FARMINGTON -- Despite the concerns of a Layton man that licensing cats is another way to grow county government, the Davis County Commission gave its consent to a pair of county ordinances.
The commission now hopes cities will require the licensing of cats and allow an additional pet per household.
On Tuesday, the commission discussed the changes to their animal control ordinances -- changes they have been wanting to implement for about seven months. The ordinances, effective Jan. 23, are aimed at helping Davis County Animal Care and Control staff return more wandering and loose animals to their owners, thereby curbing the number of dogs and cats that have to be euthanized, said Clint Thacker, director of animal care and control.
Of the cats brought into the shelter in 2010, Thacker said, 84 percent were euthanized.
The ordinances, to become effective, now have to be adopted by each municipality's respective city council, Thacker said. All 15 cities in Davis County contract with the county for animal control services.
"We are for getting the cats back home," Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs said.
But Layton resident Frank Simmons, a cat owner who spoke at Tuesday's commission meeting, sees things differently.
"Cats do not pose a problem to the community," Simmons told the commission.
He said cats provide a valuable service in keeping the rodent population down, and he views the county's change in ordinance as just another way of expanding animal control services.
"Something (former president) Ronald Reagan would oppose," Simmons said.
The ordinance will require cat owners to pay a yearly licensing fee of $5 to $15, depending on whether the cat is sterile and has been microchipped, Thacker said.
Simmons said the licensing fee is "a pittance" compared to the $50 impound fee that pet owners are required to pay the county when retrieving their pets from the shelter.
Simmons said he has already contacted Layton city leaders, requesting that their city council not adopt the county's ordinance.
Members of the public will need to contact their respective city offices to see if their city offers an exception to the county animal control ordinances, Thacker said.
But the commission told Simmons the ordinance changes are merely a way to request responsible pet ownership.
"The underlying reason for this is to put pets back with their owners," Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn told Simmons.
Thacker said the county will not be going "door to door" to request that cat owners license their animals. But when a cat is picked up by animal control and brought to the shelter in Fruit Heights, the owner retrieving the animal will be required to license it, he said.
With such a small licensing fee, Thacker said, he does not think the cat licensing requirement will be a revenue generator for the county.
However, a late fee of $25 to $125 will be assessed if an owner does not license a cat after being notified to do so, he said. The amount of the fine will depend on the number of cats the individual owns and the owner's history.