How licensing your pet saves animal lives
4/24/2013 10:26:38 AM
By Nancy Hill
Splash Guest Column
License your pet and prove that you care. Pet licensing may save the life of your pet and benefits the homeless animals in our community. Purchasing a pet license identifies your pet and helps to keep them safe. It also funds important animal protection programs literally saving animals lives.
The pet license is your pet's phone call home if your pet is ever lost and will instantly identify your pet as a family member. Most pets in our community are not licensed and if lost do not always find their way back home. Citizens finding lost pets in the community are much more likely to search for an owner if the pet is wearing a tag. SCRAPS animal protection officers can look up a pet license 24/7 and immediately return a lost pet home.
Pet licensing has been required by law for dogs for nearly a century and for cats since 1991. Each year, SCRAPS handles a record number of animals and only a fraction of those are actually licensed. A licensed pet is quickly reunited with their owners often without even coming to the shelter. Those that do arrive at the shelter generally go home with their owners within the first 24 hours of impoundment.Unidentified animals do not fare near as well. Unfortunately, for those unclaimed animals it is a daily struggle to find homes for them all.
Pet licensing also helps fund important animal protection programs in the community. Licensing funds a spay/neuter voucher program directly impacting the number of homeless pets at area shelters. Vouchers are issued to pet owners helping to make spay/neuter affordable. The vouchers are accepted by all area veterinarians. Licensing also helps fund animal cruelty investigations. Trained SCRAPS animal protection officers are out in the community daily responding to citizen complaints - making sure that animals are safe and have proper care.
Pet licensing is required by law for all dogs and cats more than six months of age. Licenses must be renewed annually and are good for 12 months from the date of purchase. Owners of unlicensed pets are subject to a $200 fine. Pet licenses may be purchased online at www.spokanecounty.org/scraps, by mail or at the SCRAPS animal shelter.
Along with pet licensing, there are other components to being a responsible pet owner. Your pet must be kept confined to your property, and dogs must be kept on a leash when walked. This is for your pet's safety as well as the community. It is important that you provide your pet with plenty of fresh water, wholesome food, exercise, love and regular veterinary care. Please do not leave your pet unattended in a vehicle especially on a warm day. Cars can heat up very quickly putting your pet at immediate risk of heat stroke. Owners may be charged criminally for putting their pet in danger.
Please remember your local animal shelter the next time you are looking for a new pet. The SCRAPS animal shelter has many homeless dogs and cats for adoption. Stop by our facility for a visit, and find a new friend in the process. Additionally, SCRAPS offers free dog training classes and valuable information on animal behavior to help you be a successful pet owner.
SCRAPS welcomes volunteers, giving them an opportunity to help make a difference in the life of a homeless animal. You may also make a charitable contribution to SCRAPS to help fund our animal medical program and humane education.
SCRAPS will become your regional animal protection provider beginning in 2014. Watch for more information on SCRAPS new facility and the regional program as we move forward with this project.
Nancy Hill is the director of the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS). For more on the program, call 477-2532 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.