist and pride myself on having facts to back up my stories, whether they are editorials, as this one was, or detailing what happened at events.
    In this case of mandatory spay-neuter, the following organizations OPPOSE mandatory spay neutering of dogs:
    American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)(which I find interesting, since vets would increase their income substantially if MSN laws were enacted);
    American Society for the Prevention of Animals (which is also interesting sine you would think an organization devoted to shelters and animal welfare would support MSN);
    American Kennel Club, which while it promotes VOLUNTARY sterilization, is opposed to MANDATORY spay-neuter.

    I based my statements on the affects of aggression on spaying/neutering dogs on a position paper from the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals (there are many other organizations, but this is what I used, and again, you’d think that an organization of professionals who deal with dog aggression on a daily basis would know what they’re talking about).
    Their statements from their position paper:
    Some general statements and recommendations can be formed from these studies and notions.

    • Neutering cannot be expected to reduce aggressive behavior in all dogs
    • Neutering will not always completely eliminate aggressive behaviors
    • When the neutering is carried out cannot be expected to influence the rate or magnitude of changes in behaviors
    • How long the problem behavior has existed does not tend to affect the level or trend of change in behavior after neutering
    • If an intact dog demonstrates aggressive behavior neutering should be considered as an adjunct to other behavior modification practices
    • Early neutering is probably not helpful at preventing aggression and may pose certain medical risks.

    I am REALLY offended by your claim of my “lie” concerning my statement “most reputable breeders urge their puppy owners to wait until at least one year, preferably two years, before their dogs are altered.” What, in your opinion, is the “lie” in that statement? “most”? “reputable” “urge”? “one to two years”?

    It is a FACT that of the hundreds of golden retriever breeders I know (and know of–and yes, I DO know that many breeders), they include a clause in their contracts (and yes, REPUTABLE breeders make their puppy buyers sign a contract), that their puppies should not be altered before one year; some recommend 18 months, others two years.
    I am friends with acquainted with many breeders of other breeds, who include similar language in their contracts. Therefore, I feel perfectly comfortable in including that statement in my EDITORIAL.

    I have no problem with shelters and rescues spaying/neutering their dogs before adopting them out. But I do have a problem with cities requiring private individuals to spay/neuter their dog in order to own one. IMHO, that’s a “taking” of private property.

    I have seen statistics from cities that have implemented MSN that support the opposite conclusion that you list, that indeed, costs to the municipality have increased due to the laws. Here is just one article:

    Say that mandatory spay/neuter is the law of the land. Don’t you think it will lead to a higher kill rate at shelters? Here’s why. Poor person has a dog. Dog is not altered because owner says he can’t afford to have it done. Dog gets out of the yard and is picked up by animal control and brought to the pound. Owner has to pay to get dog fixed AND pay $100 fine in order to get the dog back. Owner says he doesn’t have the money so the dog is abandoned at the shelter, and 5 days later the dog is euthanized.

    Here’s another scenario. Law says dogs of Breed X must be altered. You have an intact dog, breed Y. Dog gets out, picked up by ACO. You go to retrieve it, ready to pay your impound fee. ACO says your dog is Breed X and must be altered, (I can’t tell you how many time I’ve seen goldens listed as chows at animal shelters) and you have to pay the fine for having an unaltered dog and the impound fee. Times are tough; you don’t have the $300+ for spaying your dog PLUS the $100 fine PLUS the impound fee. You love your dog, but are forced to give it up. Dog is PTS.

    Isn’t the better solution to have low-cost spay/neuter programs, so people can afford to spay/neuter their dogs, than mandatory spay/neuter? People who can’t–or don’t want to–spay/neuter their dogs will not register/license them (don’t want to draw attention to their now-illegal dogs), so the licensing revenue will decline. People who would have retrieved their dog from the shelter if it had gotten out and picked up by ACO, now won’t be able to afford to pay all the costs involved, and so will leave it at the shelter. This again, decreases the town’s revenues (no impound fee collected), and also increases the town’s expenditures (costs to hold the dog for 5 days and then costs involved in euthanizing it). It’s a lose-lose situation. And the family misses their dog, so they go out and buy another one, only to go through the situation again when the dog gets out later.

    These are the reasons why I OPPOSE mandatory spay neuter laws. I support URGING people to VOLUNTARILY spay/neuter their dogs, but not laws that REQUIRE it, for any breed or for any reason.

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