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Proposal to limit free pet services considered

July 27, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles City Council is considering a plan that would make it more difficult for low-income families to receive free dog licenses and other discounts from the Department of Animal Services. The council's Public Safety Committee voted to change the definition of "very low income" families who can qualify, making it more stringent.

The measure now goes to the full council for consideration.

The department grants free dog licenses to families earning less than $33,150 a year. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers that amount the "very low income" threshold for a family of two. Larger families typically have to meet a higher standard to qualify as being "very low income," but those are disregarded by the city, according to Animal Services Assistant General Manager Kathy Davis.

"The current ordinance states that we use the two-person 'very low family' income guideline of $33,150 -- regardless of the number of people in the family," she said.

"If you have four or six or seven people in your family, we still cling to that $33,150 as the guideline for verifying somebody is low income. That, obviously, is not a very good way of doing things."

Davis noted other city agencies have updated their own regulations to ensure that free services are not offered to families who can afford to pay for them.

City News Service contributed to this story.


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