WA county's plan to increase pet licensing working

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VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) -- Clark County's plan to get people to license pets by quadrupling fines appears to be working.

The county's animal control manager Paul Scarpelli says that licensing activity is up by 300 percent compared to this time last year.

The Columbian reports that the hiked up fines take effect July 1. At that time, for example, a fine for having an unlicensed do increases from $25 to $100 per animal. Under the new rule, people who ignore the first fine get a second $200 fine. Should that fail a $400 fine follows or a lien against the owner's property.

The cost to license a pet will not increase.

Scarpelli says pet licenses pay for an array of services, including coyote trapping.

Approximately 19,000 dogs and 6,000 cats are licensed in the county. Based on national statistics on pet ownership, that means less than 20 percent of dogs and 5 percent of cats are licensed.

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Information from: The Columbian, http://www.columbian.com