Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Unlicensed or Unvaccinated Animals are a Public Health Problem

Good public health practice requires that all domesticated animals (dogs, cats, ferrets and potbellied pigs) are licensed by five months of age and vaccinated against rabies. Compliance with the rabies vaccination requirement helps bite victims avoid a series of injections and costly animal quarantine fees. Licensing helps identify an animal if a pet is lost and supports animal control services provided by Countryside Humane Society.

In order to increase the number of pets that are licensed, the City of Racine Environmental Health Division sent out over 2,000 letters to pet owners who have not yet licensed their animals this year. “Responsible pet owners license all of their licensable animals,” said Marcia Fernholz, Director of the Environmental Health Division of the City of Racine Health Department.

"An unlicensed or unvaccinated animal is a public health concern. Vaccinating an animal and buying a license is a cost-effective way to protect not only the animal's health, but the community as well," said Fernholz.

The deadline for obtaining animal licenses is January 31st as mandated under local ordinances. "Pet owners who have not licensed their animals yet this year may be subject to penalties," said Fernholz. Pet owners who apply for a license now will not have to pay a penalty except the late fee.

Chapter 10 of the City of Racine Municipal Code requires domesticated animals to be vaccinated and licensed (dogs, cats, ferrets and potbellied pigs). A current rabies vaccination certificate and payment is required before a license may be issued. All animal licenses are good for the calendar year and expire on December 31st. A license for a neutered animal is $10.00 (senior citizens, 65 years and older, may purchase a license for $5.00 – neutered only).

A license for a non-neutered animal is $35. After January 31st of each year a late fee of $10 per animal is assessed. A pet owner has 30 days after obtaining a new animal to purchase a license for it.

Pet fanciers permits are required if you live in a single family home and have more than three animals. The maximum limit of animals is seven if you live in a single family home and meet all criteria.

All cats are required to be vaccinated and licensed. In addition, cats are not allowed to roam neighborhoods freely and must be kept indoors or placed on a leash.

Licenses may be obtained at the Environmental Health Division office, Room 1, City Hall. City Hall is located at 730 Washington Avenue. A license may also be obtained by mailing a current rabies vaccination certificate, proper payment and a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Environmental Health Division, Room 1 City Hall, 730 Washington Avenue, Racine, WI 53403. Your license and proof of vaccination will be mailed to you. Applications are available at City Hall, Room 1 or on-line at (animal application). For more information, contact Environmental Health at 636-9203.

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