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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Fort Smith releases information on new animal ordinance regulations

The City of Fort Smith has announced the implementation of an animal ordinance aimed at promoting responsible pet ownership and ensuring the well-being of dogs and cats within the city limits.

The new ordinance introduces various regulations that will help enhance the safety, identification, and population control of domestic animals. This ordinance, which was passed on March 21, 2023, will go into effect on Monday, July 17th.

One of the key provisions of the ordinance mandates microchip identification for all domestic dogs and cats within the city unless they are secured on a leash or within a secured building, enclosure, or yard at all times.

Microchipping provides a reliable method of identification, ensuring lost pets can be quickly reunited with their owners.

In addition to microchips, pet owners must also provide a secondary form of identification, such as a collar and tag, containing the owner's name, address, telephone number, and the pet's name. This requirement aims to further enhance the chances of locating and contacting owners in case their pets are found without a microchip.

To prevent pets from roaming freely without proper identification, the ordinance stipulates that owners found in violation may receive a citation.

However, owners will have the opportunity to rectify the situation within 15 days by microchipping and spaying or neutering their pets, thus avoiding any charges associated with a lack of identification.

Furthermore, as part of Fort Smith’'s commitment to responsible pet ownership and population control, the ordinance requires all dogs and cats kept as pets within the city to be spayed or neutered, unless they are secured on a leash or within a secured building, enclosure, or yard at all times.

This measure plays a crucial role in reducing the number of stray animals and promotes a healthier and safer community for both pets and residents. If the dog or cat is impounded by the city, then the dog or cat will be spayed or neutered. All fees for the procedure and impoundment will be charged to the dog or cat’s owner.

The City of Fort Smith understands the financial implications of spaying and neutering and is dedicated to assisting pet owners. The ordinance allows for the provision of vouchers to cover the cost of sterilization surgery for dogs and cats.

The City of Fort Smith is working to utilize the MyFortSmith app to distribute these vouchers. Vouchers will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, with a limit of one voucher per pet per household per calendar year. Once this program is finalized, residents will be notified of its availability.

In addition to these measures, the ordinance reinforces the importance of responsible pet handling by implementing a leash law. Pet owners are required to keep their dogs and cats on a leash and under control at all times when outside a secure enclosure. This provision ensures the safety of pets, other animals, and members of the community.

By enacting these regulations, the City of Fort Smith aims to create a safer, more responsible, and compassionate environment for pets and residents alike. The cooperation of all pet owners is essential in achieving these goals.

For more information and to review the full details of the animal ordinance, please visit the official City of Fort Smith website at

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