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City changing rules and fees for dog owners
Riverton police chief Mike Broadhead estimates that no in the city are registered as required by ordinance. File photo

City changing rules, fees for dog owners

Mar 8, 2012 - By Emily Etheredge, Staff Writer

Riverton dog owners will now be required to register their pets through the animal adoption center. The registration will be effective for three years from purchase date and will require a renewal upon expiration.

The Riverton City Council has approved changes to dog licensing and animal ordinances that require citizens to pay $15 for each three-year license.

New fee structure

For animals that are not altered, the fee will be set at $50 for the three-year period. In each instance, the fee is actually less than the previous rate structure, which was $30 for three years for altered animals and $60 for intact animals. The Riverton Police Department and animal adoption center PAWS want to ensure that there is an incentive built into the new fee structure to encourage residents to have their dogs spayed or neutered.

Police Chief Mike Broadhead said he is happy the ordinances passed and believes it will help the Riverton Police Department in the long run with the animal issues they face.

"We currently estimate that less than 5 percent of our local dogs are registered," Broadhead said. "If we can bump up that number significantly, it will definitely have an impact and allow us to reunite more dogs with their owners in a much more efficient manner, thus saving time and money for the city and for PAWS.

"Under this new ordinance the council reduced the fees considerably, and the difference in the price structure is to provide incentive for neutering," Broadhead said.

Nuisance animals

The council also added language to an ordinance that would address the odors from accumulated animal waste. The Riverton Municipal Code did not specifically address the removal of accumulation of animal waste from the owner's yard.

The new ordinance defines a nuisance animal as any animal that creates offensive odors disturbing to any neighborhood or person, "including animal waste from domestic animals that has created an offensive or foul odor, or that is unsanitary or dangerous to health."

Other cities in Wyoming have different limitations in place regarding odor issues and licensing. Lander requires an annual registration for dogs and does not limit the number of animals at a residence.

Cody requires female dogs and cats to be confined while in heat, and if any males are attracted, the female dog or cat is to be considered a nuisance animal. Cody does not regulate the number of animals at a location or require licensing for domestic dogs or cats. Casper requires dogs and cats older than 6 months to be licensed annually.

Dogs that are not registered and weren't adopted through the animal adoption center, can be registered at some veterinarian offices.

"We are trying to save people time and money with having their pets registered to them," Broadhead said. "Every dog in Riverton needs to be registered and even though this process is new, people should check and make sure their dog is registered."