Liberal, KS

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City Passes Pet Registration Requirements

Joe Denoyer - April 26, 2024 10:05 am

In an effort to address the rising population of stray and roaming animals, the City of Liberal has adopted new animal control ordinances requiring the annual registration of cats and dogs beginning January 2025. This registration requirement applies to cats and dogs over the age of 6 months living within City limits.

Animal registration, a common practice for municipal governments, was identified as a solution following two public surveys regarding Liberal’s stray and roaming pet population.

Among more than 330 surveys received, 96 percent of respondents said they were concerned about Liberal’s animal population, with the safety of animals, concerns of continued breeding, and protection from animal attacks being the top areas for concern. The most common solution shared by survey respondents was the need to hold pet owners accountable by issuing fines.

“In order to meet community expectations to hold owners who allow their pets to roam accountable, we have to know who owns that pet,” Special Projects Administrator, Steve Carroll, said. “Without a formal ordinance requiring registration in place, we cannot issue fines for noncompliance. This registration process helps align our animal control, law enforcement, and municipal court activities to create change in our community.”

Safety for animals and residents is another factor being addressed through the new ordinance. Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents agreed cats and dogs should receive annual rabies vaccinations, with 68% of respondents stating they support having annual vaccination and annual registration required for pets.

“When we have an animal bite case – whether it’s an animal or human that’s been attacked – knowing the vaccination status of the animal involved is important to working that case. If a person is bitten, verified vaccinations can help inform their medical follow-up required,” Liberal Animal Shelter Supervisor, Tara Logan, stated. “If an unvaccinated animal is bitten and released back to its owner or held at our shelter, that animal must be kept in isolation away from other animals for a period of time to ensure it does not show signs of rabies or other illness. This is a burden which can be prevented by having more owners comply with annual rabies vaccinations.”

These safety and identification requirements also open new opportunities for the City of Liberal to move forward on a dog park for the community. This project generated interest among survey respondents, with only 9% of survey respondents stating they were opposed to having a local dog park.

The new ordinance approved by the City Commission states metallic tags issued at registration must be secured to a collar, harness, or other device worn by the pet at all times when they are outside of their home or enclosed yard or pen. This ordinance also requires owners to immediately remove waste deposited by their pet on public right of ways, public property, or private property of another person. City ordinances limit each household to no more than three total cats and/or dogs.

The registration fee for spayed or neutered animals will be $10, while unaltered animal registration fees cost $25. Replacements for lost or damaged tags will be $5 each. More details regarding registration processes will be released when the registration period begins at the Liberal Animal Shelter later this year.

 

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