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Animal Control seeks funds for department maintenance

Date: 10/11/2013

By Carley Dangona

WESTFIELD – Dog owners will see an increase in licensing fees starting next March.

At its Oct. 3 meeting, the City Council approved a $5 increase in the cost of a dog license. The cost for spayed or neutered dogs will be $15 and $30 for those that are not.

The change also exempts service dogs from the license fee and requires owners to pay for all past due license fees prior to obtaining a current dog license.

The amendment states, “Any owner or keeper of a dog who moves into the city and has a valid dog license for his or her dog from another city or town in the commonwealth shall, within 30 days, obtain a dog license for a fee of $10 upon producing evidence of the previous license.

The council also passed a motion to amend Chapter 4, Section 4-23 of the Animal Control Ordinance that will allow the Town Clerk to charge a late fee of $15 for every dog license issued after the aforementioned 30-day period.

Both changes will become effective March 31, 2014 for current licenses and April 1, 2014 for new licenses.

View the proposed changes online at

The Animal Control Department seeks approval of a $4,000 transfer from the City Council for the upkeep of its equipment.

“We need tires for the plow vehicle, both of our snow blowers serviced and tires for the patrol vehicle,” Ken Frazer, Animal Control officer said, adding that the tires on his patrol car are “bald” and if they are not replaced soon he would have to “park” the car.

Frazer, who has served as an officer for 27-years, also said the department is in the midst of implementing new software that would allow residents to license their animals online, provided they own a scanner to upload proof of rabies vaccination. He hopes the system will be up and running by January of next year.

The in-person licensing sites are being expanded to include the Police Station and the Animal Control Shelter in addition to the Town Clerk’s office.

“The department will always have needs,” Frazer said. Frazer and fellow officer Kerri Francis are responsible for the animals in Westfield and they handle animal control for Agawam and West Springfield after hours. He noted that the shelter is always in need of wet dog food, paper towel and monetary donations.

The City Council referred the request to its Finance subcommittee on Oct. 3 for review.