City’s Outsourcing for the Dogs

There’s been a weird change in the ccity’s issuance of dog licenses that appears to be inefficient, ineffective, expensive, and indefensible. Dog tags may not be Santa Barbara’s biggest problem (don’t we wish it were!), but if this new outsourcing of dog licensing is representative of our administrative decision-making, I am very worried.

In a nutshell, I noticed on the morning of Wednesday, October 26, that my dog, Gracie, no longer had her official City of Santa Barbara dog tag attached to her collar. Not wanting her to be illegal (or without as many protective tags as possible), I made a point to go to City Hall to the cashier, with cash in hand, to get her a replacement tag. According to the receipt I had from the issuance of her latest tag in June of this year, the replacement tag was to cost me $12. During the entire 31 years I’ve lived in Santa Barbara, I have received my dogs’ tags in this way: I go to City Hall with any necessary documentation, I pay my money to the cashier, I leave with the tags in hand. Simple! Straightforward! Done!

Well, on October 26, the cashier on duty told me that the City is no longer handling dog licensing. The police department is now OUTSOURCING dog licenses! She gave me the name, number, and WEBsite for the new vendor, PetData, Inc.

So, I went home and looked up PetData, Inc. and the method for receiving a replacement tag for Gracie. I was instructed to write a check for $16 (a full 33 1/3% more than the $12 fee I was expecting to pay) and mail it, along with the copy of Gracie’s documentation, to an address in Irving, Texas. Did you get that? I said: Texas!! (At least it wasn’t India. Not yet.)

Well, I did exactly as instructed, that very day. I sent a $16 check and documentation to PetData in Irving, Texas, and put the envelope in the nearest mailbox. That was 15 days ago. Guess what? Gracie still does not have her replacement tag!! So, here we are, attempting to be good, law-abiding Santa Barbara citizens, and my dog has no license tag.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I do really think it was better for me, to go down to City Hall in person, to pay less money, and to walk out with my dog’s tag. Now, I’m paying significantly more, sending funds to an out of state company, and not even receiving what I’m paying for. I don’t know whose brainstorm this outsourcing decision was, but it is really stupid.

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