Mayor Gene Zick proposed the idea to his council Tuesday saying this would help control the unwanted animal population in the city as well as help find funding for the Logan County Humane Society which suffered a cut of $7,200 annually from the city’s 2010-2011 budget.
Code enforcement officer Hope Strode presented the idea saying, “The goal is to have the program to be in place by August 1, this year, giving citizens 90 days to license
their animals. This will be an annual license with the year running from July 1 to June 30 the following year. This is just a proposal and can be altered by the council,” said Strode.
The proposal calls for a fee of $10 for an altered (spayed or neutered) dog or cat and $40 for an unaltered dog or cat, the goal being to gain control over the animal population.
Zick said he and Strode met with members of the Humane Society on Monday about the proposal.
“We asked the the Humane Society if they would handle the license program by managing the records, taking applications and collecting the fees,” said Zick.
The city will furnish the Humane Society with the tags, a computer and the license application to administrate the program. At the time they license the animal owners will be required to show proof of rabies vaccination and proof that the animal is spayed or neutered.
Zick said cities all over are adopting this program to control their population.
“Bowling Green has been mandating this for some time,” said Zick.
Humane Society board member Gail Guiling is a little skeptical about the idea saying she doesn’t know how much it will help because it is hard to enforce the program. “Getting the people to license their pet will be difficult,” said Guiling who is worried it will not generate enough funds to offset the budget cut the city exposed on the Humane Society.
Zick told Guiling and his council Tuesday that the Humane Society would still get their funding and that the license fee would be deducted from that $7,200 as progress appeared.
A fine of $100 is also being considered in the proposal for those animals who are found not to be licensed.
“If a dog or cat is picked up and an owner comes to reclaim it they will be fined if their pet is not licensed,” said Zick.
Councilman Lanny McPherson said he would like to see that money generated from the fee go towards the city hiring its own animal control officer.
“The county has one person to cover 700 miles. It is my hope that if we ever went down this road we could have our own animal control officer. The county has to maintain a shelter and the animals we pick up they would have to take,” said McPherson adding, “The Humane Society’s goal is to rescue animals. Our goal is to control them.”
Councilman Jimmy Davenport, who was in favor of keeping the funding for the Humane Society wondered if the licensing fee would only target those who do not let their pets roam, but instead are responsible owners.
Zick said the idea can be discussed in more detail at a future meeting after the council has time to think about it.