Response Letter from Regional Animal Services of King County regarding Pet License Canvassing

Letter-Stamp The following letter is in response to an opinion piece published earlier this week (see Animal Control to Canvass Your Neighborhood Looking for Unlicensed Pets)

Dear Mr. Butcher,


I took notice of the posting “Animal Control to Canvass Your Neighborhood Looking for Unlicensed Pets” from 8/26/2013 ( )and I wanted to offer some additional information.


First, let me thank you for licensing Molly. That license truly does protect her with identification if she is ever lost.  The best possible outcome for lost animals is returning them quickly to their owner.  A pet license makes that possible.


Licensing is also the primary means to fund the efforts that protect people and animals.  This includes investigating reported animal bites, vicious attacks, and nuisances.  Sadly, we also investigate cases of abandoned, neglected or abused animals.  License fees also fund a safe place for unwanted, lost or abandoned animals by supporting a high live release animal shelter.  This often ignored, but important part of public safety makes Kirkland a safer and better place to live, work and play.


Does canvassing make sense? Let's look at some numbers.  In 2012, King County spent $45,580 on canvassing, and brought in $100,257. So for each dollar spent on canvassing, two dollars of revenue are returned. Plus, if canvassed owners renew their pet's license annually as they should, that investment continues to support the important animal services that we provide.  Clearly, canvassing does make sense economically.


It may be helpful to understand that Kirkland, under its agreement with King County, receives these canvassing services as part of its licensing support. There is no additional cost to the city. The fees paid by Kirkland residents stay in Kirkland to pay for its animal care and control. No one likes paying fees. But I believe that our communities, and our animals, deserve the protection supported by pet licensing. I hope you agree.




Gene E. Mueller, DVM, MPH

Manager - Regional Animal Services of King County