Civic beat :: Unlicensed pet fee

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December 6, 2010
By: Jake Weyer
Jake Weyer
Vote delayed on fine increase for unlicensed pets

A proposal to increase the fine for unlicensed dogs and cats from $100 to $200 will go back to the Minneapolis City Council’s Public Safety and Health Committee for further review.

The full council was set to vote on the change at its Nov. 19 meeting, but Council Member Lisa Goodman (7th Ward) requested at the Committee of the Whole meeting a day earlier that it be reviewed further. The council voted unanimously to send it back to committee.

Minneapolis Animal Care and Control (MACC) proposed the fine increase in October based on the recommendation of an advisory board made up of local animal professionals and owners. The hope was that it would boost the city’s low number of licensed pets.

Goodman was in favor of the increased fine, but she suggested that a lower license fee might also help. She said the $30 base price for licensing a dog or cat is a barrier to some people, especially when some neighboring suburbs are moving away from pet licensing.

But a potential problem is that MACC depends on pet licenses to fund its animal-care services, along with revenue from the city’s general fund. MACC leaders had hoped that increased licensing would eventually lead to more self-sustainability. Council Member Cam Gordon (2nd Ward) wondered if lowering the license price would take away from that goal.  

Goodman said she considered that issue, but suggested that cheaper licenses coupled with stiff enforcement could build the number of licensed pets enough to avoid losing revenue.  

“If we in fact did enforce the fine and allowed [ticketed pet owners] to license as part of the fine, we might even end up that it’s revenue-positive in the end,” she said.

Goodman proposed reducing the base license price from $30 to around $20, though she said she’d go as low as $10.

Another pet-license change did move forward. The council approved replacing the city’s annual pet license, which expires in January no matter when it is purchased, with a license good for 12 months from the day it is bought. Goodman proposed that change to make the license process more user friendly.

As of this year, only 11,375 of the city’s estimated 110,000 dogs and 125,000 cats are licensed; just 5 percent. MACC hopes to have 18,000 pets licensed within the next two years and reach 47,000 within seven years.  

Pet licensing allows the city to track the dog and cat population, return lost pets and pay for shelter and animal-care services.


City: It’s snow time

If November’s slushy snowstorm wasn’t enough of a reminder, it’s snow emergency season in Minneapolis.   

The city can declare a snow emergency whenever Winter Operations Director Mike Kennedy decides there’s enough snow on the streets to warrant a full plow. The first emergency of the season was declared Nov. 13, catching some residents off guard.  

When a snow emergency is declared, parking restrictions go into effect so plows can do their jobs. Snow emergencies are announced no later than
6 p.m. on any given day and the restrictions begin at 9 p.m. on the day of declaration.

Here’s a quick overview of the parking rules:

Day 1: Parking is allowed on both sides of streets not marked as snow emergency routes. Parking is prohibited on streets marked as snow emergency routes until they are fully cleared.  

Day 2: Starting at 8 a.m., parking is limited to the odd side of non-snow emergency routes. Parking is allowed on both sides of snow emergency routes.

Day 3: Starting at 8 a.m., parking is limited to the even side of non-snow emergency routes. Parking is allowed on both sides of snow emergency routes.

When a street is plowed curb-to-curb, regardless of what day of the emergency it is, parking is allowed on both sides. Improperly parked vehicles will end up in the Minneapolis impound lot.

Residents can check for snow emergencies online at or by calling 348-7669 (348-SNOW). The city also offers e-mail alerts, phone alerts and Facebook and Twitter pages devoted to snow emergencies.

The city also requires residents to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowfall. The city urges residents to limit salt use to prevent runoff from contaminating lakes, creeks and the river. Free sand is available 24 hours a day at 6036 Harriet Ave. S., 1809 Washington Ave. S. and near Longfellow Avenue and 27th Street. Residents need to bring their own pail and shovel.

For more information on shoveling rules, go to


STEP-UP program accepting applications

The city’s STEP-UP program, which places youth age 14 to 21 in paid internships at local businesses, is now accepting applications for the summer of 2011.

Most participants work part-time for up to nine weeks and earn between $7.25 and $10 an hour. The application deadline is Feb. 4. Selected participants must be able to take part in work readiness training in April.

For more information, contact Tammy Dickinson at 673-5041 or, or go to ci.minneapolis.

Reach Jake Weyer at