Friday, January 17, 2014

Barking Wars

I couldn't help notice the similarity between in the atmosphere of where I was and that of the impound lot counter in the television show Parking Wars.  There was also a similarity to the DMV office. Not a pleasant hybrid if you ask me.

There were people there trying to get their property back, people trying to resolve minor legal issues, and people trying to comply with laws that seem to get more complicated every year. Each transaction had to be accompanied by paperwork that had to be completed in a certain fashion and by money. Sometimes a lot of money.

If it sounds like I have an axe to grind, I do. I hate the Animal Control licensing system and I resist complying with most of it's requirements. That I am writing about it can mean only one thing. I got caught.

My beef with the county animal control system started many years ago. Back then, I was a dutiful dog owner who licensed my dogs, though I never used any of the services that they provided. Then one day my, beloved whippet Boss escaped the Schmoe household.

After driving the 'hood numerous times and posting flyers, I called the local shelter and inquired if they might have possibly Boss in their possession. They told me that they did not provide that service, that there was no list available to give information over the phone. I then asked if they looked up the owners of licensed internees by getting the numbers off of the tags, cross checking the owners from the paperwork and notifying the owners. 

"Oh no Mr. Schmoe, we don't do that either. You need to come down and walk the kennels to see if we have your dog".  Of course I went down there and sadly, I never found Boss Whippet.

I  instantly realized that I was a sucker and resolved to never to license my dog again.

I don't know if you've ever walked the row atyour local shelter or not, but I can tell you it is a depressing experience. Most of the animals will be dead within a few days. If you were missing a dog, you had to go down there every day lest your dogs came in and then be disposed of.

In the following years, licensing requirements in my county were made stricter. The cost of licensing a non-spayed or non-neutered dog rose to $100 per year. Your dog must be micro-chipped before you can license it. Stuff like that.

I held my ground and though I always had my dogs vaccinated and sterilized, I opted not to give the county my money for the privilege.

The dog catchers came through the neighborhood a few times. They would pound on the door and if they heard a dog bark, the would leave a pre-citation notice on the door if no one answered. I threw them away. If I was home when they came, I just wouldn't answer the door.

Then, one fateful day last month, I answered the door without looking to see who was there. It was a county code compliance officer, one that the animal control people sent out to rustle up some money. It's pretty hard to deny being a dog owner when there are two yapping wiener dogs running around your feet.

The county sends the goon squad out to catch scofflaws like me and this time they succeeded. Fortunately I was able to provide proof of rabies vaccination and of altering so I only had to pay 25 bucks per dog as a late fee and regular licensing fees. As I am now on their radar, I decided to go ahead and register Zoie as well and maybe save myself some future grief.

I am told that as all licensed dogs have to be chipped, the shelter scans all dogs that they come to possess.  Sometimes, I am also told, the dog catcher scans in the field and returns the dog to it's owner without ever taking it to the shelter. I have my doubts.

Regardless, it appears that my original beef has run out of validity. The tactic of sending people door to door has succeeded in my case, the jangle of dog tags can once again be heard as the canines tear through the house. I have been brought back into line, though not without whining and gnashing of teeth.

I know animal control provides a valuable service and I know everybody was just doing their job. I just felt that the everyday Schmoe, the one paying the bills, should have been shown some love when it was needed. Just sayin'.

Thanks for reading,



  1. I know exactly what you're talking about. I can't walk the rows of cages at the local dog pound. I'd go nuts and you'd end up reading about me in the paper, although my County has gotten better since they got rid of Doggie Doc and reformed the Tonton Macoute.

    Getting your dogs fixed and getting them their shots is a great idea. Getting them chipped is also good, as all veterinarians are supposed to read the chip to verify the owner, or find the owner in the case of a lost dog.

    If the dog catcher picks up my dog, every effort under the sun should be used to reunite me with my best friend - but that isn't what they do, and may the damned dog catchers die in a fire for what they do every single they are on the job.

    Just my own rant.

    You're a good man, Schmoe. How's the new dog getting along?

    1. Well, Mad Jack, hopefully the chip requirement will be followed through on the dog catcher's end. Hopefully I will never find out.

      In the dog catcher's defense, they have a huge problem out here. Many people in the area have strong cultural ties to a place where dogs basically are left to their own devices and allowed to run the neighborhood and do as they please. When the dog becomes a burden, they just stop feeding it or they dump it off in another neighborhood or in the orange groves.

      THAT should be punished at the end of a Makarov .

      Zoie is doing well, very well in fact. Thanks for asking. An update post will coming in the next few days.

      Thanks for the comment

  2. "It's pretty hard to deny being a dog owner when there are two yapping wiener dogs running around your feet."

    Even in such a situation, was there a reason not to close the door on this person, and/or refuse to incriminate yourself? What kind of search warrant powers do/ought these guys have?

    1. Yeah, I could have slammed the door in her face, But then she could have petitioned the court for an administrative warrant and eventually would have been back, along with the sheriff.

      They might not have wanted to take the time to go through all of that, but I'm just guessin' that she would have been pissed enough to do it.

      Sometimes it's just easier to capitulate.

      Thanks for the comment.