CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you have a dog, a cat, or even a ferret, you are required in Mecklenburg County to register your animal. You are supposed to mail in a form and pay a fee.
But many people are wondering how many of their neighbors are actually registering their animals and paying these fees. In Mecklenburg County, it's $10 for spayed or neutered pets and $30 if they're not.
WCNC Charlotte's VERIFY team saw this question from a viewer on social media they asked:
"I received my letter in the mail that we have to register our dog and pay a yearly fee. Does anyone actually pay for this at all?"
Yes, some people in Charlotte are paying for these pet licenses. However, data from CMPD Animal Care and Control shows that over the past year, only 16% of people with pets are actually paying.
WHAT WE FOUND
These licenses are required for people who own dogs, cats, or ferrets in Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte. Knicely said these license forms are typically sent out after pets receive their rabies shot.
The registration money goes into the city's general fund.
"We are a department that is under the police department," Knicely said. "Our operating budget comes from the city of Charlotte; all of the license fees go back into the city general fund, which helps to fund our budget."
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But are people actually paying?
According to CMPD Animal Care and Control data, there was a 16% overall compliance from February 2022 to February 2023. Only 25% of dog owners registered, while only 9% of cat owners registered.
"So more people are not paying. It's very typical," Knicley said. "These numbers are average."
There are citations for failing to register your pet, and those start at about $50. However, Knicely said officers are not going door to door looking for people.
"We don't have the manpower to go door to door for this," Knicley said.
Knicley said paying the registration fee is a way to help CMPD shelters indirectly and to help find your pet if it gets lost.
"Once they get into the system, they get a little collar tag, which has a little QR code, and people register it, " Knicely said. Then we just scan that QR code and their pet will come up in the system."
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VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit VERIFY.