Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Cat Tax

I rarely agree with Daniel Weintraub of the Bee, as he's one of those who believes that any monies given the rich cannot help but ennoble them, while the smallest sum given the impoverished encourages moral turpitude on the part of said poor (yes, I'm stealing here from Lewis Lapham). But his piece in Sunday's paper on Sacramento's cat tax was on the mark. The cat tax is a $10 a year fee for keeping a cat in Sacramento. That's if the feline is spayed or neutered; the fee is much higher if a resident's companion cat is not fixed. The money is collected to support the city's animal control system.

Weintraub's undocumented cat was caught the same way our cat, Dash, was trapped. As part of a check-up at the veterinarian, Dash was given a rabies vaccination. Our veterinarian is required to turn in any cat receiving a rabies vaccination to Animal Control. If the cat doesn't show up as licensed, the human caretakers are mailed a bill. (It should be noted that many people who have cats don't have them vaccinated for rabies. A strictly indoor cat doesn't need the vaccination, so for most cat staff, it's an unnecessary expense. Since our cats go outside and we have squirrels in residence and other wild creatures who visit the yard, our cats are vaccinated against rabies.) Failure to pay can result in escalating fees and, eventually, calls from a collection agency.

When we received the bill for Dash, we were irritated, but paid the bill. (Since Dash's rabies vaccination is good for three years, we paid $25 for a three-year license.) We were irritated because the people who are going to be caught in the rabies trap are those least likely to cost Animal Control money. We're the people who spoil our cats, who have hundreds of pictures of them, who get them rabies vaccinations ferhevensake.

If Animal Control wants to go after the people who cause animals to be turned in, they should look at their own statistics. The most common reason animals are turned in is that landlords won't allow tenants to bring their pets with them when they move. If Animal Control wanted to go after the people responsible for pets being turned in, maybe a tax on landlords who don't permit pets would be more appropriate.

Emma is still unlicensed. She'll get caught when she gets her next rabies vaccination in October.


Elaine Vigneault said...

I agree with you that if they wanted to really solve the problem instead of wanting to create revenue that they'd go after landlords and other things that make responsible pet parenting more easy.

A. Mercer said...

I love the construction of your argument, lol.