IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Thursday, the Idaho Falls City Council will vote on proposed changes to the Animal Control Ordinance.

One of the changes is adding language about neutering shelter pets. New pet owners with have 30 days from the time of adoption to neuter animals adopted from the shelter. Currently, Idaho Falls Animal Services requires new owners to sign that they will take the animal to the surgery. IFAS manager Irene Brown says the cost of the procedure is included in the adoption fee and the appointment is set up with a veterinarian before the pet even leaves the shelter.

Currently, noncompliant owners are reported by the veterinarians, and then IFAS sends a letter. Brown says she has only had to send about 65 letters to noncompliant owners in the last six months. In that time, hundreds of animals have found new homes. 

The proposed code would make failing to neuter a pet within 30 days a misdemeanor. Exceptions would be made for animals too young or ill to undergo the surgery, and the timeline would be up to the veterinarian.

Other changes in the ordinance include protection for service animals. Idaho Falls City Attorney Randy Fife says there currently is not explicit protection for service animals. The updated language would bring city code up to federal code. Brown explained that the new wording would also distinguish service animals from pets in the five-animal limit for kennel licenses.

The Idaho Falls City Council will vote on the proposed ordinance this Thursday evening at its regular meeting. 

In the future, the city plans to reevaluate the kennel licensing language, though no changes have been made at this time.