Letters to the Editor

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COUNTY: License required for deceased dog?

Letter by Dianne Moore, Gig Harbor on Aug. 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm with 49 Comments »
August 20, 2012 1:14 pm

After I received a final notice that the pet license for my dog expired, I mailed the notice back to the Pierce County Auditor’s office along with an invoice from a veterinary hospital stating that my 17-year-old dog was euthanized in June 2011.

The employee who opened my communication did not bother to read the invoice, was not able to read the invoice or read the invoice and didn’t understand it. She then put the final notice, the invoice and a form letter with a check mark next to “Submit a check payable to the Pierce County Auditor, you did not submit a check with your licensing documents” in an envelope. She addressed the envelope to me with my first name misspelled and mailed it back to me at a cost to Pierce County of 45 cents.

Obviously pets die. I was trying to be conscientious by informing the county of this fact so that it could update their records. It would save the county (and taxpayers) staff time and money if it did not send out notices for pets that are no longer alive.

I suggest the county include a new check box on the notices so pet owners can indicate when they no longer have a pet and perhaps provide proof like I did. Better training for their employees would also help.

Leave a comment Comments → 49
  1. Dianne, I just renewed my pet license last week. I appreciate your dilligence and concern. For the first time, I noticed that they have a box to check if you would care to donate to the county to support animals. I did it and I would recommend that anyone concerned about animals also send in a donation to help support them. It’s a worthwhile program since there are so many self-absorbed and un-caring people out there and the animals are the innocent victims of this kind of behavior.

  2. LeePHill says:


    Rule #1 – don’t make a mistake in your job execution. It might cost your employer 45 cents in postage and the end user will spend an hour drafting a letter to the newspaper about the event.

  3. Next time do not use a word with more than two syllables. Just say the dog is ‘dead,’ not euthanized.

  4. WOW.

    Talk about missing the point.

  5. SandHills says:

    Just provides more justification for some to never get a pet license. Vet care and rabies shots yes, but avoiding the county pet license system (especially for an indoor cat) might not be a bad idea to save the hassle and a few bucks.

  6. fanciladi says:

    Apparently you gave them too much information and they couldn’t handle it. You did your part…good, and for their part, they added more stress to you after the loss of your pet…not good!

    Pets are family and losing one can be hard…I’m sorry for the loss of your pet!

  7. Pecksbadboy says:

    There are a lot of better places to send funds than to the local Pierce County Auditor. The Humane Society of Tacoma/Pierce County do what they can but the funds you send to the the Auditor may or may not even get to them.

    The city of Tacoma cares nothing for animal welfare other then getting their cut from mandatory license fees.

    Noah’s Pet Project, Pasado’s Safe Haven and any non kill shelter is a better use for any funds.

  8. Dave98373 says:

    Sorry for the incompetent county worker and the insensitive remarks here by the usual discontent. In the future, if you have another pet you can go to the county webpage and update the pet’s status (passed on, change of ownership, etc…) within the county free of charge.

  9. MyBandito says:

    Not worthy of an LTE.

  10. Cheryl Tucker says:

    This is an example of a letter that was approved for online only. I thought it was interesting and well-written – minimum qualifications for an online-only letter. The issue is narrow enough, however, that it won’t be a print letter.

    Cheryl Tucker, editorial writer

  11. David1964 says:

    Ever heard of a mistake? It happens, you know, even in the private sector (oh! hard to believe, huh!). I’ve also sent back a notice to the county informing them that my cat had died, and I didn’t even have a doctor’s note. There were no problems with the county worker making the changes without bothering me again.

  12. I shared this letter with County Auditor Julie Anderson, who said that Ms. Moore’s handwritten message was missed by a member of the Auditor’s Licensing staff. The worker felt terrible about it. Her supervisor sent a handwritten note of apology to Ms. Moore. The county auditor sent a note of her own.

    The Auditor’s Office processes more than 26,000 pet licenses a year, and this was a matter of human error. They understand how hard it is to lose a pet, and they regret the mistake.

    Hunter George
    Pierce County

  13. Next month the dog may get summoned for Jury Duty or even vote in the upcoming election.

  14. MyBandito says:

    Cheryl Tucker- Thank you for the explanation. Obviously, the TNT cannot print/accept letters from all of those who experience a glitch in the system. Most of us could fill your mailbox with minor complaints such as these.

    As David1964 said, It was just a mistake. Maybe Ms. Moore was traumatized by losing her dog, but, come on…….

  15. lylelaws says:


    I have always said that dogs are the best animals on Earth, (especially) if humans are included.

    If you would like to see something that will make you smile and cry at the same time, punch up “The man who swims with his nineteen-year-old dog in Lake Superior every day.”

  16. johnnywombat says:


    I send to you my heartfelt condolences over the loss of your dog. I have two of my own, one coming on in years and have recently lost my two old (ancient) cats, ages 19 and 18 years to old age. I know the pain of the loss of a pet.

    It’s too bad this error happened, especially since it caused you so much anguish. It would seem that a simple phone call could have/SHOULD have cleared this matter up for you.

    You take care.

  17. johnnywombat says:

    Oh, just one more comment. When my old lady kitty Miss Beanie passed last October, it took me about three months to get my vet hospital to quit sending me vaccination reminders and I did have to get a bit surly with them on the phone. They finally removed her from their database, but it is painful to be (unwittingly perhaps, but) IGNORANTLY plied with reminders that your pet is dead which I am sure was not their intent, but still. I said in my past post that a simple phone call should have cleared it up for you, but in my case it took several. Several phone calls, several (three) months…

  18. Condolences on the loss of your friend, Dianne. Hopefully, the pet license database comes nowhere near the voting database. And I’m not being sarcastic – there are more and more cases being discovered where pets actually are registered to vote.

  19. itwasntmethistime says:

    Reminds me of when my mother died. The lawyer handling the probate for her estate wouldn’t close it, even though all the requirements had been satisfied. He did, however, continue to bill us for the hours(?) spent corresponding with us long after he should have wrapped it up. We didn’t like the guy, but we could really tell we chose a lemon when he sent my mother a Christmas card in the middle of settling her estate.

    I didn’t write a letter to the editor over it. These things happen. You just gotta roll with it.

  20. pgroup, I was thinking the same thing – thought it too snarky to post though, given the circumstances. Thanks for that. ;<)

    MyBadito, how's the 'ol gluteus maximus feeling right about now?

  21. MyBandito says:

    Clamato- I agree. pgroup’s comment was too snarky to post. Thanks for that, but your interest in my whatever is misguided.

    I get mail addressed to deceased family members from time to time. That happens. They go into the circular file. I’m not so fragile that I find it traumatic or worth an apology, let alone an LTE.

    Considering how many pet license applications are processed each day and that proof of immunization or sterilization is oftentimes required, it’s easy to see why the employee didn’t take the time to read through the vet’s invoice and set it aside for lack of payment, thinking that Dianne wanted to renew. It would have been easier to have simply ignored the notices.

  22. I was referring to your beat-down from Cheryl.

    Speaking of snarky comments.

  23. Frankenchrist says:


    You were pwned.

  24. MyBandito says:

    I read it quit differently. Her explanation didn’t seem to be anything but informative as to her intentions in posting the letter. Pet issues seem to be more interesting to some people.

    Anything but a beat down. But I guess it’s all in how you read it.

    Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. So is snarky.

    You say Clamato, I say Clamato….

  25. MyBandito says:

    Frankenchrist- Maybe :)

  26. aislander says:

    Wow! The proglodytes certainly circle the wagons whenever any public entity acts incompetently.

    I think THAT’S the larger point here…

  27. MyBandito says:

    islander- You make it too easy….

    Only in the twilight zone would a minor issue such as this become an act of incompetence, not to mention a conspiracy.

  28. aislander says:

    Then why waste all the verbiage defending and minimizing it?

  29. Frankenchrist says:


    We’re just goofing here. Don’t take everything so serious. Not everything is a left-right issue.

  30. MyBandito says:

    You mean, calling it what it is?

    If you consider expressing ones opinion a waste of verbiage, then you had better spend a moment or two looking into your mirror. Because that’s where you’ll find the answer to your question.

    But, go ahead and blow it out of proportion, as usual.

  31. MyBandito says:

    Is he always this way?

  32. SandHills says:

    Hgeorge, that figure of 26,000 pet licences sort of jumps out and raises some questions.

    Since most estimates are that about 62% of Americans own a pet, and Pierce County has a population of over 700,000, that number of licenses indicates one of two things:

    Either Pierce County is not as pet friendly as most of America, or….

    Most pet owners in Pierce County don’t give a hoot-in-hell about paying the county for a license.

    ….or worrying about being bothered at all by government incompetence….at least in regards to a pet license.

    No one has ever said Pierce County residents had less commonsense than their neighbors in King County, I guess this is another example….

    I would suspect King County does it different….like requiring all veterinarians to report their case files so a comparison can be made of actuall pet registration rolls. Now that would be government efficiency….

    On the otherhand….a little government inefficiency ain’t all bad, before all our pets and us are tagged with chip implants and tracked by a government computer.

  33. ‘dito, take the advice from 10:13.

  34. Make that 10:13 “A”.

  35. MyBandito says:

    Clam- You meant islander.

  36. Okay, everyone take a look in the mirror and have a good laugh.

    That better?

  37. itwasntmethistime says:

    What kind of dog was it?

  38. aislander says:

    Sumone has become fixated…

  39. SandHills says:

    Clamato, I did, and I laughed. However, my post was directed in response to someone representing themselves as a representative of Pierce County, not necessarilly the original letter (which I happen to view as a trivial, compared to everyday incompetence in government at every level of government).

    Tit-for-tat exchanges on a forum is rather boring, however everyones outlook is different…and the depth of their posts belie their interests. Most letters I seldom open to even read comments. This one perked my interest, not about the loss of a pet, or pet licenses in general, but it touched upon an issue that should be of interest to all taxpayers – those agencies and employees hired to serve us, not to make life more difficult, or even in this case more of an annoyance.

    Many aspects of government can’t be avoided – or at least without threat of jail time. I took some time to reflect that in the case of pet licenses in Pierce County, the best course of action is to forego the process altogether, and save the hassle.

  40. Frankenchrist says:

    To me, clowns aren’t funny. In fact, they’re kinda scary. I’ve
    wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I
    went to the circus and a clown killed my dad.

  41. MyBandito says:


  42. SandHills says:

    Yep, Fankie looked in the mirror……

  43. bkeyport1970 says:

    “The county office missed the ‘handwritten note’ – Yeah, Missed as didn’t bother to look, just like the rest of the scumbags in the county offices.

  44. Pecksbadboy says:

    Why is the Auditor handling pet licences, are they enforcing them too? For what, pet safety or profit?

  45. SandHills says:


    As in the aerial photographing of property to identify shed builders – I would suspect in an era of little or no revenue growth to feed the beast, government agencies at all levels, especially city/county, will be using every means at their disposal to increase revenue – if not taxes then fees/fines.

    Look for the county to be flying over using infrared to identify all living creatures at night on you property, then you will have to prove it is not a pet but a raccoon or possum to escape a fine for not getting a pet license.

    I am a bit sorry I mentioned the disparity in number of licenses issued in comparison to the real numbers of pets in the county – a county bean counter sees a potential profit in rooting out scofflaws in pet registration. All those $120 fines, man-o-man, what a revenue source.

  46. itwasntmethistime says:

    Bandito — That’s is. I asked was.

  47. MyBandito says:

    Dunno was. Is was all I knew.

  48. itwasntmethistime says:

    I knew is too. Wanna know was.

  49. lawtika58 says:

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I had to have my Service Dog put to sleep on January 15, 2012 and I received the notice. I called and spoke to them on the phone and so far I have heard no more. I sure miss, Abby, she was definitely one of a kind. She is overlooking everyone now from Mt Rainer. I hope the pain eases for you and you can get a solution. God Bless

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