In August, the City of Port Isabel passed an ordinance requiring all pet owners to fix their animals.
Since then, the city has seen about 35 residents comply with the ordinance, according to Oscar del Abra, the Animal Control Supervisor.
“It is making a difference slowly, not how we wanted it,” he said. “Not everyone wants to get their animal fixed.”
If an unfixed pet is picked up by the city’s animal control department and the owner is located, they are given 30 days to spay or neuter.
“We do a follow up. If they don’t comply we’ll give them a citation. They’ll go to court and get a fine,” said del Abra.
The ordinance has given people incentive to keep a better eye on their pets, according to Edward Meza, the Port Isabel city manager.
“A lot of times now there’s less people letting their animals out which is fine if they keep their animals in their home,” Meza said.
The city has set aside funds to help out pet owners who cannot afford to fix their pets. The cost of spaying and neutering can range from $150 to $200 depending on the size of the animal. The city will give a $25 voucher to those residents who qualify.
The city said the investment is necessary for pet owners and the animals.
“They’re (going to) reproduce more animals, and we’re going to have the problem of having overstocked animals shelters which is not fair to the animals themselves,” Meza said.
There are exemptions to the ordinance, including animals that are raised to breed, compete, or hunt.