Last week in San Diego, fur was flying when the city auditor’s office recommended licensing cats for the sake of health, safety, and cost recovery for taxpayers. There are an estimated 373,000 cats in San Diego. If just 5 percent of the felines had been registered at $25 a head, the auditor’s office says the city could have saved $536,000 over the past three fiscal years.
The National Animal Control Association supports the idea that states and municipalities license felines because they pose similar public problems as dogs. Most states require dogs to be vaccinated and licensed; however, there are only a handful of communities nationwide that require licenses for cats. One reason for the discrepancy in the licensing requirements is the overwhelming opposition from cat owners who argue that their cats remain indoors and so do not pose a public threat.
According to the national animal welfare group, Alley Cat Allies, “Passing a law mandating that all owners license their cats will increase the number of cats killed in animal pounds and shelters … mandatory cat licensing ordinances operate on the principle that any unlicensed cat should be brought to a pound or shelter, where over 70 percent of all cats are killed.” Since any cat not wearing a collar, whether it’s owned or un-owned, licensed or unlicensed, socialized or feral is a visible target for animal control, shelters are going to be inundated with cats. Alley Cat Allies also believes that mandatory licensing for cats is a death sentence for feral cats who do not have owners to license them. Even the owned and licensed cats will have a tough time if their owners aren’t able to pay the impoundment fees required to claim an animal from a pound or shelter.
The San Diego “cat tax” is on its way to the City Council for consideration, though many City Council members and cat advocates are opposed to this tax. San Diego is known for being conscious of the feral cat situation in the community and attempting to provide assistance to the animals. Under this proposed licensing requirement, individuals who donate personal time, effort, and money to care for these feral cats, could be subject to fines. Joan Miller, vice president of the local chapter of the international Cat Fanciers Association, stated, “The last thing I’d want to see is to have any deterrent to people who are trapping those cats, neutering the cats and then returning them to their environment where they can be cared for and fed.”
Luckily, in Santa Barbara, the law currently does not require cats to be licensed. In Santa Barbara County, all that’s required is that all dogs over the age of four months receive a rabies vaccination and be licensed. You can order a license through the county’s Web site. For more information on dog licensing, visit countyofsb.org
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Charity Dog Wash and Photo Sessions
Sunday, July 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Arroyo Burro (Hendry’s) Beach
Kiss My Mutt, Monarch Pet Spas, and Kristen Beinke Photography have teamed to create a fantastic, fun benefit day for K-9 PALS. All you have to do is come have fun at Arroyo Burro (Hendry’s) dog-friendly beach with your furry friend and stop by Monarch Pet Spas at the end of your day. Volunteers will wash and pamper your precious pooch for your donation. Stop by Kristen’s beach studio with your clean pup for that perfect photo of Fido.
All donations for dog washes ($10), photo sessions ($15), and 50 percent of all product purchases from the Kiss My Mutt booth will go to help the dogs at the Santa Barbara County Shelter.
Adoptable Pet of the Week
Curley Joe, a large short-haired black and white tuxedo cat, has a sleek, thick coat, a robust purr, and a big meow. This five-year-old is looking for a new home because of owner allergies. He is shy initially but once he knows you he enjoys being petted and pampered. Curley Joe is looking for a calm, loving, adult home.
To learn more about Curly Joe, call the Santa Barbara Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) at (805) 683-3368 or visit their Web site at www.asapcats.org. ASAP is located at the S.B. Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Road (just beyond the Humane Society). Regular business hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; closed Sundays.
Lisa Acho Remorenko is executive director of Animal Adoption Solutions, www.animaladoptionsolutions.com