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The city I live in just increased its fees for dog and cat licenses. It's now $30 a year for un-neutered / un-spayed pets and $20 a year for sprayed/neutered pets.
Even though these are not major dollars, there were plenty of complaints. Some people consider the increase (we were at $5) just a way to raise more money during budget cuts. Some people who keep their pet - especially their cat - inside all the time think it is unfair to make them pay at all.
Please remember that licensing your pet has several benefits for all of us:
1. It ensures that dogs have had their rabies vaccinations. Rabies is 99.9% fatal for dogs and humans and requiring proof of vaccination for a license protects the entire community. There are irresponsible owners who might not do this if it wasn't required.
2. Licenses help cities keep track of how many pets a person owns and how many dogs are in the city.
Many cities limit the number of dogs or pets any one household can have. Again, given the number of irresponsible or deranged people out there, this is a necessary limitation for community health.
3. Licenses tell the animal control officers that a dog has an owner and isn't an abandoned or stray dog. In some cities, unclaimed dogs without licenses are euthanized in fewer days than dogs with collars.
4. Licenses may have contact information about the owner, thus helping reunite dogs with their owners. If you think Fido would never bolt out your door to chase a bike runner or butterfly, you don't know dogs.
5. Licenses requires collars which enable owners to include more tags. For example, you can note any serious illnesses your dog has (e.g., diabetes) or note on the tag that you guarantee payment of emergency medical bills for your dog.
6. License fees help pay for local animal shelters and animal control officers. Yes, my city's increase is driven by budget cuts and thank goodness, my city is progressive enough to find the money to maintain our animal control department.
7. License fees help motivate owners to have sprayed/neutered dogs through the cost reduction. If owners aren't planning to show or breed dogs, having the dogs sprayed or neutered is a health benefit for the animals.
No one likes taxes or fees, but sometimes they do have good reasons to exist.
Louise Louis is a long-time dog person and operates http://www.ToyBreeds.com
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