Dear Editor:

 I am writing in response to the article posted on the News-Tribune website on August 11, 2010, “Pet owners who don't buy tags could lose dogs.” I must say that I find this article disturbing, to say the least. Let me give you a little background infomation about me...My family and I live in Mineral County, Keyser to be exact, and I have two large, indoor dogs. I have purchased their dog tags every year faithfully and make sure that they both have their rabies and other necessary shots regularly. Both of my dogs have been spayed. When either of my dogs go outside, they are always on a leash and they only take care of their business in my yard. I believe that all dog owners should have this same respect for the law. Now let me get to the disturbing part...
The county officials are actually going to enforce the tag code by taking a person/family's pet if they do not pay to have these tags? Let me ask, what about the people that own cats? Why don't cat owners have to purchase tags for their felines? Why are they not held responsible for their animals? If my dogs were not inside animals and they were kept out in my yard and they would bark too much, I could get a fine. But cat owners let their animals run freely all over Keyser, the county for that matter, allowing them to dig and deficate in other residents flowers, bushes, and yards and also spray their scent all over other peoples belongings. I understand that not all cat owners have this behavior, but there are too many. Many of these cats are not spayed or neutered therefore there is a large stray population in Keyser. I can't help but wonder why I must take both physical and financial responsibility for my dogs, but cat owners do not.
I have complained to the animal control office in the past, asking why they don't pick up these stray or unsupervised cats that are all over town and I was told, “We don’t have the funding to pay someone to pick up all the cats.” They also told me, “Where do you think we would keep that many anyway?” I am fairly certain that if my Lab or AmStaff got loose and was running all over the neighborhood, doing their business in other people's yards, destroying property, running out in front of cars, or God forbid, showed anyone aggression, animal control would be right there to pick my dog up and fine me for the violation and charge me for holding the dog until I was able to come get it. How is this fair?
I love all kinds of animals. I even had a cat of my own years ago (which never went outside and was spayed just in case) until I realized I was allergic to her. I am all for everyone owning and experiencing the joy of having a pet. All I am asking is that all animal owners be held to the same rules/codes/standards.
It seems only fair.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth Patterson
Keyser, WV