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Pulaski County killed a proposal to expand licensing for pets in unincorporated areas.

The Quorum Court agenda committee voted against the ordinance on Tuesday. Previously, the full Quorum Court reviewed the legislation Jan. 22 and sent the ordinance back to the committee after refusing to approve it.

Justice of the Peace Julie Blackwood then amended the legislation, reducing the price of the license and specifying it would only apply to cats and dogs, but it still did not garner enough votes for approval.

Five residents of unincorporated Pulaski County spoke against the proposal. Four of them had also spoken at the Jan. 22 meeting, where the Quorum Court decided to push the ordinance back to the agenda committee for further scrutiny.

The amended proposal eliminated the licensing price for lifetime licenses, but it still required cats and dogs eligible for lifetime licenses to be sterilized. It also lowered the licensing price from $10 for sterilized animals to $5 and lowered the price from $35 for animals that have not been sterilized to $15.

In response to residents who feared that they would have to license hamsters or petting zoo animals, Blackwood also narrowed the scope of the proposal from warm-blooded animals to only cats and dogs.

Butch Eggens, who spoke on the issue for a second time Tuesday, still saw a lot of issues with the proposal. He said the real problem in the county is that people abandon animals in the unincorporated areas, adding that the ordinance would do nothing to prevent that.

"You're penalizing them [responsible pet owners] for the bad guys," Eggens said.

Karyn Maynard, who also spoke for a second time, said she does not get the same amenities as a resident of unincorporated Pulaski County as city residents do. For this reason, she does not think she should be held to the same sorts of regulations that people who live in cities are.

Every Arkansas city and some counties require licensing like this. With the amended proposal, Pulaski County would have had the lowest price on licensing in the state, Blackwood said.

"We weren't trying to make any money off of this," Blackwood said. "We were just basically trying to get people to register their pets, so they'll spay and neuter them."

Pulaski County has two programs dedicated to helping people spay and neuter their pets, said Cozetta Jones, the county's director of communications. A grant helps residents pay a lower rate to sterilize animals, and a donation fund has provided money for two events that supplied the service at no expense during the days of the events.

Blackwood said another goal for the ordinance was to be able to more easily reunite owners with their pets when they get lost.

The proposal would have required veterinarians to administer the license when dogs and cats received vaccinations for rabies. When the animals were licensed, the county would then have a record that officials could trace back to the owner through the vets' offices, county attorney Adam Fogleman said in a previous interview.

"It's the price of a six-pack of coke for me to get your dog back to you, basically," Public Works Director Steve Brummett said.

This was Blackwood's second attempt to pass a measure to broaden animal licensing for the county. She said she could take it up again in the future.

"You know, I don't give up easily," Blackwood said.

Metro on 02/13/2019

Print Headline: Pulaski County pet license ordinance rejected

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