New York Consolidated Laws, Agriculture and Markets Law - AGM § 377-a. Spaying and neutering of dogs and cats

1. The legislature finds that the uncontrolled breeding of dogs and cats in the state results in an overabundance of puppies and kittens.  More puppies and kittens are produced than responsible homes for them can be provided.  This leads to many of such animals becoming stray and suffering privation and death, being impounded and destroyed at great expense to the community and constituting a public nuisance and health hazard.  It is therefore declared to be the public policy of New York state that every feasible humane means of reducing the production of unwanted puppies and kittens be encouraged.

2. No animal shelter, pound, dog control officer, humane society, dog or cat protective association, or duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shall release any dog or cat for adoption to any person unless prior thereto:

(a) the dog or cat has been spayed or neutered;  or

(b) the person intending to adopt the dog or cat shall have executed a written agreement with the animal shelter, pound, dog control officer, humane society, dog or cat protective association, or duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, to have the dog or cat spayed or neutered within thirty days from the adoption date, or in the case of a dog or cat which has not yet reached sexual maturity, within thirty days of the dog or cat reaching six months of age.  The person intending to adopt the dog or cat shall deposit with the animal shelter, pound, dog control officer, humane society, dog or cat protective association, or duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, an amount of not less than thirty-five dollars.  Not more than every two years, the commissioner, after holding a public hearing, may raise the amount to be deposited to reflect rising costs;  or

(c) the person intending to adopt the dog or cat shall have executed a written agreement with the animal shelter, pound, dog control officer, humane society, dog or cat protective association or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals to have the dog or cat spayed or neutered within thirty days from the adoption date, or in the case of a dog or cat which has not yet reached sexual maturity, within thirty days of the dog or cat reaching six months of age.  The person intending to adopt the dog or cat shall have paid an adoption fee which includes the cost of the spay or neuter procedure.  The written agreement shall require that the animal shelter, pound, dog control officer, humane society, dog or cat protective association or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals from which the dog or cat is adopted bear the cost of the spay or neuter procedure.

3. For the purposes of this section, the age of the animal at the time of adoption shall be determined by the animal shelter, pound, dog control officer, humane society, dog or cat protective association, or duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals that releases the animal for adoption and such age shall be clearly written on the written agreement by the animal shelter, pound, dog control officer, humane society, dog or cat protective association, or duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, prior to the agreement being executed by the person adopting the animal.

4. Any deposit collected pursuant to paragraph (b) of subdivision two of this section that is not claimed within ninety days of its collection, or if the deposit is for an animal under six months of age, within sixty days after the animal has reached six months of age, shall be deposited in the animal population control fund established pursuant to section ninety-seven-xx of the state finance law .

Deposits collected pursuant to paragraph (b) of subdivision two of this section shall be refunded to the adopter upon presentation to the animal shelter, pound, dog control officer, humane society, dog and cat protective association, or duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals of written documentation from a licensed veterinarian that the dog or cat has been spayed or neutered, provided that the animal has been spayed or neutered within the time specified in the written agreement, or that because of old age or other health reasons, as certified by a licensed veterinarian examining the dog or cat, spaying or neutering would endanger the animal's life.

5. Nothing contained in this section shall prevent any town, city, village or county in New York state from enacting a local law or ordinance requiring that animal shelters, pounds, dog control officers, humane societies, dog or cat protective associations and duly incorporated societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals within such town, city, village or county spay or neuter dogs and cats prior to releasing such animals for adoption, provided that such local law or ordinance may require spaying or neutering at an age earlier, but in no event later than that required in this section, except where because of advanced age or other health reasons, as certified by a licensed veterinarian who has examined the dog or cat, spaying or neutering would endanger the life of the animal.  A town, city, village or county in New York state that enacts such a local law or ordinance shall be exempt from the provisions of this section.


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