12/02/2010

Dog Licensing

Posted by MJ


The LUSJ reported on the discussion of the city's proposed system of taking over dog licensing from the state after the state decided to get "out of the business".

Two things to note:
...The Council held a public hearing on the proposed law Wednesday. No one spoke for or against it and no written communications about the law were received prior to the hearing, City Clerk Richard Mullaney said...
Where were we supposed to preview this law to decide if we needed to come comment on it? And...
...The City of Lockport is prepared to increase dog licensing fees as it takes over program management duties from New York State...

...If the Common Council adopts a proposed dog control law, the annual licensing fee would rise to $15 per spayed/neutered dog from $7.50; and $25 per unaltered dog from $15.50...

...The components, a part-time dog control officer’s pay and the contract fee paid to Niagara County SPCA to shelter seized dogs, add up to more than $47,000. Licensing receipts presently don’t come anywhere near that, Mullaney said, meaning property taxpayers generally are subsidizing dog owners...

Property tax payers are supporting the dog owners who do not license and take care of thier dogs. Why punish those that properly license and take care of their dogs? Similar to ATV registration fees that were supposed to go to trails etc and then never did. Is there any wonder why people choose to ignore the laws thus reducing the income from them and the need for more dog control?

I'd happily pay the increased licensing fee if something like a city off-leash area was provided. For now I'll have to unhappily pay it. I'm sure many others would pay it too if it was the prerequisite for using the off-leash area etc.

Pay for the dog control by charging/ticketing those who deserve it, not by charging more to those who don't. Otherwise it is just another backwards municipal system that promotes its own abuse.

Update 12/17/10 - Buffalo News reported on the enacting of the law.

17 comments:

Rocketboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LockportGal said...

I do know that I had to call animal control for a pit that was running in our neighborhood. Had my kids pinned on our patio. Belonged to the guy down the street. Turns out it was licensed, but not as a pit, as a lab mix....yeah right. I havent seen or heard the dog in forever, so perhaps he got rid of it. I know I wasnt the only one to complain. I guess its basically to keep track of who has what kind of dog, whilst filling the coffers at the same time.

MJ said...

No doubt there is a need for dog control. Like in your example, the owner should be paying for the retreival (who wouldn't pay for their dog safely returned?)and the false filing.

Some reason's for the law are probably:

1) To control the amount of animals in the city
2) To make sure an animal which causes damage/injury can be atributed to a specific owner
3) To reunite owners and lost pets.
4) To cut down on rabies by making sure licensed dogs are vacinated.

All are reasonable goals. And the previously small fee tells me it was more about the above than a money grab.

Even with these increased rates, I do not see it as a money grab since it is going to animal control functions. I just believe they are putting the enforsement/contol costs on the wrong people.

Seeing it's in our better interest to have all dogs licensed, it would be better to attract owners and reduce control costs rather than do the opposite and increase the costs.

Laurie said...

I am not happy to be paying more of course, but I also am discouraged by anecdotal evidence that some irresponsible owners when confronted with a large fee will not collect their pet. I don't know that an extra $7-10 will make anyone avoid registration, but for the reasons listed above these are thing we want to ensure are simple and continue to be affordable.

The comment from Mullaney was at best irresponsible and hopefully stemmed from naivete rather than an actual opinion.

I'm not sure that the higher dog licensing is really something people weigh when choosing a place to live, I do think that a dog-owner funded off-leash area is.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should be looking at the attorney's who "plea everything down" thereby losing money for the city. Officers and Animal Control are out there handing tickets out to violators. They come to court and get a slap on the hands. No fines. It is common in Lockport City court to give most an unconditional discharge. Why? They were in violation and a small fine is better then no fine. If there is solid proof of a violation and people have been warned over & over, why are they given more chances to waste time. Months ago I was ticketed for having an unlicensed dog. I appeared in court. I was not fined and still did not get a license. This was true of the 4 other people there too. Each gave a story of woe, a slap on the hands, and off we were. The message sent: The courts have sent the message that dog tickets are not important and why bother because nothing happens to us. The City is doing the right thing by trying to have some control but when it gets to court, nothing happens. There is where monies is wasted. An attorney who pleas everything down to nothing. A minimal fine for all just might send a message.

MJ said...

Thank you for the insight. It makes it even more frustrating to see the desire to have the price jacked up for those following the rules when those skirting them walk away paying nothing.

Anonymous said...

Are we really sure that money collected from dog licenses and pound fees are put back into the dog budget? Has anyone ever asked to see that. My point is-I was hauled in for my dog running loose. When I spoke to the attorney, he had me plead guilty to a city noise violation. I was surprised at that. The animal warden did all the right things to get me into court. So did the fine go to the dog budget or the city's other departments. If this is how tickets are handled then the dog budget will never equal (or come close to) money in money out.
For the most part, if you love your dog, you'll have identification on them for a safe return as soon as possible. A license is the only acceptable proof in this state if your dog goes to the pound. And trust me....I found that out the hard way.

Rocketboy said...

I've never heard someone angry that they were not found guilty of what they were charged with, and instead pleaded to a lesser charge. I am amazed an impressed by your honesty anon. I would hope that there was some legal reason, that if you plead to a lesser charge, it would save money in the long run because you didn't get as many people contesting the greater charge. I would guess that would be the reasoning, but when it comes to fund allocation, no, it does not make sense.

Anonymous said...

RocketBoy-Iwas not angry for pleading to a city noise violation verses my dog got caught running loose. I just thought it was odd. I got charged with a dog at large, not a noise violation. What was the difference? What I'm saying is: if I paid a $25.00 running loose charge then it goes to the dog budget. Instead I got let go and told to stay out of trouble for 6 months, and no fine. Point: $25. was lost from the dog budget yet the hours spent getting me there, paperwork, court time, attorney, animal person-does it sound like it will balance out? NO. The 4 others in court that day received no fines either but will come back on a later date, again. More paperwork, more court time wasted. Now we are talking more and more money spent yet no money has been collected. That's the point I'm trying to make. Yes, my dog was loose. I admit that and the message I was sent: It can happen again and I expect another mere slap on the hands. And what did I learn about city court...it is who you know. And RocketBoy, is a noise violation lesser then a running loose charge? I think the noise charge sounds worse then a dog charge.

Rocketboy said...

Ok, maybe angry was the wrong word to use, but I would think that there's some sensible reasoning involved.. or at least I would hope so. Do you remember why the four others had to come back to court?

Anonymous said...

RocketBoy- Not angry at all, just funny that so much money "can" be collect thru fines and thats not what is happening. I believe the others were there for licenses to. 2 were unable to get them yet, 1 didn't even bother to show up and I'm not really sure what the other one was there for. Hey, even $5. is something to charge, I'd even pay that. I admit to waiting far to long, until I was ticketed. What cost more-the $5.00 fine or all the effort made to get me to that point. People will understand why they are being fined. I am not making an excuses for myself. I just didn't want to take the time to do it I guess. I know after I do license that I will not make the mistake again. I am one who does learn a lesson but many others do not.

MJ said...

It is strange to submit that the dog control system is not paying for itself when they are letting offenders leave fee free or possibly pay into the general fund instead.

Anonymous said...

I do not own a dog but do believe the burden should be placed on the owners who choose to have a dog. I can see having a city issued tag that identifies your dog for a safe return if they get loose. The owners who care will license. And those who don't care won't. If their dog gets loose, will they care? Some may pay fines to get them back, and others will just leave their dogs at the shelters and go get a replacement. I agree with the post above. If the trouble and time is spent with problem dog owners, they should be fined something. I am certain there are repeat problem owners. Just wanted to give my thoughts.

Laurie said...

If the burden, or the cost as described above pays for an SPCA fee and dog catcher, is it not benefiting the population at large?

If there is a dog terrorizing your neighborhood and you call to have it dealt with, you are utilizing these services, whether you also own a dog or not.

Anonymous said...

I have had to call the dog catcher in the past, a few times. Neighbors dogs kept pooping on my lawn (they rented) and in the summer I had barking issues too. I had a ticket given to them and went to court also. The dogs owner was basically told to keep his nose clean for 6 months. I put up with these people for months and for what, probably stood in front of the judge for all of 20 seconds. I guess it was a waste of my time. The dog owner walked past me and smiled. And why should I pay more? Now I think the owners put their dogs out after I go to bed and continue to use neighboring lawns as their own. I will catch them again and what will happen the next time. Another hand slap, possibly a fine this time.

MJ said...

It's similar to the scenario of jacking up our car registration fees for automobile enforcement and then letting all the speeders/non-registered/etc go with just warnings. You would just end up with more speeders and less people registering.

Anonymous said...

Idiots over on Rhulmann have a big blue/white pit bull they are letting loose all the time, bit one kid I know of so far, chased down a couple people. Called Rhulmann, apparently its ok over there to have a viscious dog. Today I call the dog warden. Stupid irresponsible people. I know for dang sure that dog isn't licensed. Its a huge accident waiting to happen.

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