FORT WORTH, TEXAS—Joyce Conners remembers what the front lawn of her East Fort Worth home used to look like.
"I used to have a yard full of cats," the 55-year-old said. "Now, I don't."
The Fort Worth resident was one of a half dozen residents who got their dogs microchipped Thursday to get in line with a new, more stringent city ordinance approved in October.
The ordinance makes it more expensive for owners who choose not to spay and neuter their pets or have proper identification, officials said.
Under the ordinance, owners who don't alter their pets must pay a $50 fee or attend a free class, and they could be fined $150 if that animal is picked up by animal control.
And, there is some incentive to get proper identification as well.
Owners who have their pets microchipped would pay only $12 for a city registration, but without a microchip, pet owners would pay $36.
Officials hope the financial incentive will reduce the number of pets roaming the city streets.
"We've got to do a better job of controlling these animals and getting them off the streets," Brandon Bennett, the city's code compliance director, said. "We've got to be more responsible."
However, some owners criticized the new ordinance, saying it was a financial burden.
"It's not too good, because you've got a lot of low-income families that can't afford it," Lonnie Alexander said. "It is just a nuisance for everyone."
Fort Worth picks up more than 200,000 dogs a year, causing overcrowding within the shelter that houses only 350 animals, Bennett said. More than half of the 200,000 animals are euthanized because of space limitations, he said.
Even fewer, he said, are reunited with their owners.
"We want to fix that problem," he said.
Shelter officials said they feel confident that the new city ordinance will help reduce the number of strays roaming the streets.
"We can be more proactive now," Animal Control Manager Keane Menefee said. "We are on the right track."