To the editor,
The City of Rosemount just announced that they will no longer require licenses for cats, and also plan to stop impounding stray cats.
It appears this decision was made primarily for budgetary reasons, by city staff, and without soliciting public feedback.
The city could easily feature program or policy changes currently under discussion by the city council on their website, with a link taking viewers to the related background/history section, and then allowing residents to quickly and easily submit both questions and comments. It is our tax dollars that pay for these programs after all, so we all have a right to weigh in on the decision making process.
Licensing hasn't worked well for cats because: few cats keep collars on. So there's no place to hang an ID tag. This, along with irresponsible pet owners allowing their cats to roam are the two primary reasons there are so many strays. Your new "rescue" cat may well be the cat your neighbors three blocks away lost recently. This results in way too much animal movement taking place: from public places to police cars to local vet clinics or shelters. A lot of time, money, personnel and effort. And most of it is preventable with one easy action: microchip your beloved pets.
Cats allowed to roam can cause damage to property. They also pick up diseases, get into fights, can be injured or killed by other animals or by vehicles, be poisoned by antifreeze, kill tons of birds and more. Minnesota weather is also too extreme about half of the year for any animal to be without food and appropriate shelter, which state laws address. And with the growing people population in our area, few woods or wide open spaces exist anymore. So cats seek shelter and safety in gardens, sheds, garages, etc. Feral cats live even more challenging lives. They develop a wide variety of health problems (ear mites, fleas, abrasions, digestive), don't receive regular veterinary care or vaccines, and breed often. Their lives tend to be much shorter than domesticated cats (approximately four years, versus 15) and they often suffer needlessly.
Having your local vet implant an identifying microchip between the shoulder blades of your pet is a lifetime solution. Most vet clinics and police stations, and increasing numbers of rescue organizations, now own scanners to help them quickly identify the owner of a stray cat. This process has become standardized nationwide. The initial cost to chip your pet is under $40. The annual renewal costs less than $20 and you can do it online with a credit card in less than three minutes. The company will send you timely reminders. You can also update your owner/pet info online anytime, so if you move to another state and your pet gets displaced along the way, you and your pet can be reunited in a timely fashion.
It's a common sense approach in our information age: microchip your beloved pets.