Non-surgical fertility control is an area where science, animal welfare, and public policy cross paths. Local, municipal, and state legislative policies can all designate if a non-surgical product is a legally valid alternative to surgical sterilization. Definitions of what constitutes “sterilization” may further be found in laws pertaining to animal adoption, licensing, public housing, and animal impoundment. Since an injectable sterilant (Zeuterin™) is now FDA-approved and available for male dogs, and we look forward to future options for cats and female dogs, ensuring that these products have the chance to succeed from a policy standpoint is vital to our cause.
Current definitions of animal “sterilization” vary widely internationally and within the United States. Within the U.S., several states explicitly define sterilization as a surgical procedure (Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and Vermont). Seven states explicitly include approved non-surgical options in the definition of sterilization (Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Missouri, Texas and Virginia). Still other states do not specify the process for sterilizing animals, which often gives local municipalities the opportunity to define sterilization for purposes of licensing, adoption requirements, and housing, among others.
Want to know where your state fits in? The ASPCA generously evaluated U.S. sterilization regulations state and local law, state definitions of animal sterilization, and state sterilization adoption requirements. The team further identified optimal policy language to ensure that approved non-surgical options are permitted for sterilization. We invite you to take a look at the resources on this topic (presented by Deborah Press, ASPCA’s Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager, at ACC&D’s 5th International Symposium):
“State and local regulations: Preparing the way for use of new non-surgical tools”
Please note that ACC&D will attempt to keep these resources (developed in 2013) current. However, given that legal regulations are dynamic, we encourage you to contact state, municipal, or local offices to obtain the most up-to-date information on legislative definitions.