We sometimes wonder if elected officials will really listen when they tell us there’s a “comment period” for the public to weigh in on a policy proposal, or whether they’ve already made up their minds.
Good to hear, then, that when it came to changes in Fort Worth’s animal ordinance, city staff and council members really did listen. And when they heard citizen objections to a proposal that pet owners would be required to microchip or tattoo their pets instead of paying for a license and tags, city representatives provided an alternative.
Microchipping makes a lot of sense. If your dog or cat goes gallivanting away from the yard or becomes lost, the chip includes owner contact information that makes it easy for them to be returned home.
But with the new ordinance council members adopted Tuesday night, dog and cat owners who object to chipping can instead buy a three-year license and tags that attach to a collar for $100. They get a bit of a price break if they buy a five-year or lifetime license.
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Dr. Tim Morton, the veterinarian who oversees animal welfare and shelter operations, said microchipping is safe, but staff “wanted to respect objections” about the procedure.
Some pet owners worried microchipping would injure their animals. Others opposed it on religious grounds or thought the chip could be used like GPS to track down owners. It can’t.
The new ordinance also includes some common sense changes that will go a long way in protecting against out-of-control pets and waste they leave behind.
We’re all for the provision that requires you to keep your four-legged friend on a leash when you walk in your neighborhood, or risk a fine. People out for a stroll shouldn’t have to worry they or their pets will be attacked by a dog whose owner says, “well, he’s never done THAT before. He’s usually friendly.”
We also give thumbs up to the new requirement that owners clean up their dog’s waste or face a fine of $500.
The Star-Telegram heard from a lot of you who said you support these changes to the pet ordinance which goes into effect almost immediately. We’re glad the city was listening, too.
An Update on Shelter Overcrowding
While we're on the subject of furry-friends, we have an update on the Fort Worth shelter's overcrowding and the "red-list." That's the list of dogs and cats that will be euthanized when Fort Worth's animal shelter reaches capacity, which is something no one wants.
The shelter's Dr. Morton reports that since our shout out for more foster families, and volunteers to assist with socializing and caring for the animals, the shelter has seen an increase in people coming forward to help out. Good work, animal lovers! Best of all, Morton says the shelter staff hasn't had to euthanize any of its dogs or cats for at least a week.
What it takes now is an effort to keep the need for adoptions and community involvement in front of the public.
Here again is the online application form to volunteer at a pet adoption location: http://fortworthtexas.gov/animals/volunteer. Your call to animal care staff can be forwarded when you phone 817-392-1234.
Add your name to the foster list by filling out the application at: http://fortworthtexas.gov/crashpads or by calling 817-392-7092.