FARMINGTON — Farmington City Council met Tuesday evening to discuss proposed revisions to the city code addressing animals, which could include mandatory pet registration.
The revisions are an attempt to improve animal welfare and would be a tool to manage overpopulation, Cory Styron, the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs director, has said. Most animals the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter processes — about 55 percent — come from Farmington, Styron has said, not unincorporated San Juan County or the Navajo Nation.
Councilors on Tuesday postponed a vote on the animal code, and the council is scheduled to discuss the issue again at its Sept. 23 meeting. Mayor Tommy Roberts encourages residents to attend.
In the meantime, the Animal Advisory Commission, which has for months been drafting the revisions, will continue deliberating over revisions to the code.
The initial revisions proposed suggested amending 12 sections of the code, adding 11 new sections and removing a section about adopting impounded animals. They would also raise existing fines and require more permitting.
Betty Ahrens Berry, a member of the Animal Advisory Commission, said she and other commission members reviewed many other communities' animal ordinances when crafting their suggested revision for Farmington.
"Registration is a funny thing," she said. "They seem to all have that as one of their tools."
Councilors have said they are opposed to requiring residents to register their animals.
But David Fosdeck, another commission member, has said the revisions are standard in most communities in the country.
Councilor Gayla McCulloch said she wants the revisions to address livestock, reptiles and chickens, in addition to dogs and cats. Councilor Mary Fischer said she wants the revisions to include a mandatory spay-and-neuter program.
Either way, too many animals are being killed at the Farmington Regional Animal Shelter, said John Roe, a commission member, after the meeting.
Almost 42 percent of the animals that enter the shelter were euthanized in July, and registering animals is a good way to reduce that rate, he said, citing recent shelter statistics. Registration helps track from where animals come, he said.
"We're euthanizing nine and a half animals a day," he said.