October 19, 2011 - Statement issued from the City of
County Animal Shelter
(Click here for a Pet License Application in Microsoft Word.)
The City's Animal Services Division is responsible for enforcing the City's animal control ordinance, which mandates that all citizens license their animal. They are also charged with the humane care and euthanasia of unwanted pets in the City and Richland County , ensuring that biting animals are quarantined for rabies, and operating a facility that serves as a public place to surrender or adopt pets at their new state of the art adoptions facility.
The City also has a differential licensing program. Licensing a pet is less expensive if it has been spayed or neutered, thereby making sterilization an incentive for pet owners. The City's Animal Division believes that licensing and promotion of spay/neuter programs is a positive way to help reduce pet over-population in Columbia .
Along with promotion of spay/neutering, a humane education program (including visits to class rooms or classes visiting the many cats, dogs, and farm animals at the shelter), a pet therapy program and an auxiliary organization of volunteers called the Animal Mission have also been established.
ADOPTION - REDEMPTION
For fiscal year 2003/2004, it is estimated that City Animal Services received over 10,000 calls for services. These requests range from reports of dangerous dogs, reporting pets in need of assistance, citizens looking for lost pets, adoptions or pet care issues. The shelter was visited by hundreds of individuals who reclaimed lost pets and nearly 2,000 people adopted pets from the shelter.
Thanks to a public education program, public services announcements and help from fellow organizations, such as the Animal Mission, Animal Services has seen more and more lost and abandoned pets placed in new homes in recent years.
CITY ANIMAL ORDINANCE
In six years, two adult dogs and their litter of six puppies can produce 67,000 more dogs. In seven years, two adult cats and their litter of seven kittens can produce 420,000 more cats. Realizing that those figures mean quite a burden on taxpayers for care, maintenance and euthanasia of unwanted animals, Columbia City Council and the City Manager developed a concrete solution by implementing differential licensing and requiring all animals be sterilized before leaving the shelter through adoption or when returned to current owners in order to help reduce the number of unwanted litters or kittens and puppies.
The ordinance requires all City residents to have their pets licensed. To obtain a license, owners must give proof of rabies vaccination as required by state law. As incentive to licensing and spay/neuter, the fee to license a pet is much lower if it has been spayed or neutered -- $25 for unsterilized opposed to $5 for a sterilized pet. Because of this, licensing proves beneficial in helping to control the pet over-population problem. At Animal Services, approximately 11,000 unwanted puppies, kittens, dogs and cats are euthanized every year. This number alone shows just how important such programs as differential licensing and sterilization are.
Licensing Your Pet
Pet Therapy has become an important component in the list of programs that Animal Services accomplishes. Pet Therapy is handled on several levels. Children and adults with mental and/or physical disabilities are invited to the shelter to visit with animals (including the farm creatures). Animals Services workers and shelter volunteers also visit children's homes, hospitals, nursing homes, and special schools to perform pet therapy, a proven method of stress reduction.
The staff of Animal Services has made humane education a high priority on their overall agenda. Promoting the proper care and treatment of animals is a cause that each employee stresses to people who are adopting animals as well as the scores of school children who visit the shelter on a weekly basis. Tips such as proper feeding and exercise as well as ensuring pet owners check the health of their pets, are heavily stressed.
With the help of The Animal Mission, approximately 6,000 school children participate in our humane education program either through visits to their classrooms or by visiting the shelter on field trips and tours where they are shown an educational video and visit with the many cats, dogs, and barnyard animals and learn about kindness and compassion. Interested children are also encouraged to volunteer their time at the shelter to further learn about animals.
When the differential licensing program was first established, the City wanted to make spaying/neutering as easy and affordable for citizens. The City accomplished this by giving rent-free space to the SPCA, adjacent to the shelter for a low-cost public, spay/neuter clinic.
Animal Services went one step further in hiring a shelter veterinarian who provided spay/neuter surgery, inoculations, wormings, and follow-up boosters for adopted animals.
The many innovative programs, including the comprehensive medical program, have resulted in Columbia Animal Services twice being named the S.C. Animal Care & Control Agency of the Year.
THE ANIMAL MISSION
Citizens who had volunteered their time at the shelter enjoyed the experience so much they decided to form a permanent auxiliary of volunteers called the Animal Mission. This non-profit group helps raise funds for improvements at the shelter as well as funds for the feeding of all of the donated barnyard animals. They also raise funds to provide free and reduced cost spay/neuters for low income pet owners. Please call the shelter (776-PETS) for more information about this program.
Volunteers also help instruct humane education and pet therapy programs, adopt-a-pet programs, and help staff special events.
THE FUNNY FARM
The Animal Services' "Funny Farm" all began on Christmas morning 1990 when an abused pony was abandoned at the top of the State House steps. Animal Services crews were called to the rescue where they had to take "Noel" down the elevator and then took her back to the shelter. Noel's story was so well-publicized, members of the public started donating other farm animals to the shelter, including Vietnamese potbellied pigs, geese, turkeys, sheep, ducks, and much more. The farm animals have become an important component in the humane education and pet therapy programs.
Thanks to the efforts of Animal Mission volunteers, off-duty public services employees and donations from area businesses, a barn has been built for all of the farm animals at no cost to taxpayers. Cost of food and upkeep of farm animals is also covered by the Animal Mission, again, with no cost to taxpayers.
For more information call........776-PETS (7387) Or come visit us at 127 Humane Lane off Shop Rd. and I-77
Animal Services Superintendent......Marli C. Drum
LICENSING YOUR PET
If you own a dog or cat and are a resident of the City of Columbia or Richland County , you are required by law to have your pet licensed every year.
Failure to do so can result in a maximum fine of $200 or 30 days in Jail
Also, if you own a dog, it must be confined or leashed, according to City of Columbia Ordinance section 9-5025. A maximum of $200 in fines can be assessed to anyone who does not comply.
Differential licensing programs are enforced by the City of Columbia and Richland County in an effort to encourage the following results:
- to promote vaccination for rabies as required by state law
- to encourage neutering/spaying of pets
- to reduce the stray and unwanted animal population
- to minimize the amount of tax dollars used for animal control costs
With the cooperation of responsible per owners, the Differential Licensing Program will not only meet these goals, it will expedite the redemption of an impounded pet in the event that it has been picked up by Animal Control Officers.
Spaying/neutering a cat or dog is a viable option for many animal owners who do not plan on using their pet for breeding purposes. City ordinance does not allow the breeding of dogs within the city limitss. Having your pet spayed/neutered not only will result in a lower licensing fee, it can be beneficial for the overall health of the pet. It has been proven to reduce the incidence of prostate, ovarian, and testicular cancer, venereal disease and mammary tumors.
Spaying/neutering will also help reduce the pet overpopulation problem. In 2002 alone, approximately 11,000 stray and unwanted dogs, puppies, cats and kittens had to be euthanized at the City of Columbia Animal Shelter . Only 2,300 animals during that same period were redeemed by their owner, or adopted.
Spayed/neutered animals are just one of the exemption categories which results in a lower licensing fee. These categories differ in the City of Columbia and Richland County and are detailed as follows:
City of Columbia
- Not spayed/neutered due to medical reasons
- Dog assists with the handicapped--no fee
- Dog/cat has participated in a minimum of three nationally recognized obedience trails or conformation shows
If your pet falls into one of these categories, the annual license fee is $5, except for dogs which assist the handicapped, for which there is no fee.
If your per has not been spayed or neutered and does not fit into one of these categories, the annual license fee is $25.
Pet owners who have three or more dogs should also note that they are required to have a kennel license.
- Not spayed/neutered due to medical reasons.
- Dog assists with the handicapped-no fee
- Dog/cat has participated in at least three nationally recognized obedience trials, conformation shows or field trials
- Dog/cat holds performance title
- Dog used for hunting purposes-must be properly registered with the South Carolina Wildlife Department
If your pet falls into one of the above categories, the annual license fee is $4. You must renew your license annually. Owners of dogs that assist with the handicapped are not charged a license fee at any time, but must register their pet yearly.
If your pet has not been spayed/neutered and does not fit into one of these categories, the annual fee is $20.
Proof of rabies vaccination is required for all licensing in the City of Columbia and Richland County . This is a state law and failure to abide by it can result in a $200 fine.
WHAT WOULD THE HARM BE?
What could the harm be in letting your cat or dog run at-large? What does it matter whether people have their pets spayed or neutered?
Think about these figures
In six years, one dog and her litter can produce 67,000 dogs. It would be higher, but statistics prove that only 23 percent for all puppies born will live to see their first birthday.
In seven years, one cat and her litter can produce 420,000 cats. That figure would also be higher, if it wasn't that only seven percent of all kittens born live to see their first birthday.
Animal Control Costs
The care and maintenance required for every cat and every dog that is surrendered or impounded by animal control, cost an average of $10 per day per animal.
The City's budget for animal control is approximately $1 million per year.
The Harm IS......
- For one, it costs you, the taxpayer, a lot of money.
- Secondly, unvaccinated animals are a potential public health threat.
- Finally, for the animals, it can cost them their lives.
WHEN TO LICENSE
Every year. It's most convenient to license when you get your pets rabies inoculation. Ask your vet for a license application.
Please notify us if you no longer have your pet. And don't forget-both the City and the County have leash laws.
And please--adopt a shelter pet. They are neutered, wormed, inoculated and microchipped !
For more information
Columbia Animal Shelter............................................776-7387
If you are unable to properly care for your pet any longer, you can contact animal control and they will pick up your pet free of charge.
City of Columbia......................................................776-PETS