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Council denies cat licensing ordinance

By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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Cat owners can breathe a sigh of relief for the time being. Wednesday night, Roseville City Council members turned down an ordinance proposed by the police department requiring residents to license their cats. Police Chief Michael Blair recommended the ordinance to council in an effort to encourage responsible pet ownership and reduce the number of unwanted cats delivered to the Placer SPCA. Blair said last year the SPCA had 2,160 cats delivered to the shelter between 2008 and 2009 and that cats continue to take up 65 percent of the shelter’s resources. The cost of the forgotten felines is a cool $447,120 to Roseville taxpayers to maintain the shelter’s services. The ordinance would have required a $15 licensing fee for spayed or neutered cats or $30 for unaltered animals. Blair said the fee amounts were equal to those of licensing a dog in Roseville and would generate $14,000 in revenue to offset the cost passed on to taxpayers. Currently the revenue from dog licenses is $103,939. “The real savings will come over time from the reduced number of cats that end up in the shelter through encouraged spaying and neutering,” Blair said. Other neighboring cities like Citrus Heights, Folsom and Sacramento have similar ordinances in place Blair said, but compliance is low. Roseville resident Stan Bollinger expressed his concern with how council and the police department would enforce the program. “Cats and dogs are two totally different animals,” Bollinger said. “I don’t see how you are going to enforce this. I don’t see how we can control this, I don’t think it’s a good idea.” Although the council agreed that the overpopulation of stray cats in Roseville was an issue that needed to be dealt with, they felt strongly about the timing of the additional cost to residents. Council woman Pauline Roccucci and Carol Garcia said they opposed placing additional fees on residents, who are already hard hit with rising costs and fees. Councilman Jim Gray said he would have liked to see a focus on reducing the number of unaltered stray and feral cats in the city to control the overpopulation, rather than instating a licensing program. Gray also expressed concern that the projected $14,000 revenue would not cover enough of the costs of administering the licensing program. “$14,000 is not even a drop in the bucket,” said Mayor Gina Garbolino. “The problem exists but I would like to see us be creative and look for better ways.” Look in Wednesday’s edition of The Press Tribune for more coverage of Roseville’s City Council.