Animal Control to Canvass Your Neighborhood Looking for Unlicensed Pets

The Child Catcher from the 1968 film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Now I am a self-described law and order kinda guy. I follow the rules (for the most part except for a recent speeding ticket) and if everyone else did too, the world would be a better place. I appreciate and support our police and military. The men and women in uniform protecting us have my deepest respect. I want them in my neighborhood. See press release below.

I am also a proud dog owner. Yes, Molly the dog is properly licensed. I want my dog licensed, if for no other reason, to increase the odds of her being safely returned to me in case she gets lost, stolen or scooped up in a dog catcher dragnet.

So why does the prospect of government workers canvasing my neighborhood, looking for scofflaws bother me?

For starters, this sounds like either a feel good measure or someone is looking to collect lost revenue from unlicensed pets. Either way, I don't much care for it.

Perhaps I just don't like the idea that Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC -- nice acronym) has the budget and resources to go door to door looking for unlicensed pets. I mean really, is this the best use of public funds we can come up with? Last time I looked, we weren't Detroit, a bankrupt city with an estimated 50,000 stray dogs roaming the streets.

Or maybe I am a throwback to another era (no doubt!) when government was smaller and less intrusive in our lives and the notion that government employees would be canvasing streets looking for pets would have been ridiculous. The only people I want canvasing my street is the police, and the postal service, thank you very much. These days we get too many politicians and now tax collecting dog catchers.

And the reassurances of good behavior by the canvasing team is less than reassuring. Terms such as, "They do not ask to enter inside homes and will generally avoid houses that are clearly posted as 'No Trespassing' or 'No Soliciting,'” are so comforting.

This reminds me of how the British government sends electronic snooper vans around neighborhoods to catch people watching television but who are not paying the mandatory BBC License Fee (£145.50 per color television -- that's about $188.50). Yes, the upshot is they don't suffer through as many commercials.

The bottom line for me is that I prefer when government keeps its tentacles out of private citizens' lives. As a wise man once said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have." My simple plea: spend our money wisely, please. Sending tax collectors to canvasing the streets to ensure compliance with the law -- is there a substantial penalty for having an unlicensed pet? -- seems like government once again, going a step too far for my tastes. Who knows? Maybe the labor for the canvasing is all volunteer?

But then again, I tend to be a contrarian.

For the record, Molly the dog usually dozes off in front of the TV unless we are watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. That comes on right after The Wonderful World of Disney, right?

Below is the official press release from the City of Kirkland:

Weekend pet license canvassing program comes to Kirkland Sept. 7 – Oct. 27

Trained, professional county employees to conduct neighborhood canvass


Working in collaboration with the City of Kirkland, Regional Animal Services of King County (RASKC) will deploy two hired and trained canvassers into Kirkland in an effort to ensure that pets within Kirkland city limits are properly licensed. The canvassing effort will run on weekends only from September 7 through October 27 in the neighborhoods of North Rose Hill, Central Houghton, Everest, and Finn Hill.


“Pet licensing is the law,” said Kirkland Chief of Police Eric Olsen. “Kirkland Municipal Code adopts by reference King County Code 11.04.030, requiring that all cats and dogs, eight weeks and older be licensed, whether they are indoor or outdoor pets.”  The Police Department administers the contract the City has with RASKC for licensing, sheltering and control services.  The three year contract expires in December 31, 2015.


King County pet license canvassers are easily recognized by County name badges, logo shirts, business cards, and pet licensing documents.  They are trained and follow strict guidelines regarding professional conduct.  For example, canvassers do not peer in windows or over fences looking for pets.  They do not engage in lengthy conversation with anyone answering the door who appears to be under 18 years of age.  They do not ask to enter inside homes and will generally avoid houses that are clearly posted as “No Trespassing” or “No Soliciting.”

King County has implemented a residential pet license canvassing program throughout the County for the past 20 years. The last time any pet license canvassing was conducted in the City of Kirkland was in 2009.


Benefits of Pet Licensing:

  • Re-unites owners with lost pets
  • Free ride home the first time a licensed pet gets lost
  • 24/7 lost pet license identification
  • Saves animal’s lives by funding shelter and care
  • Funds animal field services and enforcement for responding to reports of strays, nuisance or dangerous animals, and bite investigations
  • Funds investigations for animal cruelty or neglect
  • Supports Vacation Pet Alert program


Pet licenses are available online at  Any major concerns or issues should be directed to Sandy Jones, King County Pet License Canvassing Coordinator at 206-205-6167 or