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City Council Votes to Require Licenses for Cats

September 23, 1993

WEST HOLLYWOOD — Are cats reliable homebodies or free-spirited roamers? That question enlivened a meeting this week--not a cat lovers' convention, but a session of the West Hollywood City Council.

Without agreeing on the feline nature, the council voted 3 to 2 to license the pets, joining three other cities in Los Angeles County that require owners to license cats as a way to recover lost animals and encourage spaying and neutering.

The sponsor, Councilman Paul Koretz, said a better tracking system could cut the number of stray cats destroyed each year by the county Department of Animal Care and Control, which requires cat licensing in unincorporated areas. Last year, 70,000 unwanted dogs and cats were killed countywide, he said.

Once the measure gains final approval, the license fee would be $5 for altered cats and $10 for unaltered cats. Seniors, the poor and disabled would pay half.

Animal-rights activists supporting the law said it would force cat owners to share the costs of county animal control.

Opponents decried the proposal as another unwanted city fee and said it would be unenforceable.

"Dogs and cats are different kinds of animals. You can't put a cat on a leash," said Councilwoman Babette Lang, who said cats tend to stick close to home. Lang joined Mayor Sal Guarriello in voting against the law.

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