Doggy Social Engineering

An inquiring friend of and researcher for McHenry County Blog has been comparing dog taxes among area counties.
Here’s what started this story:

“I noticed McHenry County’s dog tag fee scale chart at our vets office but I didn’t see Kane’s,” he wrote.

“Curious, I asked why Kane’s tag fee scale wasn’t on the desk.

‘Because it’s a flat fee.’

“It appears the surrounding counties charge a flat fee and senior citizens don’t have to pay tag fees in Kane and DuPage County. If dogs get their shots in McHenry County, the upfront tag fee is five times more if pet owners decide not to “fix and chip” them. You may know more about this but are stray dogs a problem in McHenry County? I thought you may find this to be an interesting local story.”

He found McHenry County’s quite different from those of Kane, DuPage and Cook Counties.

Kane County charges $10 a year for a rabies tag, $25 for three years. The web site says, “Senior citizens (65 and older) do not pay for original tags given with shot. There’s a $1 charge if you need a replacement tag.

DuPage County also charges $10 a year, but does not offer a break for a three-year tag. $4 for a replacement tag.

Cook County charges only $6 a year. (Don’t anyone tell Cook County Board President Todd Stroeger that his county is lower than the suburban ones.) $18 for a three-year tag.

All three are pretty straight forward.

By comparison, McHenry County’s fee structure looks like a PERT chart.

First, one must reveal whether one’s dog is spayed or neutered.

If it is, the next question is whether it is micro chipped or not.

If it is, the cost is $8 a year, $19 for three years–less than Kane or DuPage, but more than Cook.

If the dog is not micro chipped, the cost rises to $13 a year, $24 for three.

If the canine is not spayed or neutered, the cost really increases.

$35 if chipped, $40, if not. And the three-year costs increase to $70 and $75.

As you can see, the charges for senior citizens, defined as bring 62 or older, are significantly lower. That can’t be because a higher proportion of older folks vote, can it?

McHenry County is unique in having a higher fee for breeders. $20 a year, if chipped, $25, if not.

Maybe attempts to influence citizen behavior by differential taxation policy is common in local government, but this is the first time I have noticed it.

Doggy social engineering.

Who would have thought?

I might have noticed this before had I not been obsessed with the McHenry County Republican Cat Tax that was contained in the same ordinance.


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