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Dilworth City Council to discuss limiting pets, microchip licensing

Plan encourages microchipping and places limits on the number of pets

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Rex Wheeler of Moorhead walks his English Chocolate Lab named Coco in the pet parade for patients April 15 at Sanford Medical Center, Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

DILWORTH, Minn. — Dilworth's City Council will be discussing establishing a microchip licensing system for the city and also putting limits on the number of pets per household at its meeting Monday night, April 12.

City Administrator Peyton Mastera said the council could adopt the new ordinance or make other changes to city pet laws at the meeting.

He said the microchipping issue is driving the proposal.

Currently, if a lost dog or cat is found and handled by the police department, the process gets quite involved, he said.

The pet is taken to the FM Animal Hospital, and owners then must collect the animal. There's also time needed to check on licensing and vaccination records.

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If a pet had a rather non-invasive chip put in, the police would have a chip reader, find the name of the owner and simply bring the animal home much more quickly and easily.

It would also be a one-time licensing and fee, Mastera said, rather than the current process of having pet owners buy tag licenses for dogs and cats annually at $5 per year.

The proposal is suggesting a fee of $25 for the microchip license, but he said that hasn't been set in stone.

The licensing is simply a public safety issue, Mastera said, as its goal is to make sure the pet has been vaccinated for the safety of the animal and residents.

He said the new city law wouldn't go into effect until next year.

The city is considering a special clinic where pet owners could bring their animals in and have the microchip inserted for a discounted price. Mastera said the clinic could make it an easier process for pets and their owners.

As for the limit on the number of pets, Dilworth, unlike all cities in the area, doesn't have a limit on the number of pets on its books.

Aligning its policy with Moorhead's, the proposal calls for a maximum of four pets, either cats, dogs or a combination of them.

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Mastera said they frequently receive questions from residents on the number of pets allowed and hear complaints such as multiple dogs barking at a neighbors' homes.

There would be an exception for sheltered or abandoned animals if owners apply for a permit through the police department.

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