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Pet license program is operating

King County has kicked off its program of assessing penalties to those who fail to license their cats and dogs.

The $75 penalty, which took effect April 1, is aimed at increasing the number of pet owners in unincorporated King County who protect their pets with a license. Owners of unlicensed pets will first be offered the opportunity to purchase a license before receiving a penalty. Those who refuse to license their pet after this opportunity will be assessed a $75 penalty.

The county touts the following benefits of purchasing a King County pet license:

• The first time a licensed pet is found running loose, King County will attempt to give it a free ride home.

• If a licensed pet ends up in a King County shelter, staff will hold it for a longer period and make every effort to call or write the owner to inform them that the pet is at the shelter and available for pickup.

• Owners of licensed pets are eligible for the Vacation Pet Alert program. You can alert King County when you are on vacation and provide the number for your pet’s caretaker so that if your pet gets loose, animal control staff can reach the right person in your absence.

• Your pet can be picked up at no charge at your home should you need to release it to King County.

• You can use King County’s humane euthanasia service at no charge if your pet ever needs the procedure.

In 2009, King County’s pet license fees increased for the first time in five years. The fee for a spayed or neutered pet is $30 per year. The licensing fee for an unaltered pet is $90 per year and both must be renewed anually. Discounts are available for owners of juvenile pets (under six months of age) and for senior citizens, who are eligible to purchase a license for the lifetime of each pet.

Licenses can be purchased online, by mail and at more than 100 sales outlets in King County’s service area, including many local QFC stores, local veterinary offices, city halls, general licensing locations, animal shelters, and King County community service centers. On the Plateau, licenses can be purchased at the following:

• Enumclaw City Hall, 1339 Griffin Ave., 360-825-3591

• Black Diamond City Hall, 25510 Lawson St., 360-886-2560

• Country Animal Hospital, 24407 S.E. 440th St., Enumclaw, 360-825-2061

• QFC, 1009 Monroe St., Enumclaw, 360-825-5155

For a complete list of pet license sales outlets or to purchase a pet license online, visit the King County Animal Care and Control Web site, www.kingcounty.gov/safety/AnimalServices/licensing.aspx.

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