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Pet owners in University Place who fail to purchase an annual license tag for their animals may find themselves facing a large fine if the animal is impounded.
The fine for owning an unlicensed animal is $246, while the annual license is $23.
“Most people think that if they have their animal microchipped, that is enough, but it isn’t,” Leslie Wheeler, U.P.’s Public Safety office manager explained in an announcement. “Animal control and vets are generally the only ones who have the wands to read the chips, which means that if an animal gets loose and does not have a tag, and a neighbor or a passerby finds the animal, they have no way to return them to their owners. So they could end up at the shelter, which is very traumatic for the animal and very expensive for the owner, since it can cost close to $100 to retrieve an animal.”
City staffers receive a monthly report from the Humane Society of Tacoma and Pierce County animal shelter on animals that have been adopted or impounded and returned to their owners. They cross reference that list with its database of licensed animals. Reminder letters then go out to pet owners that an annual license is required for all pets within University Place. People who fail to obtain an annual pet license for their animals within a 30-day period are then subject to a citation by Pierce County Animal Control.
The revenue from fines is used to recoup the costs the city is charged by the shelter for all animals brought to shelter from University Place.
“I think all pet owners would prefer to have their pets returned directly to them,” Wheeler said. “Having a tag with your name, number and Animal Control’s contact info means that if someone comes across a lost animal, they can contact the owner or Animal Control directly and hopefully help the animal get back home quickly.”
To register a pet, apply in person at the University Place Police Department, 3609 Market Place W., Suite 201 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Applications are available for download on the Animal Licensing webpage. For additional questions or information, contact Leslie Wheeler at (253) 798-4251.

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