The Fallacy of Mandatory Desexing

There seems to be an illusion that desexing dogs is the best way to stop the dog overpopulation problem. I object to this suggestion. Surely the problem is dogs being bred, not dogs being entire.

That is: There are numerous dogs that are not desexed but never contribute to the dog population.  Just because a dog has testicles or ovaries doesn’t mean they are necessarily going to be used to produce puppies.

As such, I think any suggestions that ‘responsible ownership’ is desexing is misguided.

Furthermore, I have become alarmed with proposals of mandatory desexing.  I am also disturbed with the amount of support these proposals bring from the dog community.

Mandatory desexing poses some pretty serious questions… Firstly, if we assume that only breeders can keep their dogs entire…

  1. What determines a breeder?
  2. What determines a non-breeder?
  3. What about the people who might like to be a breeder but are in the process of deciding?
  4. If you decide to define a breeder as someone working towards a breed standard, then who decides which breed standards are okay and which are not? Who decides if it’s okay to create a new breed or not?
  5. If you decide to define a breeder on welfare standards, then these are already in place and already, arguable, unenforced.

Then you get into the logistics…

  1. Who makes someone desex a pet? (i.e. which body?)
  2. What are the penalties for not desexing?
  3. Are non surgical means (e.g. implants etc) permissible?
  4. What about animals that are deemed unfit for anaesthetic?
  5. How would any body keep track of all dogs that are desexed/undesexed? (Considering that registration is currently compulsory but many dogs exist unregistered…)
  6. How do we prevent people bypassing the system, especially with undesexed bitches?

And this doesn’t even go into rights…

  1. What right does anyone have to tell me what is right for my animal? I should have the right to do with my property as ever I please, as long as it does not harm anyone or thing (including harm the animal).

Any restrictions on breeding, I think, are quite misdirected.  There are too many big questions that are too difficult to answer, and even more difficult to police. It also ignores the fact that it is breeding animals that are the problem, and not just animals that are undesexed.

If we are serious about trying to reduce the dog population, I think puppy sales are a more conceivable area to work with (see my last post “What is the answer? (to puppy farms”), and I think most trading legislation could be tweaked a lot easier than creating legislation that impedes upon individuals’ rights to own an animal in a manner they see fit.

5 thoughts on “The Fallacy of Mandatory Desexing

  1. As an owner of two 4 year old entire male maltese shih tzus I agree with everything you wrote. Im 32 and hadnt had a dog since the one I had as a kid. As such, I did masses of research on appropriate breed, what to feed them (regular food vs BARF….etc) and whether to desex. Everyone seemed to desex and I didnt understand why. After reading all the research, the only negative to keeping them entire to me was the increased potential they would mark there territory more.

    I approached the council who for months gave me the runaround as to why they implemented the policy before finally saying “The benefits of desexing outweigh the negatives”……..which ignorantly doesnt even answer the question of why they thought the policy was a good idea. *sigh*

    My dogs are microchipped and kept securely but I cannot register them (though Id be happy to) due to the law, so I harbour these fluffy little fugitives and hope rangers dont break down my door whilst Im at work and impound my pooches for not being registered.

    Keep up the good work with the site and Im glad that somebody else is alarmed at how many other dog owners support mandatory desexing policies!


    • Glenn, it’s ridiculous that you’re practically a criminal for keeping your dogs ‘as nature intended’. Mandatory desexing make criminals out of normal people.

  2. You are just ignorant. You sound like a backyard breeder. I’ve kept dogs entire but I lived in a very secure city townhouse and they only came on heat once a year. The breeders will no longer allow it because there have been too many accidents. Many people are too simple to understand how easy it is for a dog to walk out on the front lawn and meet up with another dog. Dogs can jump fences and escape from yards. Feral dogs and cats are an environmental disaster. RSPCA put down one third of the 67,573 dogs brought in in 2010-11. 37,177 cats were killed out of 64,617. It is not just dog owners and breeders that support mandatory de-sexing but the vets who have to put down unwanted dogs.

    • I do not believe there is an overpopulation problem. The fact that large ‘animal welfare’ organisations kill a lot of animals indicates that they kill a lot of animals, not that they ‘had’ to kill a lot of animals. You can read more here:

      Obviously, I would argue that I am not ignorant, having worked for the RSPCA for 3 years, having owned a number of entire dogs (bitches and dogs), and having had a number of entire rescue dogs come through my care. The only one dog I had ‘escape’ was a desexed bitch. I have never had entire dogs even try to escape. When I worked in boarding kennels, we never had issues with entire dogs escaping, either. There seems to be a myth that dogs turn into psychos when they have reproductive organs. In my years experience, I have never had issue with entire dogs in any of the ways suggested by popular media.

      I am not sure what backyard breeders ‘sound like’, but you do not have to look far to recognise that I am a registered breeder who exhibits my dogs in conformation, earthdog, tracking, dancing, and other sports. Unless you are meaning ‘backyard’ as in I don’t keep my dogs in kennels, which is very true, and something I’m very happy about.

  3. Hi Leema,

    My husband and I totally agree with your view point. But there is a whole other category of is it safe to desex? For insistence, what are the consequences of removing ANY organ in general? It’s not healthy to be removing body parts that are specially placed there for a reason. You also make a good point, that not all entire dogs/bitches are even used to reproduce. I honestly think people are looking for ways to control others and are trying to find ways to take other peoples money in any way that they see an opportunity.

    Keep up the great work!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>