By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- As Norman has grown, so has the pet population, especially unneutered, unspayed animals. Residents met Monday night to discuss how to enhance the city's animal control ordinances.
At 5:30 p.m., the city's Animal Welfare Oversight Board heard what citizens had to say, and shared suggestions of their own.
Norman's Animal Welfare workers pick up about 3,000 dogs and cats each year and bring them to the animal shelter. Many haven't been spayed or neutered, and at the shelter they await either adoption or euthanasia.
Currently dog owners can have no more than two unaltered dogs at home, but there's a proposal to change that.
"If this proposal goes through, if all the dogs in the house are altered, we're trying to raise the number to four. If any dog in the house is unaltered, the number will remain at two. We're trying to reward those people that are having their animals spayed or neutered and trying to assist us in controlling the pet population," Norman Police Maj. Jim Maisano said.
Local veterinarian Mark Stanley likes the proposal that would require cats to be altered before they can roam freely.
"An unaltered male tomcat can roam twenty miles in one night. And besides the extra kitten problem, it can also spread a lot of diseases," said Dr. Stanley.
Some low income families can't afford to pay for neutering. But since May, the Second Chance Animal Sanctuary has operated a low-cost facility in Norman with those pet owners in mind. The price is $40 per dogs, $30 per cat, but even that is still a hurdle for some.
"It's a problem for them, because many of them, even though they love their animals and want to be responsible pet owners, even the $30 and $40 is sometimes difficult for them," said Lynn Pettyjohn with Second Chance Animal Sanctuary.
In those cases pet owners are allowed to pay what they can afford. To be eligible for the Second Chance spay and neuter clinic, a family's income must be $35,000 or less. For more information call 329-7400.
Through law and through non-profit agencies, animal activists believe they can help reduce the unwanted pet population in Norman.