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95% of pets without proper license in Columbia

There could be thousands of unlicensed pets living illegally in Columbia, and their owners don’t even know it.

Every day, Shannon Braida and her border collie mix, Robin, visit Twin Lakes Dog Park. A place Braida remembers the pup learning to swim.

“She was about five and a half months, and she just kind of fell in, like off a rock, but she just started swimming from that. So it was kind of fearful, but also good,” said Braida.

Braida had her dog licensed in her home state of Illinois, which means Robin could be living in Columbia illegally.

When asked if she knew she needed to have a city license, Braida responded, “No. Not until today.”

A new report for the Columbia City Council addresses Braida’s situation.

A survey done in 2014 shows that of the 509 pet owners participating, one-third didn’t have a licensed pet. More than half of those owners didn’t know they needed one.

The license serves as proof of a rabies vaccine, ranging from $5-15 for neutered or spayed pets. This money then goes to the business license administration.

The report, and Braida, agree that licensing may improve if people thought it went to animal welfare.

“You’re used to just paying for things for your dog,” said Braida. “But it would be great if it went to something beneficial for them.”

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