Why the different treatment for cats vs dogs? Dog licensing fees provide extra resources

Why the different treatment for cats vs dogs? Dog licensing fees provide extra resources

My friend found a lost dog and when she called Animal Services, they came and picked the dog up from her house. I recently found a stray cat in my neighborhood, but when I called, I was told that not only did I have to bring the cat in myself, but that there would be a $10 fee! Why the different treatment for cats vs. dogs?

Let me first reassure you that we do care about dogs and cats equally. The difference lies in the fact that Washington County’s animal code does not have any particular provisions or rules about cats. The code gives us our authority and outlines our responsibilities when it comes to managing animals in Washington County. Some nearby counties require licensing for cats just like dogs, while others do not accept cats into their shelter at all, also because of their respective codes and the resources available to provide those services.

With dogs, the licensing fees paid by dog owners provide the resources for us to send an officer to pick them up and not charge finders a fee to intake the animal. Because cats aren’t required to be licensed, and because of the unique challenges involved with regulating, finding, catching, and housing cats, we are unable to pick them up or waive the intake fee for finders. Some people might prefer to license their cats, knowing it could provide extra services. Other people are strongly against regulating cats in any way. In Washington County the current code allows us to provide services for cats by taking them in, and the fee we charge helps pay for that service.

We are extremely grateful to the caring community members who are willing to spend the extra time and money to help the lost or stray cats that they find by bringing the cat to us and paying the $10 fee. You can access the code (under “laws to know”) and a handout on keeping cats out of your yard (under “fact sheets and guides”) on our website

Each month, you will have the chance to have your questions answered by the animal shelter. Email your questions to Jennifer_Keene@co.washington.or.us and we will try to answer as many as possible.

For more information on these topics and more, please visit www.WashingtonCountyPets.com. The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter is located at 1901 SE 24th Ave in Hillsboro.