SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – On a visit to the Shreveport Dog Park on any recent day, you might meet plenty of pooches who haven’t been spayed or neutered.

Starting Friday, many of them are technically in violation of a mandatory spay and neuter ordinance passed by the Caddo Parish Commission late last year that went into effect on Friday. The new ordinance applies to dogs that are at least 1 year old (52 weeks or older) and cats that are at least 6 months old (26 weeks or older). 

The ordinance does include exclusions under certain conditions.

Terrence Anderson was there at the park Friday with his three dogs, one of which might now be technically in violation of the law. But he says he wasn’t aware of the ordinance until we told him about it.

“Well, I understand why they’re doing it cause there’s a lot of stray dogs running around cats and all like that, so I understand why they’re doing it. But I really don’t want to do it,” Anderson explained. “I want them to have some puppies, and they don’t have puppies yet.”

Still, he says he will.

“It’s the law, you can’t do anything about it.”

The new ordinance is designed to reduce the number of intakes and euthanasia at the Caddo Parish Animal Shelter, which takes in between 4,000-5,000 animals each year, according to Caddo Parish Animal Services Director Travis Clark.

Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana volunteer Sarah Walton says she is very happy about the the new law.

“The majority of the rescues in this area and the shelter the Caddo Parish Animal Shelter is overwhelmed with animals because people not spaying or neutering or thinking they want to make a quick buck off of having a litter of puppies,” she says, adding that not getting your pets spayed or neutered puts them at a risk for cancer.

“Go ahead and spayed and neuter your pets. It’s better for them health-wise. It really decreases the euthanasia in shelters.”

Meanwhile, Anderson says he isn’t in any hurry to get his pets spayed and neutered.

“Well, it’s a lot of people that are raising them, you know trying to make a living off of them. Might be kind of hard, especially in Shreveport-Bossier. But like I said, it’s just something you got to deal with.”

As Commissioner Paul Young explained in December shortly after the commission approved the ordinance, enforcement will mostly be applied to pets who are a nuisance or are breaking other rules.

“If your neighbor says, ‘My neighbor’s dog is barking all the time, I don’t think it’s spayed or neutered,’ then an animal control officer comes and says, ‘Sir, your dog has to be spayed or neutered.’”

Violators will not be fined under the ordinance, but their pets could be impounded. Animals brought in by animal control will be spayed or neutered, then returned to the owner at the expense of the Parish. It will expire on June 30, 2024, unless reenacted as a permanent ordinance.

In the meantime, the parish will monitor the effects the ordinance has on the stray population.