a while back we got a postcard in the mail from the seattle animal shelter. it was addressed to “resident” at our address, so i’m assuming it wasn’t a personal type of thing, but the front of it read,

“Are you harboring a fugitive?”

and it had a really cute photo of a pug and a bizarre photo of a really puffy cat who looked completely freaked out standing like in a police line-up.

so, like, hahahaha- it was a postcard about getting your pets licensed, and it had lots of useful info about how and where to register your pets so you- and they- would be in compliance with Seattle Municipal Code Section 9.25.050 (thus helping you- though probably not them- avoid a $125 fine per animal).

in general i have a problem with codes that require you to get permission with things you should just be allowed to do. if the city is concerned about rabies vaccinations (which may or may not be a legitimate concern), i say let them require rabies vaccinations and the vets should issue tags along with the shots. if the animal control people find an untagged animal they should do whatever, but making people jump through hoops just to own an animal- especially one who may never come into contact with other people or animals just seems excessive to me.

(off-topic, yet not- i was watching hoarders last night on netflix and i had this same feeling. so many people were ticketed or fined for nuisance-y type violations. i hear that cities want to keep people basically safe, but if someone wants to collect a lot of junk in their own home or be filthy in their own home, why is that anyone else’s business????)

in any case, to have a “legal” dog in seattle, you have to pay $47 dollars/year for an “unaltered” animal and $27/year for an “altered” one. for a two-year license it is $69 for “unaltered” and $37 for “altered”

since i am assuming they are not referring to tattoos or piercings, and since i’m guessing they don’t give you money off for mutilations like docking your dog’s ears or tail, i can only think the “altering” they refer to has to do with whether or not your dog can procreate.

now i totally understand that the world has way too many unwanted animals. i completely agree that it is a tragedy that so many animals are put down every single day because there are more animals than owners and more strays than families and more accidental litters than loving homes. that’s part of the reason we always adopt from exactly those circumstances and never from backyard breeders or pet stores or even actual breeders (not that i am criticizing people who make different choices; there are reasons for breeding too…).

but here’s my deal: we happen to have a few great animals. over the years *h has been asked numerous times if his husky might have a litter of puppies because people have been very interested in them. not only is she very beautiful, but she happens to have a pretty chilled out disposition (chicken-killing aside, of course. hahaha. really, though, this obviously isn’t an issue for most people, and overall she really is a good dog. okay, *h- i said it!). but she won’t have puppies because we did the responsible thing and had her spayed as soon as she was old enough. we figured this as part of the cost of adopting her and it never occurred to us to do otherwise. but i won’t say there haven’t been times over the years that we have regretted that decision.

and because of this regret, i am a bit more hesitant about neutering epic. i really don’t know if i will want puppies from him one day or not. he is certainly gorgeous. as a puppy he is goofy, but so far a very good boy. obviously i will have to see how his personality develops, but if he stays and all-around great dog it isn’t such a slam-dunk decision that i would never want to breed him.

i know people make money from letting their boy dogs do their boy thing, which i think is vaguely scummy, but i won’t say an outright no to it right now. i know sometimes people lend out their boys and in exchange get the pick of the litter of puppies, which i think is thrilling, but which would probably turn me into an animal hoarder (this is actually not so funny, and is something i think i might truly struggle with emotionally. luckily i have a very low threshold for grossness, so i think that would keep me in line. the mess of too many pets is just intolerable to me…).

honestly, i could see epic being the kind of dog where one day people are interested in adopting some of his offspring. getting shelter dogs is truly noble, but there is something to be said for knowing the personality and history of the parent dogs that your dog comes from. and let’s just say: epic rocks.

but it bothers me that, as a responsible dog owner, i have to pay extra for the privilege of keeping my dog’s fertility intact. it’s like a sperm tax. for every year that i don’t emasculate him, i pay to keep my options open. i know it would be better if i looked at it like the people who spay and neuter actually get a break on their dog licensing fee. but i don’t.

instead i feel like the city is trying to keep the animal fraternizing down to a minimum. they don’t want people’s pets cruising around like it’s spring break in cancun and ending up on youtube embarrassing seattle. they don’t want a bunch of messy hook-ups and one-night-stands and daytime TV shows about ‘who’s the daddy of my 13 litters?’ and ‘what happens when you aren’t clear on what species your offspring are?’.

so they offer pet owners cold hard cash to “alter” their animals. it’s the capitalist way. incentive people to do what you want.

i have to ask myself what it’s worth to keep epic unadulterated. i am prepaying a stud fee to the city of seattle on the outside chance that i will let him get lucky one day.

put like that, i feel dirty, and the city of seattle should too.

put like that, i want to send the seattle animal shelter a really generous donation in lieu of a payment, keep my dogs up-to-date on their rabies vaccines, and never ever license them again. because i really just want seattle off my back and out of my business. if someone does something wrong, then deal with them.

but don’t prophalactically penalize people because you’re afraid someone else might do something wrong someday.

and don’t mess with my dog’s manhood.

not even for a price.