In an ideal world, an Animal Control program would be funded by the people who cause the need for the program to exist. For that reason, communities create pet licenses to help offset the cost of controlling pets; the licenses also place a form of identification on the pet to facilitate their return to their owner.
The problem with using pet licenses are a funding source is that pet owners are horrible and licensing their pets. In most communities, 20% licensing is considered good, but insufficient to fund a program. Animal Control works like the police department, no one expects criminals to fund police patrols. Any animal control officer will tell you that the bulk of the complaints that they receive are from neighbors of pet owners; so, the non-pet owning public is benefited by animal control services.
Animal control is a public safety organization and as such usually receives funding from the tax rolls. I have always wanted to see a tax on pet food and pet products to fund animal control programs. People who do not obtain pet licenses still have to feed their pet. However, it isn’t an easy thing to tax specific products at the local level, as proven by States that offer animal themed license plates for vehicles. Distribution of the funds become problematic.
One option is to increase the fines associated with bad pet behavior. The problem with penalties is that people who allow their pets to run at large are usually the ones who will abandon their pets when the are picked up; so now you have a shelter full of pets and no money to feed them.
The greatest battle that we wage is trying to prove that our services are necessary; it is a hard battle at budget times. You will hear people saying that funding for animals take programs away from children. So many times I have seen City/County Administrators offer up budget cuts to animal control before cutting anywhere else. During those times, you have to hope that you have served your City/County Council well and they will protect your from your bosses.