Pay or spay: Law requires Waco pet owners to purchase breeding permit

Jed Dean | Lariat Photo Editor
Bear, a 12-week-old golden retriever, sits in a pile of leaves outside his Waco home. According to a new Waco City Ordinance, all Waco dogs are required to be neutered or spayed unless the owner obtains a permit.

By Ariadne Aberin
Staff Writer

Waco passed a law on Jan. 1 requiring all dog and cat owners to spay and/or neuter their animals.

Any owners who wish to breed their pets are now required to pay $50 for a permit which allows them to breed their animals for one year. If the owner wishes to breed again after the allotted year has passed, he or she must purchase another permit.

“The reason Waco passed this law was to reduce the number of unwanted strays and unwanted animals,” said Lois Reasoner, director of Fuzzy Friends Animal Shelter and registered veterinary technician.

Reasoner said the number of unwanted animals was getting out of control and too many animals were getting euthanized each year.

“Something has to be done to limit the amount of unwanted litter at the shelters,” Reasoner said. “Fuzzy Friends is a no-kill shelter, but we sometimes have to turn these animals away for lack of space.”

Reasoner also said spaying or neutering an animal has its health benefits.

“Many people don’t know this,” Reasoner said, “but if you spay or neuter your pet, it will actually be healthier.”

Dogs are as susceptible to getting breast and testicular cancer as humans, and spaying or neutering pets reduces the chance. Almost 50 percent of unspayed female dogs develop breast tumors and almost 60 percent of intact male dogs suffer from prostate cancer.

However, students have expressed concern about the cost of spaying or neutering a pet. Lee Roy Calderon, student at the Baylor School of Law and first-time pet owner, put off neutering his dog due to the cost of the procedure. Some organizations charge between $50 and $90 to spay or neuter one pet while others may charge up to $150. However, there are clinics available that offer a lower price such as Emancipet in Austin, which will generally spay or neuter your animal for under $50, and occasionally for free.

“I don’t know if the law is necessary, but it’s a good law,” Calderon said. “The only problem with this law is that it’s expensive to spay or neuter your pet. If Waco had some sort of incentive where they made that cheaper, then it’d be easier for people to get on board with that law.”

“Some pet owners just picked up their dog or cat from the street — they didn’t pay for it, yet this law is making them pay $150 to spay or neuter it, and that’s not fair,” Calderon said.

The form for the permit may be found at the Humane Society of Central Texas or on the society’s website, at

According to the Waco Police Department, owners who fail to comply with the regulation may be required to pay a fine and the animal may be impounded. An additional fee will be required if the person attempts to get the animal back.