New pet ordinance could be coming

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MIDLAND -- Changes could be on the way for dealing with loose pets in the Tall City.

Today City Council unanimously approved the first reading of a new ordinance that could require pets to be spayed or neutered if picked up by Animal Control.

The goal is to cut down on overpopulation and strays.

If the ordinance passes, the first time your pet is caught, the city would give you a $70 dollar voucher to fix the dog or cat.

But on the second impoundment, you would be responsible for the procedure—however—you could would be able to pick the veterinarian of your choice.

Paul O’Neill with Animal Services says roughly 300 vouchers are given out a month.

The voucher program has been in place since 2003, and is mostly funded through taxpayer money and portions of fees that you pay to the city throughout the year.

“It's really going to help reduce the number of stray animals roaming the streets. This doesn't require that any owners have their animal spayed and neutered It only requires that on the second impoundment,” Midland Humane Coalition Natalie Castillo said.

She added that you wouldn’t have to spay or neuter your animal if it is not running loose.

“There are a lot of strays in the Midland community and a big portion of those strays are unaltered males and females. As a rescue organization we pull animals from Animal Services, but we cannot adopt our way out of this problem, there are just simply not enough homes for all the animals that need them,” Castillo said.

Castillo added that it’s also illegal to have cats roaming at large, and sadly, a lot of animals end up in fights, get run over by cars, or shot by property owners.

The city’s goal is to reach a no kill status, meaning it would have to be putting just 10 percent of incoming animals to sleep, but right now, that number is 36 percent.

The city will consider a second reading on this ordinance in January.