Only one month left before our fees go up – including animal licenses! Licenses for altered dogs and cats will go from $12 to $18 and if your pet isn’t fixed yet, (what are you waiting for?) it will go from $30 to $36. If your license is due soon I suggest you renew it now and get one more year at the lower fee. If you’ve never licensed your pet before, now is a very good time to do so since the late fee is also increasing from $15 to $25, which is a bigger slap on the hand, and will hopefully motivate more people to license their pets, (if being legally required wasn’t enough motivation for you).
Why should you license, you ask? Besides feeding government pockets what’s the point of a license? Well there are several reasons to license your animals besides being required by law (although being a law abiding citizen is a good thing in and of itself – and sets you up as a role model to your children and neighbors).
It’s been shown that people are more apt to help a lone dog or cat if it’s wearing a collar and tag showing clearly that s/he is a lost pet vs. a feral animal. A collar and tag shows the world that this is a loved family member and a license is traceable and can help reunite a lost pet with his worried parents. A microchip is a good back-up for that just in case the tag falls off – or is removed – but a visible tag is the first layer of protection that all pets should have.
A current license also indicates that the animal is up-to-date on his rabies vaccine. That’s actually how licensing got started – as visible proof of rabies protection. Through a diligent program of vaccination we are able to control the spread of rabies in our pet population. It is still out there though in wildlife such as bats, raccoons and foxes so we can’t become complacent. Rabies is zoonotic, which means humans can get it and there still is no known cure once infection has taken hold. If you are bit by an unvaccinated animal, or one with an unknown vaccine history, you might have to go through a series of anti-rabies shots – which is no fun at all! If all animals had on their license tags you could tell at a glance that the dog or cat that bit you at least had a rabies vaccine once (can’t tell without looking up the license number if the vaccine is still current). That is helpful information if you weren’t able to catch the animal to quarantine.
License fees are also used to pay for animal services in the community. The City run’s a (very nice, I might say) animal shelter so that the lost pets in Rohnert Park and Cotati have someplace safe to go while waiting to be reclaimed. Running animal services costs a lot and license fees offset some of that expense. It would be nice, and more fair, if all pet owners paid their share instead of the burden falling on those who comply willingly (or have been caught and made to comply). It is estimated that there are approximately 22,500 dogs and cats living in Rohnert Park. If everyone licensed their pets it would cover the costs of all the services, we provide!
So here’s your chance to step up and make your pet legal while the fees are still at their lower amount. The higher rates will take effect on July 1 so take advantage of this last month and get your dogs and cats caught up on their rabies shots and come in for a license (no late fee if you do this voluntarily!).
Registration for our popular Kidz ‘n Critters summer camp program for students in 2nd-7th grades is now open. $125 per camper/$25 sibling discount for a one-week fun camp experience. Each session is M-F, 8:30-1:00 and includes a camp T-shirt.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.