A Duluth Pet Fee May Rise That Most Pet Owners Aren't Paying

By KBJR News 1

November 8, 2012 Updated Nov 8, 2012 at 10:32 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The price for having a pet could go up in Duluth, but it's a fee many Duluthians aren't aware of and about 90 percent aren't paying.

The Duluth City Council discussed changes to the city's pet licensing process tonight.

Very few pets in Duluth are licensed.

Projections show there are as many as 20,000 dogs and 60,000 cats within city limits, but there are only 3,000 dogs and cats licensed in an average year.

Some councilors even admitted their pets are not licensed.

The council will look at raising the dog and cat licensing fees to about $12 to $15, increasing the current $50 penalty for not registering a pet to encourage compliance, streamlining the process and make licensing available at more places like pet stores or the vet.

They are also looking at adding a lifetime license that would cover the life of the pet, because current licenses only last one year.

The hope is to get 80 to 90 percent of pet owners in compliance.

"The money goes to the shelter, so that's the good news. I think it will encourage people that oh it's not just going to City Hall to pad somebody's new office furniture, it's going to provide better amenities for the animals," said Councilor Jim Stauber.

While councilors received the proposal warmly, some asked about how it would be enforced.

Changes could also include reducing licensing fees for animals that are spayed, neutered, micro-chipped or adopted from an animal shelter.

The changes are only a resolution of intent to change the city code, so more will need to be done and the details worked out, even if the measure passes Tuesday.

The registration acts as a mechanism for pets to be reunited with their owners when they're lost.

Licensing also ensures pets in the city are properly vaccinated, which makes it safer for people and other pets alike.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike