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Jump in dog license fees draws complaints about cats

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LIHUE » Kauai County has approved a hefty fee increase for dog licenses, and dog owners are wondering why people with cats have not been asked to help pay the cost of animal control.

The Council on Wednesday increased the price of a two-year license for dogs that have not been spayed or neutered to $50 from $6, an increase of more than 800 percent.

A two-year license for altered dogs was increased to $15 from $2.

The Council has been trying to close a gap between the money it provides to the Kauai Humane Society for animal control services and the nonprofit group’s expenses, The Garden Island reported. The Humane Society annually spends about $1.1 million, or $300,000 more than what the county provides.

"They have been coming here and telling us for about five or four years that their fundraising is subsidizing county-contracted operations," Councilman Tim Bynum said. "And in those years they didn’t receive any increases. We basically said, ‘Thank you very much.’"

Society Director Penny Cistaro said after the vote that the increase is reasonable. The new fees are projected to bring in about $170,000, she said.

Fees for hunting dogs also will go up, but hunters will continue to receive a break. They will pay $15 for their first dog and $7 for each additional dog, even if the dog has not been spayed or neutered. Hunters provide a community service by controlling the feral pig population, Bynum said.

Opponents of the measure said it discriminates against dog owners. The Humane Society spends $366,000 annually on cats, but owners pay no fees.

Councilwoman JoAnn Yuki­mura said she will introduce a bill to set license fees for cats.

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