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MACON (WMAZ) -- A Macon city council member wants to require pet owners in Macon and Bibb County to get their animals spayed or neutered.

This would apply to all dogs and cats over six months old under an ordinance proposed by city council member Nancy White.

Owners who do not want to spay or neuter their pet will have to apply for a permit through the Animal Welfare Shelter.

The ordinance spells out several exceptions like show animals, guide dogs, and animals used by law enforcement agencies.

White says she hopes this will reduce the number of animals euthanized at the shelter each year.

She says, "I have seen up close the conditions of our shelter. There simply aren't enough people that are interested in sheltering and feeding the stray animal population, so it's the humane thing to do. And it's been done across the country very successfully."

White says her proposal will go to a committee after their meeting next week. Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart says the commissioners will also consider the same ordinance.

Animal Welfare Shelter director Sarah Tenon says she has already put together an enforcement division with five officers that will make sure pet owners follow all city and county ordinances, including the sterilization ordinance if it passes.

Tenon says she thinks mandatory spaying and neutering will cut the number of animals at the shelter almost in half after the first year.

The proposed ordinance includes a $50 fine for violators, but Tenon says that's not enough. She wants to raise the fee so more pet owners will be encouraged to spay or neuter their animals.

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