Sacramento is about to crack down on unlicensed pets, and the new fines are no joke

happy dog

Just tell them your pet is an illegal alien. Or dead. (And of course, get them their shots.)

From Sacramento Bee: Have you neglected to renew Fido’s or Fifi’s pet license? The city of Sacramento is about to take you to task.

As of July 1, the city will begin tracking down pet owners and aggressively enforcing a longtime code requiring that dogs and cats be licensed and vaccinated against rabies, said Front Street Shelter manager Gina Knepp.

The shelter will mail notices to pet owners who have failed to renew their dog’s or cat’s license, which for one year costs $20 for a neutered or spayed animal and requires proof of rabies vaccination. Those who fail to obtain a renewal within 30 days will receive a second notice. After that, failure to comply will result in a “correctable” $300 citation, which can be waived if a license is obtained within 30 days. If not, the citation will be permanent. Further citations will cost scofflaw pet owners $500.

Only 13 percent of pets in Sacramento are properly licensed, the city estimates. That compares to a national average of about 30 percent. In some parts of Canada, aggressive enforcement has resulted in compliance rates of as high as 60 percent, authorities have reported.

Unlicensed pets reside in neighborhoods across the city, from wealthier areas like Curtis Park to more modest ones in south Sacramento, Knepp said. “It doesn’t seem to matter where you live or whether you’re wealthy,” she said. “The compliance rate is low everywhere.”

Most pet owners in the capital city “probably have no clue” that licenses are required for dogs and cats, Knepp acknowledged. The city code has been in place for “years and years,” she said, but never has been fully enforced. Animal control officers issue citations for unlicensed animals when they encounter them, she said, but those represent a small fraction of the estimated 250,000 pet dogs and cats in the community.

“We have the ability to do automatic citations, but we weren’t doing it,” Knepp said. “We tried other ways of getting people to pay attention to licensing their animals, but nothing worked.

“Licensing is just not on the top of most people’s list of things to get done,” she said. “Some people have a ‘Catch me if you can’ mentality about it. Well, now I am going to catch you.”

David Dickinson, director of Sacramento County’s animal shelter on Bradshaw Road, said people outside the city limits are no better at licensing compliance. “We’re probably at about 14 percent to 17 percent,” he said.

Dickinson said the county will be monitoring the outcome of the city’s efforts to boost those numbers. “If it works, we’d certainly consider it,” he said. But he wonders whether the administrative hassles will exceed the benefits.

Residents and their pets can be difficult to track, he noted. “People move; their pets die; they don’t have the pet any longer,” Dickinson said. “I think this will cause a lot of uproar among animal owners.”

All pets adopted from both the county and city shelters receive licenses, along with microchips and spaying and neutering surgeries. The agencies keep track of that information, and also get notification from private veterinarians who vaccinate animals against rabies.

Pet owners in the city’s data system will begin receiving notices beginning next month as their pet licenses expire. Residents who participate in programs for people with low incomes, including PG&E and SMUD utility assistance, can get their license for free if their pet is spayed or neutered.

“This is not meant to be punitive,” Knepp said of the licensing program. “It’s not about the government trying to get another $20 from you. It’s about the safety of our pets, and of the community.” Collecting licensing fees also will provide a financial boost to the overcrowded shelter, she added.

Rabies cases in humans are rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only a few cases are reported annually. But wildlife in California can carry the rabies virus and infect domestic animals. The CDC receives reports of hundreds of cases of rabies among dogs and cats each year.

“Animals are a community problem and a community responsibility,” Knepp said. This week, animal control officers responded to a report of a raccoon on a sidewalk near Fourth and T streets, near two roaming cats, in broad daylight. The raccoon’s behavior could suggest rabies infection.

The city estimates that it could have collected about $150,000 last year from residents who failed to renew their pet licenses. That money, Knepp said, could be used to fund more animal control officers to respond to emergency calls, vaccination clinics and spay and neuter programs, among other things.

“The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of animals in our shelter; to make sure that they don’t end up here in the first place,” Knepp said. “People don’t want to see pets dying at the pound. If they really do care about that, they should license their pets. Because an animal with a license and tag is going home.”

Spencer Breining-Aday, a college student who lives in Land Park, pondered the city’s plan as he walked his dog Lulu in the neighborhood this week. Lulu, a chow mix, is properly licensed, as are his two cats, Winnie and Sarah, Breining-Aday said.

“For me, spending $20 to get a license is not a big deal,” he said. “But I think it could be a bigger challenge for people in lower socioeconomic groups. Other than that, I think it’s a great way to make sure that our pets are healthy. I’m in favor of it.”

Dia Goode trotted through the park with her Labrador mix, Maurice. She supports the city’s new approach, she said, but would like to see it go further by cracking down on licensing of “backyard breeders” and the puppies they sell.   “I think licensing is really important, but it really hasn’t been on anyone’s radar,” Goode said. “It’s never been made an important issue.”


20 responses to “Sacramento is about to crack down on unlicensed pets, and the new fines are no joke

  1. Just another way to generate more tax revenue and to increase government power.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s what I was going to say. 🙂 Just Uncle Sam stealing more money from everyone, using our money against us. I don’t know about Sacramento, but the ‘animal control’ people around here are worse than worthless! We have some criminal/welfare/pervert neighbors that are always having their animals confiscated by the Humane society, and then a week later they’ve got dozens more. The stories I could tell.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Richard Raymond

    More legalized theft so TPTB can waste, squander, misuse and ultimately
    use the money against the best interests of those they are supposed to be serving.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Richard Raymond
  4. It’s not about the government trying to get another $20 from you. It’s about the gov getting another $500 from you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Josh . . . I also picked up on that blurb from Knepp where he said it was not about getting another $20.00 from you . . . . By Golly! The first thing I thought was this has everything about getting another $20.00 out of you!

      I do pay the license fee for Baby, my cat. But times when there has been an injured animal Cat or dog at the roadside . . . . good luck trying to get the Animal Control Services to get off their lazy butts and come out and pick up the poor creature’s body! Call me a cynic, but I think this has more to do with offering excellent paying jobs, and benefits, under the liberal regimes than it has to do with protecting our pets.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Not only does it provide for the overpaid/underworked employees of the regime but the looming fiasco known as municipal and state pensions yet to unfold upon us. That being said, if the cities and states didn’t legally keep two sets of books, and use the book with the edited data to base their budgets and tax codes upon, this would be a non issue as most every state and city is wealthy beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

        This will bring everyone up to speed on cafr;

        the video image quality is poor but the message is still received

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same thing around here. The animal control person won’t do diddly squat. Our mail carrier even called the state police and they treated her like she was a criminal (and didn’t do anything about the starving animals chained up). Nobody usually cares, but sometimes the one ‘tattle tale’ gets our one neighbor, but then they keep getting more and more animals. They’re welfare leeches so they usually get away with murder.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Nothing is certain except the greed of politicians and their bureaucrats.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Waco Bob . . . Amen to that!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As a rule, I never support goobermint tyranny in any form.

    However, there are a lot of irresponsible pet owners out there that don’t keep their pet’s shots up.

    It would be one thing if they were the only people in danger, but they aren’t.

    While rabies may be rare in humans, it is deadly as hell if it’s not caught in time.

    I think the fines in this case are excessive, but if that is what it takes to get pet owners to be more responsible, then so be it.

    I can’t even take my little four-legged furry buddy to be groomed or boarded without his shots being up-to-date.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Just another tax. The govmunt won’t stop until they have it all and there’s nothing left to steal.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I used to live in Sacramento. Believe me, they’ve enforced this since the dawn of time. California is a hellhole of taxes, fees and sundry charges. I wouldn’t live in that state again for any amount of money.

    Gov. Moonbeam recently accused the working taxpayers of being “freeloaders” for complaining about his newest tax increases. After all, that’s what whitey’s for. They must work, work, work and give all their money to the state for illegal aliens and queers. It is a disgusting study and is doomed for total failure soon.

    Liked by 2 people

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