We have four cats, all indoor, spayed, microchipped. We weren’t thrilled when Toronto introduced a bylaw requiring that cats (and dogs) be licensed, so we ignored it. So did everyone else we know.
A couple of years later, a co-worker said that he’d received a warning in his mailbox along the lines of, “License your cats, or . . . or . . . you’ll be fined!” A few days later, guess what was in our mailbox? Oh yeah.
We have one of those stickers on our front door that says, “Pets Inside!” along with how many cats we have. I have no idea why we stuck it on our door. I doubt a firefighter would run into a burning house to save a strange cat (I, however, would seriously consider it if one of my girls was inside, and yeah, it would be a totally stupid thing to do!). I guess the animal control patrol was in our neighbourhood looking for hardened criminals who hadn’t licensed their cats and dogs, and they arrived on our doorstep.
Since our cats are spayed, we get a discount and pay 15 bucks per cat, rather than the regular $50, so that’s $60 (we have four). I said to my partner, “Now we’ll be dinged every year.”
Flash forward one year . . . came home tonight and guess what’s in the mailbox? An envelope containing the license renewal reminder for our cats, right? Bzzt. Wrong! Four envelopes, one for each cat, at 54 cents a pop. Inside each envelope, a renewal notice on a thin sheet of paper and an insert about donating to animal control.
Gads, what to say? Was there a reason they couldn’t put all four renewals in one envelope, since they were going to the same person at the same address? In our recycling bin, there are now four envelopes, four renewals (since I renewed online rather than through the mail), and four inserts. And the city spent $2.16 on postage when it could have spent $0.54. $1.62 would buy a couple of cans of dog or cat food. Since many folks have more than one cat or dog, I wonder how much money the city wastes on this every year that it could be spending on the animals in its care.
And the insert asking for a donation? Dear Animal Control: Please consider the $60 I just paid you to renew my cats’ licenses as my donation. After all, I won’t be getting anything in return for my $60 except for four renewals in four individual envelopes next year. Thank you.
Gotta love bureaucracy!
Update (September 27, 2010): A bit of an improvement this year. The renewal notices came in separate envelopes, but the receipts came in one. So we’re halfway there!