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Keith McCord reporting For anyone who wants to own a dog, the process is simple. You adopt one or get one from a new litter. Then you go and get a license, and you're all set.
It’s not that simple if you live in the town of Alta.
Canine licenses are limited. And when one becomes available, the town holds a drawing! This year's drawing is tomorrow.
Everybody loves dogs…well, almost everybody. The town of Alta, at the top of Little Cottonwood Canyon likes them, but only a certain number of them at a time.
Because of watershed regulations, Alta limits the number of dog licenses to 12 percent of the town's population.
Right now, that's 42 licenses. 41 have already been renewed this year!
Piper Lever/Asst. Clerk, Town of Alta "SO, ONE PERSON MOVED AWAY...SO ONE IS UP FOR GRABS, AND THERE ARE 8 PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GET ONE."
Every year, people who want a dog fill out an application, and on May first, the town draws a name out of a hat.
On the surface, it seems like a simple way to let people have a dog, while at the same time, make a concerted effort to protect the valuable watershed.
But, this has become a heated issue over the years.
Piper Lever/Asst. Clerk, Town of Alta "THE COUNCIL HATES TO DISCUSS IT EVERY YEAR. IT'S POLITICAL. IT'S THE HOTTEST POLITICAL ISSUE IN ALTA.. IT REALLY IS."
THIS CAN GET PRETTY COMPETITIVE. ONE YEAR, JUST TO SHOW THAT THE DRAWING WAS ABOVE BOARD, ONE OF THE TOWN'S POLICE OFFICERS PULLED THE NAME FROM THE HAT RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD!
The town leaders also hear complaints from part-time residents, who own property here, but only visit a few weeks a year.
Piper Lever/Asst. Clerk, Town of Alta "THEY OWN MILLION DOLLARS HOMES HERE AND THEN YOU TELL THEM THEY CAN'T HAVE A DOG, IT KIND OF BUGS THEM."
Full-time residents get priority in the drawing, but even that doesn't guarantee a license. One woman has been in the drawing for five years and is still waiting.
The drawing takes place tomorrow at noon in the Alta town office. And yes, one of the police officers will once again draw the name!