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Canvassers take to the streets to find and register L.A. canines

February 24, 2010 |  5:12 pm

A recent City Council decision means a crackdown on unlicensed dogs in L.A. (and a boon to the city's coffers). A motion unanimously approved by the council Tuesday directs L.A. Animal Services to coordinate with the Department of Water and Power, which keeps records of residences with dogs. Our colleague Carla Hall has the details in a story Wednesday; here's an excerpt:

License There are 4 million people in the city of Los Angeles and who knows how many dogs. Of its canine residents, the city is sure only of this: About 120,000 are licensed -- as required by law -- and a lot of others are not.

"Nobody has ever done a census. It's anyone's guess how many are out there," said Kathy Davis, general manager of L.A.'s Department of Animal Services, who declined to pick a number. "But we certainly don't assume we have all of them licensed."

In this time of budget cuts, that spells opportunity for revenue.

Dogs don't make money. But the City Council is betting that going after their owners for license fees will help fill L.A.'s cash-starved coffers.

A license for a sterilized dog costs $15. An owner with an unaltered dog has to pay $100 -- plus possibly $120 more for the breeder's license technically required for unaltered dogs. (There are exemptions for some canines, including service dogs.)

If, as council President Eric Garcetti contends, roughly two-thirds of the city's dogs are not licensed, that could mean at least an additional $3.6 million in fees even if all those scofflaw dog owners paid only the lowest license fee.


Photo: Animal license canvasser Alex Marquez receives a license payment from a dog owner on Feb. 23. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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