ROY -- Residents will now have to license cats and can have only two cats per single residence. Residents may have no more than two cats and two dogs. All residents must be in compliance by Jan. 1.
The big change to licensing and limiting numbers comes after city leaders received several complaints about some residents having too many cats and the animal control officers having no recourse with residents as to how to get rid of them.
City Councilman Willard Cragun spoke of a resident who had 35 cats, yet the city had no legal means for the resident to get rid of the cats. Enforcement will continue on a complaint basis, but council members feel this will rein in some of the problems the city has experienced with too many cats.
Not all council members agree with the licensing part of the ordinance.
"There is a fundamental difference between dogs and cats," City Councilman Michael Stokes said. He can look down the street, see a dog out in the neighborhood and know whose dog it is.
It is much harder to do with cats, he said. He feels it will be an administrative nightmare to keep track of cats and licensing. He said he isn't against limiting cats, but trying to enforce licensing will be difficult. He was the only council member to vote against the ordinance.
"I don't think what we're attempting to do is out of line," City Councilman John Cordova said.
"We have to get control of our animal population," Cragun added. He and other council members think licensing the cats is the best way.
Residents will have the option to microchip their cats at a cost of about $20 if they don't want to put a collar on their cats, as it sometimes is uncomfortable for the animal, said Trent Nelson, with the city attorney's office.
City Councilman Dave Tafoya suggested the city have residents come into compliance by July 1, but the council decided to wait until January because that is when licenses for dogs are up for renewal. The delay would also give the city time to get licenses prepared and will give residents some time to get used to the idea.
"That's pretty quick when there is emotional involvement," Nelson said of the July 1 date.
Residents still will have to show proof of vaccination for dogs and microchipping for cats when they purchase the licenses. The fee structure is still being worked out, but the city is looking at approximately $5 to $10 for licensing and $5 for renewals.
"Four animals is a lot of animals. That's plenty," Cordova said of the four-animal limit with two cats and two dogs.
Animal control will be under the authority of the police chief, with animal control
officers and police officers being appointed by the chief as needed.