Licensing fees not legal for dogs in Floyd County
NA-FC Animal Shelter refunding $5 fee to 156 people
By DANIEL SUDDEATH
Checks are in the mail to several Floyd County residents who paid licensing fees for dogs in the past year.
The New Albany/Floyd County Animal Control and Shelter had been charging a fee, as directed by a county ordinance approved in 2007, for licensing all dogs over six months of age in the county.
A state law passed July 1, 2006, made a county dog tax optional. If counties did not opt for the tax, they could not charge a licensing fee unless it was already established.
NAFC Animal Control Director David Hall said nearly $1,800 has been refunded dating back to payments made since June of 2007. There are approximately 156 people receiving refunds, he said.
�People didn�t know what was supposed to be coming to them so they didn�t know they were going to get it back,� Hall said.
The Floyd County Commission adopted an ordinance last year to charge a licensing fee of $5 for a dog that had been spayed or neutered and $35 for ones that were not.
Apparently, legal counsel did not notice the discrepancy between the policy and the state law, according to Hall.
Georgetown Resident Susan Griffin was the first to ask for the refund. She hired an attorney after becoming aware of the change in law and said her case is under advisement for dismissal and will be ruled on June 26.
Griffin filed a complaint with the attorney general and said her concern is for the money this cost the animal shelter and county for administrative costs and fees.
Griffin has received the majority of her refund, which totaled $264.50 for 11 dogs. She still has her questions about what went wrong.
�Where was the attorney that drafted the ordinance and why did they not check to make sure that it was in compliance with state law before this point,� Griffin stated in an e-mail.
Hall said the county felt the optional tax would not help the shelter much, with only around 20 percent of it declared to go back to animal control.
The remaining amount would be dedicated to Purdue University for research and to the county to disperse in a way they deemed appropriate.
�It became more work than what it was worth,� he said.
The county and city ordinances are still on the animal control Web site at http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/nafcanimalshelter, but Hall said they are not charging the fee.
�The (refund) checks have all been mailed out,� he said.
Licensing fees are still being charged for cats.
The case goes deeper for Griffin, who said she will take a complaint before the Georgetown Town Council, who she said cited her for having more than four dogs within city limits without a kennel license.
Griffin said Georgetown does not have a kennel license and Floyd County no longer issues them due to the change in law.
She said the pending legal case will be instrumental in the legality of the ordinance.
�If the judge dismisses this case, the ordinance in Georgetown will be unenforceable to anyone else because it stipulates that you can�t have more than four dogs/cats without a kennel license when they have never even designed an application,� she stated in an e-mail.
SO YOU KNOW
� Per NAFC Director David Hall, this was the explanation residents received in writing with their refund check.
The Indiana Attorney General has examined the new Floyd County Animal Ordinance and has determined that after July 1, 2006 no county in Indiana may adopt an ordinance implementing a licensing system for dogs unless the County Option Dog Tax is in effect in that county. Floyd County did not, and does not at this time, have a County Option Dog Tax. The NAFC Animal Control and Shelter has suspended issuing county license for dogs only. We are enclosing a refund for the amount our records show you paid for a Floyd County dog license. Cat licenses in the county are still valid and required.
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Bless the Bullys