BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - The Blytheville Animal Control Committee has proposed a spay and neuter ordinance to the Blytheville City Council in an effort to reduce the stray animal population.
"You can drive down the streets and there's animals that look like maybe they hadn't been fed properly, or maybe just people's animals that are running loose," said Blytheville Humane Society President Pam Ford. "We just want to control the pet population, the stray animals that are out on the streets."
The proposed ordinance would require anyone who owns a dog or cat three months of age or older to spay or neuter the animal.
Ford says can the procedures cost about $200 at a veterinarian's office, or $45 to $50 with the Blytheville Humane Society.
The ordinance would exempt animal shelters and veterinary hospitals, people who have registered service dogs or working police dogs, people with dogs that a veterinarian has deemed unable to withstand immediate sterilization and people who are "non-residents of the City and reside temporarily therein for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days within a 12-month period."
It also would exempt people with unaltered permits issued by the City Collector's Office. The permits, also referred to as breeder licenses, cost $250 per registered animal.
Patricia Metcalf keeps her family's Chihuahua inside her home, and two pit bulls in the backyard. She says she does not let her daughter walk to the school bus stop just minutes away from her home near Walker Park due to the number of strays she has seen on her street and in the park.
"I really walk with a stick if I'm going to walk, and some of them, if they get close, I'm going to run in the house like I usually do."
Ford says the Blytheville Humane Society is willing to work with pet owners who cannot afford the procedure."If they do not have the money for this, the Humane Society has a low cost or no cost spay neuter program."
She also said the ordinance does not allow Blytheville animal control officers or Humane Society members to visit the homes of pet owners to find out if their pets have been spayed or neutered.
"We're not going to go to people's houses to see if their animals are spayed or neutered, nothing like that. It's just for those poor little guys that are running the streets."
The proposed fine for violating the ordinance ranges from $100 to $500.
The next Blytheville City Council meeting is Tuesday, April 16.