The city of big brotherly love
As part of the city’s newly amended animal code, veterinarians, groomers, pet shops and dog walkers are all designated as agents of the city, authorized to sell dog licenses and – here’s the scary part — expected to turn in customers who fail to get one.
Those operations “must report people who decline to license their dog,” according to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Under the changes in the law, which went into effect in mid-February, the newly increased minimum fine for having an unlicensed dog is $500.
Brian Abernathy, chief of staff to the city managing director, said the idea for a stricter law came about two years ago, when it was reported that only 5 percent of dogs in the city — about 25,000 of an estimated 400,000 — were licensed.
Other revisions in the law require that all shops that sell dogs must have them spayed or neutered, unless an exception is made and an owner has a license for breeding. Owners of dogs that are not spayed or neutered must pay an annual licensing fee of $40 instead of $16 for sterilized dogs.
The revised law contains some progressive measures, but requiring all those whose jobs involve dogs to become licensing clerks — and snitches — seems bone-headed, and a shirking of responsibility.
“They are dumping it on everybody else because they weren’t able to do it,” veterinarian Howard Wellens said of the city. “I am not happy with being the policeman for someone without dog tags.”
Wellens, a vet at Queen Village Animal Hospital, said the law could put veterinarians in a position of declining treatment to dogs who aren’t registered — or withholding treatment until licensing takes place.
Abernathy said he doubts that would happen: “Under no circumstances do we expect a vet to turn away a sick animal,” he said. “That is not the expectation of the law and not the intent.”
Abernathy said that stores, shelters, and hospitals could collect a $2 fee for each dog license sold.
That seems a pretty small price to reap in exchange for losing a customer’s trust, if not a customer.
Requiring stores that sell dogs – and unlike some cities, Philadelphia hasn’t banned that — to issue licenses makes some sense.
But expecting groomers, veterinarians and dog walkers to become doggie deputies is asking — or is it ordering? — too much.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 9th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: agents, animal control, animals, businesses, dog, dog walkers, dogs, groomers, licenses, licensing, pet shops, pets, philadelphia, registering, registration, report, selling, snitch, snitches, unlicensed, veterinarians