Man Pays $500 For Pet License

Seattle pet licenseCities around the U.S. are beginning to enforce pet licenses especially in Seattle.

One Seattle resident failed to relicense his 17-year-old dog and he ended up paying almost $500. The man received notice last September from Seattle Animal Control telling him that he had not renewed his dog’s license since 2003. At that time, he owed $45 — $30 for the two-year license and $15 for a penalty fee. The man was about to move to Florida, so he didn’t pay for the license and the fee and didn’t tell Seattle Animal Control that he was moving.

While he was living in Florida, Seattle Animal Control cited him in December for failure for obtaining a pet license. His former landlady called the Seattle Animal Control to tell him that he had moved, but by that time, the case had already been transferred to a collections agency.

In February, the man ended up moving back to Seattle and forgot about licensing his dog and the violation. A couple of weeks ago, he discovered that almost $500 was taken out of his bank account due to the pet license citation. His original pet license fees had increased to include collection costs, court costs and bank processing fees. He has decided to not fight the case and just pay his fee.

Meanwhile, this may be a lesson to all Seattle residents and residents all over the US that animal control agencies mean business when they want you to license your pets. Seattle Animal Control has assigned three officers to target unlicensed pets, going to parks and even to your own home, and they issue about 1,200 citations a year.

Update: James, the Seattle man who was fined, emailed us in regards to his story and added some details to the situation:

1. August 27, 2006. Animal control officer shows up to my residence and demands payment for expired dog license. I explain to the officer that I’m moving to Florida next week. The officer threatens to issue citation ($54.00) for not renewing license. I offer to pay for license, but I do not want a citation. Due to the fact that she “showed up” at my door, she HAS to issue a citation. I plead my case of moving and offered a compromise to pay for said license. No deal. I didn’t pay it. No citation issued at that time.

2. September 9, 2006. Moved to Florida (a wonderful drive with Cayla, my dog)

3. November 10th, 2006. Animal control shows up at old residence looking for me. Landlord tells the officer that I moved to FL.

4. December 20th, 2006. Animal control leaves citation posted to front door of old residence.

5. May 25th, 2007. Paying bills online from my checking account, notice almost $500.00 missing. I call bank. Bank says to call Alliance Once collections. They say: “failure to obtain dog license” . I called the Seattle Times. A reporter interviews us, does research, and finds that there was a court order to garnish said funds from checking account. I originally paid by check to obtain her license (which was how the funds came out of the checking account — they did not take credit cards at that time). This all happened while I was living in Florida.

10 Responses to “Man Pays $500 For Pet License”

  1. trucorgi says:

    The original purpose of these laws was public safety, to show proof of a rabies vaccine and to identify the owner if the dog is found running at large.

    This has changed with the influence of the animal rights movement that opposes owning pets. It has become an attempt to discourage pet ownership by imposing an unfair tax on pet owners.

    People don’t realize this but your vet is required to turn over information about the owner and the dog when they vaccinate for rabies now. It is entered into a huge big brother database that exists to collect these taxes and report to insurance companies that want to cancel you for having a dog.

    The long range plan is to discourage dog ownership by making it so expensive and difficult that people give up their dogs or do not replace them when they die off.

  2. straybaby says:

    that is one sweet doggie face.

    “People don’t realize this but your vet is required to turn over information about the owner and the dog when they vaccinate for rabies now. It is entered into a huge big brother database that exists to collect these taxes and report to insurance companies that want to cancel you for having a dog.”

    I think more people realize this than you are giving credit. Dog lincenses and Rabies requirements have been around forever and they go hand in hand. And if folks don’t know about data bases, wow! They don’t get the renewal notices by chance ;)

    What I found surprising was them accessing his bank account! I didn’t realize anyone but the government could do that.

  3. Donna says:

    I would like to know how a collection agency takes money from your bank account without your knowledge.

  4. straybaby says:

    So would i Donna!

    So does that mean I have to notify the AC here in NYC when I move to another state or risk having the same thing happen?! Do you have to *officially* cancel a dog license?! Doesn’t everyone just let them expire and then license in their new place?

    Obviously I haven’t moved for a long time! lol!~

  5. trucorgi says:

    Baltimore County Councilman Vince Gardina has a proposals to have a pit bull registry created similar to registries for sex offenders.

    There are so many ways the AR movemnet is chipping away at our right to own dogs.

    Open your eyes.

  6. straybaby says:

    if you were speaking to me, my eyes have been open for quite some time.

  7. Chihuahua Momma says:

    We all know we have to license our our cars and get fines if we don’t. Why license? To help pay for the services that users cause and cost. Dogs are not different. Someone has to pay - it is fair that those of use that use the service pay for it. Those that are at higher risk for use of the service should have to pay more.
    He knew he owed the fees and chose to ignore it. He thought he wouldn’t get caught. It has nothing to do with the right to own - it has to do with being responsible for ownership.

  8. mittens says:

    i don’t know about woo woo wonderland washington but in most of the united states your bank account can’t be accessed by anyone including the government unless there has been a trial and you lost( didn’t show up can be the same as lost) and there’s court order by a judge.

    it seems like part of the story is missing.there may have been a court finding against him.

    just as an aside to the conspiracy theories- most communities have dog officers and animal control officers. the fees for your dog licences pay for them- it’s not just some vast plot to keep you from owning a poodle. stray animals in the past have posed a very real threat to the community a la rabies etc. the health of the community and the health of the licenced dogs necessitates the fees to pay for the services required to control unwmated and potentially ill or dangerous strays. anyone who has been in a third world country where rabid strays room the city streets can attest to the efficacy of enforcing responsible pet ownership and control of disease vectors. and if you ever had that series of brutal rabies shots after being bitten you might further appreciate the keeeping track of and controlling of animals because of the high human neglect and abandonment issues.

    considering the millions of unwanted and abandoned dogs and cats in our country it’s clear that responsible pet ownership has to be somewhat enforced by laws and fees- because stupid irresponsible humans exist. the problem as usual isn’t the stray dog or cat-but humans with no regard for the safety of animals. we can’t have packs of pit bulls roaming the streets looking for something to eat and foaming at the damn mouth and potentially biting you or your child or someone’s pet or causing damage to farm animals.

  9. jeanette says:

    Well, taking money out of your account directly can indeed happen if they got a writ of garnishment and had the info on your bank account from the copy of a previous check…just like getting your paycheck garnished - it takes a court to mandate.

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