King County offers amnesty to outlaw pet owners, urges people to license animals

July 1, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 1:35 p.m. July 1, 2010

Owners of unlicensed pets can license their animals without facing a fine until Oct. 1, as part of the updated animal control plan enacted Thursday.

King County, Issaquah and 26 other cities signed on to the two-and-a-half-year agreement last month. The pact includes a 90-day amnesty period for owners of unlicensed pets to purchase a license without facing a fine.

A no-tolerance policy for unlicensed pets goes into effect Oct. 2. Outlaw owners face $125 fines for unlicensed spayed or neutered pets, and up to $250 for unaltered pets.

Purchase licenses at more than 100 locations across the county, including Issaquah City Hall, veterinary hospitals and QFC grocery stores. Find the complete list here.

License fees for spayed and neutered pets remain unchanged at $30. Owners of unaltered pets face a $60 fee, down from $90. Every dog and cat older than eight weeks in unincorporated King County, Issaquah and other contracting cities must be licensed.

Seniors and people with disabilities can receive discounts. So can owners of pets up to six months old.

The agreement divides King County into four animal control districts, each staffed by at least one animal control officer. The county closed a shelter in Bellevue last month, but plans for the Kent shelter to remain open. The county estimates the Kent shelter will serve about 8,000 homeless and lost animals this year.

Issaquah City Council members agreed last month to join the regional plan for King County Animal Care and Control services. The agency handles responses to complaints about vicious animals, animal-cruelty investigations and pickups of stray animals.

The updated agreement calls for similar services, but puts more emphasis on pet licensing to help fund the agency. The county estimates raising $2.5 million to pay for the program, with most of the money coming from licensing fees.

The mayors of Mercer Island, Redmond, Shoreline and Lake Forest Park joined County Executive Dow Constantine for a ceremonial contract signing Thursday morning.

“Regional cooperation has been the key to redesigning King County’s animal care and control system,” Constantine said in a news release. “Each of the 27 partners in this effort has contributed to shaping the final product, and we look forward to working toward better care at lower cost over the two-and-a-half years of the city contracts.”

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