HESPERIA Pets picked up by animal control will be changed animals by the time their owners see them again.


On Tuesday, the Hesperia City Council unanimously approved mandatory spaying and neutering for any unlicensed animal picked up by Hesperia Animal Control.


The change is meant to curb the number of puppies and kittens being born in the city.


"We kill, what is it, 500 dogs a month, on average?" planning commissioner Julie Jensen said Tuesday night in support of the new code. "These are dogs we're just throwing away."


The city euthanizes an average of 400 animals each month 160 of them dogs, according to Director of Development Services Scott Priester.


"How about mandatory spaying and neutering for gang members?" resident Kim Jones asked the City Council. "Because that's where the problem is coming from."


Previously, pets didn't have to be spayed or neutered as long as they were licensed, vaccinated and hadn't had repeated incidents of roaming the neighborhood or violating other local ordinances.


The latest change followed a 2010 San Bernardino County policy requiring the spaying or neutering of pit bulls and similar breeds of dogs. The Hesperia City Council Advisory Committee repeatedly discussed bringing a similar ordinance to Hesperia in 2011, but advised the council against adopting a breed-specific policy.


The new spay/neuter law will go for a second reading before the City Council during the second meeting in July and go into effect 30 days after that, according to city spokeswoman Kelly Malloy.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at Beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.