Ask the County Law Librarian – Late Fees for Animal License in Sacramento County
County of Sacramento animal care charged me a late fee for paying our pet license late. Nowhere on the initial bill did it address a late fee if we missed the due date. Can the county charge without notice?
Thanks for your question. Looking at a copy of the current Animal License Application available on the Sacramento Animal Care and Regulation website, it lists the current fees for Sacramento County residents as $15.00 a year for an altered animal and $150.00 a year for a non-altered animal. The license application also provides notice of a late fee of $100.00. The late fee seems pretty steep and is a bit higher than other neighboring counties, so Sacramento must be using a higher late fee as a deterrent to late registration. By applying and obtaining the license, you agreed to pay all applicable fees, including the late fee even if it does seem exorbitant.
The license itself also references Sacramento County Code section 8.24.030 which lists the local laws regarding fees. In particular, 8.24.030(e) states “A dog or cat license fee shall become delinquent the day after it becomes due and payable, and upon delinquency, a monetary penalty as established in accordance with Section 8.24.060 of this chapter shall be added to the regular fee. An unpaid penalty shall be added to the succeeding year’s license fee.”
Looking at the local law regarding the monetary penalty, Sacramento County Code section 8.24.060 states the “first violation is a penalty of one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each animal. If the owner complies with the section within fourteen (14) days after receiving notice of said violation and presents proof of compliance, the penalty shall be waived. An additional one hundred dollar ($100.00) penalty shall apply for every thirty (30) day period of a continuing violation, up to a maximum penalty per offense of five hundred dollars ($500.00).” Using those time frames the late fee can add up very quickly, so next year be sure to make your payment in on time.
For those of you who have your pets licensed through the City of Sacramento, more information about the process of licensing and micro chipping your pets and fee information can be found on the City of Sacramento Animal Care Services website. The late fee for a license renewal is $10.00 if paid within 30 days after the due date, $20.00 if paid more than 30 days after the due date, or $100.00 if paid more than 60 days after the due date.
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