We are a wellness for animals group promoting responsible pet ownership in Madison County.

We are an advocate for dogs and cats, and our goal is to educate the public about the benefits of spaying or neutering their pets. Our goal is also to educate the public about the dangers of pet overpopulation.

We are an information center educating the community about how to be in compliance with the City of Jackson Animal Ordinance. We are affiliated with City of Jackson Animal Control.


  • Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.3 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats.
  • Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). 
  • Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats).
  • About 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. Of those, 620,000 are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.

Source: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the purpose of this ordinance?

Many cities have enacted spay neuter ordinances. Previous studies have suggested that the research period to measure success should be between five and 10 years.

The care of animals in Jackson, Tennessee, is a multi-faceted effort.  In several months our community will have a new state-of-the art Jackson Animal Care Center. The new Center will promote a place where animals are safe, obtain good health and find their forever homes. Along with the animal rescue organizations, low-cost spay and neuter programs and this spay and neuter amendment to the Jackson Animal Control ordinance, our community will have a comprehensive approach to the best care for animals.

What animals does this ordinance apply to?

Dogs and cats in the City of Jackson, Tennessee.

Who does this ordinance apply to?

Pet owners of the City of Jackson, Tennessee. Contact the Jackson Animal Care Center for more information by email or phone (731) 422-7028

Who is exempt from this ordinance?
  • Law enforcement dogs or dogs being bred for law enforcement
  • Service dogs, guide dogs, hearing dogs, assistance dogs, seizure alert dogs, social/therapy dogs
  • Search and rescue dogs or dogs bred for search and rescue
  • Dogs or cats with health issues and cannot be spayed or neutered
  • Herding, livestock guardian, hunting dogs
  • Dogs or cats boarded in a licensed kennel or business, which boards such animals for professional training or resale
  • Dogs or cats registered with a recognized Club, Association for the purpose of show, field or agility trials.
  • Dogs or cats harbored by a public shelter, rescue whether public or private for the purpose of adoption, where the organization requires altering for adoption.
  • Dogs or cats that have an annual unaltered $20 permit issued by the City of Jackson. Owners should obtain the unaltered permit within 30 days of cats or dogs becoming 6 months old or within 30 days of acquisition if animal is older than 6 months.
  • Contact the Jackson Animal Care Center for more information by email or phone (731) 422-7028
What can owners do if they wish to keep their dog or cat unaltered?

If owners wish to keep their dog or cat unaltered, they can pay the annual unaltered fee of $20 to the Jackson Animal Care Center. You can pay the fee online or mail your fee to the Jackson Animal Care Center: 23 Pinnacle Dr. Jackson, TN 38301.

Contact the Jackson Animal Care Center for more information by email or phone (731) 422-7028

What is the fee for unaltered animals?

The fee for unaltered animals is $20 per animal, annually.

Contact the Jackson Animal Care Center for more information by email or phone (731) 422-7028

When does the ordinance go into effect?

The ordinance took effect on September 1, 2019.

Dogs and Cats

How old does my pet have to be to have it spayed or neutered?

Dogs: While the traditional age for neutering is six to nine months, puppies as young as eight weeks old can be neutered as long as they’re healthy. Dogs can be neutered as adults as well, although there’s a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in older dogs, dogs that are overweight or dogs that have health problems. (ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/spayneuter-your-pet)

Cats: It is generally considered safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered. In animal shelters, surgery is often performed at this time so that kittens can be sterilized prior to adoption. In an effort to avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chance for pregnancy, it’s advisable to schedule the surgery before your own cat reaches five months of age. It’s possible to spay a female cat while she’s in heat. (ASPCA, https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/spayneuter-your-pet )

Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best time to spay or neuter your pet.

Will my animal’s personality change after spay or neuter?

Spaying and neutering will only reduce or eliminate the behaviors that you don’t want, such as aggression and urine marking. Neutered males are less likely to roam, fight, or mark their territory with urine, and spayed females experience less hormone-related moodiness. In exchange, your companions will likely become more interested in you (rather than finding a mate) and will still protect your family. (PETA, https://www.peta.org/issues/animal-companion-issues/overpopulation/spay-neuter/ )

Should I let my female animal have one litter before having her spayed?

It’s best to spay animals before they reach sexual maturity in order to reap the full health benefits. Spaying your female companion animal before her first heat cycle means she will have one-seventh the risk of developing mammary cancer. Spaying also eliminates female animals’ risk of diseases and cancers of the ovaries and uterus, which are often life-threatening and require expensive surgery and treatment. (PETA, https://www.peta.org/issues/animal-companion-issues/overpopulation/spay-neuter/ )

Is sterilization safe?

Spay and neuter surgeries are the most commonly performed animal surgeries. Most animals experience relatively little discomfort (anesthesia is used during surgery, and pain medication is generally given afterward) and are back to their normal activities within a day or two. (PETA, https://www.peta.org/issues/animal-companion-issues/overpopulation/spay-neuter/ )

What are the medical benefits of spay and neuter?
  • Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. 
  • Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats.
  • Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.
  • Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.
  • Your spayed female pet won't go into heat. While cycles can vary, female cats usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season.
  • In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house!
  • Your male dog will be less likely to roam away from home. 
  • An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate, including finding creative ways escape from the house. Once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other male animals.
  • Your neutered male may be better behaved. 
  • Unneutered dogs and cats are more likely to mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house.
  • Your dog might be less likely to mount other dogs, people and inanimate objects after he’s neutered.
  • Some aggression problems may be avoided by early neutering.


What vet should I use to spay or neuter my animal?

Click here for a list of Jackson vets who spay and neuter dogs and cats.

Financial Assistance

Can I get financial assistance?

People 50 and older can apply for the Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Grant Application.

Download Fact Sheet

How much does it cost to spay and neuter an animal?
  • The cost depends on several factors
  • Whether your pet is male or female
  • The size of your pet, if it is a dog
  • The veterinarian you choose
  • Possible other factors, such as your pet’s health

Click here for a range of costs. Contact a local veterinarian for more information.

Still have questions?

Contact us