Local News

State Subcommittee Looks At Proposed New Regulations For Pet Owners

Posted February 23, 2004 6:03 a.m. EST

— Close to 17,000 pets were dropped off at shelters last year in Wake County, of which 10,000 were euthanized. The others were either adopted or returned to their owners. A new proposal is designed to cut down on the number of unwanted pets, but pet owners may face more fees.

Lucky Dollar is Valerie Bavalage's prized Siamese cat. Her cat's grandson, Gabby, is pretty lucky, too. They have both won ribbons over the years, but Bavalage does not think the state should regulate her as a breeder.

"We feel that it's unreasonable to have people with small numbers of breeding animals bred strictly for showing as a hobby to require permits and licenses for them," Bavalage said.

Bavalage is upset over a state subcommittee's recommendation that all pet owners be required to spay or neuter their cats and dogs. If not, they would be classified as a breeder and be subject to higher license fees, more regulation and fines if they do not comply.

Officials hope the new regulations will help fund low-cost spay-neuter programs like the one that took place Monday at the Wake County Animal Shelter.

"Certainly, if we want to do a better job of funding low-cost spay-neuter [program] for people that need assistance, we'll need to expand our funding," committee member Dr. Kelli Ferris said.

The ultimate goal is to reduce the thousands of unwanted dogs and cats abandoned in North Carolina each year, but Bavalage is afraid it will have another effect.

"People who want to do it as a hobby and want to have a couple of cats will be discouraged because of the requirement to be licensed and inspected," he said.

Another recommendation being considered is having all animals at shelters be spay or neuter before they are adopted.