Panel considers licensing catsSuperior’s License and Fees Committee next week considers a proposal that could help raise money to care for animals in the city.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
Superior’s License and Fees Committee next week considers a proposal that could help raise money to care for animals in the city.
Councilor Bob Browne is proposing to create a licensing requirement for cats, similar to the requirement for dogs, in the city of Superior.
The panel reviews its options at 1 p.m. Monday in Room 204 of the Government Center.
In preparation for the discussion, the City Clerk’s Office surveyed municipalities throughout Wisconsin to determine whether the communities require cats to be licensed.
Slightly less than half of the 131 villages, towns and cities that responded to the survey required licenses. Only one had voluntary licensing for felines, while 66 reported no licensing requirement whatsoever.
In some cases, the cost of the program outweighed the benefit.
“It cost us more to purchase the tags to sell than the money we made selling them,” the village of DeForest, Wis., reported back to the Superior City Clerk’s Office. The village sold about 30 licenses a year, but was required to order a minimum of 100 tags. That didn’t include the cost of staff time, software or other associated costs, “it just became too costly and not a great way to increase revenue.”
A couple of respondents to the survey in communities that require cat licenses reported much higher participation rates and still wondered why they do it because “it’s pointless.”
In Green Bay, dogs and cats are both licensed at the same cost — $5 for spayed or neutered animals and $25 for those that have not been spayed or neutered — however in 2012, while the city had 2,936 licensed dogs, only 449 cats were licensed.
“Needless to say, it’s harder to license cats than it is dogs,” Green Bay reported.
Still, Marion, Wis., reports some success after initial resistance six years ago when the council adopted the requirement there.
Marion City Clerk Mary Rogers said the council adopted the requirement there because cats, like dogs, carry a risk of rabies and they wanted information available about the felines for animal control purposes.
The city of Marion, Wis., operates an animal pound behind the city garage, Rogers said; it’s something local officials are planning to eliminate with the construction of a new animal shelter near Bear Creek Park. Browne is hopeful the cat license fees will help support the project.
Rogers said it’s not known how effective the licensing is in ensuring animal owners get their stray returned.
However, whether it would make sense for Superior is unknown.
Superior has required licenses for dogs since 1971, but it’s not known how many dog owners do not pay the $7.50 fee for spayed or neutered dogs or the $15 fee for unspayed or unneutered canines.
Only 231 dogs are licensed in the city, according to Finance Director Jean Vito, whose office is responsible for issuing the licenses.
She said in 2012, the city collected about $2,943 from the license fee, but had to pay Douglas County $969.50 to cover the county’s cost for having the license tags made.
That left the city with only about $1,974 in 2012 in the general fund.
In the period from July 1, 2012, through June 30 this year, the city will pay $120,000 for animal sheltering services.