By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Manteca revisiting $100 annual fee on dogs not fixed
Placeholder Image
Manteca’s annual $100 license fee on unfixed dogs bites.

Responsible dog owners don’t like it and apparently neither do the five council members who made it five times more expensive in January to register an unfixed dog versus one that has been neutered or spayed.

After listening Tuesday to citizens who repeatedly noted only “responsible” dog owners would pay the fee, the City Council has agreed to revisit the issue. Manteca Mayor Willie Weatherford suggested staff return with an amendment to the animal control licensing ordinance that would at least half the fee.

The issue was brought up as part of an agenda item instigated by Councilwoman Debby Moorhead who questioned whether the $100 fee was really effective or if it was prompting people who would otherwise abide by the law to simply not register their animals.

“I’ve gotten one phone call after another complaining about the $100 fee,” Moorhead said.

The annual registration fee for dogs that aren’t fixed went from $15 annually to $100 a year in January.

At the same time the one-year license for dogs that are spayed or neutered went from $5 to $20 to cover city costs. Since paperwork accounts for much of the cost of issuing a license, the council adopted a two-year license for $30 and a three-year license for $40. Three years is the same length of time a rabies vaccine is good.

None of the animal control fees had been adjusted for 10 years. All of the fees expect for the one on unfixed animal were designed to simply reflect actual municipal costs for providing services. The $100 fee on unfixed dogs was designed to be used as a hammer on dog owners to fix their animals by making it cheaper to neuter or spay them than pay $100 a year. The regressive fee was backed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advanced by the organization as a way to use higher licensing fees to force people to voluntarily neuter their dogs in a bid to reduce unwanted animal population.

The arguments against the $100 fee include:

•irresponsible dog owners who allow their dogs to breed and refused to pay the $15 fee would also refuse to pay the $100 fee.

•responsible breeders or those with show dogs would be forced to pay $100 a year because they are law-abiding.

•those on fixed incomes would be hard hit as they could neither afford to fix their dog or pay the $100 fee.

•Manteca lacks a neutering and spaying education campaign that could prompt law-abiding people to voluntarily fix their dogs.

Those speaking also said they understood why Manteca had initially out such a requirement for owners of pit bulls in place but felt it was not justified extending it to other breeds that do not have a history of unprovoked attacks on other fogs and people.