We just got back from a nice vacation with our dog, Lily. Our pet sitter took care of the cats for us. They were happy to have us back, but not so thrilled we brought the dog back with us. Waiting in our mailbox was a notice from the city. They are now requiring all cats be registered, in addition to dogs. The registration fee is $5 a year. BUT to register them, they must be microchipped. The shelter is willing to offer this additional service (conveniently) for $10 per cat. Oh, and one more thing - there is now a limit of 3 pets (cats and dogs) per residence.
I understand that times are tight and shelters need to raise money. This particular city shelter has come under criticism a lot in the past decade because they are never full and they refuse to help out other shelters because this would drive up their numbers. Yes, it would save lives but that's beside the point. For them, it's numbers.
So what do they think is going to happen with mandatory registration and limiting the number of pets in a household? If someone gets the notice and is over the number of pets, they're going to show up at the shelter to relinquish a few. Or, if they show up based on a complaint and confiscate an animal or two, they're going to bring them back to...their shelter. The numbers are going to go up.
Many cities place restrictions on pets. It's a reasonable thing to do. Most cities say 3 dogs. Lumping the cats in with the dogs will not end well for the cats. If the number of animals is not overwhelming to the caretaker and these animals are well taken care, why should there be a restriction? If someone has a large home with a large backyard, why are three dogs and three cats not an acceptable number? The animals are the only ones who suffer and we're already killing over 4 million adoptable animals each year in our shelters. Why add to that number at a time when animals are being relinquished at a higher rate with the economy? These pets have homes where they are loved, fed and cared for. There is no logical reason to take them out of these homes and add to the numbers at any shelter.
I get that the city wants to make money - and feels that mandatory registration is a great way to do so. However, if they aren't going door to door, they aren't going to get every pet registered. We have a young man who lives down the street from us and doesn't register his pets because he "doesn't believe in it." How many more are there like him on our block? In our city?
And how many is too many?