Where Does Your Dog License Fee Go? - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Where Does Your Dog License Fee Go?

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If you live in the cities of Richland and Pasco, you have to pay a fee to have your dog licensed every year. NBC Right Now did some digging to find out where that money goes. If you live in the cities of Richland and Pasco, you have to pay a fee to have your dog licensed every year. NBC Right Now did some digging to find out where that money goes.

NBCRightNow.com  - If you live in the cities of Richland and Pasco, you have to pay a fee to have your dog licensed every year. NBC Right Now did some digging to find out where that money goes.

According to the cities, that money is going right back into controlling animals, but in the city of Kennewick they are able to do without the annual fees. That has some dog owners asking ‘why should I renew my license this year?'

"Do you need to license a chihuahua? Probably not," said Cassandra Smith.

If you live in Richland or Pasco a license is required for any dog. The licensing fees go right back into funding for Animal Control. In fact the City of Pasco pays more into animal control than it gets from the $10 annual fees for spayed or neutered dogs and the $45 fee if your dog is not fixed. But what happens if you do not pay those fees?

"That's a ticketing offense at least in the city of Richland. The city of Pasco actually can go much farther than that," explained Angela Zilar the Director of the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter and Animal Control.

As of the end of this month, your license will expire. If you do not renew, it shows up in a database and city employees will pay you a visit and may even hand you a fine. The city says licenses help them reunite lost dogs with owners, regulate the number of dogs a person can own and check up on rabies vaccinations, which are required by the state.

"It's a difficult process for us because the City of Pasco and our database are not the same," said Zilar.

That makes it rather difficult for a license to help find a dog's owner. Just because each license sold in the Tri-Cities says Animal Control on it, it does not mean Animal Control can look up that dog's information.

"It's helpful but it's not helpful. It's kind of a catch 22," said Zilar.

"I think if Kennewick can do without it then why should Pasco and Richland?...unless it's serving a purpose that I'm unaware of," said Smith.

While it is not always easy to reunite dogs with owners, licenses do work sometimes and even vaccination tags can help locate owners. The Dog Park Society says their park in Richland is funded primarily through the city, another example of how those fees are actually helping dog owners in our area.

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