CADDO PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Caddo Parish Commission passed a proposed ordinance on Thursday that requires most cats and dogs in the Parish to be spayed or neutered.

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). It takes effect on July 1, 2022, and will last until June 30, 2024, while the Parish monitors the effects this has on the stray population.

Exemptions include dogs and cats registered with officially recognized pedigree or kennel club associations with proof of membership that participate in show events at least once a year, animals with chronic health conditions the procedure would permanently affect with documentation from a licensed veterinarian, and those with breeding permits as long as the animals are microchipped and the permit is maintained each year.

Ordinance 6148 was proposed by Dist. 4 Commissioner John Paul Young as a way to address the overpopulation in Caddo animal shelters. Caddo Parish Animal Services Director Travis Clark says between 4,000-5,000 animals are taken in a year. They hope this will reduce this number and the number of euthanizations that follow.

Commissioner Paul Young says that the ordinance 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.'”

Under the new ordinance, 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.