Cumberland County residents who own pets will no longer be required to pay a pet privilege license effective July 1. The change is part of the revised Animal Ordinance approved June 7 by the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners at their regular meeting.
Commissioners adopted the new ordinance after the proposal was presented at the May 13 Agenda Session meeting by Animal Services Director Elaine Smith. Dropping the pet license fee was one of several changes in the new ordinance.
Smith told commissioners the pet license program was no longer economically practical due to a decline in fees collected.
“The revenue declined rapidly and significantly over the last five or six years, and it has reached the point where the revenue generated is not making up for the amount of labor, the cost of mailing, postage and fees we pay to our database company,” Smith said. “It has a very shrinking benefit over returns.”
Most counties in North Carolina do not have pet licenses, Smith said, the Animal Services Department found the licensing requirement to be a disincentive for people getting their pets vaccinated against rabies.
Current Cumberland County regulations require a pet privilege license for every dog and cat four months of age and older. The annual fee is $7 per animal if the pet is spayed/neutered, or $25 if the pet is not spayed/neutered. Licenses were available at the Animal Services office or through most veterinary clinics.
Pet licensing revenue has decreased from $373,000 in fiscal year 2013 to $132,000 in 2019. So far $32,000 has been collected in fiscal year 2021.