AKITA, JAPAN - JULY 11: A chihuahua puppy poses at Pucchin Dog's shop on July 11, 2007 in Akita prefecture, Japan. The chihuahua was born with a perfect heart-shaped marking on his back. Shop owner Emiko Sakurada has no plans to sell the puppy, which has been named "Heart-kun". (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Heart-kun
The Fort Worth City Council passed an ordinance Tuesday night that makes owning a pet more expensive for animal owners who do not have their dogs spayed or neutered.
The provision is included in a proposal that would revamp the city's animal ordinance. Animals would have to be spayed or neutered unless the owner takes a two-hour responsible pet ownership class or pays a one-time $50 fee. The animal license fee will also increase from $7 to $12.
While supporters said that sterilized dogs help solve the city's problem with strays and dog attacks, others disagreed, saying the move would unfairly criminalize and place a financial burden on pet owners.
Mary Beth Duerler, executive director of the San Antonio-based Responsible Pet Owners Alliance, told the Star-Telegram that it makes more sense to offer low-cost spaying and neutering services in low-income areas.
"We definitely do approve of voluntary spaying and neutering, but this [the city proposal] will just cause resentment from pet owners," she said.
City leaders hope tougher laws will help make animal owners more responsible and reduce the city's euthanasia rate.