Washougal Council set to vote on dog license changes

Officials will vote July 8 on proposal to increase lifetime fee, add annual option

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Washougal Police Chief Wendi Steinbronn walks a dog during the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society’s Hike on the Dike fundraising event, June 25, 2022. (Contributed photo courtesy of West Columbia Gorge Humane Society)

The city of Washougal has proposed a plan that would give Washougal dog owners the option of purchasing an annual license for their canines.

Washougal Police Chief Wendi Steinbronn introduced a resolution during the Washougal City Council’s June 24 meeting that would add an annual dog license ($20 for spayed or neutered canines and $30 for fertile dogs) and increase the fee for a lifetime dog license to $50 for spayed or neutered dogs.

The Council will vote on the resolution during its next meeting on Monday, July 8.

“If somebody moves here for a couple of years, and they’re not going to stay (long-term), then it would make sense for them to (purchase) the annual license,” Steinbronn said. “But if somebody buys a house and plans on living here for longer than that, they’re going to want to do the $50 option.”

The resolution states that “the City Council wishes to provide flexibility to periodically adjust fees to account for internal cost changes and inflation … (and) wishes to provide flexibility for the public to purchase either a lifetime dog license or an annual dog license.”

Washougal City Council members asked city employees to reexamine the City’s dog-licensing fees in September 2023. Washougal City Manager David Scott said then that the City was trying to determine if a new fee structure could help Washougal “potentially provide more cost recovery” to the City’s animal control program.

Washougal Finance Director Daniel Layer told Council members during a Sept. 25, 2023, workshop that the City’s current dog licensing fees are “the lowest in the county” and that the City, unlike most jurisdictions, offers a lifetime permit instead of an annual permit.

“Staff has been working on this, doing the analysis and seeing if we’re still where we need to be,” Layer told Council members in 2023, adding that officials may want to consider either increasing the permit fees or switching to an annual-permit system.

Washougal’s current lifetime pet-licensing system costs $25 for unaltered dogs and $15 for spayed or neutered dogs. In comparison, Camas charges $38 for a lifetime permit; Ridgefield charges $20 to $30 for an annual license or $50 for a lifetime license; La Center charges $40 for an annual license; Battle Ground charges $43 for an annual license; and Clark County charges $40 for an annual license.

“Remembering the conversation (from 2023), I think at least a couple of Council members expressed a desire to keep at least the lifetime option available,” Steinbronn said. “Some cities just charge an annual fee. We’re going to offer both.”