Two weeks ago, I wrote about proposed changes being considered for pet fees charged by the city for licensing. Let me give you an update on the latest conversations being had by your council.

First and foremost, getting more people to license their pets is our ultimate end-game. That allows for more pets to be identified and returned to their owners if they manage to make a fast getaway when their owners aren’t looking. It also helps ensure basic veterinarian care for diseases such as rabies are being done by the owners.

As someone who believes in smaller government and more personal responsibility, the council’s direction Tuesday night plays into that very well. First and foremost, the plan being proposed (subject to final approval by a council vote) will LOWER (not raise) the fees being charged to license pets in Neosho. Across the board, the fees proposed are down from what is being charged today.  

Also gone will be “lifetime” tags in the future (those who have them already shouldn’t be impacted). All owners will be required to renew pet licenses annually and provide proof of vaccinations. (As a side note, no other city in the area offers “lifetime” tags.)

Specifically on fees, for those pet owners who have had their pets spayed/neutered, the current proposal is to offer annual licensing at no cost to the pet owner. For pets that are not spayed/neutered, the proposed fee is now set at $20, down from $25. The fee for voluntary pick ups (for pet owners who can no longer care for their animals) is also being reduced.

With these changes, there is certainly a monetary impact to the city. While the city never tried to “make” money on animal licensing, it will now likely subsidize more of that department as part of offering “services” to our citizens. As long as we continue to reduce the issues we have stray animals and the like, overall it’s still a “win” for Neosho.

As to personal responsibility, the offset of these proposed fee reductions is a proposed increase in fines for those who don’t follow the rules. In other words, we’re lessening the impact financially to comply, but we, in turn, will do more to enforce the rules in place. As one pet owner put it to me last week, “Quit penalizing those of us who follow the rules and start going after those that snub their nose at the city’s licensing requirements. The responsible pet owners who license their animals, get vet care, and have them neutered/spayed aren’t the ones causing your problems.” I must say I agree.

Overall, I feel the new proposed fees make sense. From those that spoke to me, both publicly and privately, they seem to agree was well. To those I reached out to for input, I appreciate your comments.  

Don’t forget about the annual Neosho Pet Fair coming up on March 2.  Dr. Kent Findley (from Pet Clinic of Neosho) will be onsite to offer discounted rabies vaccinations. Faithful Friends will also attend for those looking to adopt a pet into a loving home. The fair will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Lampo Community Center on East Spring Street. Call City Hall at 451-8050 for more details.

I’m glad to see the snow and ice moving out and warmer temperatures coming back. Looks like Sunday will be a nice day to regroup and get outside! Until next time: stay the course, keep the faith, and may God bless Neosho!

Richard Davidson is mayor of Neosho.