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Austin Committee Wants All Dogs, Cats Registered
The City of Austin is considering an ordinance that would require all pet owners to register their dog or cat.
The Animal Advisory Committee introduced the proposal Wednesday. As the ordinance reads, the licensing fee for spayed or neutered pets would be free. However, if your dog or cat is not you could be paying a yearly fee of $50.
The proposal aims at reducing the number of animals at the Austin Animal Center. Every year the shelter takes in 20,000 animals. As of Thursday they are at capacity with 900 cats and dogs.
“We only see that 18 percent of the strays that came in here went back to their homes,” said Shelter spokesperson Abigail Smith.
Smith hopes the pet registration could improve that number.
Here is the breakdown of what people can expect -- If this passes, any dog or cat over the age of four months would be required to have a city issued ID with the owner’s information, the description of the dog and the current rabies vaccination. Another requirement would be a personal ID tag and a suitable collar or harness.
We asked pet owners what they thought.
“It seems like it's not necessary. It seems like an added thing we would have to do to have a pet in this town,” said pet owner Barb Horan.
Samantha Hawkins said, “I think it would be good because it would make me less worried if she were ever to get out or loose.”
This is not a new idea. It’s actually a decades old law that was discontinued in 2009.
“I think there was a feeling that it wasn't making money for the city,” said Animal Advisory Commission Chairman David Lundstedt.
He wants council to reinstate it.
“They want us to address this. My thought is that they will probably approve extra expenditures to pay for it,” said Lundstedt.
Just how much taxpayer dollars is soon to be addressed. Animal Services would run the program and admits it would be a huge undertaking.
“Running a licensing program is certainly going to take some resources.
We have to issue tags and keep a database,” said Smith.
If a pet owner violates the law it would be up to $100 in fines.
The committee will recommend this measure to council next year.
By Christie Post