Last year I paid $50 for a general Livestock Permit, which covered my hen chickens and dwarf goats. (Incidentally, I also paid $100 for a zoning variance.) I understood that the Livestock Permit has to be renewed annually.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived at Animal Control and was told that the cost to renew my permit would no longer be $50 -- now it's $150.
See, Animal Control submitted new rates for many of its services to City Council, who approved the increases. The new rates went into effect September 1, 2009. Now, a chicken-only permit costs $50. A goat permit costs $100. If you have both, you better cough up $150. In other words, if you own a goat your permit fees doubled, and if you maintain chickens and goats then your fees tripled. I understand that Animal Control raised the rates on many things, but I don't imagine that any of the other fees doubled or tripled.
My friend Derec pointed out that those of us who pay into this system aren't getting a good value from the city for our money. Remember, last year I went through a lengthy zoning process and paid a total of $150 for the "privilege" of keeping a few small animals in my backyard. I went a full year without any complaints -- my animals did not create any work for Animal Control or Zoning. And now, after a year without problems, I need to pay an additional $150.
Urban Food-Producing Animals are a way for people to supply their families with affordable, healthy food. And now, during a recession, the city of Denver wants to make the permits even more expensive?
What do you think about this? Is a double or triple rate increase fair to people who are just trying to sustainably produce a little food? Should we even have such an extensive permitting process for urban FPAs, or should we allow a limited number as a use-by-right (like cats and dogs)?