It seems like local Naperville officials are always thinking of ways to squeeze more money from residents. Apparently Naperville must be desperate for revenue. One of the newer members of the Naperville city council, Dave Wentz, came up with what he thinks is a brilliant idea to require pet owners to obtain a license for their pets. I’m guessing that councilman Wentz has decided not to endear himself to pet owners during the next city council election in March.
Naperville currently has an ordinance requiring a fee of $4 per year for animals that have been spayed, and $8 for those who have not been spayed. Wentz would like to see this changed to a one-time registration fee, which likely would be far more expensive. The city wins on that deal. And who loses? The pet owners lose because the city relentlessly chips away at family finances. More importantly, pets lose. Maybe it’s fewer pet treats, maybe less food, and worse yet, maybe less pets.
Police Chief Bob Marshall, who really isn’t a police officer, but likes to bounce back and forth to different departments within the city, apparently for pension purposes, said Animal Control is OK with the new revenue generator. If councilman Wentz can get enough support from other council members willing to disenfranchise pet-owner voters, all that would be necessary is to amend the current ordinance. Police Chief Marshall, who really isn’t a police officer and apparently has no desire to become ‘one of Naperville’s finest’ said this would include domesticated pets, including dogs, cats, and get this, “whatever you have”.
Wow, “whatever you have”, think about that for a moment. Are you thinking? So exactly what would that include? Turtles, fish, birds, chickens, Naperville already has an ordinance for chickens. Seems like a huge net of potential revenue, doesn’t it. If Marshall was a police officer, he would probably tell Wentz that one of the last things his police officers need add to their full plates is to stop every resident walking their dogs for proof of registration. Then what. If the resident can’t show proof at that moment, the resident gets cuffed, hauled down to the slammer, while pooch is taken to the animal control’ slammer.
Let police officers do what they do best, and that’s to protect citizens from the bad guys. The current ordinance is working just fine; revenues increased 38% from 2011 to 2012, and then increased again 27% from 2012 to 2013. If it’s working, and it is, there is no need to ‘fix’ it. Unless of course, councilman Wentz feels a need to let residents know that he is doing something, and then pet-owner voters can let Wentz know next spring that he no longer needs to be doing something on the council.