Spay/Neuter Ordinance

Coming soon: The Department recommended, and the Board of Animal Services Commissioners approved, that Spay and Neuter Project Los Angeles provide low-cost vaccination clinics at all six of its shelters. This action still requires City Council approval and this is currently in process. Please check this website periodically for updates. Thanks for your patience.

Spay/Neuter is Required for Cats and Dogs in Los Angeles City*
*With some Special Exemptions

On February 12, 2008, the City Council of Los Angeles gave final approval to a new law that requires all cats and dogs in the City to be spayed or neutered after the age of four months, with some specific exemptions allowed. The Mayor signed this ordinance on February 26, 2008, making Los Angeles the national leader in efforts to humanely decrease the number of pets abandoned and euthanized each year.

Why Spay/Neuter is Good for Our City
Spaying and Neutering are humane and life affirming means of ending euthanasia of healthy, adoptable pets. The new law will move Los Angeles towards being the most humane city in America by educating pet owners to be more responsible, making our streets safer, reducing the number of animals killed each year in our animal shelters, and allowing us to more effectively use our resources. The spay/neuter law will be a tool for Animal Services to hold accountable those pet owners whose irresponsibility threatens public safety and fills our animal shelters with unwanted dogs and cats.

Key Facts About the New Spay/Neuter Law

  • Effective since October 1, 2008.
  • Applies to all dogs and cats over four months of age, unless exempted. (See “Exemptions” Link.)
  • Violations are subject to three levels of increasing fines, starting at $100, to urge compliance.
  • Upon the second violation, animals are subject to mandatory sterilization
  • After multiple violations, non-compliance is a misdemeanor.
  • Maintaining an intact dog requires both meeting the requirements for an exemption AND obtaining an intact license.

See Spay and Neuter Resources for additional resource information.


  • Spaying and neutering are safe, simple surgeries that prevent animals from reproducing. Females are spayed; males are neutered.
  • One unneutered male can impregnate dozens of females. Therefore, it is just as important to neuter males as it is to spay females. Accidents happen when you least expect them.
  • Spaying and neutering reduces or eliminates the risk of certain types of cancer that can kill your pet or be expensive to treat.
  • Spaying and neutering may eliminate undesirable behaviors such as fighting, spraying, and roaming.

Apply for a Free or Discount Spay/Neuter Voucher Now

Exemptions to the Spay/Neuter Requirement

  • Is a breed approved by and registered with a registry or association which, at a minimum, requires identification of the breed, date of birth, names of registered sire and dam, the name of breeder, and record-keeping relating to breeding, transfer of ownership and death, and does or will actively show or compete.
  • Has earned or is in the process of earning a special title (i.e. agility, herding).
  • Is used as or in training to be a guide, signal, or service dog.
  • Is a dog trained, or in training, for use in law enforcement, military or rescue activities.
  • Has a letter and documentation from a licensed veterinarian certifying that the animal should be temporarily or permanently deferred due to age or health.
  • Has a valid breeding permit issued to the owner pursuant to existing City ordinance. Additionally, all intact dogs must have an intact dog license from the City.
  • Additionally, all intact dogs must have an intact dog license from the City.

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