Etowah Amends Pet Registry Law, Makes It Voluntary | News

A controversial requirement in the town of Etowah was changed earlier this week.

At the city’s regular commission meeting Monday night, commissioners voted unanimously to overturn City Code 90.26 that required pet owners within city limits to register their pets.

The Pet Registry will now be a voluntary registration program for owners who wish to register their pets in the event the animal goes “loose” so the city can return the animal to its rightful owner.

According to an email from Etowah City Manager Tina Tuggle, the municipal code was established in 1993 and has been the practice of many municipalities for years.

She noted that due to several cities not having dedicated animal control officers, many decided to scrap the city code.

After Monday’s decision, any animal currently registered with the city will remain registered until the end of its one-year expiration date.

“At this point, they’ll just have to sign up on a voluntary basis if they want to as well,” Tuggle said.

All pet owners will still be required to be vaccinated against rabies as determined by federal and state law.

“This will still be enforceable if their animal is picked up while running loose with no proof of vaccination found on the animal,” Tuggle said.

She stressed that animal control would not go “door to door” to check animal vaccinations.

“The only time Animal Control will go to a property is to address any registered complaint or valid cause to speak to a citizen about their animals,” Tuggle said. “It will not be due to registration.”

The current municipal code currently reads: “Any person possessing or keeping a dog within the limits of the society, more than three months old, must register it annually with the city and apply for a license for such a dog. The entry fee is $5 per dog. The fee is due and payable within five days of the acquisition of such a dog or the dog reaching the age of three months and from that moment, for the life of the dog in the city, must be renewed each year within five days of original registration/expiration. Dated. The city will issue an annual license and tag for each dog whose owner pays the above registration fee and presents current proof of vaccination(s).

“Said proof of vaccination must indicate the true and actual breed of said dog(s) or said dogs must be presented for visual verification before the municipal administration and/or animal control. If said dogs, after visual inspection by Animal Control, are deemed to exhibit the characteristics set out in Ord. 815 modifying and adding the requirement of a DNA test. No one should own, keep or harbor a dog that does not carry a current license and vaccination tags at all times. If the license tag is lost, the city will issue a duplicate tag for a $2 fee.

However, the municipal code will be amended soon to remove the requirements.

The committee held the meeting via teleconference and audio of the meeting can be found at www.cityofetowah under the “Agenda and Minutes” tab associated with the Government category.

The original plan was to broadcast the meeting via Facebook, but due to complications they were unable to do so.

Tuggle said they hope the issues will be resolved at the next scheduled meeting (a budget workshop) to be held on Monday, May 4 at 5:30 p.m.

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