Politics

The Man Bites Dog-Owners

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Here is what Los Angeles, the city with the highest-paid City Council in the country, is doing to close its perennial budget gap:

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A license for a sterilized dog costs $15. An owner with an unaltered dog has to pay $100—plus possibly $120 more for the breeder's license technically required for unaltered dogs. […]

If, as council President Eric Garcetti contends, roughly two-thirds of the city's dogs are not licensed, that could mean at least an additional $3.6 million in fees even if all those scofflaw dog owners paid only the lowest license fee.

On Tuesday, the council unanimously approved a motion to have the Department of Animal Services coordinate with the Department of Water and Power, which keeps a handy database from its meter readers of residences with dogs.

The task of locating unlicensed dogs falls to eight full-time canvassers for the Department of Animal Services, who roam the city looking for canines with no licenses or expired licenses and handing out information on spaying and neutering.

Just a few miles from City Hall, canvassers Carliose Lane and Alex Marquez were going door to door Tuesday afternoon on a quiet South L.A. street. In a day, they will canvass as many as 50 homes, chatting with residents in English and Spanish and convincing people who suspiciously eye their uniforms of dark green slacks and jackets that they are neither police nor immigration officers.

The story saves the best bite for last: It's all about saving the important government job of door-to-door revenue-squeezing!

Garcetti says the stepped-up effort to license dogs is good for the city as well as the canvassers.

"It will be a real loss to the community if we lose the services they provide," he said. "This will help protect their jobs as well as the services."

Mark my words: Cat owners will be next.