Animal-control people are trying to lick the problem of dog owners not renewing their pet's licenses in parts of Salt Lake County.
They may be barking up the wrong tree, but they hope a computerized reminder service will do the trick."This is an experiment," said Peggy Hinnen, county animal control director.
Currently, the county doesn't have enough employees to personally contact everyone whose dog needs a renewed license. The county has signed a contract with Information Access Technology, which will use a computer to call the delinquent pet owners and remind them of their responsibility.
The pet owner will hear a computerized voice, followed by questions. The computer will ask if the person still owns the dog and will instruct the person to press certain buttons on the telephone to respond. The pet owner also will be given the option of paying the $5 yearly fee ($15 if the pet is not neutered) by punching a credit card number into the telephone.
"I don't think this will be offensive to the public," Hinnen said, noting the male computer voice is friendly and "sounds sort of Swedish."
Most of the calls will be made in the evening when people more likely are home. Information Access Technology will receive $1 for every license renewal it generates.
Only dog owners in unincorporated areas and Midvale will receive the calls. Other areas of the county are covered by separate animal control agencies.