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City calls for dog owners to license their pets

Original post made on Jul 6, 2013

About 60 percent of Palo Alto dog owners are breaking the law, and many might not know it, according to the city's Animal Services department.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, July 6, 2013, 11:49 AM

Comments (26)

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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 6, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Or the city could have outsourced our animal services, as was properly suggested last year, and saved local tax payers an estimated two million dollars plus in the first five years alone. Not a business that the city should be involved in.

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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 6, 2013 at 4:48 pm

And what they're not saying in this article is that the current city funded animal services needs to generate more revenue in order to justify remaining operational. In the meantime we tax payers have to pay the bills because it is not a self-sustainable operation. We should have outsourced to the county. Far less expensive and more than adequate.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2013 at 8:34 am

With micro-chips common, and GPS collars available, shouldn’t the Weekly have inquired as to how many pets are collected by the Palo Alto Animal Services that were unlicensed, and without any identifying items available? It would also be interesting to know how many animals the Shelter collects that are not owned by Palo Alto residents?

The Animal Services could use the WEB/NET a little more effectively by posting pictures of pets that it was acquired, that have no identification.

This article seems to not be making any significant point—other than as the previous post suggests—Palo Alto is always looking to gouge more money out of its residents.

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Posted by Enough!
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 7, 2013 at 9:11 am

Price gouging, indeed! Last year we paid $15 for a license for a spayed dog; the article states it is now $20?! No wonder citizens refuse to support this tax disguised as a "program", which essentially provides nothing in exchange. In our previous community, the yearly license for a spayed dog cost $1! Yet another example of parasitic, SELF-SERVING Palo Alto government. Outsource, by all means--and soon.

Start pulling your own weight, Palo Alto.

2 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2013 at 9:54 am

The community outrage over dog license fees is itself outrageous. Totally irrational and ignorant.

A dog license is a small price for getting a record of rabies vaccinations or getting a lost/stolen dog returned.

Price gouging??? It's called insurance, and it's the cheapest bargain around.

Stop whining about absolutely everything. The knee-jerk anti-government stuff sounds pretty dumb

Register your dogs.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2013 at 11:21 am

> A dog license is a small price for getting a record
> of rabies vaccinations

What? The Vet has a record of the vacinations. Why does a pet own now have to pay $20/year for the City to have a duplicate record? This is just another example of unions creating make work jobs that ultimately don't need to be done.

Rabies is not a big issue. It's not clear that it ever was a big issue here in the US. Yellow Fever, on the other hand--was a big issue. Isn't it interesting that the City does not require people to register their children, so that it can ensure that we all "have our shots"?

Why can't the Vets just email the City some sort of certification when an animal is innoculated. Why does the pet owner have to drive to a City facility, suplicate himself/herself before a City employee, and pay an outrageous amount of money to declare the ownership of his/her pet? Current practice does not seem to recommend that animals are innoculated for Rabies every year that they live. So, why pay for a license that claims to record a rabies vacination that is good for multiple years?

It's clear that it is time to outsource this activity. It does not belong in the purview of City-provided services.

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 7, 2013 at 11:29 am

You can try to outsource this, but as with the other "city treasures"-- the libraries, the children's theatre, the mobile home park etc-- the will be an immediate outcry against it and in a short time a "friends" group will be formed that will huff and puff at the city council until they get their way. Costs be damned. That is the palo alto way

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Tired of the Libertarian party line on this site. BORING.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Why are so many upset about this? I can't think of a local city that *doesn't* require dog licenses. Sure, if your dog had shots from a vet - or a shelter - it seems like a duplicate process, but it's not. It means that the info is centrally located. This means that Animal Control & the city/county can do a better job w/disease prevention, vector control, animal rescue & public safety. It doesn't matter who has the contract for your AC - local, county, etc. - that doesn't impact the need for licensing. Of course, who does the AC may determine the price, but $20 I think is now the standard. I don't recall the cost of our last licenses in San Mateo County, but I know there's the option of buying a 3 year or 1 year license.

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Posted by Gouged
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Just so people know, if you neglect to renew the vaccine, you get a warning. If you ignore it, you get fined $200, and if you ignore that notice, you get fined $400. No joke. This happened to me, with my 11-year-old dog diagnosed with cancer. I ignored the warning -- we were too busy with chemo. And they insisted on charging me because that's the fee established by City Council, and I didn't have time to go and plead my case in city court. Since a vet says it's safe to get a vaccine, I was out $400. Honestly, I'm sorry to say, my advice at this point would be not to register your dog. The policies and processes and staffing of this organization need to be updated before this organization can legitimately handle more animals. I have a pretty bitter taste in my mouth from our experience.

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Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm

So are the Cats in Palo Alto also to be licensed?
Cats need vaccinations also.
I have multiple cats in my area running lose pooping on lawns killing small animals.
My dog is licensed and has never ran lose or killed squirrels or birds.
I f Dogs need to be licensed then so should Cats.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Gouged - there should be a process in place to handle the common issue that you faced - & it should be relatively easy for older, immune-compromised dogs. I recall a neighbor who's older dog died w/in a week of getting re-vaccinated & whose much younger, very healthy dog got sick.

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2013 at 6:03 pm

How about the City enforce this dog licensing requirement and inspect their living premises as well? I'd like to see more responsible dog ownership in Palo Alto.

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Posted by Emily
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I've always registered my dog, but I am not quite seeing the point of the tag that Palo Alto requires my dog to wear. My dog now has to wear three tags: Rabies, license, and ID, which is incredibly annoying.

I just don't see the point, when all of this information could be added to my dog's microchip.

$20/ year is not a lot to ask, for the hopes that your dog will be assisted if found by Palo Alto, but I'd love to see Palo Alto move the technology along to cut down on the needless paperwork and tags. Maybe Palo Alto would have better luck with getting people to register their dogs if it was easier to do so, by allowing you to pay and register online and have that information added to your dog's microchip.

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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 8, 2013 at 6:56 am

The libertarian type reflexive response to any issue:'My tax dollar are are being wasted, we should outsource, blah, blah, blah.." are repetitive, infantile and very. very boring.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2013 at 7:57 am

> blah, blah, blah.." are repetitive, infantile
> and very. very boring.

And this NO-THINK posting isn't "boring"?

Watching our country train wreck because people like this one, with no capacity for independent, or free, thought is tragic.

One local web-site advertises rabies vaccinations for $15. The Palo Alto Animal Services wants $20 to "record" that information? And that's this year. Next year it will be $25, and $30 the year after!

Outsourcing is viable solution to the gouging and mismanagement of the Palo Alto government. If you can't handle people recognizing that fact, and talking about it--then take your "blah, blah,blah" somewhere else!

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Posted by dog'n'cat owner
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2013 at 8:25 am

>So are the Cats in Palo Alto also to be licensed?

Licensing should cover the cost of dealing with strays. This is the same as the way the city charges for alarm permits. Alarm permits are currently at $35.00 a year to cover the cost of false alarms.
Dog and cat owners need to pay for this cost. Why should non-pet owners subsidize reuniting pet owners with their pets?

1 person likes this
Posted by muffers
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

You're required to get rabies boosters more often than necessary, as rabies titers will show, and it's not healthy to overvaccinate your pup, as my vet agrees. The AAHA guidelines suggest vaccinating much less often than is required. I take her in every year for a checkup and I have been spending more money to get a rabies titer to test the level of antibodies in my dog, rather than to have her vaccinated when not necessary. However, the county requires you to go through additional hoops if you want to use that as proof of vaccination. It's also way more expensive. At some point, I just gave up because it was too much work and the rules were too stupid, and I stopped registering my dog. My dog is chipped, I still get titers and vaccinate when the titers get low; I'm simply not going to register my dog any more. At some point, if they consider changing the rules to allow you to do the right thing for your dog, and get rid of the ridiculous penalties, I may register my dog again. But it's likely she won't live that long, as there doesn't appear to be any prospect of change.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

Licensing expires when rabies vaccination expires. The licensing fees for dogs in San Jose, Cupertino, Saratoga, Milpitas, etc. are also $20.00, so Palo Alto is hardly "price gouging". If someone is bitten by a dog, having an accessible record of vaccination via the license allows the person to know they won't need rabies shots and keeps the dog from quarantine. I'm amazed anyone would see this as a big deal. And for those who believe only pet owners should cover all costs of animal services, you are ignoring the need to care for those animals abandoned or turned in for whatever reason. If you follow this logic, only those who have children in school should pay taxes that support education. Doesn't make sense.

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Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 8, 2013 at 11:52 am

All of you whiners, STOP. I know of no one living in Palo Alto who can't afford to pay whatever the going rate is to license and get proper shots for their animals. Think about it the next time you pay between $75 and $100 for a haircut. Get real and stop complaining. And we need to keep our Animal Services!!

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Barbara -- Thanks for your spot-on comment. This whole discussion has been absurd, and manufactured to rile up the anti-government folks (will there be a thread against driving licenses next?)

Editors -- Articles like these make Palo Alto look like a community with no sense of community whatsoever. I don't think that is actually true, but that is the image projected on these pages. Why do you pander to the fringe?

How about some real news?

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm

> And we need to keep our Animal Services!!

Why does Palo Alto need to run a highly subsidized animal services facility any more than it needs to run gas stations or food outlets?

The private sector could do this, or the County could do it. The idea that only Palo Alto can do it is silly!

> If you follow this logic, only those who have children
> in school should pay taxes that support education

Childen we need, so the public subsidizes schools. Pets .. well, we don't need pets to propagate our kind. Pets are not children--don't you understand that?

And by the way--people who send their children to private school do, in fact, pay the most of their children's education without much, if any, public subsidy.

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Posted by Stretch
a resident of another community
on Jul 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 8, 2013 at 1:35 pm

You're right Joe. We do not need to be in the animal services business. If we are to maintain any hope of fiscal health, then we need to outsource services that can be more than adequately provided by another entity. Had the city opted to outsource our animal services as was proposed last year, and not buckled to another vocal minority, tax payers would have been on course to save 2.5 million dollars in public funds in the first five years alone.

The county provides a great service that the vast majority of cities in our county already utilize. It's an easy call.

The animal service supporters promised to raise funds that would match what the city could save by outsourcing. That was a big reason why our city leaders decided to keep the service running. The supporters cited private donations, as well as increasing the cost of certain services in order to reach their fiscal goals. For all of the justification for this fee hike espoused by animal services, and what was reported by the Weekly in this article, funny that no mention was made of what is likely the only reason for the increase, which is to raise money to justify remaining open. They expect people to forget. I've got news for you. Not this time.

The Children's Theater supporters also made a similar promise a few years ago when the city proposed cutting back on tax payer subsidies that help support that program. Again, the supporters, another vocal minority, shouted down the city and promised to raise private funds to off-set what tax payers would save by the cutbacks. Well, I ask the question. Did the city or anyone else ever follow-up to see if they made good on their promise? I'm guessing not. The same old scenario plays out. The vocal minorities and special interests shout down city leaders who are simply trying to achieve some fiscal responsibility and balance. They promise to raise funds and become more self-sufficient, and then hope that people will just forget about it and return to business as usual. So predictable.

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Posted by farah
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm

People ranting on, get a clue.
Owning a pet is a honor and lifetime commitment.
If you cannot afford proper care, licencing and vet fees, dont get a pet Please!

Ignoramus comments on here....probably by my clueless next door neighbor who hates neighbors dogs barking, although its ok for him to babysit his daughters small yapper of a dog disturbing his neighbors...go figure. (clueless grumpy old fart). LoL.

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Posted by br16
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 9, 2013 at 1:14 am

br16 is a registered user.

Those of you arguing that the increase in fees is just PA Animal Service's way of squeezing funds from citizens and that we should just outsource (to Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority) have clearly not looked up the fees there.

PAAS is $20 for neutered, $40 otherwise.
SVACA is $22 for neutered, $100 otherwise

PAAS has a $30 late fee
SVACA has a $50 late fee

PAAS - Web Link
SVACA - Web Link

Not to mention PAAS is the only shelter between San Mateo and Santa Clara that provides lower cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinics. SVACA also does not accept pets abandoned by their owners (PAAS takes them no questions asked, no fees), so you have to go over to Milpitas and pay a huge fine, which obviously..if you're going to abandon your pet, you probably won't bother to do. Thus, more of those terrible cats running around pooping on your manicured lawns.

If you are up in arms about the fact that PAAS still exists, I recommend actually doing a little digging around the facts, and MAYBE even listen to the employees (or volunteers, if you don't trust those money grubbing hotshot officers who just want to suck all your money away so they can rescue and nurse sick and abandoned animals for likely far less pay than they deserve), who know far more than you do about the populations, disease, deaths and abandonment issues we face in the area.

Don't worry, I'm not an employee. I've just used the services (and volunteered) and am convinced that they provide a very necessary service to our neighborhoods.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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