Wake Scratches Plan to Increase Pet Registration Fees

Posted April 14, 2008

— Wake County commissioners on Monday rejected a proposal to increase license fees for pet owners to pay for expanded animal shelters and improved pet adoption services.

About 8,400 pets that wind up in Wake County animal shelters every year are euthanized because of limited space. County officials want to work with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to consolidate and expand sheltering and adoption services.

"The consensus of the commissioners is we want to improve how we're handling the pets in Wake County," said Joe Bryan, chairman of the Board of Commissioners.

The moves could cost an extra $300,000 a year, prompting officials to consider using higher fees on dog and cat licenses to help pay for the changes.

The proposal called for establishing a countywide licensing program – Raleigh, Cary and Garner are the only jurisdictions that currently require pet licenses – that would charge $15 per sterilized dog or cat and $30 for pets that hadn't been spayed or neutered.

Orange and Durham counties have similar systems, charging pet owners more to license unsterilized dogs and cats.

Wake commissioners scratched the plan Monday after hearing opposition from the SPCA of Wake County and some local veterinarians.

"Basically, it's a pet tax," said Hope Hancock, SPCA executive director. "It needs to be an incentive, but there's a point (at which) it's a disincentive."

Hancock and others said higher fees could lead to people choosing not to register their pets at all. That prospect scares Dr. Joe Gordon, a veterinarian with Oberlin Animal Hospital in Raleigh, because the proposal called for collecting the license fees when people vaccinated their pets against rabies each year.

"The additional costs may deter people from getting rabies vaccinations (for their pets)," Gordon said.

Commissioners said they would look at other funding options for the shelter and adoption upgrades, most likely spreading the costs to all area taxpayers.

"It's for the greater good to have a healthy pet population for the entire county," Bryan said.

Separately, the county animal shelter announced Monday that it would stop using a gas chamber to euthanize animals, starting July 1. The gas chamber has been used in about 6 percent of euthanasia cases to deal with aggressive or potentially rabid animals, officials said.


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  • K9Mom Apr 15, 2008

    Why don't we address the real issue here, pet overpopulation? If we reduce the number of unwanted pets, we solve the overcrowding situation at the shelters & don't need to tax anyone! Why isn't it mandatory for ALL "pet" owners to spay and neuter? This is the 21st century folks, & we all know there is no good reason NOT to neuter your pet if you are not a licensed breeder of purebred dogs. I know I'll catch a lot of flack for saying this, but thousands of truly wonderful pets are killed - MURDERED - every year due solely to the lack of responsibility from pet owners. Just go into a shelter and look into the eyes of all those animals who are going to be killed because of the negligence of humans. It will just break your heart, and you might change your opinion about sterilization. Don't say you can't afford to have it done! There are plenty of low cost options available. Face it, if you can't afford to have your pet fixed, you surely can't afford the cost of basic needs - food/vet care.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 15, 2008

    Regardless of who is paying, it is a tax. I don't care what substitute word they want to use. Only difference is some taxes all of us pay, like sales tax on food. If you own a car you have to register it and pay a tax (actually two taxes once the property tax bill comes). If you own a pet, you are paying a tax for said pet.

  • trunkmonkee1971 Apr 15, 2008

    The idea behind the school community tax is that we will all benefit due to the great education our children are getting from the school system............:)

  • Bodhi126 Apr 15, 2008

    I agree with InCary!! I will never have children and would rather my tax dollars went elsewhere, like for WATER!
    And people, please try's NOT a tax, its a simple $7.00 (altered pet)FEE 1x a year, ONLY for pet owners.

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Apr 15, 2008

    " here's advice for those who die...
    ...declare the pennies on your eyes...
    Cuz I'm the taxman, and you're working for no one but me"

  • Scubagirl Apr 15, 2008

    InCary--well said. I have no kids, never have, never will yet I must pay and have never thought it fair.

  • grayboomerang Apr 14, 2008

    InCary...well said!!!!

  • All child molesters should die Apr 14, 2008

    InCary, AMEN! Good point. LOL!


  • blackdog Apr 14, 2008 dog was worried where she would get the money...

  • cocker_mom Apr 14, 2008

    InCary - that's BLASPHEMY! We certainly have to all pay taxes when it's "for the children".

    I am glad this was turned down - you simply cannot continue to tax folks for doing the right thing. It is a disincentive.

    And good job on shutting down the gas chamber. What a horrible antiquated way to euthanize animals.