License your pets – or you’ll pay a price

If you’re in the unincorporated side of White Center – make sure your pets are licensed, or else you may pay a price. That’s the bottom line on this news release from the county this morning:

King County will take a proven approach to enhancing pet licensing in
2009 with the introduction of a penalty for failing to license cats and
dogs. The $75 penalty is aimed at increasing the number of pet owners in
unincorporated King County who protect their pets with a license.
Penalties will begin to be issued on April 1st.

The introduction of a penalty for failing to license pets is modeled
after the successful City of Seattle program that increased pet
licensing after the agency instituted licensing fines. Owners of
unlicensed pets will first be offered the opportunity to purchase a
license before receiving a penalty. Those who refuse to license their
pet after this opportunity will be assessed a $75 penalty.

“The new penalty will get people’s attention but licensing your pet is
really about being a responsible pet owner,” said Carolyn Ableman,
Director of the Records and Licensing Services Division. “It is simply
a tool that will increase the chances that you will be reunited with
your dog or cat if it get lost by making sure animal control staff have
a record of how to reach you. We’re confident that this new penalty will
increase the number of pets in unincorporated King County that are
reunited with their owner, rather than housed and put up for adoption at
the county’s expense.”

There are many benefits that come with a King County pet license:

* The first time a licensed pet is found running loose, King
County will attempt to give it a free ride home.
* If a licensed pet ends up in a King County shelter, staff will
hold it for a longer period and make every effort to call or write the
owner to inform them that the pet is at the shelter and available for
* Owners of licensed pets are eligible for the Vacation Pet Alert
program. You can alert King County when you are on vacation and provide
the number for your pet’s caretaker so that if your pet gets loose,
animal control staff can reach the right person in your absence.
* Your pet can be picked up at no charge at your home should you
need to release it to King County.
* You can use King County’s humane euthanasia service at no charge
if your pet ever needs the procedure.

In 2009, King County Pet License fees increased for the first time in
five years. The fee for a pet license for a spayed or neutered pet is
$30 per year. The licensing fee for an unaltered pet is $90 per year and
both must be renewed each year. Discounts are available for owners of
juvenile pets (under six months of age), and for senior citizens, who
are eligible to purchase a license for lifetime of each pet.

King County Animal Care and Control is striving to become completely
supported by pet license revenue and other fees, and not reliant on
general tax dollars. The agency is about three-quarters of the way

Licenses can be purchased on-line, by mail, and at more than 100
convenient sales outlets in King County’s service area, including many
local QFC stores, local veterinarians, city halls, general licensing
locations, animal shelters, and King County community service centers.
For a complete list of pet license sales outlets or to purchase a pet
license on-line, please visit the King County Animal Care and Control
website at

The revenue from pet license sales supports King County’s animal care
and control program, providing shelter, adoption services, and medical
treatment for more than 12,000 cats and dogs that come through county
shelters each year. Licensing revenue also supports animal control
enforcement, and to bring those that abuse animals to justice through
the animal cruelty investigation program.

King County is building a model animal care and control program that
focuses on saving lives through proactive licensing education and
enforcement, enhanced pet adoption programs, and a stronger veterinary
medical program. Pet license sales provide the primary revenue source
needed for this important effort. In the last two years, King County has
used pet license revenue to make significant improvements to its animal
care program, lowering the euthanasia rate to 21 percent, making it one
of lowest in the country. Pet license revenue has also been used to
revamp King County’s animal cruelty investigations program, increasing
the number of cases sent to prosecutors by more then 300 percent.


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3 Responses to “License your pets – or you’ll pay a price”

  1. It frustrates me that this exists but there is no legislation for problem dog owners.

    Why is it that good owners have to pay for bad owners in addition to animal control whose responsibilities include dealing with wild animals that have nothing to do with pets?

    Why would you encourage bad dog owners to not walk their dogs (at the risk of being busted for not having a license)

    And finally why would you encourage bad dog owners to abandon their dogs at the risk of being fined.

  2. Dick Thurnau Says:

    Lakewood Park / Hicks Lake has high usage of owners walking their dogs, but leaving them run unleashed is very concerning with students from the two schools that frequent the Park it is not the best combination.The new animal Licenseing law is great but who will enforce.
    Illegal Alcohol usage in this Park can not even be controlled. Dick Thurnau

  3. Who would refuse to license their pet when they are facing a penalty?