Posted at: 11/13/2012 10:25 PM
Updated at: 11/14/2012 4:37 AM
By: Travis Dill
Duluth is home to tens of thousands of pets, but the city council said that 90 percent of them don't have a license.
Robyn Cartwright said she didn't even consider registering her dog, Tucker.
“Just didn't think it was worth the money and I never had a problem with her so just never though about it I guess,” Cartwright said.
That has prompted the city council to allow changes to the pet licensing process. That means the city will push for more pets to be licensed, and the fee may increase from $8 to $12.
“It is mandatory in the City of Duluth to license your pet. We're not doing anything new here,” Councilor Sharla Gardner said.
But the changes also include benefits for pet owners.
Councilor Jim Stauber said a new lifetime license would make it a one-time payment rather than a yearly fee. That fee may be reduced for pets that have been spayed, neutered or micro-chipped.
And instead of heading to city hall for a license, owners could purchase them at veterinary clinics, pet stores or even online. The increased revenue would fund the Duluth Animal Shelter, which Stauber said is outdated and understaffed.
“It's woefully in dire straits,” Stauber said.
That's something that may draw in local pet owners.
“Well if it's for something like animal shelters then I would be down to pay for something like that...” Cartwright said.
Mary Bower recently found out a license is required for her cat.
“She's not licensed right now, and the idea that they're using it for shelters and stuff like that that really made me think about going in and doing it,” Bower said.
The council voted 7-2 to pass the resolution with Councilors Jay Fosle and Garry Krause opposed.
The changes are coming, but nothing has gone into effect yet. The city council will vote again when the fee changes have been finalized.