Brooklyn Park’s pet licensing is likely to go the way of the Dodo bird.
While the city’s code requires that dogs, cats and animals not kept in cages that are six months of age or older be licensed with the city, few residents follow the ordinance. The city estimates that less than 5% of the city’s pets are licensed. The number of licenses issued has declined each year since 2013.
Licenses are also tied to the city’s off-leash dog parks, where a $3 fee or a valid pet license are required for users. According to city staff members, this requirement is rarely enforced and has not proven to be an effective way to keep unlicensed animals from using the parks.
As a result, city staff members recommended amending the ordinance to require pet vaccinations and ID tags, and doing away with the licensing requirement at the Brooklyn Park City Council’s Oct. 7 work session.
Licensing also has little impact on the rates of return for stray or impounded animals. Licenses identify an animal with an ID number, and police staff do not have access to the city’s license database. In total, of the 330 animals impounded in 2018, only four had a pet license.
As part of the change, the city may promote the use of ID tags, microchips and vaccines for animals. A small number of police squad cars may also be equipped with chip readers to assist in returning stray animals to their owners.
The move away from licensing pets mirrors many cities in the metro, ranging from Mound to Crystal.
Mayor Jeff Lunde and Councilmembers Tonja West-Hafner, Terry Parks, and Lisa Jacobson all spoke in favor of amending the ordinance.
Both Lunde and West-Hafner said they have unlicensed pets.
Councilmember Mark Mata said a larger issue is pet owners cleaning up after their pets in public areas.
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