City Council passes bill to control stray animals

Under plan, agency could spay, neuter and put chip in loose cats, dogs

April 09, 2002|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

To better manage the number of stray dogs and cats, the Baltimore City Council passed a bill last night that would allow the animal control bureau to spay, neuter and put microchip implants into animals it finds roaming the streets.

Under the proposal, the first time a loose dog or cat is found, the animal control bureau could surgically insert a microchip in the shoulder as a condition of returning the animal to the owner. The microchip would hold ownership and health information.

The second time an animal is found, the bureau would have the right to spay or neuter the animal. All costs, which are nominal, would be paid by the pet owners.

The bill will go to the mayor for his signature and is expected to take effect in 90 days.

Councilman Edward L. Reisinger, chairman of the Housing, Health and Environment Committee, said the city has as many as 400,000 stray animals. The law would allow animals to be more easily tracked and is expected to reduce the number of strays, he said.

"We put the responsibility on the owner and try to decrease the number of stray dogs and cats," Reisinger said.

The bill passed last night is a watered-down version of a contentious bill that would have required all animals in the city to get the microchip implants as a way to crack down on aggressive dogs roaming the streets and illegal organized dog-fighting.

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