ROSEMOUNT (WCCO) — The City of Rosemount decided to stop capturing stray cats because of high costs.
The controversial decision means it will no longer be against the law for felines to roam free.
Rosemount Police Chief Gary Kalstabakken says the city wasn’t getting voluntary compliance from cat owners, and many cats were going unregistered.
“Using the Humane Society estimates, we have probably 5,000 or more cats in the city, and only about 22 per year are being licensed,” said Kalstabakken.
To register a spayed or neutered pet it cost $6 a year and $12 a year for an untouched pet.
Kalstabakken said one of the main purposes for licensing a cat is so it can be returned to its owner. He says 90 percent of stray cats turned into police are not claimed, while 90 percent of dogs get picked up.
After police checked their January 2010 to January 2011 invoices they found the city had paid about $13,600 to shelter or euthanize 66 cats that didn’t get picked up.
“It certainly is a budget concern. Is it a service that the city should be providing? That was part of the discussion when the 2011 budget was put together by the council,” said Kalstabakken.
He says now when someone calls about a stray cat they’ll be referred to a local animal shelters or pet rescue organizations for help.
“They’re shifting the responsibility to someone else,” said Rosemount veterinarian Dr. Kurt Hansen. “Not having a cat ordinance means cats are going to be roaming around and multiplying. They’ll cause problems in the future.”
Hansen runs the Shamrock Animal Hospital in Rosemount. He says one of the problems stray cats carry is rabies.
“The Minnesota Department of Health has seen three rabies cases in the last six months,” Hansen said. “By not picking stray cats up they will spread diseases and introduce diseases to household cats.”
Now only two out of 11 cities in Dakota County will shelter stray cats.
According to city officials, it costs the city about $1,000 a month to impound cats. Furthermore, Mayor Bill Droste says the city pays about $212 a day for unclaimed pets.
The Animal Humane Society says the new change in Rosemount is a problem. They say last year they took in about 20,000 cats — about 70 cats a day.