SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CBS13) – The city of Sacramento is cracking down on pet owners without a license for their pets.

“We’re failing and the community needs to step up and we’re going to step up as well,” said Gina Knepp, Manager of Front Street Animal Shelter.

The city estimates that only 13% of pets in Sacramento are licensed.  That’s roughly 1 in 8 pets in the city.  That number goes up only slightly, when considering all of Sacramento County, to about 14 to 17%, according to David Dickinson director of Sacramento County Bradshaw Animal Shelter.  Nationally, about 30% are registered.

“I think there are a percentage of people that don’t have a license just because they have no idea that they’re supposed to,” Knepp said.

Starting July 1, every pet owner must register their animal with the city of Sacramento. They’ll get a card in the mail and if they don’t respond, they’ll face a fine of $300.  They still have a chance to correct it and pay the registration fee but after 90 days, the $300 fee is permanent.

Knepp says the lack of licenses is costing the city too much money and resources.

“We absorb all this cost but people don’t want to pay for a license?” Knepp said.

It costs $20 to register a neutered dog and $10 to register a neutered cat. The price goes up to $75 for a non-neutered animal.

Knepp says services like microchipping, vaccinations and the adoption process cost taxpayer dollars.  But more importantly, licenses help the city keep track of rabies vaccinations.

“It really is about public safety and public health and the health of the animals that live amongst us,” Knepp said.

Knepp says licensing laws have been in place for years so we asked why the city is cracking down now?

Front Street employees tried door knocking last year to encourage pet owners to get licenses. But knepp says numbers stayed the same.

“It’s time for people to step up, take care of their own pets, keep the community safe,” she said.

The county says it will be monitoring how the city’s crackdown goes and possibly consider following suit in the future.


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