Friday, February 28

Getting a Dog License in Jax

tax collector jacksonville fl

I don't really know why a dog needs to be licensed in Jacksonville. I have a microchip inside my dog that will lead me to it, and the dog also wears a collar with contact information for our household. We have the documents stating the dog has three years of rabies shots, but we did not have a tag for Duval County. And that's probably the reason to get licensed, not that I've ever heard of animal control shooting a dog for not having tags in Jacksonville. Anyhow, the wife says we need a licensed dog, so for $20 a year, I figure that's the least of our dog-related expenses.

You can download the dog license form and send it in, but you can also venture to the tax collector's office to get the tag and virtual license. Since I wanted to make sure I got it done immediately and without someone giving me a hassle (we adopted the dog the same week), I decided to get in line at the tax collector's office. I did that from home, and you should, too. Here's why: waiting to catch a virus from 100 strangers in a small seating area sucks.

I got in line and was sent a text saying it would be 84 minutes. That gave me time to take a shower and have a snack before I left. The only problem with the line texting system in Duval is that it jerks you around. 20 minutes after the initial text, I checked the status, and my wait time was 35 minutes. 10 minutes later, my wait time was 18 minutes, so I headed out.

The problem is that when I got to the tax collector's office, the text said there was one person in front of me with a wait time of 5 minutes. Five minutes later, one person and 5 minutes. Then one person and 4 minutes. Then back up to five minutes. Then six numbers were called. All told, my actual wait time for one person ahead of me was about 10 minutes and 6 people called. Weird. In all, my 84 minute wait was closer to 50 minutes.

I got to the window, and it was a good reminder why I didn't want to have to show up at the tax collector's office. The worker had never done a dog license like mine, where the previous owner had been on the rabies receipt. Her colleague told her to go ask Susan. I figure that "Go ask Susan" is code for go take a break, so I waited for my clerk to take her break.

When she got back, she implied all was well. $45, she told me. Hold on, I said. It's $20. The late fee, she said, since the rabies shot was from November. But I just got the dog this week, and here's the tag from St. Johns County. I started filling out the check, saying I was not going to pay the $45. Plus, I said, I bet 3/4 of Jacksonville dog owners don't even license their pets. She agreed with me on that one. She asked her colleague how to fix the late fee issue, and it seemed like all was going to be fine, and then her computer broke. Luckily, her next door neighbor had just finished with an older lady who wasn't sure if she had any mental issues that might make her unsafe to drive (and also wasn't sure she wanted to be an organ donor).

My information was added to the new computer, and I paid my license fee, getting a new Duval tag for the dog, along with a receipt. But no actual license, and that's a letdown, since I was hoping I could take the dog in front of the camera and get her an actual license for my wallet. Or at least a card saying I have an officially licensed dog.

Get your pets fixed, keep them on leashes, and get a license for $20.

Back to the organ donor thing. Be an organ donor. Don't say you don't know. Organs save lives all the time, and if you're dead, they can't really save your own life anymore. The tax collector's employees should have some kind of rehearsed sales pitch when people say they don't know. Or just take it as a yes. If you think you need your organs in heaven, then you don't understand your faith. Just say yes so that someone else can live when you kick the bucket. If you're worried about compensation, you can auction off one of your kidneys early.

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