Public Health

The Fine for Vaccinating Your Cat

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I recently received the following notice from Dallas Animal Services (double emphasis in the original):

Thank you for being a responsible pet owner by vaccinating your pet against rabies. Texas State Law requires all cats and dogs over the age of 3 months to be vaccinated regularly for rabies. In order to monitor compliance with state law and to prevent the spread of rabies all City of Dallas residents are required to register their pets annually with the City. (Sec.7-4.2 of City Code). Failure to register your pet may result in late fees and/or citation.

The letter instructs me to send the city a check for $7 ($30 if the animal is "unaltered", $17 if it's been more than 45 days since the rabies shot) along with "a copy of the current rabies vaccination certificate." All this may seem reasonable, in light of the threat that rabies poses to people and other animals, but it makes little sense to me. The city knows I have a cat (three, actually) only because I took him to the vet and had him vaccinated. So in what sense is the city monitoring compliance when it tells me to send a check and a copy of the vaccination certificate? It already knows my cat is vaccinated; it says so in the first sentence of the letter. What it's actually doing is taxing people for complying with the vaccination requirement. Meanwhile, the people who aren't complying don't come to city's attention until their cat or dog bites somebody.

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  1. Also, vaccinating your pet is bound to give Fluffy teh autism.

  2. Instead of requiring vaccinations, how about we just make rabies illegal? Big government the people win again!

  3. How would we even know if a cat gets autism?

    What, would they spend their time by themselves, refusing to associate with people and freaking out over mundane stuff?

  4. This is why you should take your pets to the back-door Mexican vet on the east side of town.

  5. If dogs and cats are outlawed, then only outlaws will have dogs and cats.

  6. How would we even know if a cat gets autism?

    They’d file class action lawsuits against vaccine-makers.

  7. Cats don’t kill people. Texans with cats kill people.

  8. The only time I’ve ever registered any of my pets with the city is when the pound picked my last dog up after she dug her way out under the fence.

    I figured after we called a city councilman to authorize overtime so somebody from animal control would release her that night, it was the least I could do.

    Could be worse, though. When I lived in NC they charged you a personal property tax on your dog.

  9. Jacob, my town is the same way.

    The only way they new I had a cat was because I had to take him to the vet and get him vaccinated . The vet made me get him vaccinated because he fucking hates the vet and attacks anything that moves, so it was either vaccinate the animal or risk it being quarintined for 10 days if it bites the vet/assistant.

    Now the city sends me annual letters telling me I need to register my cat and pay them a fee. The saving grace of all this is that they make exceptions (although it isn’t spelled out in the letter) for indoor only cats. If your cat is an indoor cat then you don’t have to get the vaccines or the license. But it still all seems very silly

  10. Abdul-

    But does that mean that the cat is autistic? It could just mean that the cat is thoroughly integrated into American culture.

  11. Couldn’t you just lie and say the cat died?

  12. Are you really that dense or are you just testing us? Once you pay your $7 the city gives you a tag or something which the pet wears around. If a city agent (ie police — are there still have dogcatchers anywhere?) finds a suspicious animal they can check if they’re licensed and if not they can start with the real fines or other sanctions.

  13. Wow. If some city official came up to me and said I had to register my cats, EVERY YEAR, I’d laugh in his face. The idea seems utterly preposterous.

    What, would they spend their time by themselves, refusing to associate with people and freaking out over mundane stuff?

    That describes one of my cats EXACTLY. I just thought she was retarded.

  14. Jacob: It seems to be the problem is that you are thinking logically. This is government. So why bother with logic?

  15. How is this different from any other registration fee? You can drive without a license or insurance, and no one will ever know unless you get in a car accident.

  16. G, your theory would make some sense if it weren’t for the fact that the vet gives you the tag right away, when you get the cat vaccinated. Ours are in a folder somewhere, instead of dangling from the cats’ necks. But even assuming that every vaccinated pet wears its tag, the mailing of the check together with a copy of a certificate verifying the vaccination the city already knows about accomplishes no further regulatory purpose that I can see.

  17. I refuse to register my dogs.. I’d love to own a gun, but that’s harder and riskier to not register, which I would also refuse to do. I don’t register my car until I get pulled over every year. I almost made it two years this time.

    Nothing like paper work and pointless errands to bring out my civil disobedience.

  18. jb,
    “How is this different from any other registration fee? You can drive without a license or insurance, and no one will ever know unless you get in a car accident.”

    In my state you have to register your car and there are stickers you have to put all over it… that’s how I always get caught… not having the correctly colored $400 sticker on my car.

  19. Bite me.

  20. I don’t know what you all are getting so upset about. They aren’t talking about cat confiscation, just cat registration. Your right to bear cats is still protected by the constitution.

    Having these records available gives the police a valuable tool in solving and preventing cat-related crimes. They’re targeting cat-criminals, not law-abiding cat owners. If you’re not misusing your cat, you have nothing to worry about.

    That’ll be $30 please.

  21. When I lived in NC they charged you a personal property tax on your dog.

    And I’m guessing it’s the same type of lawmakers who say Michael Vick can’t legally promote dog fighting.

  22. Prestone anti-freeze is an effective vaccination against undocumented animals.

  23. They will take my pussy when the pry it from my cold, dead hands.

    (Sorry. It had to be said.)

  24. BrotherBen- And baseball bats, when applied to the knees, are an effective vaccination against shitheads who poison animals.

  25. Virginia just passed a similar stupid and offensive law where if you take your dog in to get a rabies shot (that is, you do the RIGHT thing) then the vet is forced (let’s call it what it is) to give your info to the county so it can send you a registration bill for your dog. Of course, this is bad for dogs, since some people may not take them to get the shot if they know this will happen, bad for the owners because their privacy is violated, and bad for the vets because their client relationship is intruded upon. What a truly stupid and offensive law…

  26. Mr. Nice, it’s also bad for the tax-collectors’ moral character. Just sayin’.

  27. M, I don’t think any further damage can be done to their moral character. It is too far gone.

  28. Ah, that’s my Christianity rearing its stubborn head again. 😉

  29. Jacob,

    I’m surprised we have to answer this one for you. When government enforces these types of regulations, they can only enforce, license, charge, and apply fees to those people that are ‘known’. You fucked up, you registered your cat with the government, now they know you exist, they know you’re compliant, so they can throw the random “administrative fee” at you and they know you’ll pay it.

  30. I quit registering my dogs too. When I gave it some thought, I couldn’t figure exactly what I was buying. Haven’t registered them for the last five years – nothing different than before. I do give several hundred dollars to the Utah human society every years. Gave a few hundred to the national HC for Katrina too. I think a better investment than funding the local pound.

  31. I’d love to own a gun, but that’s harder and riskier to not register, which I would also refuse to do.

    Couple times a year someone who just moved into the state finds out I teach gun classes and asks me where to register their firearms.

    Answer: You don’t. This is Texas.

  32. Patriotic and nationalistic Jews hated them because they were agents of the Roman government, the conquerors, and hated them with a double hatred if (like Matthew) they were Jews, because they had gone over to the enemy, had betrayed their own people for money.

    The first covetous Jew?

  33. In our neighborhood, Animal Control came door-to-door asking if you owned cats. Since there was a cat in the window eyeing the AC officer disdainfully, the answer was, obviously, yes. Turns out one is supposed to register cats in LA County! With penalties tacked on for having neglected to register in the past, no less. Who knew?

    The statement containing the grand total owed for this pound kitty was left on the door the next day, when the officer came through again collecting paperwork and extortion money. Threw the bill away – haven’t heard a thing since.

    Fully expect a SWAT team to break down the door at 3am some morning searching for the contraband kitty.

  34. In our neighborhood, Animal Control came door-to-door asking if you owned cats. Since there was a cat in the window eyeing the AC officer disdainfully, the answer was, obviously, yes.

    First rule: Deny everything, Baldric.

    Officer can ‘drop the ticket’ on the floor, and you can later deny owning a cat. You’d better make sure the cat isn’t seen from then on out, though.

  35. Gave a few hundred to the national HC for Katrina too. I think a better investment than funding the local pound.

    If you are referring to the HSUS thanks a lot motherfucker.They spent your Katrina money on lobbying for the New Mexico and Louisiana cockfighting bans.

    Under English common law don’t cats own themselves? Or belong to the Crown or something. I know their status is different from dogs.

  36. What you’re actually buying is a cat license. We have them here in Albuquerque. I wonder why they just don’t call it that?

  37. You’d better make sure the cat isn’t seen from then on out, though.

    That’s sick. I’ve hidden cats from the landlord before… but now you have to hide them from the authorities? Disgraceful. And what do you get for your cat-tax? Some horrible kill shelter? No thanks.

  38. Shortly after we got cats our county made it mandatory that all cats (including indoor cats) get vaccinated for rabies and register with the county. We never filled out any type of registration, yet we got notices in the mail to show up at our vet, get the cats vaccinated, and register with the government.

    I wonder who could have possibly have told the county that we had cats? I mean, it’s not like there’s anybody who has an incentive to make us come into their office and spend $100.

    Making indoor cats get vaccinated is absurd. They have almost no chance of getting rabies… the chances that I’ll get rabies are many times as high. Yet they don’t make people get vaccinated for rabies. Why? Because it’s dangerous and the chances a person will get rabies are about zero. But who cares about the health of the cats when there’s a cool hundred bucks on the line.

    Anyway, our cats died. Darn. The county could send goons to our house, tear it apart, and they won’t find our cats… Who are dead.

  39. I hate cats and hate the government; a perfect storm.

  40. What you’re actually buying is a cat license.

    I’m going to be very disappointed if Eric the .5b doesn’t show up soon.

    “He is an ‘alibut.”

  41. Also, vaccinating your pet is bound to give Fluffy teh autism.

    Fluffy is autistic? His/her posts seem so cogent.

    Hey, did anybody remember to send in the forms for Viking Moose? Oh, and should we get him fixed, or leave him ‘unaltered’?

  42. If you are referring to the HSUS thanks a lot motherfucker.They spent your Katrina money on lobbying for the New Mexico and Louisiana cockfighting bans.

    Fine with me.

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