Finances remain tight for many in the Valley and in an effort to help families and their pets, the City of Murrieta and Animal Friends of the Valley have partnered to offer a “Dog License Late Fee Waiver Program.”
The program is a partnership between AFV and the participating cities and is called the Regional Coordinated Marketing Program & Reduced Licensing Fees. There will be 2000 microchips divided between four cities.
The program, which begins in Murrieta, allows residents in the city who have unlicensed dogs or expired dog licenses to comply with state and local laws without paying a late fee. The program is only for a limited time from July 14-31. The goal is to reduce pet overpopulation in the shelter by 10 percent and adoptable pet euthanasia by 15 percent in the next year.
“We have on a daily basis an average of 407 animals in the shelter,” said Kris Anderson, President of the Board of Director for Animal Friends of the Valley
In 2013, the shelter euthanized ten percent of placeable animals and 22 percent non-placeable animals. The shelter took in a total of 9,308 animals in 2013.
“Despite all the advertising and marketing we do, we need people to be responsible pet owners in case they get out,” Anderson said. “You can keep the animal for life if you spay or neuter, license and microchip.”
“We as a city were on board right away,” said Nancy Driggers, who manages the contract with AFV for the city of Murrieta.
“The city was so excited to offer their residents benefits they are trying to earmark even more funds to reduce the animals at the shelter,” Anderson said.
Dog owners are strongly encouraged to license during this period to avoid future late penalties and citations. State law requires that any dog over the age of four months or within thirty days of moving into a city must have a current rabies vaccination and a dog license.
In addition to late fee waivers, residents in Murrieta can receive a free microchip for their pets. A microchip is a foolproof way of identifying your pet. It ensures a safe return should the pet become lost. This free program will be available while supplies last.
“Based on shelters stats 90% percent of animals who arrive at shelter do not have chips and the animals that do have tags or chips go home right away about 95 percent of the time.” Anderson said.
“Two thirds of animals coming into the shelter are not fixed, despite all the programs and statistics on the importance of spaying and neutering,” Anderson said. “It’s a mentality of a disposable society is the reason we have shelters.”
“This is an opportunity for our residents. With a downturn in the economy there are people who can’t pay their fees and then they get accessed penalties and we will waive fees for this two week period,” Driggers said.
“This is a wonderful program and we hope the residents will take advantage of it,” he added.
Residents who qualify as low income in Murrieta can also receive a spay or neuter voucher for their dogs or cats. To qualify residents must prove they are low income and show proof of residency. To qualify as low income an individual must have a maximum income of $1,500 per month, a couple must have a maximum income of $2,500 per month and a family must have a maximum income of $4,000.
According to reports, the average costs for a single pet spay or neuter is $80 for dog and $50 for a cat.
Animal Friends of the Valley encourages residents in Lake Elsinore, Temecula and Wildomar to check their city’s websites to see when this program will be available in their community.
“We plan to hold a similar event in October for Lake Elsinore. We budget over $835k for animal control field and shelter services in Lake Elsinore,” said Nicole Dailey, a management analyst with the city of Lake Elsinore.
Dailey said the cities have not come together as a regional effort until now to help promote animal control.
Lake Elsinore has reduced their fees for the rest of the year to encourage licensing. Cats and dogs both need to be licensed in Lake Elsinore.
Temecula is awaiting city council approval according to Dailey and Lake Elsinore is considering October to hold their city program.
Please call Animal Friends of the Valleys at 951 674-0618 for further information. The shelter is located at 33751 Mission Trail in Wildomar.