Monday, March 14, 2016

Dog License For An Intact Dog

I have recently moved to Western Michigan from the greater Chicago area.  One thing I've noticed is that dog licenses are much more expensive if you keep an intact dog.  This is true if you regardless of whether you are a breeder or just have legitimate reasons for keeping your dog intact.

Here is how I have heard it explained:  Intact dogs are the reasons our shelters are being overrun.  Therefore, owners of intact dogs should have to pay more for the problem they are causing.

Sounds good, doesn't it.  You should have to pay for a service you are using.  I fly in a plane, I pay for a ticket.  There are toll roads in if you use the toll road, you should have to pay for its upkeep.  And if you keep an intact dog, you should have to pay for the burden that all of those puppies are placing on the system.

Fainomenon [GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
Too Many In Shelters?
All of those puppies...I wanted to see how bad things are in my county.  So I just did a search for puppies in my county.  There was 1.  As in "the loneliest number".  Then I did a search for all dogs.  Including the puppy from the earlier search, there were 44 dogs.

At this instance in time, in my county, puppies account for 2% of all the dogs in the shelter.  Where is the "overrun" that owners of intact dogs are responsible for?  If intact dogs and unplanned litters were overrunning shelters, would not puppies account for at least 25% of all the dogs in the shelter?

The truth is, shelters are not being overrun with puppies.  Unplanned litters are not the cause of overcrowded shelters.  Now, to be fair, I have not visited every shelters...there could be a glut of puppies in shelters in other parts of the country.  Just not here in Western Michigan.

Nor is there a glut of shelter puppies in the greater Chicago area.  Several years ago Crain's Business published this article which states what I am saying here: there is a shortage of puppies.

Why is it that shelters have too many dogs?  The overabundance of dogs in shelters is due to people getting dogs on a whim, and when they get too hard to care for, dumping them in a shelter.

Instead of charging extra for a dog license for an intact dog, I propose the following, which would really cover the costs of unwanted dogs:
  1. License fees are higher for dogs not micro-chipped.  
  2. When a dog shows up at a shelter, scan for the chip to find the owner.
  3. When a dog is surrendered or unwanted at a shelter: send the owner a bill.  You can get the owner info from the chip.  If no chip, you have already billed the owner with an increased license fee.

With such a plan, you are actually charging those who are contributing to the problem: those who see dogs as disposable.

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