Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bureaucratic Stupidity at It's Finest

I am a responsible pet owner: All of my animals are spayed or neutered, they are all micro chipped and they all receive their annual vaccinations.

Additionally, they all eat Iams food, receive their heartworm medication from April to October and are otherwise spoiled rotten.

They all have cushy pet beds (all over the freaking house), toys, treats and cuddles. They get bathed and groomed regularly and furminated once a month (God bless you, dear furminator). They go for walkies and van rides and camping trips. They each get to take turns going to Lowe's and they even have new puppy gates on the porch so they can be out front with us when we are in the garden.

Despite all of this, we are criminals in the eyes of Salt Lake County. You see, the law allows only two dogs per household within the county limits and we *gasp* have three.

It doesn't matter that that they are well cared for or that we can afford to provide for them. It doesn't matter how much we love them or how well behaved they are (a highly debatable subject).

It doesn't matter that shelters are full to overflowing because hundreds of thousands of families can no longer provide for both their children and their beloved pets in the increasing economic recession, and 'free to good home' ads go unanswered for weeks because nobody has the financial means to take on additional mouths to feed.

If the county wanted to, they could force me to give up or euthanize one of my dogs because I am in violation of their arbitrary county code, even though these dogs have been my family for the past ten to fifteen years (Fritz is ten, Sidney is thirteen and Casey is fifteen).

I can pop out all the illegitimate kids I want, and still qualify for welfare in this state, but I cannot keep three sterile, happy dogs because of some bullshit code.

Ironically, the above diatribe is not even what this post is actually about...

Despite my chafing at the restrictive language of the county laws, I still try to be as law abiding as I possibly can. County law demands that all dogs residing within the county lines be licensed with the Division of Animal Services. Since two members of my brood are legal, I keep their licenses current every year.

Historically, the fee for a non-sterile animal has been $25 and sterilized animals cost $5. The animal must maintain current rabies and bordetella vaccinations and you must provide proof of vaccination every year or risk additional fines.

Since both of my kids are fixed, it has cost me $10 a year for the past 8 years.

Wednesday I received Sidney's annual renewal reminder and the fee for her was $20!

Don't get me wrong, $20 is not a lot of money but....

The county decides to raise the annual fee by 400% for each pet during an economic recession when people are living hand to mouth and finding it increasingly difficult to continue to provide for both their families and their pets, thus exacerbating a problem of already epidemic proportions!!!

Way to think ahead, Division of Salt Lake County Moron Employment Service!!!

Had you eliminated your ridiculously limiting arbitrary laws in the first place, you could have been making money off of me for the past sixteen years by allowing me to have my four (when Bear was alive) dogs and charging me for them. I would have happily paid $20 a year for the past sixteen years to keep my pack legal.

Instead, I paid your pittance for two dogs, kept an additional two dogs illegally for thirteen years (fat lot of good your laws did you, huh?), thus depriving you of an additional $130 in revenue (multiply by at least ten thousand illegal dog owners in the county).

Now, because you spend God knows how many years cutting off your nose to spite your face (do you know how many residents in Salt Lake county have more than two dogs?), you've decided to bend me over and really give it to me good...

What? No lube???

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