Department of Animal Services

Robert P. Miller, Director

Public Information Office
CONTACT: John Welsh, PIO
O: 951-358-7045 or MEDIA LINE: 951-565-7934

Addressing Key Points in Dog Licensing:
Keeping People, Pets Safer in Communities

THURSDAY, May 29, 2014 – Recent questions about the county’s efforts to protect animals and ensure dogs are licensed
misses some key points, Riverside County Animal Services Robert Miller said Thursday. Miller said he wants critics of the
Integrated Canine Licensing Program (ICLP), especially in the Coachella Valley, to fully understand what happens when
they receive a citation.

“In the first place, if people properly license their family pets, any citation goes away,” Miller said.

“We believe in this program, but we are also open to hearing about ways to make it better,” Miller said. “We think we
should always try to make sure we’re communicating well with our pet owners. This program, even though well publicized,
continues to surprise and shock residents – and we’re hopeful this news release, and the potential, follow-up media
coverage, will help promote more widespread understanding and appreciation for this important program.”

Miller’s key points include:

1. Since 1933, a dog license has been required in California.
2. A dog license is only $16 for an altered pet.
3. A citation is a fix-it ticket. The dog owner may see a dollar amount on a bottom of a citation that shocks him or her,
Miller said. Some owners, with multiple dogs, may see citations with dollar amounts totally more than $1,000. We’re
not trying to shock people. But we know that the dollar amounts are getting people’s attention. However, the citation is
a correctable matter. If the dog owner complies with the citation, the large-dollar penalties associated with the citation
are dismissed. Again, it’s a fix-it ticket.
4. Will there still be costs to the dog owner? Yes, Miller said. The dog owner is receiving a citation from our department
because we do not have in our records a current dog license on file for the residence where the license inspector has
seen/heard a dog. The citation is meant to put the dog owner on notice that he/she must now become compliant with
state law. Getting a dog license for an unaltered dog is $100. Most pet owners, once cited, get the dog spayed or
neutered – something they probably wanted to do for a long time anyway, Miller said. That surgery will come at some
expense to the dog owner, of course, but then they will only be paying $16 annually for a dog license, instead of $100
every year for that same dog license.
5. A pet owner with multiple dogs will presumably face an economic hardship in trying to comply with the citation within
the 20-day timeline listed on the citation, Miller said. We encourage these dog owners to reach out to us by calling us
or e-mailing us and asking for extensions. Many dog owners have already done this. In fact, if our license inspectors
have made contact with a pet owner with multiple dogs at their property, the license inspector will often cite the owner
for one dog only, with the caveat that citations will follow for the remainder of the dogs at the home, Miller said. This
gives these dog owners the ability to become compliant, one dog and one month at a time, to avoid placing a severe
hardship on these pet owners. We’re always trying to work in concert with the dog owners, Miller said. But they also
must show us, too, that they’re willing to become compliant with state law.

This is not true. Note, Mr. Miller does not cite any statute to
support that statement. Which law is he referencing?
Which state law(s)?
I don't think any rational person would
consider the tactics employed by
RCDAS to be "working in concert with
dog owners".
This is not how the
citations are being
treated at all.
That's a ridiculous
This is likely a
result of poor
record-keeping on
the part of the city
and county, not a
failure of people to
If this is meant to put a person on
notice, why not issue a notice to
comply and information on HOW to
comply? Once again, a reference to
"state law", without citing the law.
The "program" doesn't surprise and shock
residents. The abusive and discriminatory
tactics employed to enforce the "program"
are shocking to anyone who knows what
RCDAS has been doing to people.
I have seen no evidence that this is a true statement. In fact,
this is precisely the opposite position that's been taken so far.
This is not just a simple misunderstanding that can be explained away in a press release. It's going to take more than that to rectify this situation.
When was this "well publicized"
After RCDAS got called out for
its draconian enforcement?
That same
license is only
$8 in Rancho
Mirage, Indian
Wells, and
Palm Desert.

6. Can the county extend the amnesty programs it offered? The city of Indio and the county worked together before the start of
the Integrated Canine Licensing Program (ICLP) kicked off officially with an amnesty period. The amnesty period allowed
dog owners to become compliant without facing any back penalties for failing to license their dog and it also allowed the
owners to avoid late fees. A similar amnesty program was conducted in the cities of Riverside and Jurupa Valley with great
success. Miller said that Indio’s amnesty period was extended multiple times and the total amnesty lasted six months. Many
residents took advantage of the amnesty but many others procrastinated, which is human nature, and failed to use the
amnesty as a great opportunity to get up to speed with state law, he said. Extending amnesty periods further would have to
be discussed by individual city councils for respective cities, Miller said. The county would be open to starting new
amnesty periods, if respective cities desired such strategies, he said.

Overall, the license inspectors are performing a highly unpopular task – but an important one in our bigger mission, Miller

“Who enjoys getting a ticket? No one likes getting one,” Miller said. “No one is happy when they come home and notice a
citation on their door knob. But no one wants to hear about thousands of pets getting euthanized each year either. No one
wants to be attacked by a stray dog. No one wants to have their pet killed by a roaming dog.”

Miller said the Integrated Canine Licensing Program directly benefits communities by making sure all dog owners are
compliant with state law, become more responsible pet owners overall and cities are safer because more owners are altering
their dogs after coming to terms with the citations.

“We are also providing some statistics with this news release which we believe help illustrate that we’re still dealing with
far too many dog bites in our communities,” Miller said. “Does an organized, dog-license enforcement program have a
benefit on public safety? Absolutely.”

Miller added: “Our strong theory has always been that altered dogs tend to lose their desire to roam and that means less
opportunities for bad things to happen, such as bites or serious attacks,” Miller said.

In the spirit of better communication, Miller said Riverside County Animal Services’ license inspectors will soon begin to
attaching information fliers with citations. The fliers will have detailed facts about dog licensing, why dogs need a rabies
vaccination and the county’s ordinances related to dog licenses and microchips.

The fliers will provide locations and organizations that have been trying to assist dog owners in getting their pets spayed or
neutered. The fliers will also include information about how dog owners can request extensions. Dog owners can call the
main shelter at 951-358-7045 or the Coachella Valley Animal Campus at 760-343-3644 during regular hours, or they can
simply send an e-mail to:

6851 Van Buren Blvd, Jurupa Valley, CA 92509
(951) 358-7387 y FAX (951) 358-7300 y TDD (951) 358-5124

But did they make this known to the public? If so, in
what manner? Was it effectively communicated to the
Or they didn't
know about
it, because it
publicized .
This is a
classic red
herring. It has
do with what
been doing or
why it's been
doing it!
It's not just a "highly unpopular task" -- it's being carried out in a highly questionable (at best) manner. This is a pretty transparent attempt by
RCDAS to try to downplay the situation and make it sound a lot less bad than it really is.
Yet another ambiguous reference to "state law". Which
state law, Mr. Miller? Do tell. Please, enlighten us.
Because RCDAS has been challenged on its tactics,
Please explain who has been trying to
assist dog owners and how.
What RCDAS has been doing can hardly be characterized as "an organized dog license
enforcement program".

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