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SALT LAKE CITY -- Residents of Salt Lake City -- both human and animal -- may soon see some big changes to pet laws.
The city is looking to follow the county's lead by lifting the two-dog and two-cat limit per household. But under the new law, cats would have to be licensed. Salt Lake County Animal Services Director Shawni Larrabee says it's about responsible pet ownership and hopes it will also reduce euthanasia.
"If they don't license, it directly affects our ability to enforce rabies control, which is an important part of what we do," she said. "We can't return the pet home."
Part of responsible pet ownership is providing permanent ID and licensing your animals.
–Salt Lake County Animal Services Director Shawni Larrabee
Larrabee says when you set a limit, people don't give up, they just don't license their pets. The fines will also go way up on second and third offenses for people who don't license their pets.
"Part of responsible pet ownership is providing permanent ID and licensing your animals," she said.
Larrabee says microchips are encouraged. In fact, animal services will offer them for free in the six months after the new pet rules are adopted.
"Pets do get their collars off, and often people aren't comfortable putting collars on their cats," she said. "The officers do scan the animals in the field, and then they are scanned again when they come into the shelter."
Larrabee says feral cats or cats that are a part of the "Trap, Neuter and Release" program would not need to be licensed, but a microchip is encouraged. "If we don't know where they belong we can't get them home," she said.
Next up is a public hearing. If all goes as planned the city council is expected to approve this by the end of the year.