By a vote of three to one, with one abstention, the Grove City Council voted Tuesday evening to begin requiring residents living within the city limits to license their dogs and cats, beginning July 1, 2013.

The ordinance, which amends the current animal regulations, will require residents to pay $5 per animal on a yearly basis for each dog or cat which has been spayed or neutered.

For residents owning pets which are not spayed or neutered, the cost per animal will be $30 - with $25 of it elegible for reimbursement if the pet owner choses to get the animal spayed or neutered within 30 days of licensing.

Mayor Marty Follis and Councilmen Marty Dryer and Ivan Devitt voted in favor of the ordinance. While Councilman Ed Trumbull voted against it, and Councilman Don Nielsen abstained.

When bringing the ordinance before the council, Acting City Manager Debbie Bottoroff indicated this might have been an overdue policy. She said most municipalities the size of Grove have pet licensing in place.

After a lengthy, and at times, lively discussion, included some debate between Councilman Ed Trumbull and representatives from the humane society, concerning personal choice and responsible pet ownership.

Trumbull said throughout the discussion that he was not against having animals spayed or neutered, but he was against voting for an issue that legislated a pet owner's behavior through unnecessary fees.

Originally, the proposal before the council called for a $15 per animal/year fee for spayed or neutered animals, and a $30 per animal/year fee for those not fixed. A $20 fee would have been assessed to service or competition animals, or those who could not be spayed or neutered without suffering bodily harm.

At one point during the discussion, humane society representatives asked to make spaying and neutering mandatory - an idea taken out off the table by the council.

In other business, during the three hour meeting, the council took the following action:

-- Approved an amended policy concerning the use of Wolf Creek Park, including the ability for events to sell alcohol.

-- Approved the request by three families to place a privacy fence between the Wolf Creek Park and their respective residences.

-- Approved the new policy regulating when emergency management officials will sound the storm sirens during severe weather.

Watch Friday's The Grove Sun and for additional updates concerning Tuesday's council meeting.