Committee to re-examine pet ordinance

"After more than a dozen people asked them to streamline the pet licensing process and make requirements and fees more equitable, the Kitsap County Commissioners began discussing the nuts and bolts of a citizens' committee Aug. 9.Constituents complained the ordinance currently is geared more toward fees than animal welfare, said Commissioner Charlotte Garrido. Though nothing has been formally established, commissioners hope to vote Aug. 21 to put together a committee of between five and 10 people who will examine other ordinances, conduct public meetings and talk to people who would be impacted by a new pet licensing ordinance. Garrido said the work group will examine how the commissioners should change regulations to ensure licensing work will pay for itself.Pet owners want a better ordinance, she said, particularly because some of the terminology is inaccurate.Humane Society director Diane Webber said she will be on the committee to help with the re-write. There is a lot of cleaning up that needs to be done, she said, adding the ordinance must be more user-friendly. We know what it means because we work with it everyday, but people who need to abide by it need to know what it means.A deputy prosecutor likely will attend one or more of the later meetings to ensure the direction the new ordinance is taking is legal.After 60 days, the committee would return to the commissioners with a new pet licensing ordinance. I'm pretty hopeful based on the comments I've heard, said Commissioner Tim Botkin.The county currently contracts with the Humane Society to charge and administer pet licensing fees, though the fees are not intended to offset the agency's operating costs. In 1999, the Humane Society collected $132,085 in pet licensing fees.The commissioners will pick the members of the committee from those who have expressed an interest, including Humane Society members. We felt like we had some really good people show up for the meeting Monday (Aug. 7). There was a strong interest there, Garrido said. "

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