The cost of legally owning a dog or a cat in unincorporated King County will rise next year, the County Council decided yesterday. Seeking to balance a troubled budget and collect...

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The cost of legally owning a dog or a cat in unincorporated King County will rise next year, the County Council decided yesterday.

Seeking to balance a troubled budget and collect fees closer to the actual cost of services, the council raised fees for some animal licenses, court services and delivery of legal papers.

But the council spared elderly cat owners and tardy animal-license purchasers rate increases that County Executive Ron Sims had proposed.

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The Metropolitan King County Council voted 7-6, with the support of all six Republicans and Democrat Larry Phillips, in favor of Councilwoman Kathy Lambert’s amendment to reject an $8 rise in licenses for cats owned by senior citizens. She said the increase, which would have brought seniors’ cat fees in line with seniors’ dog fees, would be a hardship on seniors on fixed incomes.

Democrat Julia Patterson opposed the amendment, saying she didn’t see why the county should subsidize the cost of seniors’ cat licenses when many young people also are struggling financially.

The increase in animal fees will generate about $461,000. Fees will cover about 90 percent of the county’s costs for animal control.

The council also raised fees for mediation ordered by family court and adopted new fees for services related to adoption. Fees for serving court papers were raised an average of 30 percent, the first such increase since 1993.

Here are the changes in pet-licensing fees:

• Pet license, unaltered dog or cat, from $55 to $60

• Pet license, altered dog or cat, from $17 to $20

• Spay or neuter deposit, from $35 to $50

• Impound small animal, first offense in a year, from $30 to $45

• Impound small animal, second offense in a year, from $60 to $85

• Pick up unlicensed pet at owner’s request, $20 (new)

• Euthanasia of unlicensed pet at owner’s request, $20 (new)

• Optional microchipping of adopted pet, $25 (new)

Keith Ervin: 206-464-2105 or kervin@seattletimes.com