Pet licenses: Dogs vs. Cats

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – After a Holyoke woman was arrested for not paying her dog license fee, questions have been raised about why it’s required to license dogs but not cats.

Animal control experts say it’s because state law classifies a dog as a pet, whereas a cat is classified as an animal.

Animal Control in Easthampton says that’s because cats are more self-sufficient. They say that under the law, dogs are considered property. Cats are not.

The City Clerk’s Office in Northampton licenses about 2,500 dogs every year. Clerk Wendy Mazza told 22News she wouldn’t be in favor of changing to law to require cat licenses.

“From my perspective, no, that would mean an awful lot of work to register cats, and I’m not too sure how the animal control officer would feel about having to now deal with cats as well,” said Mazza.

The licensing is $5 if your dog is spayed or neutered, $15 if they are not.

Mazza also told 22News there are about 600 dogs in the city that are unlicensed.

She said getting arrested for having an unlicensed dog would ultimately be up to the city’s animal control officer.

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