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Decision Whether To Raise Fees For Pet Licenses In Marathon Co. To Be Made Monday

By: Al Knox - Email
By: Al Knox - Email

What if there was a way to make sure that pets right here in our area were safe and protected against mistreatment and abuse?

The Marathon County Animal Control Task Force says that raising pet licensing fees would provide just that, and also bring in extra humane officers to make sure the animals stay safe at all times.

Paying more for your pets’ license may not seem like a good idea to some pet owners.If that extra money could help hire humane officers to keep other animals safe- it's something Wausau City Council members say has to happen.

Town of Wausau Chairman, James Riehel says that the Town of Wausau Board has been tasked with finding a way to raise extra money. “They want us to double our dog license fee which is $5 and $10, so there will be money to do this county wide.”

It’s a proposal from the Marathon County Animal Control Task Force. It’s called Mary’s Law, named after a dog that was allegedly stabbed and poisoned by the owner’s ex-girlfriend, back in June. The case shows that something needs to be done to deal with animal related issues in Marathon County, says Riehel. "It is getting to be a problem. It isn’t all that bad but it is getting worse as we speak. Especially with all the dogs running at large, it does need to be looked at."

The task force is recommending municipalities set license fees at $10 for spayed and neutered animals and $20 for those that have not been fixed. Most municipalities charge $5 and $10 now.

The money would be used to fund three, full-time humane officers. A move that city administrators say is long overdue. Chairman Riehel says all animal lovers need to be involved. “My hope is that if they have compassion for animals like I do, they would be licensing their dog."

The county has been without a humane officer since the Humane Society of Marathon County stopped providing the service in August, because of high cost. That lack of money has left the Wausau Police Department with a big burden, using their time to tend to animal related calls. The new proposal would allow the police to figure out the best way to utilize humane officers.

"The city of Wausau Police Department will be handling all of this, and I am ok with that, says Riehel."

The Town of Wausau Board is meeting Monday evening to discuss whether such a fee will make a difference. In order to get pet owners to license their dogs, it is going to take more than just the city council voting on a plan says Riehel.

"The decision has to be made tomorrow night so it’s on the tax rolls. We have to get citizens to license their dogs."


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