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Ordinance mandating animals in Fort Smith to be spayed and neutered approved by city

City directors on Tuesday night approved changes to the city's animal rules and regulations, including a mandate for unsecured animals to be spayed or neutered.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — After years of discussion, the City of Fort Smith has a spay and neuter ordinance in place. The new ordinance is only mandatory if the pets are not secured.

Those for and against the changes spoke up during a Board of Directors meeting on March 21. Those against want amendments made concerning a voucher system. 

"The way this ordinance is written they have to already have a microchip and a rabies vaccination. At our clinic that would be $40, I do not know what it is at a full-service veterinarian office. The people that we're trying to really help - they don't have $40," said one of the attendees opposed to the new ordinance.

City Administrator Carl E. Geffken says the board is willing to help with fees, stating that the city will pay $50 for somebody that has a need and is income-qualified to have their pet spayed or neutered.

"Vouchers are supposed to help these people but we've written an ordinance that has $75,000 in it, which would spay or neuter 1,500 dogs, kitties and K-9s that weigh less than 50 pounds. As the weight goes up the price goes up," said an attendee. 

Animal advocates say the city of Van Buren already has a voucher system in place and helps those who can't afford to spay and neuter. Van Buren supporters of the ordinance say they're asking Fort Smith to follow along and provide some vouchers to the citizens to help control the city's pet population.

The city says it wants to make sure everyone understands what changes were made, so the changes won’t immediately go into effect until after all questions and concerns are answered.


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