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New pet ordinance will take effect in Altus

ALTUS  Changes to the city's animal ordinance are set to take effect Feb. 5 that outline areas such as licensing, fees and list of violations that could result in fines or criminal prosecution.

The revised ordinance was approved by the City Council during its meeting earlier this month based on recommendations from the Altus Animal Welfare Committee.

For pets that are spayed or neutered, the Altus Animal Shelter will issue a free lifetime license and tag. Pets that are not spayed or neutered will be assessed a $50 annual license fee. The licensed pets will be registered with the city and help ease in reuniting lost and found animals back to their owners. 

The ordinance now includes a fee to surrender animals to the shelter. Matt Wojnowski, Altus assistant city manager, said the new surrender fee is similar to that assessed in other area cities and is designed to encourage pet owners to find alternative homes for pets before considering turning them in at the shelter. The surrender fee for pets not spayed or neutered is set at $20 and $40 for pets not spayed or neutered.

The revised ordinance sets fines and penalties in several areas establishing minimums and maximums for various violations and offences, ranging from $87-500. It also clarifies which violations and offenses could be forwarded to City of Altus Municipal Court or Jackson County District Court for fines or criminal prosecution. Wojnowski said offenses that could be referred to district court action include cruelty to animals and other felonies.

The Lawton Constitution

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