Mexico City New Law Requires Dog and Cat Sterilization, Microchips; Breeders, Vets Protest
Mexico City has passed a new law requiring that all dogs and cats be microchipped and sterilized. ‘Potentially dangerous’ dog permits will also be required for breeds considered aggressive; such as, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Mastiffs. Dogs permitted as “potentially dangerous’ cannot be walked in public without a muzzle, the Associated Press reports.
Mexico City pet owners, breeders and veterinarians are actively protesting the law which additionally mandates registration (licensing) of all cats and dogs, according to the Associated Press.
The Mexican Dog Fanciers Federation said the law was rushed through in early May without adequate consultation. Veterinarian group and breed clubs are arguing the law could endanger thousands of jobs at clinics, pet salons and breeding and training facilities by causing a sharp drop in pet numbers, according to HNGN.
The most controversial aspect of the law, of course, is the requirement that all pets must be sterilized. Mexico City, with nearly 9 million people, has a serious problem with strays, puppy mills, animal mistreatment and illegal pet sales, the AP reports.
The law is not yet formally enacted but is definitely designed to establish a new level of responsibility for animals and reflects a changing attitude that caused Mexico’s middle-class to spend $2.2 billion on pets in 2013.
The law also requires that collars are worn with visible ID tags, that dogs are leashed in public places; and adequate food, water and space is provided for owned pets, according to the AP.
Two other requirements designed to increase animal and public safety are that trainers cannot work with pets in public, and children under 14 will not be allowed to walk pets without an adult being present, the report states.
CULTURAL CHANGES IN MEXICO REGARDING PETS
An owned dog's life in Mexico has traditionally consisted of days chained to the roof of the house, says Newsday.
Mexico has an estimated 20 million dogs or more, many of them roaming the streets hunting for food in the trash or spending their days shut up in apartments by owners who see them simply as living burglar alarms.
Last year, the problem gained international attention when authorities said five people had been killed by a pack of feral dogs in the Cerro de Estrella park in Iztapalapa, a poor eastern neighborhood of Mexico City.
LAW INTENDS TO ADDRESS PUPPY MILLS AND ILLEGAL SALES
"The decision to sterilize pets should be voluntary," said Juan Luis Martinez, administrative director of the Mexican Dog Fanciers Federation.
Breeders who claim to be “legal” say the law violates an owner’s right to breed animals responsibly.
By forcing legitimate facilities out of business, puppy and kitten breeding in the hands of unscrupulous dealers who sell animals out of car trunks or from crates at street markets the AP reports.
Martinez told the AP that the law's requirements, including fines from about $100 up to as much as $5,000, could encourage noncompliance and lead people to dump more animals in the street and parks.