City leaders say the new law will reduce the number of animals in shelters and the number that are euthanized by 50 percent in Los Angeles. They're calling this the largest spay and neuter ordinance in the nation.
Owners who do not comply with the law would first receive information on subsidized sterilization services and be given an additional 60 days. If they still fail to comply after 60 days they could face a $100 fine or eight hours of community service. A third offense would raise the fine to $500 or 40 hours of community service.
The ordinance does exempt some animals, including those that have competed in shows or sporting competitions, guide or service dogs, animals used by law enforcement and those with valid breeding permits
The city set up a mobile pet clinic outside of City Hall Tuesday where pet owners can get their dogs and cats spayed or neutered for free. One of the law's authors, Councilman Richard Alarcón, brought his two Chihuahuas to the event to be neutered.
City leaders say this is a precedent-setting piece of legislation.
"We will, sooner than later, become a no-kill city and this is the greatest step in that direction," Councilman Tony Cardenas said as he held a kitten at a City Hall news conference.
Celebrity animal rights activist Bob Barker said Tuesday he now has a new saying for the public.
"The next time that you hear me saying, 'Help control the pet population, have your pet spayed or neutered,' I can add, 'it's the law in Los Angeles,'" said Barker.
Experts say the new law will make pets healthier and less violent.
If you can't afford to get your pet spayed or neutered, the city is handing out vouchers so you can get the service either at a lower cost or for free.