10/16/2009 11:53:00 AM Is your dog current with rabies vaccine and license?
The Verde Valley Humane Society "Pet of the Week" is "Dakota." He is a black lab mix that honestly believes he is a lap dog. He's a little over a year old, so he's still a pup in many ways. Dakota is friendly with all, walks well on the leash and is begging for attention. He is simply telling the world that he wants a new home with a yard and people to love. His adoption fee has been discounted by $40 thanks to his friends Sparky and Dewey.
A few weeks ago I wrote part of this column about the new AZ State Statute going into effect on Sept. 30
Did you happen to read that column? I explained that if you had already complied with the laws, this new statute wouldn't really even apply to you.
The old law simply states that all dogs over the age of four months have to have a current rabies and license.
I have also written about how important it is to keep your pet's rabies vaccination current and to also make sure your dog has a current license.
This new statute is about animals that come into shelters that are being claimed by their owners.
Are you thinking that you are the owner, so how can the law tell you what to do? If that is your mindset you will soon find out how the law is meant for all of us.
Facilities cannot release a dog unless the law has been dealt with. Simply walking in and saying that the dog is yours and doing things the old way no longer applies.
It seems that many people didn't think that the law was going to apply to them, so of course we are the ones dealing with the heated tempers. As I think about it, how fair is that?
People getting angry with us can make our days very long and frustrating. We want the animals to leave with their owners, but only after the right steps have been taken.
Please understand that we didn't write the law but we do have to comply with the laws, all of them in fact.
Remember me asking if you thought that there was no way that this new law would ever apply to you because your animals stay inside and in your yard?
We already knew that the most careful pet owner can experience the painful event of a furry friend accidentally getting out.
The entire experience is very frightening for everyone concerned. Many people think that when Animal Control finds their animal running the street and then impounding the animal in a shelter it is a free service.
What about the concerned citizen that brought your dog in? Are you going to be mad because out of the kindness of their heart they kept your best friend from becoming injured?
Getting mad when you find there are fees to pick up your animal does absolutely no good. You will be charged the normal fees. Hopefully without the additional fees.
As you read on you will see there will be more fees added on if your pet isn't in compliance with the AZ State Statutes.
A multitude of people already have higher fees when they pick up their animals due to the fact that they haven't obeyed the Statutes that require dogs to have a current license and rabies vaccine in the first place.
Instead of being upset that you are paying fees rethink the situation. At least your pet is safe and has been well cared for.
Being impounded in a shelter has the same concept as a Day Care facility for your children. Would you rather have your furry best friend running in traffic?
You pay fees to have your children cared for and the children must also be current with their immunizations to even be allowed to attend school.
Thankfully your pet was picked up and turned in for its' own safety. He wasn't hit by a car and no one took him and claimed him for their pet since he was so adorable.
Many people are very grateful that their animal is safe and has been cared for. It's very hard for us when a lost animal comes in to us deceased.
Have you decided to read what the new law is about? Keep reading because I have the important parts in the column today.
What is the reason for this new statute? You be the judge and see what you come up with.
Working for a Humane Society I understand why they are enforcing it. The U.S. is so overpopulated with unwanted animals and there is no relief in sight.
The down side of this is that so many people have been laid off and many have lost their positions with a company that has been forced to downsize or close.
What can also make fees even higher is that the majority of people that claim their lost pets have also provided no current rabies or current license.
Unfortunately the animals aren't normally spayed or neutered which automatically tacks $50 more on the fees.
If you have complied with the rabies and license law, there are no additional fees and there won't be a problem.
The law doesn't make you pay the extra fees or get your animal altered if the correct steps have been taken.
Please understand that many of the animals that are impounded are repeat offenders. Animals impounded have often been with us more than one time.
According to the new law it doesn't matter if your dog got out just one time or if he or she is a repeat offender. You will be charged the same penalty.
Often it isn't an accident that the animal was running; it was more of a case of no one caring or taking the time to make sure the animal was contained in the proper manner.
This statute may also encourage people to spay/neuter more animals. We can only hope that it works.
VVHS and other shelters offer financial assistance if the cost of the surgery is more than you can handle at this time.
If you breed your dog, as long as he or she has a current rabies and license you have nothing to worry about.
So many people think that because their pet is a male that they have no reason to worry about altering their animal.
That thinking just infuriates me. Look at the damage they can do to the unaltered females that are also roaming.
This law would enforce the already mandated current rabies and license Statute but it would also encourage spaying and neutering.
What about the microchipping of an animal? After seeing so many animals come in with no collars or tags a microchip is the only way to go.
Upon arrival an animal is scanned for a chip. If a chip is located a phone call is made and we automatically have the name and phone number of the owner.
If we had more microchips placed in animals we wouldn't have so many unclaimed animals in shelters.
Why would someone not want their animal chipped? It is the best way possible to identify your animal when it comes into a facility.
Collars get lost or never even put on the dog, but the chip stays under the skin and can easily be read by the scanner.
On July 10 Gov. Brewer signed HB 2458 " dogs; cats; release from pound" into law.
Basically, this new Statute mandates that all animals entering any shelter be spayed or neutered and implanted with a microchip before being released to their owners unless any of the following occurs:
1. The dog has a current dog license at the time the dog entered the pound.
2. The dog or cat is already spayed or neutered.
3. There is no veterinary facility capable of performing surgical sterilization within a twenty mile radius of the pound.
4. A veterinarian determines that a medical contraindication for surgery exists that reasonably requires postponement of the surgery until the surgery can be performed in a safe and humane manner.
5. If the animal is quarantined, that the bite occurred in the premises of the owner and the victim is a member of the same household.
6. The owner pays a fifty dollar recovery fee, in addition to any fees or costs otherwise required pursuant to this article.
Already we are feeling the repercussions of the new law. People come in VVHS and get very angry because of the additional fees.
All facilities that house animals are to enforce the law as it is written. The penalty fee is to be placed in a spay/neuter program in the jurisdiction where the animal was found. In other words the money won't belong to VVHS and it can't be waived.
It's not too late to take care of this issue. Make a vet appointment and get your pet "legal" before you are one of the ones that the law pertains to.
If you are dogs are current on their rabies vaccination, stop in the shelter and purchase a license for your area.
What happens then? The problem is solved! Each year just keep your dog current with a rabies vaccine and license and there won't be any issues.