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But My Pet Will Never Run Away (or Why We Need Licenses)

The city I live in just increased its fees for dog and cat licenses. It's now $30 a year for unneutered/unsprayed pets and $20 a year for sprayed/neutered pets.

Even though these are not major dollars, there wereplenty of complaints. Some people consider theincrease (we were at $5) just a way to raise moremoney during budget cuts. Some people who keeptheir 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 theirrabies vaccinations. Rabies is 99.9%fatal for dogs and humans and requiringproof of vaccination for a license protects the entire community. Thereare irresponsible owners who might notdo this if it wasn't required.

2. Licenses help cities keep track of how many pets a person owns and howmany dogs are in the city.

Many cities limit the number of dogs or petsany one household can have. Again, given thenumber of irresponsible or deranged peopleout there, this is a necessary limitation for community health.

3. Licenses tell the animal control officers that a dog has an owner and isn'tan 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 reunitedogs with their owners. If you thinkFido would never bolt out your doorto chase a bike runner or butterfly, you don't know dogs.

5. Licenses requires collars which enableowners to include more tags. For example, you can note any serious illnessesyour dog has (e.g., diabetes) or note onthe tag that you guarantee payment of emergency medical bills for your dog.

6. License fees help pay for localanimal shelters and animal control officers.Yes, my city's increase is driven bybudget cuts and thank goodness, my cityis progressive enough to find the money to maintain our animal control department.

7. License fees help motivate owners tohave sprayed/neutered dogs through thecost reduction. If owners aren't planningto show or breed dogs, having the dogssprayed or neutered is a health benefitfor the animals.

No one likes taxes or fees, but sometimesthey do have good reasons to exist.

Louise Louis is a long-time dog personand operates

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