No more outlaw dogs and cats in Richland. Here’s what other cities do to police pets

Richland is dropping its pet licensing requirement, an acknowledgment that most dog and cat owners weren’t following the rules.

The city council voted to eliminate the unpopular pet licensing requirement from its animal control code.

The resolution takes effect after a second vote at the council’s June 18 meeting.

Richland’s 57,300 residents share their homes with an estimated 33,500 dogs and 36,600 cats, based on U.S. pet ownership statistics published by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Low compliance

If the owner of every pet paid $10 — the fee for altered animals — it would yield about $700,000.

Instead, the city collected just $42,000 last year.

Staff said that’s what it costs to administer the program, created to halt the spread of rabies, which the city said is no longer an issue.

Richland is eliminating pet licensing, citing low compliance among the city’s thousands of dog and cat owners. Noelle Haro-Gomez Tri-City Herald

The city stopped collecting the fees on the expectation the council would sign off on the move to drop it.

The rules applied to all cats and dogs over the age of 7 months.

The fee was $45 for unaltered dogs and cats, $10 for altered dogs and cats, $10 for show dogs and cats, $1 for pets owned by indigent people, $50 for commercial kennel licenses and $250 for dangerous or potentially dangerous animals.

The change does not alter the city’s rules for nuisance animals, strays and other animal-related issues.

The city pays Tri-Cities Animal Control $268,000 annually to manage animal related issues. The general fund, supported chiefly by property and sales taxes, pays the bill.

Pet licensing across the Tri-Cities

Kennewick dropped its pet licensing requirement several years ago, to the immense relief of spokeswoman Evelyn Lusignan. Lusignan said the license program was unwieldy and ineffective. The city encourages pet owners to participate in the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter’s lost and found pets program.

Pasco requires licenses for all dogs. It does not license pit bull terriers, deeming them “potentially dangerous.” For all other dogs, the cost is $55 for an unaltered animal, $15 for an altered one, $3 for low-income seniors with altered animals and free for service animals.

Three-year licenses are available at a discount.

West Richland requires licenses for dogs over the age of 7 months. The cost is $20 for unaltered animals per year or $10 for altered ones. Three-year licenses are available at a slightly discounted rate.

Benton City requires licenses for dogs. The cost is $30 for unaltered animals, $10 for altered ones and $1 for senior-owned animals.

Benton County requires licenses for potentially dangerous dogs but not for other animals in unincorporated areas. The permits are issued through the sheriff’s office. The code is based on Washington law and is available at bentoncountymunicipalcms.com.

Franklin County also regulates potentially dangerous dogs under the same Washington law as Benton County.