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Minneapolis Raises Fines For Unlicensed Pets

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The city of Minneapolis may soon raise the penalty for not registering dogs and cats.

On Wednesday, a City Council committee passed a proposal to raise the fine from $100 to $200.

Under the proposed rules, if you’re caught without a license for your dog or cat you could get a ticket.

When Sonja Boatman took her boyfriend’s dog, Marley, for a walk Thursday, she couldn’t help but wonder if she was taking an expensive risk. She didn’t know if Marley was registered.

“If you have control over your animal, I guess I just don’t understand why you would need one,” said Boatman.

Turns out, Marley is registered, but there are thousands of other dogs and cats that aren’t.

Some of their owners are finding out the hard way. Ranelle Johnson was stopped at the Minnehaha Dog Park.

“There is a cop down there and he actually stopped me and checked for my license. And I didn’t have one, so he issued me a ticket and said I didn’t have to pay it if I went and got a license,” said Johnson.

Johnson’s dog, Zypher, now has proof that he belongs to Johnson. He must wear a tag at all times on his collar.

The city is using the penalty as incentive to get the more than 200,000 pets registered. Right now, less than 5 percent are licensed.

“To be a dog owner is like owning a car now. You have to buy insurance, maintenance, and everything,” said Johnson.

The city says the licensing helps maintain public safety and health. It pays for animal enforcement laws, dangerous animal investigations and basic veterinary care for all stray animals.

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