More than 60 of Neosho's four-legged residents attended the city's second annual Neosho Pet Fair on Saturday afternoon at the Lampo Center.
The event drew approximately 300 people, while 63 dogs and one cat were signed up for city pet licenses while there and 108 animals received vaccinations.
The event offered more than the city's required licensing though, as pet owners had the chance to get their furry companions' rabies vaccinations at a discounted rate from Dr. Kent Findley, of Pet Clinic of Neosho, as well as additional vaccinations.
There were also booths set up, some informational, while others, such as Faithful Friends Animal Advocates, of Neosho, and the Carthage Humane Society, offered pet adoptions.
Attendees purchasing pet licenses on Saturday were also among the first to be offered the city's new discounted licensing fees that the city council voted to adopt in a special session council meeting Friday morning.
Among the approved changes is the addition of a free lifetime tag for spayed and neutered pets.
The city had previously offered lifetime tags, at a cost of $100 for non-neutered or non-spayed and $10 for neutered or spayed pets.
The original resolution council voted on Friday morning would have eliminated lifetime tags altogether, though councilman David Ruth proposed that the resolution be amended to include the free lifetime tag.
Neosho mayor Richard Davidson cast the only vote against Ruth's proposal, while the council as a whole approved the final resolution.
"No other city in the state, that we looked at, offered a lifetime tag," Davidson said. "We would be the exception."
In their Feb. 19 council meeting, the council reviewed pet licensing fees from 16 area communities, including Joplin, Goodman, Pineville, Bentonville, Ark., Bella Vista, Ark., and Pittsburg, Kan., none of which offer the lifetime pet license.
Davidson noted that with the lifetime tag for spayed and neutered pets the city would lack a way to ensure those pets are up to date on their vaccinations.
"There's no way to know if you're going to get your rabies vaccination if you're not required to present that," Davidson said.
"That's not what our tags are about," Ruth countered.
Steve Hart, the council's mayor pro tem, seconded Ruth's motion, and said the rabies vaccinations are "an unenforceable part of life."
According to police chief Dave McCracken the city does not have an ordinance requiring pets to have rabies shots, though there is a state law that requires that.
The council's ultimate approval of the resolution also lowered fees for non-spayed and non-neutered pets, dropping the annual license fee from $25 to $20.
The city's pick-up fee was also dropped, from $37 to $25, while the cost of a replacement tag was left unchanged at $3.
All other charges will be paid at actual cost charged by the Joplin or Carthage Humane Society and collected by that agency.
Page 2 of 2 - While event organizers said the majority of pet owners picked up lifetime tags on Saturday, the free pet license was not the only attraction at Neosho's pet fair.
The event also drew several out-of-towners who showed up to take advantage of the discounted rabies vaccinations.
"Our regular vet is in Fairland, Okla., so this saves us time and money," said Jack Dickens, who brought three dogs, Caesar, Berlin and Amelia, to get their vaccinations at the fair.
Terra Sanders, the pet fair's main organizer, said the event is about doing what's right for the animals of Neosho.
"We want the health of the animals to be number one for a day," Sanders said. "It helps the welfare of the pet and the welfare of the people because we want everybody's vaccinations to be up to date."
Sanders said having the pets licensed is also helpful in case an animal is lost. She said the city has the pet licenses on file, and can help to locate the owners if their pet is found.