Mandatory Spay/Neuter and Microchipping

Oct 28th, 2006

Mandatory spay/neuter and microchipping are on the horizon to take breed-specific legislation’s (BSL) place. Those who express relief that the powers that be will no longer target specific breeds in favor of mandatory spay/neuter or microchip laws perk up your ears. Mandatory spay/neuter and microchipping laws are worse than BSL. Why? Because this type of legislation doesn’t just target specific breeds, it targets all pets, and worse, your property. (If you have no right to your pet as your property, then you may have no right to any of your property.)

Mandatory spay/neuter is just that, an ordinance or piece of legislation that requires all pets (except for usually police dogs, service dogs, search and rescue dogs, and sometimes show dogs) in a municipality or state to be spayed or neutered. Often, exemptions can only be acquired via expensive licenses that serve only to punish quality breeders since those who allow their pets to breed indiscriminately will continue to do so regardless of a mandatory spay/neuter law.

Worse, mandatory spay/neuter and microchipping legislation are unconstitutional and here’s why. Mandatory spay/neuter/microchipping laws violate the same constitutional amendment that BSL does. The 14th amendment, states:

“No State shall…deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

As crude as it may seem, the reproductive organs of one’s pet are the owner’s to spay/neuter, or not, as the owner sees fit. Likewise, it should be the decision of the pet owner whether spaying/neutering/microchipping would be healthy for the animal.  Indeed, mandating that pet owners must spay/neuter/microchip their pets is tantamount to government acting as veterinarians dispensing medical advice without a license.

Additionally, the 14th amendment, section 1 states,

“No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States…”

It is the “privilege” — meaning a “right common to all citizens under a modern constitutional government” – of citizens of the United States to spay/neuter or microchip, or not, their pets, and that privilege is not to be negated.

Mandatory spay/neuter/microchipping laws also often infringe on the 4th amendment right to privacy. The 4th amendment states:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Mandatory spay/neuter/microchipping laws infringe on the right to privacy outlined in the first sentence of the 4th amendment. Why? Because it is the right of Americans to be secure in their home and their person without worrying about an unlawful search and seizure for their unaltered pet. Also, many mandatory spay/neuter/microchipping laws often require that vets report names, addresses, chip numbers, and other private information back to a city council or some other monitoring agency, and they have no business having access to such information. While we understand that licensure information also gets reported to Animal Control, a city council should not have access to that information for enforcement purposes. Such a provision would be a violation of a city council’s charter. Additionally, there is a fair amount of evidence that shows that microchipping can cause malignancies in pets and that early spaying/neutering, a provision of most mandatory spay/neuter ordinances, is likewise not healthy for pets.

Mandatory spay/neuter/microchipping laws lay the groundwork for the end of animal ownership, for all citizens’ animals (or other property) to be seized, and worse, for the end of privacy, due process, equal protection, and property rights. If you value the right to own domesticated animals, which includes agricultural animals, you should oppose this legislation. Gone are the days when dog and cat owners could breathe a sigh of relief that only “pit bulls” and Rottweilers were being targeted by unfair legislation. Now, every pet/agricultural animal is at risk, as is the right to animal ownership itself.

*Also see a  Quick Guide to Why BSL is Unconstitutional.