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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane County animal control will start licensing pets again soon

A dog enjoys an off-leash experience Aug. 20 at the South Hill dog park behind Mullan Road Elementary School. Pet licensing through SCRAPS has been on hold for several months as the department transitions to a new licensing system.   (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Cat and dog owners will soon be able to license their pets again.

For the last several months, the Spokane Regional Animal Protection Service has been transferring its cat and dog data into a new licensing system.

That data transfer forced SCRAPS to temporarily stop issuing licenses, except in emergencies. The department has been deferring most licensing requests and renewals.

“For those whose licensing was deferred, notice of available licensing services will be sent as soon as our new (licensing system) is fully live,” SCRAPS Director Lindsey Soffes said in an email. “No late fees will attach.”

Soffes wrote that the new licensing system should be ready in a week or so.

There are a few important reasons for Spokane County pet owners to license their cats and dogs.

For one, it’s required by law. Pet owners can be fined up to $200 if SCRAPS finds their animal without a license.

Licensing fees, which range from $18 for a neutered cat to $53 for an unspayed dog, cover roughly 25% of SCRAPS’ annual budget. One of the department’s main jobs is to operate animal shelters, so the licensing fees effectively pay to house homeless animals.

Even if it weren’t required, owners have an incentive to license their pets.

SCRAPS estimates only 12% of county pet owners go through the required licensing process, but the department has a better chance of identifying pets and returning them home if they’ve been tagged.