Pet licensing law kicks in next week

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Clovis Animal Shelter Supervisor Louisa Maestas tries to put away two Chihuahuas Monday at the Clovis Animal Shelter. The city of Clovis will start licensing pets next week.

Sharna Johnson

Beginning Monday, Fido needs a license to live in Clovis.

A new city ordinance requires residents to license their dogs and cats at the Clovis Animal Shelter or the police department.

Pet owners will receive a tag for their pet; their address and pet’s identifying information will be entered into a database system that police and animal control officers can access.

There is no charge.

Police Chief Steve Sanders said it’s a way to return lost pets to their owners immediately and prevent them from having to stay at the shelter.

“That’s one less pen to clean and one less dog to feed (at the shelter),” and it lessens a healthy pet’s exposure to other, possibly unvaccinated animals, he said.

Not everybody is happy with the ordinance city commissioners approved in April.

“I think it’s a violation of our rights,” Clovis resident Don Brewer said. “We’ll do it — begrudgingly.”

Brewer said his dog has never gotten loose.

“My dog’s a house dog; a lap dog. It’s just another way that the government gets in and tries to tell you what to do.”

But Clovis resident Pat Bishop, who owns two golden retrievers, said the proof of rabies vaccinations that goes along with licensing serves as “a plus for health purposes.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with it,” she said.

The ordinance requires owners of dogs and cats to obtain a license and tag for their animals within 15 days of acquiring or residing with a pet in the city.

Animal rescue groups, police dogs or assistance animals are exempt.

Pet owners are required to either microchip their animal, keep a tag on them or have them tattooed by a veterinarian.

If an owner doesn’t have a copy of their rabies certificates, a veterinarian can sign the license form.

The licenses will be good for three years, in keeping with the length of time between rabies vaccinations, Sanders said.

Sanders said the city will give a 90-day window for owners to get in and obtain licenses before penalties go into effect.

City commissioners approved the ordinance by a 5-3 vote. Those who voted against the ordinance — Randal Crowder, Juan Garza and Fred Van Soelen — argued it was already on the books in the form of a rabies vaccination ordinance and wouldn’t be enforceable.