Animal control agencies across the country are aggressively going after pet owners and levying fines for the smallest of violations.
California resident Gerilynn Aflleje was horrified when her 4-year-old Siberian Husky mix was killed by a local animal shelter over $180 in fees that she couldn’t afford.
Her dog, Chunk, had been dropped off at the Stockton shelter after getting lost in 2013, she later explained at a city council meeting. When Aflleje discovered her dog there less than a week later, she said the shelter demanded $180 within 24 hours for storing Chunk.
Unemployed, Aflleje couldn’t get the money in time. “We didn’t only lose our pet. We lost a family member,” she said.
Perhaps what’s most ridiculous about this nonsense is the the infractions can include failing to license a pet, owning a dog that barks a lot, or accidentally letting an animal get loose in the neighborhood. The penalties for these infractions are quite serious, amounting to hundreds and even thousands of dollars in fines.
When owners of seized or lost dogs can’t afford to get their pets back, they relinquish their rights to the animal, which can result in a pet being euthanized but that’s not the end of it. The owner may then face jail time.
What the hell kind of nation are we living in when someone’s pet may be seized, euthanized, and the owner be put in jail because the pet wasn’t licensed or it barked too much? This is not the America the Founding Fathers dreamed of.