Culver City Observer
September 1 - 7, 2005
Letters to the Editor
Two weeks ago, an open meeting of the Culver City Council was held, where the principle part of the evening was spent in the discussion of animal control services for our city. A number of people took part in expressing their desire for a city-based animal control officer and shelter and their reasons for the request. The Council, to their credit, expressed concern that this issue is now recurrent, having been introduced less than two years ago and clearly inadequately addressed by the County that currently does the animal control duty in Culver City.
They also expressed concern about additional expense that would be incurred by taking animal control in-house. I also took part in the discussion. However, due to time constraints, I was unable to present financial data that I had put together for the meeting that would address in some measure those fiscal concerns. I would like to present some of the data here.
As of the 2000 census, 5,249 dog owning households were recorded in Culver City. I realize that is five years old however, it is in all probability a safe bet that the number is approximately the same now. Given a $30 average of the combined license fees of $40 and $20 per dog - based on fees for non-neutered and neutered dogs respectively -- that amounts to $157,470 in license fees per year.
Let us also consider that a number of these dog-owning households own more than one dog. This is plenty to pay for a Culver City Animal Control Officer, who again, is in a better position to actually collect those fees and additional revenue from citations than a county officer who must split his or her time between animal emergencies in 32 city and county areas. I will add that in the first six months of 2005, only 422 licenses were paid up and for the entirety of 2004 only 2015 license fees were paid.
In addition, I would like to suggest that a city-based Animal Control Officer would be more cost effective. As it stands, a larger portion than should be of the hourly field service fees are being spent on mileage - time on the road - instead of on the call, and vehicle wear and tear. All of these expenses will be reduced by having a local officer.
In short, I hope that the possibility of increased revenues and lower costs will be examined as the Council moves forward on this issue.