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Rural municipalities concerned about proposed dog license fees


TOWN OF WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  The proposal to raise dog license fees throughout Marathon County to fund animal control officers is getting a few questions in the rural municipalities. The City of Wausau and Village of Weston are already planning to increase dog licenses from five dollars for spayed and neutered animals and ten dollars for unaltered animals to ten and twenty dollars respectively.

The topic was on the Town of Wausau’s agenda Monday night, where supervisors decided to raise fees to ten and fifteen dollars instead of twenty for unaltered pets like Wausau and Weston will charge. Chairman Jim Riehle says they don’t feel the need to raise the top fee to twenty dollars since they have most pets registered, and most are spayed or neutered. Riehle says, “We’ll be OK with that. We might be somewhat short, but as you heard tonight, we had pretty good participation in the license applications.”

Two other chairmen from nearby Towns also spoke to the issue. Arnold Schlei from the Town of Easton and Dale Seymour from the Town of Plover agree something needs to be done, but there are still unanswered questions about this plan.

Arnold Schlei from the Town of Easton is not convinced their board will raise the license fees right way, even if they do participate in the program. Schlei says, “If we do get on board, for a half year we can take it out of the general fund. We can come up with the money. We don’t have to increase the dog fee at this time this year right now. We would be able to get by this year.”

Dale Seymour from the Town of Plover also believes the proposed unaltered dog fee is too high. “I think we can live with the 10 and the 15 (dollar fees) and if we need more, we’d take it out of the miscellaneous (account) in the general fund.”

Animal Control Task Force and Wausau Alderman Keene Winters traveled first to Kronenwetter’s Village Board meeting before answering questions for the Town of Wausau. Winters is not convinced Kronenwetter will participate right away in 2013. “I think they were concerned about raising their fees and what that might do compliance with the dog license and I think they’re probably going to put the decision off until next year and look at 2014. That was only a committee, so I can’t judge where their process will go.”

Town Chairs all agree that they have better compliance with dog license ordinances than their larger neighbors, and far fewer animals. It’s Wausau and Weston that have the most unlicensed dogs.

Winters understands that the Task Force’s November 12th decision made it too late for some municipalities to put this into the 2013 budget, but he’s encouraged by the number of municipalities discussing the concept and by the ones that have already committed to the program.