County’s pet licensing program changes criteria for reduced fee
Lee County officials have revised the county’s pet licensing program. The change alters the requirements to qualify for reduced license fees.
All cats, dogs and ferrets now must be microchipped, in addition to being sterilized, to receive the reduced license fee.
According to animal services spokeswoman Ria Brown, the change was prompted by the vast number of pets entering Lee County Animal Services with no identification.
“We can’t identify any of these animals that are coming in,” she said. “That’s why microchips are preferred, because they are not going to come off. We’re hoping this will encourage more people to get the microchip.”
Officials are offering a grace period until Jan. 1 for pet owners to become compliant.
The reduced license fees are as follows: pets under 12 months of age are $8 and three-year licenses for sterilized and microchipped pets are $15, while a one-year license for unsterilized pets without a microchip is $35 and $65 for three years.
LCAS will offer a reduced microchip clinic starting Oct. 24. The fee for microchip implementation is $15.
According to Brown, if LCAS officers find a microchipped pet on the loose, they will have the ability to scan the microchip and contact the owner directly.
“They (the officer) can call the owner and if they’re home they can take the pet there right away,” she said. “The pets don’t even have to come here.”
For those who prefer not to wait until October, the same services are offered at three low-cost spay and neuter clinics throughout Lee County.
There are two clinics in North Fort Myers, both of which offer free pet sterilization for pet owners receiving public assistance. All pet owners have to purchase is the license.
“We want to make sure it’s affordable to the community,” Brown said.
Anyone with questions regarding changes to the Lee County Pet Licensing Program should contact LCAS at 533-9234.
For additional low-cost spay and neuter information, visit: www.leelostpets.com for a full list of providers.