LAS VEGAS -- Thousands of cats and dogs are alive thanks to a law passed a few years ago, according to the Animal Foundation.
After years of seeing euthanasia numbers going up, they are finally coming down because of an ordinance passed by the City of Las Vegas in 2010, requiring pets to be spayed or neutered.
The Animal Foundation says there is still a long way to go but it is reporting progress. Five percent fewer animals were killed in 2011, 13 percent fewer in 2012 and 2013 is also showing progress.
"In 2013, we are looking, thus far, to see a 22 percent reduction in the euthanasia of dogs and cats entering our facility," executive director with the Animal Foundation Christine Robinson said.
Under the law, dog and cat owners must get their animals fixed with only a few exceptions.
Animal control officers say hefty fines between $250 and $1,000 are helping to make sure pet owners follow the ordinance.
"Before the ordinance, we were at 28 percent of the animals that animal control brought into the foundation were spayed and neutered after the ordinance we're at 45 percent," deputy chief Tim Shattler said.
Other organizations like Heaven Can Wait and Las Vegas Valley Humane Society joined the Animal Foundation in praising the law, but asked for more funding to continue their mission of spaying and neutering stray cats.
"We are really operating in the hole. We are $40 short for every single surgery that we perform," Holly Stoberski with Heaven Can Wait Animal Society said.
"We know we can reduce, considerably, we are already reducing the animal overpopulation problem in the valley. We know how to do it. We just need the money to get it done and that is are big issue right now," president of the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society Karen Layne said.
The animal shelter says while there is still a lot of work to do, fewer animals are being euthanized thanks to the law.
"It allows us to start to dip into those other numbers. So, now we can start treating for minor medical and minor behavioral, that is why we are really excited," Robinson said.
The Las Vegas City Council is considering some other ideas to help fund the fight against pet overpopulation, including adding fines for people not complying with the ordinance and sending the money raised to nonprofit groups.
The council did not make a formal decisions on that proposal.