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Riverside County Says No to Cat Licensing

Supervisors don't like a proposal to punish with higher fees those who won't spay or neuter their pets. A positive approach is requested.

September 10, 2003|Seema Mehta | Times Staff Writer

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected a proposal to require that cats be licensed, saying the ordinance would be ineffective and impossible to enforce.

Proponents failed to persuade the board that the ordinance would encourage pet owners to spay or neuter their cats, which they had argued would help reduce the number of stray felines euthanized in county shelters.

"I favor an approach that leads with a carrot -- or catnip -- rather than the stick of licensing," said Supervisor Bob Buster before the 4-1 vote against the measure.

Last year, more than 9,200 cats were euthanized at the county's three shelters.

"The irony of this tragedy is we have the answer: spaying and neutering. It's so simple," said Anne Washington, a Wildomar resident who served on a county committee that studied the issue. "Every litter prevented saves thousands of lives."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday September 11, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 59 words Type of Material: Correction
Cat licenses -- An article in Wednesday's California section about a proposal to license cats in Riverside County incorrectly said that Supervisor Marion Ashley supported the measure, and incorrectly attributed the following quote to him: "There's only one answer: Money has to change hands." Supervisor Jim Venable made that comment, and was the only supervisor who supported the measure.

Washington said the licensing requirement also would have put cat owners on a par with dog owners, who have historically footed much of the bill for animal control services in the county.

Under the proposal, cat license fees would have been identical to those for dogs: $8 for neutered or spayed animals, $50 for unaltered pets, and discounts for multiyear licenses. The proposal was backed by the committee, which was formed by the board and the county animal control agency.

Supervisor Marion Ashley was the only board member who favored the licensing requirement. In light of the tightening budget reality, he said, a licensing program was the best way to accomplish the county's goals.

"There's only one answer: Money has to change hands," he said.

A board majority voted to ask county animal control officials and the committee to come up with a different approach to encourage spaying and neutering.

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