Update on a fine(d) canine

A few months back, I wrote of an outlaw canine who retrieved an unlicensed dog notice for his owner. It was news to me. I couldn’t believe anyone would effectively tax a man’s best friend. “Un-Texan! Un-American!” I called it.

As I began planning civil disobedience against the city’s $4.00 annual pet licensing “fee,” a hand-addressed envelope arrived.

Inside: a green carbon copy of a City of Boerne Code Enforcement citation. “Code Enforcement” was scribbled out. “Animal Control” was written in. It read like a traffic ticket:

Violator: Thompson
Color: Tan
Year Model: “Hank”
Make: Lab/X
Violation(s): 6605 Unlicensed Dog

The summons ordered me to appear at Boerne Municipal Court on or before May 4, 2016. I chuckled and put it in my stack of stuff, wondering how it would fit into my civil disobedience plan.

As May 4 approached, I modified my plan to include a stop at animal control. Hank would sniff, chew and mark territory above reproach, I decided.

KT: “Hi. I need to get a dog license, please.”
Animal Control Officer: “Come around to the building in the back.”

As I entered the back building, an orange feline with fur shaved like a lion greeted me.

“Are cats licensed, too?” I inquired. Several acquaintances had asked me this question since Hank’s story broke earlier this year.

“Yes, sir. And if you have more than four cats or dogs, you’ll need a permit. They are $100 a year.”

The officer briefed me on the specifics of a dog license, and I wrote a $4.00 check to legalize Hank. The officer kindly matched his license expiration with his next rabies shot. No reason to space out pet expenses.

As I stepped toward the door, I could tell the officer’s wheels were turning.

“So, do you have a cat?”

After quickly consulting my civil disobedience plan, I prepared to say no. Besides, he’s not mine. He’s the person’s who left him at the Alamo Springs Café in far north Kendall County where he rubbed his soft kitten fur against the left leg of a 5 year old.

“Yes.” I told truthfully remembering Mother’s Day was Sunday.

Another four dollars later, I headed to municipal court ready to waive all my new pet licenses and have all charges dropped.

Not so fast. According to the city attorney, the canine’s file had already wandered too far. I would be assessed both a fine and court costs. There is upside, she told me cheerfully: Deferment.

If Hank stays on good behavior for ninety days, the citation would stay off my record. My record?!? What about his!?!

Dumbfounded, I asked the judge if community service were an option. Hank would do well at a nursing home or a pre-school, I told him. He wouldn’t hurt a flea, unless it’s on his belly.

Unconvinced, the judge passed me to the clerk who passed me to the cashier. She passed me back my debit card back after running it for more than I ever thought I’d spend on that sorry dog.

Kevin Thompson can be reached at kevin@kwt.info.

1 Response to “Update on a fine(d) canine”


  1. 1 jessestroup June 3, 2016 at 15:31

    I laughed out loud throughout the civil disobedience one; I was silenced by the reminder that we are our brother’s keeper and foster children could be any of us. Thanks for both of these.Jesse  Jesse R. Stroup Director of Spiritual Care Lifeline Chaplaincy 1926 Chattanooga Pl. #B Dallas, TX 75235 jessestrouplive@yahoo.com


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