(Oct. 21, 2009) -- LBReport.com first reported on October 4 that cat licensing would be among a package of measures discussed by the City Council on October 20...and it was...with the Council voting 9-0 to direct city staff to return with specific recommendations within 90 days. [LBReport.com coverage of Oct. 20 action, click here.]
Such licensing of cats would help with spaying/neutering cats, mobile unit education and would allow Long Beach Animal Care Services to better manage the ever-present problem of animal population (and overpopulation, for which we have no one to blame but ourselves).
Although the agendizing memo notes that it is ILLEGAL for Long Beach residents to own un-altered cats, the felines are allowed to roam outdoors and propagate. It is highly questionable whether Long Beach residents are even aware of this law in the first place, or would bother to find out or would willingly comply with it.
In spite of Animals Care Services' and Friends of Long Beach Animals' heroic efforts to educate and fully subsidize spaying and neutering, and in spite of their role in the dramatic reduction of euthanized cats, unfortunately it is still not enough. Cat licensing would go far in curbing the freedom of cats to contribute to this problem.
In the many cities where this has been tried with a $5 to $10 license fee per cat per year, the number of the "stray" cat population was successfully reduced. Perhaps when owners of cats (and PLEASE, don't use the old saw that people don't own cats! When you feed one, house one, give one shelter, you provide medical care, toys and the warmth of your hearth to a cat, YOU OWN HIM!) have to pay a reasonable license fee, the animals will be more valued since there is a heightened reluctance to allow them to wander off.
Licensing cats promotes responsible pet ownership and accountability. In fact, in California 95 cities and 2 counties surveyed indicated that 62 cities and 1 county in the unincorporated areas have some form of cat licensing and in 7 cities in the unincorporated area of L.A. Country, cat licensing is mandatory. So much for that.
But now the opponents are suddenly upon us. Their main objection is that this would "penalize responsible owners" who do not allow their cats to roam and wander. In fact, according to them, everybody is "responsible" in some way.
Then we have the whiners (oh yes, you are whiners!) who bring cat licensing into the area of murders, rapes, burglaries, thefts, etc, (since when do animal control agencies deal with those?) and that cat licensing is nothing more than raising money for the city. Well, OF COURSE IT IS! How else can they provide or improve these important services? But how often do you wish you could dictate what is done with the taxes you pay? In this case, you know exactly where it goes and what it pays for! Can you beat that?!
Finally, for decades animal control agencies were funded by the licensing of dogs, i.e., dog owners subsidized the overwhelming work involved in cat control because catís owners paid nothing. Not even a small amount such as $5 per cat per year -- so stop whining, donít call it "penalizing" and if you are really "responsible" step up to the plate and do the right thing for cats, dogs and their people. You had a free ride for a long time.
And for the record: I "own" four strictly indoor spayed and neutered cats and will gladly pay a measly $20 per year for their company, companionship, well-being, the affection and the enchantment they give me freely. It is really cheap at the price!