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Old 08-24-2014, 09:27 AM
 
52 posts, read 71,447 times
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I didn't know my dog needed to be licensed in Arlington until it came to my attention by a neighbor who happened to mention it in passing. She wasn't mentioning it for my benefit, just a task she needed to take care of. My dog isn't seen by a vet in the county or groomed here. If it was never mentioned to me, how would someone know to look for that info? Especially when they don't own a breed considered "aggressive" (I use that term lightly b/c my tiny hound is much more aggressive than a pit bull or rottweiler).

I've lived in several States in at least 10 cities and NONE of them had/have a requirement to license your pet until I lived in Arlington. A tax on pets? Seriously? It may seem normal for some, but I've had pets all my life and always kept up with the regs (vacc. requirements and max # of pets per household). Why would a local government need to tax me for having a pet? What benefit to me or my neighbors does the $10 tax provide? I can understand if it's tied to a county-wide vaccination program or some other 'benefit' or service, but in my opinion it's just another tax to live in Arlington.
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,433,247 times
Reputation: 1033
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
That's a fair point. But I think that in practice--especially with laws against speeding--people will disobey a law if they believe it will benefit them, not hurt others, and not result in punishment. Very few of us don't go over 55 on the Beltway. Obviously, some laws are more important than others, but this is one that I think is stupid. I'm 100% for requiring pets to display proof of vaccination--but you get the metal tag from the vet's office. So the fee to the County is more like a donation--an optional one, I've discovered.
Well, I agree that speeding is an exception to the argument I am advancing and I really think that speeding is an anomalous example. Speeding is breaking the law where you can do it to varying degrees - from going 5 to 10 mph over the limit to recklessly driving at triple digits. And, it is a law where I think society as whole has decided that it is more of a rough guideline and that the real speed limit (i.e., the speed at which you risk getting a ticket or danger) is something higher than the posted speed limit. I just don't think it's a good point of comparison.

I think a good law to compare it to might be littering - laws that are not frequently enforced because it's hard to get caught, especially if you litter when no one is around. After all, I think my county government is pathetic, I'm not particularly satisfied with what they do to keep my local park clean, and I know I won't get caught, so next time I have some trash on my person, I'm just going to toss it on the ground in the park. I can get away with it, I think the law is stupid because no one enforces it, and I don't particularly like the park, so what do I care? You could argue that not licensing your dog is different because it doesn't really directly hurt others, but I would say it does - it is just more of a monetary harm to others. If you don't pay the licensing fee, it means others may have to pay more to account for someone who doesn't pay their share.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,433,247 times
Reputation: 1033
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrRuthie View Post
I've lived in several States in at least 10 cities and NONE of them had/have a requirement to license your pet until I lived in Arlington. A tax on pets? Seriously? It may seem normal for some, but I've had pets all my life and always kept up with the regs (vacc. requirements and max # of pets per household). Why would a local government need to tax me for having a pet? What benefit to me or my neighbors does the $10 tax provide? I can understand if it's tied to a county-wide vaccination program or some other 'benefit' or service, but in my opinion it's just another tax to live in Arlington.
Notwithstanding Carlingtonian's beef with the adequacy of Arlington's animal related services, is it really that hard to understand why a county or jurisdiction might have an interest in knowing which dogs are in the county, ensuring that they are vaccinated against rabies, and collecting a small fee to support the services the county provides with respect to animals? I've lived in 7 states and more cities than that and even big, liberal Montana had requirements to register your dog. It is not uncommon or unique to jurisdictions like Arlington.

I hate to say it - I'm not usually this combative on here - but I think your perspective is a perfect example of ignorance. You're ignorant of the services provided by local municipalities for animals and you're ignorant of the fact that it is very common practice in the United States for local municipalities to require the licensing of dogs.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:01 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,967,707 times
Reputation: 3858
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Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
Well, I agree that speeding is an exception to the argument I am advancing and I really think that speeding is an anomalous example. Speeding is breaking the law where you can do it to varying degrees - from going 5 to 10 mph over the limit to recklessly driving at triple digits.
And not paying a $10 fee that isn't enforced is analagous to going 5 mph over the limit. Not paying your property taxes is akin to going 30 mph over the limit. The former has no deleterious effect on others and is thus not enforced; the latter puts others at real risk and thus is enforced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
And, it is a law where I think society as whole has decided that it is more of a rough guideline and that the real speed limit (i.e., the speed at which you risk getting a ticket or danger) is something higher than the posted speed limit. I just don't think it's a good point of comparison.
But society hasn't decided that; individuals routinely decide to flout the speeding laws, but those laws were set (and are continued) by society through its appointed and publicly-funded representatives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
I think a good law to compare it to might be littering - laws that are not frequently enforced because it's hard to get caught, especially if you litter when no one is around. After all, I think my county government is pathetic, I'm not particularly satisfied with what they do to keep my local park clean, and I know I won't get caught, so next time I have some trash on my person, I'm just going to toss it on the ground in the park. I can get away with it, I think the law is stupid because no one enforces it, and I don't particularly like the park, so what do I care? You could argue that not licensing your dog is different because it doesn't really directly hurt others, but I would say it does - it is just more of a monetary harm to others. If you don't pay the licensing fee, it means others may have to pay more to account for someone who doesn't pay their share.
Littering hurts others; it creates ugliness and (eventually) odors and disease. Refusing to pay the $10 fee does not. Even if everyone stops paying it, no one is hurt--monetarily or otherwise. Your claim that "others have to pay more" is false. Everyone is billed $10 per animal. The County does nothing with the money other than fork it over to the do-nothing, part-time animal control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
Notwithstanding Carlingtonian's beef with the adequacy of Arlington's animal related services, is it really that hard to understand why a county or jurisdiction might have an interest in knowing which dogs are in the county, ensuring that they are vaccinated against rabies, and collecting a small fee to support the services the county provides with respect to animals?
Not at all. And all the County would need to do would be to periodically check for the required "rabies vaccinated tag" on the collars of dogs being walked in public. But that would require actual effort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
I hate to say it - I'm not usually this combative on here - but I think your perspective is a perfect example of ignorance. You're ignorant of the services provided by local municipalities for animals and you're ignorant of the fact that it is very common practice in the United States for local municipalities to require the licensing of dogs.
Wow, you're really tossing that word around at people today. I actually am not ignorant of what services the County provides and doesn't provide--especially for animal control. I've had a raccoon in the attic--no help at all. I've called when I've had run-ins with people who walk their dogs off-leash--but AWLA animal control doesn't answer the phone on weekends. As to keeping a list of pets and tracking vaccinations--the County is ALREADY finding out about a dog's presence from the vet, who can surely tell the County at the same time that the dog's vaccinations are current. In fact, the current system only punishes people who take their dog to an in-County vet. The SOBs who never take theirs to a vet are never detected by the County.

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 08-24-2014 at 10:16 AM..
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,433,247 times
Reputation: 1033
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
And not paying a $10 fee that isn't enforced is analagous to going 5 mph over the limit. Not paying your property taxes is akin to going 30 mph over the limit. The former has no deleterious effect on others and is thus not enforced; the latter puts others at real risk and thus is enforced.
I don't agree that it doesn't hurt others. Again, setting aside your experience in Arlington, I believe most municipalities try to adequately provide animal control services, and I believe the licensing fee goes to support those services. If you don't pitch in, others are going to have to pick up the slack for you. The monetary costs is less than not praying property taxes, but it is still there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
But society hasn't decided that; individuals routinely decide to flout the speeding laws, but those laws were set (and are continued) by society through its appointed and publicly-funded representatives.
I don't agree. I think the vast majority of people speed and view the speed limit is something that can be passed. I also think our representatives deliberately set the speed lower than the typical flow of traffic and what would otherwise be a safe speed knowing that most people will go over the speed limit. I've heard it said by many, if the speed limit were 65, everyone would go 75, if it were 75, everything would go 85. I agree with that perspective, and I think our appointed and elected leaders know that when deciding the posted speed limit on any given road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Littering hurts others; it creates ugliness and (eventually) odors and disease. Refusing to pay the $10 fee does not. Even if everyone stops paying it, nothing bad happens. How does it monetarily hurt others? The County does nothing with the money other than fork it over to the do-nothing, part-time animal control.
That is your belief with regard to Arlington County, that the money goes to do nothing. I don't live in Arlington County and I have no experience with their services, so I can't really speak directly to that. In most municipalities, I don't believe that is the case. In Fairfax County, I have had several interactions with animal control services, and I have found them to be very professional and responsive to calls and requests for action. But, I suspect neither one of us really knows whether the money we do or don't pay in dog license fees is well spent. It is surely spent on something that the county does and, if I choose not to pay, the money is going to have to come from somewhere else and that is where everyone else pays more for my decision not to pay. Do you have concrete evidence that the money paid in dog license fees does absolutely nothing, i.e., it is akin to not even being spent? I suspect it goes to at least paying someone to do something (which, in your opinion, is equivalent to nothing), but you choosing not to pay is not going to cause the county to stop paying that person. Rather, they are going to continue to pay that person, and if they can't get enough money from all of those that are supposed to pay, they are going to raise the fees for the people who do pay.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:20 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,967,707 times
Reputation: 3858
Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
I don't live in Arlington County and I have no experience with their services, so I can't really speak directly to that.
But you already have. You just said I'm ignorant for (your assumptoin) not knowing what those services are, when in fact I do, based on experience (as specified above). I think there may be a word for that...
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,433,247 times
Reputation: 1033
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Wow, you're really tossing that word around at people today. I actually am not ignorant of what services the County provides and doesn't provide--especially for animal control. I've had a raccoon in the attic--no help at all. I've called when I've had run-ins with people who walk their dogs off-leash--but AWLA animal control doesn't answer the phone on weekends. As to keeping a list of pets and tracking vaccinations--the County is ALREADY finding out about a dog's presence from the vet, who can surely tell the County at the same time that the dog's vaccinations are current. In fact, the current system only punishes people who take their dog to an in-County vet. The SOBs who never take theirs to a vet are never detected by the County.
But, do you actually know where the money in dog license fees goes? Surely, the dollars are spent on something. In your opinion, it is money not well spent and no real services are provided, but that doesn't mean the money is not spent on something. Do you think if enough people refuse to pay dog license fees, they are simply going to stop spending the money on whatever it is they spend it on? I think that is naive. What is more likely to happen, in my opinion, is that they will raise the fees for all of those who do pay and, thus, hurt others.

Not being satisfied with the services provided by your county is understandable. But, when you choose to take matters into your own hands because of your unsatisfaction by choosing not to pay legally required fees, others are going to have to pay for your decision.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,433,247 times
Reputation: 1033
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
But you already have. You just said I'm ignorant for (your assumptoin) not knowing what those services are, when in fact I do, based on experience (as specified above). I think there may be a word for that...
I can't speak directly to that, but I can speak indirectly. Again, do you think money sent to the county is simply not spent? Do you think they will stop spending the money on whatever it is they spend it on if enough people choose not to pay or do you think they will simply raise the fees for all the people who do pay?
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:35 AM
 
7,958 posts, read 9,695,980 times
Reputation: 13999
Not to get caught up in the fight, but there is a valid reason (in my opinion) not to license your dog. Counties require certain vaccinations to receive your license. A good friend of mine has a dog who had a severe reaction to some vaccines and has been told by multiple vets that additional vaccines might kill the dog. That being said, she spends an exorbitant amount of money titering her dog to make sure his antibody levels are sufficient to protect him from each disease. Her county does not recognize this, but requires the vaccinations. So, instead of putting her dog at risk, she chooses not to license her dog. Although all of my dogs are licensed at all times (even paying the 3x fee for un-fixed dogs), I fully support her decision.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:40 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,740 posts, read 8,967,707 times
Reputation: 3858
Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
But, do you actually know where the money in dog license fees goes? Surely, the dollars are spent on something. In your opinion, it is money not well spent and no real services are provided, but that doesn't mean the money is not spent on something.
Yes, I do: it's spent on funding for AWLA, as I stated before. And AWLA is not enforcing the laws. The fact that AWLA uses the money on something is not relevant; it isn't using the money for what it was intended for. In fact, AWLA seems to have a real problem with bang for buck; its president/CEO as of 2012 earned $158,000 in total compensation that year, but AWLA adopts out fewer animals per dollar of said compensation than do comparable organizations in other cities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
Do you think if enough people refuse to pay dog license fees, they are simply going to stop spending the money on whatever it is they spend it on? I think that is naive. What is more likely to happen, in my opinion, is that they will raise the fees for all of those who do pay and, thus, hurt others.
And those people are free to refuse to pay as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
Not being satisfied with the services provided by your county is understandable. But, when you choose to take matters into your own hands because of your unsatisfaction by choosing not to pay legally required fees, others are going to have to pay for your decision.
The word is "dissatisfaction," and your prediction is not accurate. The fee has been the same for years, and many people either don't know it's required (because they take their dog to an out-of-County vet) or refuse to pay it. In addition, Arlington every year has a cash surplus; last year it was $200 million.

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 08-24-2014 at 11:01 AM.. Reason: Updated AWLA CEO salary per IRS form 990 in link.
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