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Article updated: 8/28/2012 4:57 PM

Kane County considers higher tag fee for animals

By Susan Sarkauskas

People who don't have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered could pay a higher Kane County animal-registration fee, under a plan the public health committee approved Tuesday.

Fifteen dollars would be tacked on to a one-year registration, and $25 to a three-year registration. That would mean paying $25 a year to register the pet, or $50 every three years.

The committee approved it unanimously.

If approved by the county board, the change would take effect Dec. 1, with the start of the 2013 fiscal year.

Committee member Melisa Taylor asked if dog breeders could be exempted. And committee member Bonnie Kunkel suggested that, if it passes, the ordinance not be made effective immediately. Instead, owners should have time to decide if they want to spay or neuter their pets, and the change has to be communicated to Kane County veterinarians, who collect the fee on the county's behalf when they inoculate pets against rabies.

Ten dollars of the differential would go into an account to spay and neuter dogs and cats that people adopt from the county animal control facility, and to spay and neuter dogs and cats of poor people.

People age 65 and older do not have to pay registration fees.

Public Health Interim Director Barbara Jeffers spoke against a discount for breeders. "Breeders are in the business of making money," selling pets for a profit, she said. "They can afford to pay."

Committee member Phil Lewis suggested the county phase out the one-year registration. But Jeffers said some small dogs cannot receive the larger three-year rabies inoculation dose safely, and Kunkel pointed out some people might not want to pay for a three-year registration for an elderly pet likely to die sooner rather than later. She also said people might not want a three-year registration if they are soon going to be eligible for free registration.

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