Business license flap dogs Battle Ground councilman

Reinhold sold canine treats without one, in violation of city rules

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 
photoAlex Reinhold

By his own account, Alex Reinhold worked for two years perfecting the recipe of his Garbanzo Delight dog treats. Yet, when it came time for the three-term Battle Ground councilman to finally sell Uncle Alex’s Dog Treats Saturday, he did so, city officials said, without the license the city requires for business vendors.

Reinhold registered his business with the state in January 2011, started advertising the treats on his Facebook page in mid-2011, launched a website in August 2011 and handed the treats out to friends, including Battle Ground Mayor Lisa Walters, for free, along the way.

Still, when he arrived at the Battle Ground Village Open Market in a dog costume Saturday, he did so without the proper paperwork.

Reinhold requested a $60 business license for Creative Canine Designs last week after city officials notified him “as a courtesy” that he needed one, said community development director Robert Maul, noting the councilman should receive his license next week, at the latest.

The city of Battle Ground requires anyone doing business in the city to pay the licensing fee. It does not matter whether the business is based in Battle Ground or not, Maul said.

Reinhold will not face any fines associated with the city business license, Maul said. The ordinance’s intent is not to penalize business owners but rather to have them “comply with local regulations adopted by the council,” Maul said. The maximum fine for failing to acquire a city business license in Battle Ground is $500.

Reinhold did not secure a city business license earlier, he explained, because he had not sold anything.

“I haven’t collected any sales tax,” he said about his business, which sells treats, collars, bandanas and urns for dogs.

The path to becoming a business required patience. It took seven months to get approval from the state’s Depart

ment of Pesticides and Feed Management to sell the treats, Reinhold said. The self-described technology-challenged Reinhold started the website months in advance to work out kinks, he added.

Reinhold theorized one of his fellow council members had created a fuss about what he considered a nonissue.

Ironically, Reinhold vocally criticized Vancouver city council candidate Bill Turlay for a similar mistake.

“Everyone does this so its [sic] not a big deal,” Reinhold wrote in response to a Sept. 22 article titled, “Council candidate lacked city business license.” “Although it does make one wonder if you can’t quite follow the regs for who needs a business license, how are you going to handle council policy, which is all government speak?”

Walters and other council members said they did not believe Reinhold had sold any items prior to Saturday.

Fellow councilman Mike Ciraulo said he knew little about Reinhold’s business, aside from what he read about it in a May 1 blog post on The Columbian’s website titled “Uncle Alex’s Dog Treats”. Ciraulo pointed out he had purchased a business license for American Fire Co., his wildland fire contracting company.

“We’re the ones who make the laws,” Ciraulo said. “We should be the first to follow the laws.”

Councilman Adrian Cortes echoed Ciraulo’s comments.

“Obviously, we want everybody to comply with the law, whether they’re a councilman or a citizen,” Cortes said.

Ray Legendre: 360-735-4517; http://www.facebook.com/raylegend;http://www.twitter.com/col_smallcities;ray.legendre@columbian.com