HESPERIA The City Council may put problem pet owners in Hesperia on a shorter leash Tuesday.


At the moment, only animals adopted from the Hesperia Animal Shelter or ones that have been picked up by Animal Control must be spayed or neutered before they're given to their owners, according to Scott Priester, Hesperia's director of development services.


Dogs don't have to be spayed or neutered as long as they're licensed, vaccinated and haven't had repeated incidents of getting loose and roaming the neighborhood.


That may all change on Tuesday, when the City Council considers rule changes intended to cut down on the vast numbers of stray dogs and cats being born in the city.


"There are more animals going out the back door of our shelter than our front door," Priester said, referring to animals euthanized by the shelter. "About a year ago, the county adopted a breed-specific policy to require spaying and neutering of all pit bulls and pit bull-type dogs."


City staff asked the council if they wanted to do something similar, as pit bulls are one of the two most popular breeds in the city along with Chihuahuas. The council put the question before its advisory committee, which chewed on the issue three times in 2011.


The council will consider making the rules tougher, requiring both dogs and cats confirmed to have violated local ordinances (of the leash law, failure to keep vaccinations current, etc.) to be spayed or neutered by Hesperia Animal Control.


"The owner's not to the level of being responsible, so that takes care of that," Priester said.


Hesperia may eventually expand mandatory spaying and neutering to more animals.


"The City Council characterizes this as taking one bite out of a big problem," Priester said.


The Hesperia City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Ave.


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