Keller residents will not be required to pay animal registration fees for dogs and cats pending a vote by City Council later this month.A discussion was held during the Dec. 3 precouncil meeting about amending the fees and reviewing Keller’s Animal Control Ordinance to align with state statutes and better coordinate with Southlake and Colleyville as part of the regional animal services center and the upcoming expansion of the animal adoption center.Councilwoman Debbie Bryan said dropping the fees has been on her agenda."I’m really glad to see that," Bryan said. "Southlake doesn’t charge a registration fee, Colleyville had a different fee. I was going to suggest it, to see if we can get away from it. It shows we are trying to save them money, and it encourages them to register."Jonathan Phillips, management assistant, said the ultimate goal would be to return the animal to the owner."Instead of looking at a registration fee, we thought it might be a better situation to look at having the registration at no cost and encourage registration so that animals are returned to their owners," he said. “And the tracking is a little better."Mark Hafner, Keller's Public Safety director/police chief, said noncompliance fees will be increased."We have a compliance problem ... we are at the point where we would have to hire another full-time employee to keep track of this," Hafner said. "So we are not going to charge, but we will have a bigger fine if we do catch your animals that are unregistered."Phillips said the goal of the revision was also to create a "base" regional ordinance to address relevant animal control issues that are applicable to Keller and the partner cities, which merged Oct. 1 into a Regional Animal Control Services program.In Summer 2012, police chiefs in Keller, Colleyville and Southlake as well as animal control officers met to discuss potential revisions to the ordinance."Colleyville and Southlake have reviewed the ordinance and are planning to consider adoption in January," Phillips said. Other proposed amendments clarify language of the ordinance including livestock barriers and fencing, trapped animals and removal, use of force to attempt confinement, eliminating rodents as part of poisoning animals and the number of hens allowed per zoned lot.The new 9,000-square-foot Regional Animal Adoption Center, opening April 1 at 330 Rufe Snow Drive, will be managed by the Humane Society of North Texas.Hafner has said partnering with the Humane Society, which has credibility and experience in care and placement of animals, will improve the chances of stray and abandoned animals being adopted.
Susan McFarland, 817-431-2231 Twitter: @susanmcfarland1