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Humane Society wants to change dog-licensing system

The Kitsap County Humane Society is pitching a proposal to the Kitsap County commissioners and local cities to drastically change the pet licensing system.

“If we’re able to pull this off, we’ll have more officers on the street, and be more able to return animals to their owners,” Jake Shapley, the Humane Society’s operations director said. “The only downside is that (pet owners) will see the license fee go up.”

Currently, the city of Port Orchard collects a one-time licensing fee, keeps the lion’s share of it, then pays a portion to animal control, Shapley said.

The Humane Society is in a financial “tailspin,” he continued, and the organization feels “the license fee amount is too low.”

“It doesn’t even cover processing the license, let alone returning someone’s stray animal to them,” he said. “We suggest adjusting the licensing amount to cover those costs.”

The fee would also be charged yearly, rather than once, and go directly to the Humane Society.

Pet owners will be willing to pay more for the license, Shapely contends, because they’ll get more for it than what they’re getting now.

The Humane Society plans to connect the license with a 10 percent savings program for pet-oriented products and services.

“Your average pet owner pays $800 per year per pet,” he said. “That means they’ll save (approximately) $100 per year, per pet, just for getting a license.”

Pet owners who get the license will also drastically increase the chances that someone will return it if it’s lost.

Under the current one-time licensing system, pet owners don’t often update the contact information associated with the license.

Under the proposed system, they would have the option to update their contact info each year, and they could add up to three secondary contacts, in case they’re unavailable.

The Humane Society is building a software program for people to manage their licenses online.

“It’s a one-stop shop for people to license their animals, renew or update their information,” he said.

The software program would connect with microchips embedded in the animals, so that when they’re scanned, the owner’s current contact information is provided.

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