To: Jeff Cogen, County Chair
CC: Michael Oswald, MCAS Director
CC: Robert Babcock
An alarming number of cases reported have been reported by homeless parties (and low income persons as well) of MCAS excessive aggressive enforcement practices targeting this population by impounding, demanding extraordinary fines and fees (hundreds of dollars in fines) and often compelling or forcing surrender of their companion animals when humane options exist. The penalties are disproportionate and public safety needs can assured through other common sense practices. Other communities have owner education diversion programs such as “Street smarts for the street dog”. Seizing, impounding and killing the dogs of the homeless is not the answer.
Also the tandem MCAS/Portland Police licensing sweeps of the homeless often deteriorate into harassment and not uncommonly create incidents with “Stop, and check” checkpoints. How many middle class families do you target? Licensing fees secured from the homeless are not going to be this county’s main revenue source. As a humane gesture, if you want all animals to be simply registered, then provide licenses free to homeless parties, whose animals are often critical to their comfort, well being and health. That, not harassment and extortion. are compatible with this community’s values.
I am asking that an outside independent investigation be conducted regarding this county’s enforcement conduct. It benefits no one. By any other name it is government sanctioned bullying.
Gail O’Connell-Babcock, PhD
Citizens for Humane Animal Legislation/Watchdog
16004 SW Tualatin-Sherwood Road, #508
Sherwood, OR 97140