San Antonio’s “No-Kill by 2012” Goal Draws Some Opposition

Proposed changes to the city's animal code would raise fees and restrictions for cat and dog breeders.

The City of San Antonio Animal Care Services Department revealed that it euthanizes between 40,000 and 50,000 cats and dogs each year, many of whom are unwanted litters of kittens and puppies. In an effort to reduce these numbers the department launched a strategic plan to make the city a no-kill community by 2012.

The comprehensive plan was approved last year by the city council, and strategies include increasing community awareness, owner responsibility, reducing the number of stray animals, securing funds, promoting best practices among animal care organizations and implementing new public policy and ordinances.

As part of the plan, the Animal Care Services Department has proposed changes to the city’s animal code, some of which are drawing opposition.

The proposed code calls for higher fees for unsterilized animals, which are $10 per year for sterilized animals and $75 per year for unsterilized animals. In addition, owners of unaltered dogs would be required to obtain an intact permit each year, which would cost $50. Anyone who breeds a cat or dog would be required to obtain a litter permit, which would cost $75 per litter with a limit of one litter per year.

The American Kennel Club opposes these changes, stating they would, in effect, make sterilization mandatory because only a small number of people could afford the high fees, and that these additional burdens on breeders are unnecessary.

The Animal Care Service Department states that the goal of the law is to reduce the euthanasia numbers. The department releases weekly statistics of animals taken in and reported that between Sept. 9 and Sept. 15, it took in 724 animals, adopted out 57 and euthanized 624.

The Animal Care Services board held public meetings last month, and after review, the city council will vote on the proposed changes.

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