Can I legally require a signed agreement for spay/neuter?

////Can I legally require a signed agreement for spay/neuter?


I am not a breeder, but I have a litter of puppies from an accidental mating for which I need to find homes. I want to prevent future accidents and do not want them to reproduce. I am considering requiring new owners to sign a notarized agreement stating the animal would be spayed or neutered when age-appropriate. The puppies' vet suggested using part of the fee to prepay for surgery as an incentive. I think that's a good idea but also know it alone isn't a guarantee it would be done since once the fee is paid, the new owners have no ties to what the money is used for. Can I require new owners to sign an agreement, and how legally binding would it be? Would it need to be notarized to make it legally binding?


While a lawsuit against an adopter or purchaser for breach of an adoption or animal sale contract can be brought if the adopter/purchaser fails to spay/neuter as prescribed in the sale/adoption agreement, these cases can take a while and may be costly. In the meantime, more litters can be born. It’s generally better to have animals spayed/neutered prior to sale/adoption. Many shelters already spay/neuter prior to releasing animals for adoption. When they do not, it is common for shelters either by policy or law to require adopters to sign an agreement to have the animal sterilized by a certain date and to leave a spay/neuter deposit which is refundable only upon timely proof of spaying/neutering. Notarizing is not necessary but requiring that ID be shown (and retaining a copy of it) may be helpful.

While not directly on point to your question, Florida’s law states, in part: “…provision shall be made for the sterilization of all dogs and cats sold or released for adoption from any public or private animal shelter or animal control agency operated by a humane society or by a county, city, or other incorporated political subdivision, by either: (a) Providing sterilization by a licensed veterinarian before relinquishing custody of the animal; or (b) Entering into a written agreement with the adopter or purchaser guaranteeing that sterilization will be performed within 30 days or prior to sexual maturity. The shelter or animal control agency shall require a sufficient deposit from the adopter or purchaser, which deposit shall be refundable upon presentation to the shelter or animal control agency of written evidence by the veterinarian performing the sterilization that the animal has been sterilized.” Local laws vary so they should be checked out.

As you have personally seen, failing to spay/neuter can result in indiscriminate breeding. There are already so many homeless animals at shelters/rescues (including puppies and kittens) waiting for a loving home.

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By |2024-01-17T17:29:43-04:00December 17th, 2023|