FARMINGTON -- If a lost Fluffy the cat were licensed and microchipped, its odds of being returned to its owner would increase.
Currently, Fluffy must be identified within five days at Davis County Animal Shelter; after that, it is euthanized.
That scenario has Davis County Animal Care & Control Director Clint Thacker asking the Davis County Commission to adopt an ordinance requiring that cats, like dogs, be licensed.
"The numbers for Davis County Animal Care & Control are anything but pretty," he said. "Thirty-three percent of the dogs and 84 percent of the cats that came into our shelter alive were euthanized in 2010."
On Tuesday, Thacker, who was hired in February, presented to the commission two ordinances he wants added to the county's animal control program by this summer.
The proposals are based on successful programs used by Salt Lake County Animal Control Services and Calgary (Canada) Animal Services.
The commission took no action other than to agree by consensus to review the proposals.
Last year, of the total number of animals taken in at the county shelter in Fruit Heights, 44 percent were cats. Only 10 percent of those cats were adopted out, Thacker said, and 4 percent were returned to their owners. Of the 3,667 cats received, 3,082 had to be euthanized, he said.
Licensing and microchipping pets is the best way to get them back home, Thacker said, but he didn't speculate how much the process for a cat would cost.
However, the fee would be small enough that it would not deter cat owners from adhering to the ordinance, Thacker said.
"We're not looking to increase revenues. We are just looking at getting the cat back to the cat owner."
The licensing would be a money-saver for the county because it would allow workers to refocus their energy on pet adoptions, Thacker said, and fewer animals would have to be cared for at the shelter.
The adoption goal for this calendar year has been set at 1,300 animals, Thacker said. The county placed 1,100 animals for adoption last year.
The other ordinance change Thacker seeks is removing the limit of two pets per household. Rather, he wants the ordinance to define adequate care for animals so it includes noise and smell, as some people can care for multiple pets while others have a hard time caring for just one.
Removing the limit would eliminate what has become a barrier for households with three or more pets. Such pet owners have been reluctant to have their animals properly licensed or treated by a veterinarian for fear the number of pets they own will be shared with animal control.
To help with adoptions, county animal control has changed its shelter office hours to 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, with field officers on duty from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.