By Nancy Bianchi
President, FAAS Board of Directors
Most people in Alameda renew their car licenses every year, keep their car insurance current and pay their taxes on time. Alameda citizens are very careful about following the law. Why, then, do only 25 per cent of pet owners in Alameda license their dogs and cats?
Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) assumed responsibility for the licensing process when we began running the shelter in January, so we’ve been asking that question. What we found in talking with people is that a number of myths keep otherwise law-abiding folks from licensing their pets as required by law. Some of the most common myths – along with the actual facts -- are:
- Licensing pets is voluntary.The Alameda Municipal Code requires that all cats and dogs living in households be licensed. This is a public health measure to assure that all domestic pets are current with their rabies vaccine and thus pose no threat to the community.
- Vaccinations are risky and I can't get a license without my pet being vaccinated. Vaccinations are safe and all pets should be vaccinated for their safety and the safety of people and animals with whom they come in contact. We will waive the vaccination requirement if your veterinarian verifies that your pet should not be vaccinated for medical reasons.
- Licensing my pet is too expensive. A pet license costs just a bit over $2 a month -- less if your pet is spayed or neutered or you are a senior citizen. Visit the FAAS website at www.alamedaanimalshelter.org for a list of licensing and other fees.
- It’s just another city tax. All proceeds from licensing go to the non-profit Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter, which uses it strictly for the benefit of the animals. Not a cent goes into the city treasury.
- It’s inconvenient. You can renew your license by mail as well as in person at the shelter. We’re working on a number of ways to make it even easier.
- I’ll get in trouble for not having licensed my pet before. We do not assess any penalty for people who voluntarily license pets regardless of whether they’ve been unlicensed in the past.
- It doesn’t do my pet or me any good. If your dog or cat is lost while wearing an Alameda license tag, it will be taken directly to the Alameda Animal Shelter and you will be called as soon as we receive it. Licensed pets are reunited with their families much faster than unlicensed pets. Also, dogs need to be licensed to use Alameda’s off-leash dog parks.
As an animal lover, you want the best for your pet and the other animals in our community. By licensing your dog or cat, you not only do the right thing for your pet but also for the human and animal community in Alameda. Licensing fees make up 10% of the revenue FAAS must generate every year through fees and donations. FAAS needs that revenue to create and maintain a comfortable environment for lost or abandoned pets, to educate the community about animal welfare and to advocate on behalf of all animals in the community.
Purchasing a license is more than a legal obligation – it’s a donation to the animals and an investment in a safer and more humane community. If your pet is unlicensed, contact us today at 510-337-8565. Your pet and everyone else’s will thank you.