Pet Ordinance Could Reduce Euthanasia Rates

In the last three years, the euthanasia rate in Wichita Falls' animal services program has dropped from almost 70% to 56%, but health department officials want that number to decrease even more.

At Tuesday's city council meeting, councilors will be voting on a multiple part ordinance that they hope will make a difference.

Lou Kreidler with the Wichita Falls- Wichita County Health District says the goal of the ordinance is to reduce the euthanasia rate by making animal breeders, sellers and pet owners more responsible.

Right now, The definition of a pet shop in Wichita falls includes a flea market, a regulation that officials at the Wichita Falls- Wichita County Public Health District say is creating some problems.

“Currently anyone can set up underneath the flea market license so animals are out there without any regulation what so ever,” says Kreidler.

No regulations means more animals are abandoned and picked up by animal services.

“It's a problem, people will get those animals when they're cute little puppies and when they get older it will be more than they can handle,” says Kreidler.

And more animals being abandoned means euthanasia rates are high.

Another factor health district officials say is adding to those high numbers is people not having their pets spayed or neutered.

They hope by offering pet owners a deal when they try to pick up their pet from animal services that they can help increase the number of pets that are spayed and neutered.

“The first time time we'll waive the fees if you agree to have your animal spay or neutered,” says Kreidler.

But the second time your pet gets picked up by animal services...

“Then it will be a mandatory spay and neuter and to get that animal back then you'll have to make that appointment,” says Kreidler.

Kreidler says she hopes getting more pets fixed will help keep the animals safe at home.

She says animals in heat are more likely to run away, and if officials can keep those animals off the streets, that will hopefully mean less animals will have to be put down.

City councilors will vote on the pet ordinance this Tuesday.

All meetings are open to the public.

They are located on the first floor of Memorial Auditorium.

If you would like to read this proposed ordinance or any of the items being voted on at city council click here.

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