An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
KAMLOOPS DOG OWNERS complaining about new late fees for tardy payment of annual dog licences don’t deserve much sympathy.
Non-payment of dog licences has been a thing in Kamloops since anyone can remember. About half of owners don’t feel obligated to pay them.
If you own a spayed or neutered dog in Kamloops, the fee is $30 a year. If you own an intact dog, it’s $65.
If you don’t pay by Jan. 1, you’ll have to come up with an extra $32.50 for a late penalty. That last part is new and, judging by public reaction, a lot of dog owners are in that boat.
Not that they weren’t given ample warning — almost a year and a half, plus several reminders.
But complaints have reached the ears of Coun. Denis Walsh, who wants administration to rescind “and reassess” the late fee for neutered dog licences and move the deadline to Jan. 15.
Walsh also wants the penalty reduced to 50 per cent of the dog licence fee or some other “more workable option,” and to refund all late charges already paid by the owners of neutered dogs this year.
He thinks the amount of the late penalty for unfixed dogs is too high, and that Jan. 1 isn’t a good deadline because people are busy with other things during the holiday season.
There’s nothing wrong with a $32.50 late penalty. It needs to be high enough to get people’s attention and, clearly, it has. Dog owners get good value for their taxes — control of stray and dangerous dogs, lots of dog parks and great walking trails.
Because of this, dog owners and non-dog owners are able to live in relative harmony.
So, relax the deadline to Jan. 15 in future years if that helps but leave the amount of the fine where it is. There’s certainly no good reason to refund late-payment penalties this year.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.